Friday, 24 November 2017
Items filtered by date: June 2017

Leon Goretzka scored twice in the opening eight minutes as Germany beat Mexico 4-1 in Sochi to join Chile in the Confederations Cup final.

The Schalke midfielder swept home a Benjamin Henrichs pass from 20 yards and then slotted home from Timo Werner’s through ball.

Werner then tapped home Jonas Hector’s pass to increase Germany’s lead.

Marco Fabian scored a brilliant 35-yard strike for Mexico, before Amin Younes added a fourth for Germany.

Mexico had plenty of chances to come back into the game at 2-0 down but squandered them.

Fabian’s stunner came too late to threaten a comeback, although there was a chaotic ending with several chances at both ends.

While Germany go onto Sunday’s final in St Petersburg, Mexico face Portugal in a third-fourth play-off earlier that day.

Timo Werner
Timo Werner scored Germany’s third to join Leon Goretzka on three goals for the tournament

Germany boss Joachim Low left most of his regular star players at home, including Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller.

That their weakened squad includes first-team players from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Paris St-Germain, Arsenal and Liverpool speaks a lot about the strength in depth of German football.

Germany have two young teams in international finals this weekend. Five of the starting 11 in the Confederations Cup semi-final would have been eligible for Saturday’s European Under-21 Championship final against Spain – including Goretzka and Werner, who are now joint top scorers in the tournament with three apiece.

Despite their opponents having chances, Germany looked comfortable, with Goretzka impressive before he was replaced midway through the second half and Werner staking a claim to be Germany’s first-choice striker for next summer’s World Cup.

The RB Leipzig front man could have scored more, but attempted to poke one effort through Guillermo Ochoa’s legs, with the Mexican keeper blocking that effort, and put another shot wide from a wide angle.

Ajax’s Younes scored their late fourth, turning home a pass from fellow substitute Mere Can.

Mexico score
It took Mexico 89 minutes, but they finally beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen

With better finishing, Mexico could have revitalised a game that felt over within eight minutes. They had more than twice as many shots as Germany – 26-12 – and had more efforts on target too, eight to seven.

Fabian’s effort from a short free-kick was the best goal of the game.

At 2-0, Giovani dos Santos forced a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Javier Hernandez shot over from six yards, while Hector Herrera and Raul Jimenez also tested the Barcelona keeper.

Jimenez went even closer when he hit the crossbar with a header in the 75th minute, although at 3-0 that would only have been a consolation.

After Younes made it 4-1 in injury time, Mexico still had time for more attempts with Hernandez clipping the post and Jimenez heading wide.

Mexico start their Gold Cup defence a week after their third-fourth play-off against Portugal.

However, only three members of the Confederations Cup squad are playing in the tournament for teams in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Published in Business and Economy

Nigeria on Thursday began to export yams to Europe and the United States, as part of moves to diversify its oil-dependent economy and earn much-needed foreign exchange.

Agriculture minister Audu Ogbeh flagged off the first consignment of the fibrous tuber from the port in the country’s economic capital, Lagos.

“Oil and gas cannot employ millions of people just like agriculture so we must work hard to move from oil to earning foreign exchange from agriculture,” he said on Wednesday.

Ogbeh told a news conference inspection charges on export produce would be reduced to encourage more overseas sales and greater competition.

“To make yam competitive, we will work on the packages and the right types of trucks to be used for transportation of the produce,” he said.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Nigeria accounts for 61 per cent of the world’s total yam output. Ogbeh said not all of it was consumed, causing waste.

But with food shortages in conflict-hit parts of the country’s northeast and food inflation nudging 20 percent, there are fears the policy could hit consumers in the pocket.

Yams, a staple grown across Nigeria, have gone up in price since last August when the country slipped into recession as a result of low global oil prices.

Nigeria relies on crude oil sales for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 70 percent of government revenue.

But the worldwide oil slump slashed revenues, weakened the naira, pushed up inflation and stalled investment prompting the government to look to the non-oil sector to stem the tide.

“The (yam export) policy is going to compound our suffering,” said Lagos housewife Bolanle Akintomo.

“A tuber of yam that used to sell for between 200 and 300 naira (63-95 US cents, 56-83 euro cents) is now 1,000 naira ($3.2, 2.8 euros).

“With exports, the price will further go up.”

The National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Manufacturing and Agriculture said incentives were needed to produce enough yams for local and overseas consumption.

“There may be an increase in prices at the short-term but the prices will fall as more yams come to the market,” a NACCIMA official said.

Denja Yaqub of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the initiative could encourage farmers to increase output, earning foreign exchange for the cash-strapped economy.

“The policy will also make our agricultural produce competitive in the international market,” he added.

