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THE ARMAGEDDON CALLED THE AWKUZU SARS UNDER CSP JAMES NWAFOR. AN EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT.

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This is going to be unusually lengthy for my piece but, it is necessary to enable a comprehensive understanding of the modus operandi of Awkuzu Sars under Csp James Nwafor.

I will try as much as possible to narrow it down to the essential points.

My coming in contact with the outfit started on August 1st 2013, when my Upper class hotel was demolished. On the very date, I drove into my hotel from my residence at around 7.30 in the morning. Minutes after that, a truck load of Police men arrived and surrendered my hotel. It did not take long before the crowd started gathering outside of the hotel as I looked through my office window.

It took sometime before some of the police officers walked into my office with Dr Justin Nwankwo. My other hotel staff has already been beaten to a pulp down stairs. I introduced myself and they said that they wanted to search the whole of the hotel premises and I said no problem.

We started from the last floor of the hotel, room after room and most of the rooms were occupied by guests that are mostly traders from Cameron. We finally got to the first floor but before then, one of the officers had demanded that we show them room 102.

When we got to room 102, the door was locked and I turned and asked Dr Nwankwo Justin whether a guest paid for the room the day before and he said yes. I asked about the manifest of the hotel lodging and he said that he had submitted the police copy to SCIB at the Central Police station Onitsha which every hotel is obligated to do before 7A.M. every day. I instructed him to bring our own copy which he hurriedly did and we showed it to the police. The guest gave his name as John Obi.

The officers insisted on breaking the door and I pleaded with them to wait for the guest for some time. the customers of Upper class hotel are predominantly traders from Cameron and Niger republic and that they carry a lot of cash with them. That has been the case since 1974 the hotel was built because of its nearness to main market Onitsha.

Before I could finish, they broke the door and entered the room. We saw black polyethylene bags ( waterproof) all over the room with an open suitcase. The officers then opened the wardrobe and brought out a bag. Inside the bag was two human skulls with sand all over them and two rusted and unservicable AK47 guns.

I was promptly leg chained on both legs and Dr Justin Nwankwo was handcuffed. I was taken to the outside corridor of the hotel and made to kneel down while holding the exhibits and they took pictures. At that point, from the faces I saw amongst the crowd with axes and matchet , I then knew where the whole incident came from, hazzard of land business along with motor park duel.

By the time I was led downstairs, practically most of the police officers has all headed back to the station with the exception of the ones that accompanied me. The crowd were surging to clearly mob me. Luckily for me, I came to the office with my Q56 infinity SUV and the leg chain gave me some space to drive.

As I entered my SUV and started the Engine and pushed down the vehicle auxiliary, I turned around to the police officers and told them that I already know what happened and that if the crowd rushes at me, I will fill up the MORTUARY at the general hospital Onitsha including myself. As I surged on, one of the police officers opened the vehicle door and started firing rapidly in the air. That pretty well saved me and some of those people.

From the Area command Onitsha, we headed to Awkuzu Sars with Csp James Nwafor and his team. Dr Justin Nwankwo and the staff were packed in one vehicle while I myself, Csp James Nwafor and three other Sars officers were in another vehicle .

When we got to the present ROAD SAFETY office along the Enugu/Onitsha, before you get to Awkuzu Sars, James Nwafor turned around and said to me:

1. You will never see that hotel again.

2. He will kill me whether I am innocent or
or not and that, if I am innocent,
may my blood be on him and his
children.

When we then entered Awkuzu proper, Dr Justin Nwankwo was kept in their torture hall while I was taken behind the torture hall where James Nwafor mostly does his killing. Behind the very torture hall , I was chained to a local weight lifting device . After some period James Nwafor came back with some officers along with one other officer I latter discovered to be his deputy by name Csp Sunday Okpe.

Sunday Okpe inspected the exhibits for some time and asked me the following questions:

1. Where the exhibits recovered in my office and I said no, it was recovered in a guest room.

2. Do we have hotel manifest and I answered yes that we submitted the police copy early in the morning but that my manager has a duplicate copy.

