NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Gunmen in the early hours of Tuesday attacked Iwollo Police Division in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State and razed the station.

Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mohammed Aliyu, who confirmed the attack in a statement said he was already on ground to ascertain the level of destruction and casualties.

However, an eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told newsmen that the hoodlums attacked the division in their large numbers in the wee hours of the day.

The eyewitness said that the attack threw the entire Iwollo community into fear and panic throughout the night.

Recall that on April 21, unknown gunmen shot two police operatives dead during an attack on Adani Police Station in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.The station was also set ablaze

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Monday 24th May 2021, met in emergency session as attacks on its facilities in some States of the Federation continue unabated. 

In the latest incidents, three offices of the commission came under attack in Anambra, Imo and Enugu States.

The Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) for Anambra State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji; his Imo State counterpart, Professor Francis Ezeonu, and that of Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, have reported that the attacks took place at various times on the night of Sunday, 23rd May 2021.

-Anambra State-

National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus, in a statement said the Anambra State Headquarters office in Awka was set ablaze in the most devastating onslaught on the Commission’s facilities so far. 

He added that the attackers were systematic and selective in their targets. The Pavilion which serves as Collation Centre during major elections was burnt down.

“In what is a major blow to our preparations for the Governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021, two stores housing electoral materials were burnt down.

“New and old (but serviceable) electric generating machines numbering 376 for all the Electoral Wards and the extra numbers for backup were completely burnt. The electric generators were recently relocated from the Local Government Areas (LGAs) to the State HQ in the belief that it is more secure than the LGA offices, Okoye said.

“Similarly, as part of the Commission’s proactive measures to ensure the success of the Governorship election later this year, about 50% of the non-sensitive materials required for the November 6, 20201 Governorship election already delivered to the State have also been lost in the fire. In addition, seven utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were burnt.

“It will be recalled that following the fire incident on the eve of the 2019 General Election in which the Smart Card Readers for the State were destroyed, the Commission moved the replacement Smart Card Readers from the shipping containers to the concrete store for enhanced protection. Fortunately, the Smart Card Readers were not affected”, he disclosed.

-Imo State-

Okoye further said “our office in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area was attacked at about 6.45pm in an obvious attempt to set the building ablaze. Fortunately, the damage was limited to a section of the building, specifically the windows and part of the roof. No electoral materials or office equipment were destroyed.”

-Enugu State- 

“At about 1.00pm yesterday, our Igboeze South LGA office was attacked. The store was completely burnt down before the Neighborhood Watch and the Enugu State Fire Service responded and prevented the inferno from razing other parts of the building.

“This is the third attack on INEC facilities in the State in less than two weeks following the destruction of our Udenu LGA office on 13th May 2021 and the State Headquarters building in Enugu on 16th May 2021.

“All three incidents in Anambra, Imo and Enugu have been reported to the Police for investigation.

“Although no lives were lost, these are clearly orchestrated and targeted attacks aimed at incapacitating the Commission in conducting electoral activities, especially in Anambra State”, he noted.

He added that the attacks on the Commission’s facilities have now become a national emergency. Accordingly, the Commission will brief the Government and stakeholders on these incidents.

In spite of these setbacks, the Commission is determined to continue to discharge its responsibilities including the conduct of the scheduled Anambra Governorship election, Okoye stated. 

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has described the attacks  on its facilities as “unfortunately persistent.”

According to the commission, “The spate of fire incidents involving the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in some States of the Federation has unfortunately persisted.”

INEC reacted to the attack on its Enugu office, where the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the State, Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the INEC office in Udenu Local Government Area was set ablaze.

The commission’s National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye in a statement said “The latest tragic incident occurred around 8.40pm on Thursday 13th May 2021. No casualties were reported. However, the office building was extensively damaged while electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed in spite of the best efforts of the Enugu State Fire Service to contain the inferno. The Commission appreciates the intervention of the Fire Service.

According to the statement,  “The attention of the Police has been drawn to this yet another very worrisome development for investigation.