Yaqub said the government needed to reduce fuel costs for farmers, upgrade roads and improve storage facilities to cut waste in the supply chain and ultimately lower prices.

Published in Headliners
 
Claudio Bravo was Chile’s hero on Wednesday as they beat Portugal 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out in the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

The Manchester City goalkeeper saved all three penalties from Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, while Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez nailed their spot-kicks for the South Americans.

Chile progress to Sunday’s final in St Petersburg to face either Mexico or Germany, who meet Thursday in Sochi in the other semi-final.

Losers Portugal will contest Sunday’s third-place play-off in Moscow.

Chile almost settled Wednesday’s match in the dying stages of extra-time when both Vidal and substitute Martin Rodriguez hit the woodwork as Portugal hung on to take the game to a shoot-out.

The defeat in Kazan will be bitterly disappointing for Portugal’s superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid star, who is facing doubts about his future in Spain as he prepares to answer allegations of tax evasion in a Madrid court next month, had won man-of-the-match awards in all three group matches.

Before kick-off in Kazan, Manchester City’s new signing Bernardo Silva shook off a foot injury he suffered in the 4-0 drubbing of New Zealand to make Portugal’s starting line-up.

With Pepe suspended, Jose Fonte partnered Bruno Alves at centre-back.

Up front, AC Milan’s 21-year-old striker Andre Silva partnered Ronaldo, but the pair endured a frustrating night at the hands of Chile’s defence.

Chile’s coach Juan Antonio Pizzi named the same team which drew 1-1 with world champions Germany last Thursday as centre-back Gary Medel and midfielder Aranguiz both shook off knocks.

The game got off to a frantic start which demanded early saves from both goalkeepers.

With just six minutes gone, Sanchez put a superb pass in behind the defence, which landed just in front of Eduardo Vargas, but Portugal’s goalkeeper Rui Patricio blocked the shot.

At the other end moments later, a low Ronaldo cross put Andre Silva in space, but Bravo smothered the effort at close range.

Aranguiz twice went close with efforts on the Portugal goal in the opening half and it was end-to-end stuff again after the break.

Chile’s Vargas forced Patricio into another reflex save, while Ronaldo fired at Bravo when Portugal counter-attacked immediately.

Then Vidal’s long-range effort went screaming just high and wide of the Portugal goal.

Ronaldo sent a free-kick just over and had a shot blocked as both sides attacked relentlessly, but the scores remained goalless and the game went to extra time.

There was no let up in the pace as Portugal’s Andre Gomes went close while Sanchez headed Mauricio Isla’s cross from the left just wide of the post.

Joao Moutinho came on for Adrien Silva, who had worked tirelessly in midfield for Portugal, in the first period of extra time.

With time almost up, Chile had a penalty appeal turned down when substitute Francisco Silva appeared to be fouled by Fonte in the area before Vidal, then Rodriguez rattled Portugal’s woodwork.

Published in Business and Economy

Two days to his 56th birthday, a former Taraba State Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai died yesterday in Orlando, Florida, United States.

He had been in and out of hospital in Europe and the U.S. in the last five years, after surviving a plane crash at the Yola airport.

Then the sitting governor of his state, he flew the aircraft that crashed on October 25, 2012 but managed to complete his tenure in 2015 after being treated for the injuries he sustained.

The former governor was born in Suntai, Bali Local Government Area on June 30, 1961

The Aide-de-Camp to Suntai, Mr. Dasat Iliya; his Chief Security Officer Timo Dangana and the Chief Detail, Joel Dangana, were also aboard the private Cessna plane that crashed.

Following the crash the ex-governor was initially treated at Adamawa Standard German Hospital in Yola, the National Hospital in Abuja on October 26, 2012 and at a hospital in Germany.

On his discharge from the german hospital, he was moved to a rehabilitation centre in the United States.

Suntai in 2009 survived food poisoning. He took a medical leave to detoxify his system in a German hospital.

Suntai’s former Commissioner for Information, Emmanuel Bello, a senior special assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku, said Suntai died in the early hours of yesterday. But he could not give the detail.

Bello said:   “Former Governor Suntai is dead. It is two days to his birthday. Life. And death. And politics.”

A source said: “The plane crash affected his brain, hearing and speech. He could barely communicate or audible. It has been harrowing with his wife, ex-First Lady Hauwa bearing the burden.

“He also suffered problem in his spinal cord because he was on specialized wheelchair in the past fiveyears.

“I think he got the best medical care from his family and he virtually lost everything to huge hospital bills. He was a good man.”

Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, representing Taraba southern zone, has described the death of the former Governor of Taraba State Danbaba Danfulani Suntai as the “will of God.”

He was undergoing rehabilitation from the injuries he sustained in a plane crash near Yola –the Adamawa State capital on October 2012 in Orlando, Florida USA.