He inspected the exhibits yet again and said that the skulls looks old and that the guns has not been in use for a long time, why all in one bag he asked while the rest looks on. As a turned to leave, he muttered; this looks like mago mago.

His observation did not stop James Nwafor. Not long after that, one of the officers came back with an already written statement and I was asked to sign. I refused saying that I am quite capable of writing my own statement.

My torture commenced immediately. I was overpowered and my shirt was removed from me. They then wrapped my neck with the shirt and then followed it will a green rope and they started pulling from both ends. Gentlemen I was gone. They then appended my thumprint on the prepared statement that substantiated the allegations against me. Meanwhile Dr Justin Nwankwo was seeing hell in the torture hall.

When I eventually regained consciousness, I found myself in their death chamber called cell 5. It is the cell that is reserved for those James Nwafor will kill. Congested and extremely dirty. Food is not allowed in the very Cell unless periodic loafs of bread which is shared in slices. One bucket of water every day for drinking.

The shock of my life happened on the second or the third day of being in the very cell 5. There is this small boy of between the age of 19 and 22, a second year Engineering student of FUTO. He calls me uncle. He told me that he is an only son of the mother and that his supremely rich uncle, based in lagos wanted to annex his own father’s portion of family land and that his father is late. His resistance against the uncle landed him at Sars as a kidnapper and armed robber.

Then, it was either in the second or third night of my staying in the condemned cell, the door of the cell opened late one night. What I saw was a touch light. Names were being called one after the other, 17 names in all including the small boy and they were ordered out and the door closed back.

It did not take more than 15 minutes, gunshots filled the air, nne moh nne moh is all I could hear. The 17 young men were slaughtered cold blood.

I lost it that night. My system just shut down.

It was either the 4th or 5th day that the door opened one morning and it was the same Sunday Okpe that called my name and told me to come out. No energy was left in me because I have not eaten real food except periodic slices of bread. He bought me something to eat along with a malt drink.

I was subsequently transferred to cell 1. After some days, I was called into James Nwafor’s office to see my wife and my lawyer professor Umenweke Nnama Meshach. I tried to get Dr. Justin Nwankwo to join me but they refused.

As time went on, I discovered that the case has hanged because there was no complainant. Even James Nwafor voiced out some frustration when he said, the hotel demolition was too fast. This is the same person that told me that I will never see the hotel again.

He became unusually friendly towards me but I knew it was a damage control .The latitude then allowed me to study what truly obtains at the AWKUZU Sars. I witnessed some of the tortures and I became aware of some their cases along with what really happens in the place.

1. I witnessed an incident when a young trading apprentice was arrested by Sars on behalf of the master over a missing 250,000 or thereabout . He broke his spinal cord and died when he was subjected to what they call HANGING TORTURE. He was written off as an armed robber.

2. I witnessed an incident during what they call verification excise or something like that. All the inmates will be brought out in the open yard and all will be seated on the ground. When your name is called, you will stand up and answer some questions. There is this boy that was called up and James Nwafor asked him; Are you from Ogidi ? before the boy could finish saying no, James shot him with a silver coloured pistol which is always with him. The boy bled to death right there.

3. I also witnessed the practice of shifting inmates in the middle of the night to Nneni for the purposes of dodging official inspection of the place. Nneni Sars annex is another abattoir. Starvation of inmates and outright shooting is the rule their. If the government undertakes the excavation of the perimeter of the Nneni anex, The Ezu river will be a joke compared to what will be discovered.

I saw other killings at the very place. Every morning, the inmates of CELL 1 will be called to carry a dead body or two behind the torture hall. Any individual that has been detained by Sars for an extended period of time will tell you exactly that.

Let me clarify an issue here. Csp James Nwafor does not release proven kidnappers or armed robbers, he kills them but, with a negotiated huge amount of money, James will at most, charge the person to court. Outright release of the person is off as far as I know.

What I also know is that, he can be bought to do a particular job, death inclusive, if the price is right.

Let me stop here but there are more details. If the government of the day is desirous of appeasing the victims of Sars, the government should offer immunity to some officers that served under James Nwafor and they will lead investigators to the exact location of corpse dump in the vicinity of Nneni. Some of the Sars victims can at least recover the body of their loved ones for burial.