“This is the third incident involving INEC’s Local Government offices in three States in less than two weeks. First, there was the destruction of the office in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom State on 2nd May 2021. This was followed by the fire at the Ohafia LGA office in Abia State on 9th May 2021.

“This is yet another setback to the Commission’s ongoing activities and  preparations for upcoming electoral activities.

“Following the attack in Abia State, the Commission resolved to convene an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss this disturbing trend. The latest destruction of the Commission’s physical infrastructure and electoral facilities in Enugu State calls for an immediate review of the  measures necessary to secure INEC’s assets across the States.

“Consequently, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Wednesday 19th May 2021 in Abuja ahead of the meeting of ICCES.

Meanwhile, the Commission said it is determined to continue to discharge its responsibilies, including the conclusion of the expansion of voters’ access to Polling Units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), capacity-building activities, the review of the draft Strategic Plan 2022-2026, engagement with stakeholders as well as all scheduled and pending elections.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Unknown gunmen have reportedly attacked the Divisional Police Headquarters, Adani in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The attack was said to have happened in the early hours of Wednesday.

Two of the police officers on duty were reportedly killed and several others injured, while the police station was burnt.

Sources confirmed that the attack on the police station started at about 2:30am and lasted for about one hour.

In recent weeks, Police stations in the South East and some states in the South-South have been attacked by gunmen, Dailypost reported.

The latest incident took place on Monday, April 19 as unidentified hoodlums razed the zone 13 police headquarters in Ukpo, Anambra state.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Enugu State Police Command, has arrested one Nnenna Egwuagu, 29,for allegedly administering a harmful substance on her 3-year-old stepson, Wisdom Egwuagu.

According to the Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, the incident happened on April 9 at about 10.00 p.m.

Ndukwe said that the suspect’s husband and father of the deceased child, Justine Egwuagu, reported the incident to the Police.

He explained that the suspect said she committed the act due to her husband’s inability to take care of her and their daughter.

“Preliminary investigation shows that the suspect confessed to having administered the substance, suspected to be sniper insecticide, on the child.

“She claimed that her action was due to her husband’s inability to take care of her and their daughter and that she wanted the child to become sick so that her husband could spend money to treat him.

“The child was confirmed dead in the hospital and his corpse deposited in the mortuary for autopsy,’’ he said.

He added that the container of the substance and syringe she used in administering the substance on the child, had been recovered and further investigation was ongoing at the State Criminal Investigation Departmen in Enugu.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Price of cassava flakes popularly called garri and regularly consumed by Nigerians have continued to increase in Enugu State.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who conducted a market survey in Enugu on Friday, reported that the price of the staple food has increased by 20 per cent between January and March, 2021.

NAN reports that a 4.5 liter bucket of the food item now sells for between N1,100 and N1,400 as against between N900 and N1,000 sold in January, depending on the type.

A visit to some markets in the state capital showed that a 4.5 liter paint bucket of white garri sold for N900 in January now went for between N1,100 and N1200.

At the Ogbete, Garki and New Markets, a paint bucket of white garri is sold for N1,100 while the yellow garri of the same bucket goes for N1,200.

But at the Artisan and New Haven markets, the white garri paint bucket goes for N1,200 while the yellow one is sold at N1,400.

A garri trader, Boniface Ugwu at New Market who said garri price had remained high for some weeks now, blaming it on cassava off-season and also to the COVID-19 pandemic, also added that he was not able to buy enough quantity of the commodity to sell due to its price increase.

Azuka Madu, another garri seller at Garki Market said a bag of white garri was sold for N24,500 as against 17,000 while the yellow garri was sold for N27,000 as against N22,500 sold in January.

Mrs Madu further said that a 4.5 litre bucket of the white garri which sold for N900 now goes for N1,100.

Also, a cassava farmer, Joseph Okeagu, who blamed the dry season for the scarcity and increased price of the product, added that the dry season had made it difficult for farmers to harvest the crop because of the hardness of the ground.

“The soil is too hard to dig and even if you succeed, the quantity harvested is small, so we have no choice than to increase the price to cover our expenses.There’s nothing we can do now than to wait for the rains,” he said.

