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Air force dismisses Boko Haram’s claim of downing missing fighter jet

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Two personnel on the missing Nigeria Air Force Alpha jet were feared dead following reports that the aircraft had crashed at the outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno State.

The NAF identified the two men as Flt Lts. John Abolarinwa and Ebiakpo Chapele.

The Air Force  dismissed claims by terror group, Boko Haram,  that it gunned down the missing Alpha jet, which disappeared from the radar on Wednesday

It said there was no  confirmation of the claims, noting that the clips posted online by the group might be that of a previous incident

Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for downing the aircraft in a viral video on Friday.

The Abubakar Shekau-led faction of the Boko Haram sect released the  footage of a crashed jet with one of its fighters standing on the wreckage. A body was also seen in the wreckage of the aircraft.

The NAF spokesperson, Edward Gabkwet, said the aircraft which lost radar contact on Wednesday around 5pm was providing support for ground troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East region when it disappeared.

Gabkwet in a statement on Friday added, “Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with two crew members on board on March 31, 2021, might have crashed. The cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the two pilots remain unknown.

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“The pilots are Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele. Extensive search and rescue efforts are still ongoing by NAF surveillance aircraft as well as NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops on ground. At this point, the NAF is not ruling out anything regarding the incident. It however remains hopeful that the crew would soon be found and rescued.”

Gabkwet in his reaction to Boko Haram’s claims insisted that the video was fraught with inconsistencies that established it as fake, adding that the lush vegetation in one of the videos suggested it was not in the North-East.

He said, “We have seen some videos but there is nothing that has proven that the aircraft in those clips belongs to us, or have you seen a Nigerian Air Force aircraft number or the body of Air Force pilot or have you seen any Air Force uniform? Until we get all these details, we are not going to go into speculation.

“That video could have been shot somewhere. I have seen four videos so far; one of them has lush vegetation in the background, and I wonder where they have such vegetation in the Northeast. Unless they did something and they are releasing the clips bit by bit, we are waiting.

“Except we have evidence, because like I said, these persons have families and  you cannot go to their wives, parents or wards, without concrete evidence. There must be something to show”.

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crimewatch

Again, gunmen raze Akwa Ibom police station, kill cop

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Gunmen again on Wednesday set ablaze a divisional police station in the Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and killed one officer.

The officer, one Police Constable, Edogi Bassey, was gunned down by the hoodlums during exchange of fire between policemen and the assailants.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Odiko Macdon, who confirmed the attack in a statement in Uyo, said the hoodlums drove into the station in two vehicles loaded with dangerous weapons including AK-47 rifles.

The statement titled, ‘Police repelled attack at police stations’ read in part “At about 6:30am today, armed men in their numbers, armed with AK 47 rifles and other dangerous weapons, in two vehicles attacked the rented building housing the Etim Ekpo Area Command and Division.

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“The undaunted and vigilant police officers on duty gallantly fought back, repelled them and averted the intended carnage.

“Unfortunately, a dedicated officer, one PC Edogi Bassey, paid the supreme price while a small portion of the building was torched.

“The gunmen who proceeded to Ika Division to perpetrate their nefarious activities were successfully again repelled leaving the station intact without loss of lives or arms.”

The statement added that the worrisome situation is being addressed by the police hierarchy and required the collaboration of all, adding that Commissioner of Police in the state, Andrew Amiengheme, had visited police formations and had called on law abiding citizens to volunteer timely information that will enable the police tackle the present security challenges in the state.

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$153 million, 80 houses recovered from Diezani —EFCC boss

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has disclosed that the commission has recovered $153 million from former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who has been living in Britain since leaving office.

He also said the anti-graft agency recovered no fewer than 80 choice property valued at $80m.

This was contained in the April edition of the EFCC magazine, EFCC Alert.

But the EFCC chief was quick to add that bringing the former minister to justice was still far from reality, given the fact that she was out of Nigeria’s jurisdiction, acknowledging the challenges associated with bringing her home to face justice.

The chairman said, “There are several cases surrounding Diezani’s case. I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80 million. We have done quite a bit on that.

“The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery is also ongoing across the federation. We are looking forward to the time we will, maybe, have her in the country, and, of course, review things and see what will happen going forward. The case has certainly not been abandoned.’’

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But responding to a question as to how he would be dealing with powerful government officials in the discharge of his assignment as EFCC chair, Bawa said he would be ready to leave the job if anyone tried to make him do what was illegal.

“I am not going to pay allegiance to individuals in the government,” he added.

Bawa pointed out that though he was young, he had paid the price on the job, having been among the pioneer staff of EFCC, rising through the ranks to reach the top.

He stated, “I rose through the ranks. The only job I know after graduation is the EFCC, which I joined in 2004. I rose through the ranks from an ordinary team member, to the first EFCC team leader from the regular staff of the EFCC.

“ I became a sectional head, became the zonal head in Ibadan, zonal head in Port Harcourt, and zonal head in Lagos. Lagos is the biggest operational hub of the EFCC with over 600 personnel. Port Harcourt is next to it in terms of complexity and staff strength. I happen to be the first EFCC regular staff to head three different zones before my appointment as the chairman.”

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crimewatch

Gunmen set NDLEA office ablaze in Abia

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Unidentified gunmen in the early hours of Tuesday attacked the Ohafia office of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, located at Amaekpu, in Ohafia LGAof Abia state, setting the building ablaze.

This is as the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission located in Amaekpu, Ohafia was attacked last Sunday.

Confirming the incident, the State Commander of NDLEA, Bamidele Akingbade, disclosed that the incident happened around 3 am Tuesday, stating that the office was “partially” razed.

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According to him, no suspects were affected as they had earlier been moved out because the location of the office is isolated, adding that no documents were torched as they were inside a fire-prove safe.

Meanwhile, Abia State Government has vowed to arrest the perpetrators.

The state Commissioner for Information, John Kalu, said, “We will get the perpetrators and we will bring them to justice.”

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