THE NAME REMAINS BONAVENTURE CHOKWEBUNDU MOKWE AND ALSO CALLED THE CHIEF PRIEST.

Bonaventure Mokwe-Dikeh

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Opinion

Usman Okai Austin CNA, The Courageous and Fearless Voice In Kogi State by Oruma Paul

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Mr foreign

In The words of Elton Mayo, Courage is simply the willingness and boldness to confront any form of agony, pain molestation, intimidation, oppression, exploitation, victimization danger and unjust treatment melted on the masses by someone or those at the helm of affairs.

The above assertion is demonstrated over time by Usman Okai Austin CNA.

One of the reasons for the dwelling of our economy and infrastructural deficit today is because we do not have a strong institution or opposition that will stand firmly to check and confront excessive or immoderate of our political leaders.

Ever since Governor Yahaya Bello took over the mantle of leadership, the conditions of people living in Kogi state has been characterised with abject poverty, unemployment, unquantifiable underdevelopment and pandemic suffering.
In fact, the situation of people living in Kogi state is pathetically bad like an orphan abandoned by the whole world, we have been left to wallow in abject poverty.

The so call political bulldozer in PDP and other political party who ought to serve as a strong institution or opposition to challenge the maladministration of this present government become close mouthed because of fear of the unknown.

But here is a man who completely remain unruffled even at the height of unwarranted intimidation and provocation.

Here is a man who remain the voice of the voiceless even in the face of intimidation and torture.

In view of this I want to personally thank you Usman Austin for your doggedness and ability to stand firmly for the people even in a stormy weather as I urge you to come out and contest for any political position in kogi state come 2023 for I will personally take to street and campaign for you.

Thanks and God bless.

Oruma Paul Writes in From Abejukolo,
Omala Local Government, Kogi state.

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Growing hunger in the land

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As of April 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years.

Food prices accounted for over 60 per cent of the total increase in inflation. Nigeria’s economic growth is being hindered by food inflation, heightened insecurity, unemployment and stalled reforms”.

Talk is cheap. But walking that talk is what truly matters for effective leadership. For instance, Nigerians have over the recent years discovered that some of our top political leaders are far removed from the harsh economic realities on the ground. They make fanciful promises during electioneering campaigns only to disregard or jettison them soon after mounting the pedestal of political power.

It is most painful therefore, that some 22 years after the return of democratic governance Nigerians have found themselves enmeshed in the quagmire of escalating insecurity, dire unemployment situation and massive job losses. Yet, those entrusted with the destiny of millions of the citizen wear other shoes than that of the people they claim to lead and cannot feel where they pinch them!

It is disheartening that contrary to the recent claim by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari during his Speech on Democracy Day that: “In the last two years we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like” the World Bank has refuted his statement with empirical evidences. That was barely three days after he made that speech.

In fact, a research carried out by yours truly over the past week has revealed astronomical jump in the cost price of raw food items compared to what they were as at 2015. That was when former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration handed over the baton of leadership to Buhari and his acolytes. For instance, while a plastic paint bucket of garri cost N250 then it now goes for N1,200. A 50 kg of the same garri that sold for N4,000 now sells for N35,000. In a similar vein, a 50kg of rice has since moved fromN7,000 to N25,000.A basket of tomato that cost between N2,000 to N3,000 back in 2015 now sells for N28,000. Yes, you read that correctly. Meanwhile, the price of a small basket pepper has leapfrogged fromN4, 500 to N17,000 over the past six years. Similarly, a 50kg of beans that took N12,000 from the home maker’s purse now sells forN17,000.And a 50 kg of onion bulbs that sold for N5,000 now go for N35,000. And perhaps, if you are still in the dark a tuber of yam has jumped in price from N250 to N2,500 even as they are being cut into pieces since the average housewife cannot afford a tuber. Four pieces of sliced yam sell for N200! In fact, while listening to a related issue being discussed on Cool FM on Thursday the 17th of June, 2021 several family heads confessed that the hunger has become so real that they are compelled to remove some items such as chicken, turkey, even rice from their daily meals. That is the excruciating economic mess Nigerians have found themselves caught in. Yet, our government is more worried about gagging free speech under a democratic dispensation than doing all it could to rein in the hyenas and jackals of insurgency, banditry and kidnapping for ransom!