However, some consumers said they had no choice than to buy it at that cost because other alternatives like fufu were all products of cassava.

Ngozi Agu, a civil servant, said that other ‘swallows’ like pounded yam, oatmeal, farina and Semovita were expensive and difficult to prepare.

According to her, ”it is easy to prepare garri as it takes little time and effort but to make pounded yam and Semovita consumes more time”

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Some Enugu residents are worried over the increase in the price of kerosene in the metropolis, from N195 to N235 per litre.

The prices reportedly increased in most filling stations from N195 to N235 per litre on Wednesday, although the product is available in almost all fuel stations.

The fuel station manager at Amaechi Road, Mr Jude Ogbodo, said that fuel stations witnessed the increase two weeks ago.

 “Here in our fuel station, we sell kerosene according to how we bought it, so we did not increase the price because we feel like doing so,” he said.

Another fuel station manager on Agbani Road, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the price had gone up when compared to what was sold two weeks ago.

He added that the product was sold for between N190 and N200 per litre before the recent price increase.

The manager expressed optimism that its availability would continue in spite of the price increase.

“Many buyers are lamenting over the increase of the product and they are afraid that scarcity of the product may set in.

 “It is a surprise to them that it is now sold at the cost of between N235 and N240 at fuel stations, while at the black market it is sold for between N290 and N300,” he said.

A resident, Mrs Onyeka Agu, said she was not able to buy the quantity of litres she planned to buy and appealed to the government to step in and make the product affordable to ordinary citizens.

Another resident, Mr Uzochukwu Nebo, said it was worrisome that the price of kerosene had increased, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

Nebo called on the government to reduce the price of the product as it continues to make it available, especially for the common man.

He underscored the importance of both price reduction and product availability, saying this would go a long way in reducing the cost of the product and also, the inconvenience caused to families.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Commissioner for Transport in Enugu State and elder brother to former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Chief Mathias Ekweremadu, is dead.

He reportedly died at the Niger Foundation Hospital, Enugu.

A source close to the deceased confirmed that he slumped during a meeting at the State House of Assembly Complex, and was immediately rushed to the hospital, where doctors on duty confirmed him dead.

Prior to his appointment as a Commissioner in 2019, Ekweremadu, represented Aninri State Constituency at the State House of Assembly.

He was also the Chairman of Aninri local government on different occasions.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Enugu – Residents of Eke community, in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, have taken to the streets in their numbers, protesting the commissioning of a road project yet to be completed in the area.

According to the protesters, the road which is an ecological fund project under the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, is yet to commence, but a Federal Government delegation is said to be in the area to commission the project.

The over N400m project- Enugu-Eke-Ogui Uno-Eke Eke-Obodo Amankwo-Oma Eke road, is yet to be constructed, ThisDay Reported.

Members of the community displayed placards with inscriptions such as “Corruption Unlimited; ICPC where are you; EFCC where are you; Fraud Unlimited; Public Procurement Act Crucified,” among others.

They described the development as a monumental fraud which would be resisted.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abakaliki – Three policemen reportedly died on Wednesday in an accident which occurred on the Enugu-Abakaliki highway, while ten others sustained varying degrees of injuries.

Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, who confirmed the incident to journalists in Abakaliki on Wednesday said the accident involved a Toyota Hilux van belonging to the State Police Command.

“Yes, I am in the hospital now, we lost 3 officers while 10 are on intensive unit care,” he said.

They were said to be returning from a routine security patrol from the troubled community of Effium, following a crisis that enveloped the town recently.

A source at the scene of the incident noted that the incident happened after Ishieke Junction along the expressway.

The source said the vehicle they were using skidded off the road and jumped the pavement shoulders of the road which resulted in the death and injuries to the officers.

Just two weeks ago, many lives were lost in the Effium community crisis in Ohaukwu local government area which threw the state in mourning.

The crisis started from a motor park in the area where two faction of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) clashed over leadership of the park.

The clash spilled into the community leading to loss of several lives and properties, The Nation reported.

It was gathered that some residents of the community who fled to Izzi, Ohaukwu, and parts of Benue state have started making their way back home as normalcy has gradually returned to the community.