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Nigerian security free seven kidnapped oil workers, destroy 436 illegal refineries

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Nigerian security free seven kidnapped oil workers, destroy 436 illegal refineries

The Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) code-named “Operation Delta Safe” said on Thursday that it freed seven kidnapped oil workers of a multi-national firm.

The agency also said it destroyed no fewer than 436 illegal refineries in the Niger-Delta region.

John Agim, acting director, Defence Information, disclosed this while briefing journalists in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital.

Mr Agim, a brigadier-general, said the task force identified active militant camps at Okparakiri, Sanikiri and Okporama communities, and on a tip-off, arrested suspected sea robbers and cultists terrorising Abonnema-Buguma in Rivers waterways.

“Seven Nigerian Agip Oil Company maintenance workers kidnapped while carrying out an assessment of a blasted wellhead in Azuama in Southern Ijaw Local Government of Bayelsa were rescued and released un-armed,” he said.

“We have also recovered several dangerous items such as 230 different types of arms, 240 assorted ammunition, 11 barges, 101 outboard engines, 135 pumping machines from the criminals,” he added.

The general said that the illegal refineries were destroyed in the operation carried out from October to-date which was named ”Operation 777.”

He said the task force also arrested 266 persons for alleged various offences and handed them over to the appropriate government agencies for prosecution.

“The force has nabbed a suspected notorious militant kingpin, Gift Apollo aka ‘Thousand’ whose gang is responsible for the attack and death of soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma Creeks between Rivers and Bayelsa State.

“The operation has helped in destroying about 436 illegal refineries, 609 boats, 1,507 surface tanks and 1,538 drums used for illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.

“The operation has also recorded several significant achievements by men and officers of the JTF.

“Anti-illegal bunkering and illegal refining operation was carried out in Okaka community in Bayelsa State which has become notorious for crude oil theft and illegal refining,” he said.

Suleiman Apochi, the commander, “Operation Delta Safe,” said with the operation of the JTF in the region, the level of vandalism in oil infrastructures had drastically dropped.

The efforts of the security agencies in the Niger Delta, coupled with dialogue led by the federal government, have ensured steady production and export of Nigerian crude from the region.

In the past, activities of militants and armed groups in the region reduced Nigeria’s crude production by as much as 50 per cent.

Nigeria currently exports about 1.8 million barrels of crude daily although it has an OPEC (Oil Producing and Exporting Countries) quota of about 2.1 million barrels.

However, OPEC members are currently discussing a slash in production and Nigeria is one of the countries expected to have a reduction in its production quota.

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Why I did not attend signing of peace accord — Atiku

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Why I did not attend signing of peace accord — Atiku

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, said on Tuesday that he did not receive any invitation to take part at the signing of a peace accord for 2019 presidential candidates.

“I can confirm” that Mr Abubakar “did not receive any formal invitation to the signing of the peace pact,” Paul Ibe, a spokesperson for the former vice-president, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The clarification comes moments after PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Abubakar was absent at the signing of the accord at the International Conference Centre. President Muhammadu Buhari arrived at the event shortly after 3:00 p.m., and he signed the agreement which was brokered by the National Peace Committee, led by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former head of state.

Some presidential candidates were said to be present alongside Mr Buhari, but many others like Kingsley Moghalu and Oby Ezekwesili were absent, PREMIUM TIMES observed.

Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) told PREMIUM TIMES he was not invited, either.

However, Matthew Kukah, a Catholic bishop and one of the the proponents of the accord, told PREMIUM TIMES the committee “absolutely” sent invitation Mr Abubakar, who is the main challenger to Mr Buhari at the general elections coming up in February.

Abdulsalami Abubakar and Mr Kukah led presidential candidates to sign a similar accord in 2015, a measure that was widely deemed crucial to the peaceful outcome of that contentious election.

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Father strangles his 3 children to death, hangs himself in Akwa-Ibom

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A 36-year-old man, Achibong Patrick, who hails from Akwa-Ibom and a father of four, has strangled all his children to death.

Patrick also hanged himself to death and set ablaze his home in Alesa, Eleme Local Government of Rivers State.

The motive behind the gruesome incident is yet unknown, but neighbours woke up on Tuesday to witness the hideous story of an entire family wipe out, save Patrick’s wife.

Confirming the ugly development to SaharaReporters, Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, said the children were aged five, six and eight, and were “strangled to death by their father, who also hanged himself and set the house on fire.

“Their corpses have been evacuated and deposited at the morgue, while investigations continue to unravel the mysteries behind the unfortunate incident,” Omoni added.

 

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Mozambique discovers 30,000 ghost workers on payroll

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The government of Mozambique says an audit of the civil service payroll has revealed about 30,000 ghost workers. It said some were paid for jobs they hadn’t done, others were dead or fictitious.

The fraud cost an estimated $250 million

(£200m) over two years, according to the civil service minister Carmelita Namashulua.

The audit was carried out to assess the effectiveness of officials in the country, which has been ranked as the 153rd most corrupt in the 2017 Transparency International Index.

About 348,000 workers were assessed, the minister said.

The Mozambican government outlined plans earlier this year to try to control public spending.

BBC

 

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