Not a few farmers in Zamfara, Niger, Bornu, Benue, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu states and even Katsina, the president’s home state are unable to access their farmlands due to all manners of insecurity ravaging their lands. So, we do not need rocket science to tell us that food prices and related inflation will continue to haunt Nigerians for some time. This is well captured with regards to the World Bank Report that gave a GDP growth forecast for Nigeria of 1.9% in 2021 and 2.1% in 2022, compared with 3.4% this year and 4.0% next year for sub-Saharan Africa. It also warned that in 2020 the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8% than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2%). Earlier in February, a World Bank report had projected that an additional 20 million Nigerians could be impoverished by 2022. Gloria Joseph-Raji, a senior economist at the Washington-based financial institution, predicts an astronomical surge by about 15 to 20 million people by 2022 from the about 83 million people in 2019 according to Ms. Joseph-Raji. This remains a timely warning signal to be taken seriously.What with agricultural imports exceeding exports by about N503bn in Q1 of 2021.

So, whether the president likes to hear this or not, the bitter truth is that we are currently confronted not only with hunger but the critical issues of extreme poverty and food/ nutrition insecurity. The national poverty line has increased from 69 million in 2004 to 112 in 2010, equivalent to 69% of the population. In the same period, the number of millionaires increased by approximately 44%. Income inequality, as measured by the Gini Index, grew from 40% in 2003 to 43% in 2009.

So, what is the way out of the wood? The federal government should be more decisive in confronting insecurity. It should proscribe the fully armed Fulani herdsmen that kill, rape and maim innocent indigenes across the states; to clip their wings in their ill-fated land-grabbing, malevolent mission. Since the president says that the state governors should play their part, he should allow for retooling of the 1999 constitution as the APC promised Nigerians in 2015. Doing so means giving ample room for the states to control their resources through a holistic restructuring, with true fiscal federalism. And of course, have their police as the chief security officers of their states. These will certainly boost local production of raw food items as the defunct Northern Region boasted of cotton, groundnut, hides and skin in the ‘60s. Back then the Western Region survived with revenues from cocoa and coffee and the East of rubber, fish and the root crops. The other significant issue is that of bridging the rich-poor gap that has worsened over the years. The Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS) is the official survey that is the basis for measuring poverty and living standards in the country and is used to estimate a wide range of socio-economic indicators including benchmarking of the Sustainable Development Goals.

According to Oxfam’s calculations, lifting all Nigerian people living below the extreme poverty line of $1.90 out of poverty for one year will cost about $24 billion. This amount of money is just lower than the total wealth owned overall by the five richest Nigerians in 2016, which was equal to $29.9 billion.

Similarly, the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) should drastically reduce the huge pay package of political appointees and place them on equivalent civil salary scale in tandem with the tough economic situation as at this day. The time to act is now!

Baje writes from Lagos

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Between Zulum’s capital projects and GYB’s celeb gimmicks

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Every citizen is entitled to enjoy the dividends of democracy and it is important to note that, a responsible government will always strive to jettison antics aimed at depriving the masses of these privileges.

Good governance demands we provide good amenities for the governed and not showcasing hypocrisy, deception and falsehood while fooling ourselves that we are towing the right path.

As a keen observant of the present administrations of Prof Babagana Zulum of Borno and Alh. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, I stand to be corrected that there is glaring vacuum between the duo in terms of their approach to what makes good governance visible in the minds of the people. For Governor Zulum, good governance is far beyond playing political gimmicks to the detriment of the masses who elected him into office. This is the man who the President, Muhammadu Buhari recently graced his state to commission seven out of 556 capital projects delivered by him.

“I am highly impressed by the very dynamic leadership that His Excellency Governor Babagana Umaru Zulum has been providing in Borno State in the last two years. He is very selfless and has been taking a lot of personal risks in order to guarantee the safety and welfare of his people.

I wish that every other person who has responsibility for the people at various levels will emulate Governor Zulum, instead of squandering so much time on unhelpful buck-passing and blame games. I have gone round to commission some of the capital projects executed by the Zulum Administration in two years. I am very happy with what I saw,” Buhari said during the commissioning.

Among the projects commissioned by Mr. President are: completion of the senate building, construction of two large hostels with 150 rooms for 1,200 students; construction of 34 units of duplexes and bungalows for Professors, senior and intermediate staff; and construction of seven kilometres of road and drainage network and undertook landscaping works across the University.

The President also commissioned two mega-size Government Day Technical Secondary Schools in Njimtilo and Goni Kachallari and a higher Islamic School, near the Shehu’s palace, all of which have 60 air-conditioned classrooms for at least 2,400 students; vocational workshops, laboratories for sciences and ICT, auditoriums and sporting facilities.

He also commissioned roads and drainages constructed in Jiddari Polo and first phase of 10,000 resettlement houses he had approved for Borno State from which 4,000 have been completed, among others.

The Yahaya Bello-led administration otherwise known as ‘New Direction Government’ on the other hand, has been in the news following its pronounced publicity stunt, especially using celebrities as political tools to gain goodwill in recent times. White Lion as fondly called by his supporters has received not less than 10 celebrities in the last two months in the state, with most of the visitors either ‘eating their cakes’ (without minding the backlashes at stake) or turning themselves to ‘praise singers’ in a bid to endorse the former ahead of the 2023 presidential election. What a great campaign strategy!

Recently, Super Eagles forward Kelechi Iheanacho aka ‘Senior man’ and ex-Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi respectively visited Yahaya Bello at the Lugard House in Lokoja, the state capital city. The two visits many Nigerians described as ‘shameful’ and ‘unnecessary’ considering the caliber of persons involved. But for Yahaya Bello, this is the time for ‘serious business’ and whatever the critics say is no way in match with his future ambition. The youth governor is ever-ready to sacrifice all to get public support for his presidential bid that he has decided to keep mum about pending the time he’ll deem fit to let the cat out of the bag.

Since its inception in 2016, The New Direction Government has always been criticised for neglecting the Kogites in terms of provision of basic amenities among other social welfare services, and this has been the major strategy for the opposition party to capitalise on. Where are the projects in the state if truly the governor claims to be working? Does it mean the governor is planning a surprise package to shock his accusers when the set time comes? Why has Buhari not visited the state to commission these ghost projects if truly they exist? These among many others form critical questions in the minds of the opposition party in the state.

According to reports, the governor seems to place more emphasis on political gimmicks rather than human capital development as against what his counterpart is doing in Borno. A vivid example is the publicity stunt of the governor where celebrities have now become regular visitors in the state with little or no positive thinking on how to improve livelihood of the masses who ought to have been enjoying the dividends of democracy as against the ‘iberiberism’ in place.

One fundamental question Yahaya Bello must answer is, why is the New Direction Government reluctant to commission its project in the state if truly they’re visible as claimed? The Governor must wake up from playing the hide and seek game if it must achieve optimal success in its administration. Imagine a state that is pronounced as the safest in the country still have records of banditry among other criminal activities that will never be mentioned in the news to avoid discrediting its proven track records on security. I don’t see sense in telling the world Kogi is the safest state in Nigeria when we all know that no state in the country is 100% safe as compared to what people in other developed climes are enjoying in terms of internal security.

It’s high time our leaders stopped politicising state affairs by majoring in the minority and vise-versa. Good governance is far beyond political gimmicks that has no positive influence on the electorates but rather makes the polity dirtier and more dangerous for the players. From Zulum’s policy, it has become clearer that we need progressive and productive leadership to make Nigerian states edifice of good governance irrespective of the ruling party on board. We’ve had enough of rhetorics, conspiracy theories and propagandas. Now is the time to choose between Zulum’s capital projects and GYB’s celeb gimmicks. But I advise we follow the right path.

By Arogbonlo Israel, journalist and good governance advocate, writes from Lagos

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