Senator Bwacha said he received the news of his death with a “rude shock.”

“But I give glory to God.

“The death of former Governor Danbaba Suntai is according to His (God’s) will,” Bwacha said.

A former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi described Suntai’s death as painful and prayed to God to grant him eternal rest, and to grant to his family and the people of Taraba state the fortitude to accept His will.

Taraba State House of Assembly Speaker Peter Abel Diah said: “His demise is shocking. The last time, I learnt he wasn’t doing fine. It’s really sad.”

Published in Headliners

There is a ray of hope for agitators as the federal government assured Nigerians last night that it would immediately address their grievances.

But it will be within the confines of the constitution, which the government swore to uphold.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo engaged in a series of consultations between June 13 and 22 with leaders of thought, traditional rulers and political leaders in the North and the Southeast. He also met with governors.

This followed the continuous agitation for secession by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the East and the October 1 quit order given to Igbo resident in the North by a coalition of youth groups.

A statement yesterday by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Laolu Akande on the highlights of the meetings, emphasised the affirmation of “the necessity of confronting all grievances and frustrations head-on, however uncomfortable that might seem now; instead of ignoring issues and allowing them to fester.”

The acting president urged that such grievances be expressed with grace. He condemned hate speeches.

The meeting “affirmed the need to draw a line between the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and the degeneration of such expression into hateful rhetoric, prejudice and hatred.

“Under no circumstances will Government condone or tolerate hate speech in any way or form.”

There was also the affirmation on “the need for all leaders and elders, regardless of political or ideological persuasion, to speak out more forcefully to counter divisive and hate speech and any form of warmongering”.

The meetings were convened “to provide a platform for frank and open discussions between the concerned stakeholders and by extension the Nigerian public on issues relating to the unity, peace and security of country.”

The Presidency said it would continue to actively engage with various segments of the population.

Other common grounds established at the meetings according to the statement are:  • condemnnation of hateful and divisive rhetoric by the concerned groups of Northern and Southeastern youths; and

  • affirmation of the primacy of the Constitution, the ultimate basis for the unity of Nigeria. That Constitution guarantees freedom of residence and of movement for all Nigerians anywhere in the country, without fear of discrimination or prejudice.
  • The Acting President thanked all the leaders for their time and commitment to the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria. He also assured the people of the resolve of the Buhari administration to ensure their well-being and security at all times.
Published in Business and Economy

SOCHI, Russia -- Germany defender Benjamin Henrichs has warned that Die Mannschaft need to keep a close eye on his Bayer Leverkusen teammate Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez in Thursday's Confederations Cup semifinal against Mexico.

The 20-year-old full-back hopes Joachim Low gives him a start against El Tri as Germany seek to win the tournament for the first time. He is looking to stop Hernandez, who returned to training on Tuesday after sitting out a day earlier.

"I hope I will play and I will stop him from scoring," Henrichs told reporters on Tuesday. "It's very difficult to play against him. He likes to score and even if there isn't really a chance he scores, so he's a very good player."

Henrichs said Hernandez has given him advice at Bayer Leverkusen and the two get along off the pitch. The youngster -- who signed a new contract with Die Werkself back in May -- believes the game against Mexico will be a tough test.

"I think [Mexico] is similar to Chile," he said. "We have to play well tactically, you need to stop Chicharito, because he's a very good individual player and I hope we are going to win."

Hernandez didn't train along with the full squad on Monday in Kazan, but is expected to be fit to face Germany in Fisht Stadium on Thursday, although Diego Reyes is likely to miss the game through injury.

"They know how we play and what our mentality is and that clearly helps us," added Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, speaking in Spanish when asked about Mexico having Bundesliga players Hernandez and Marco Fabian.

"But we are lucky enough to know some of their players that play in European leagues and can prepare ourselves for not a war, but a good game."

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 01:06

Evans: Our lives in danger, say victims

•Dunu attacks police over worker’s release

Some victims of suspected kingpin, Chukwudumeje George Onwuamadike aka Evans, are worried that they may be harmed by yet-to-be arrested members of his gang.

One of them, Chief Donatus Dunu whose escape led to Evans arreste, decried the release by the court of his worker, Emeka Egbulugha who he claimed facilitated his kidnap.

Another victim, who refused to be named, said he was freed after six months in the gang’s den, adding that he has since kept a low profile

He said it took him two months after his release to recollect how to sign his cheque.

He said: “I am yet to get over the shock of my kidnap. Honestly, I am afraid to talk about it because I believe a lot of his members are still walking free. The police have done well by arresting him but they should round up all his other gang members.

“I was detained for six months until my family paid the last dime demanded. I have been hiding since my release. I know the trauma Evans and his members put me through. Till this day, I get scared when his name is mentioned. It took me two months before I could sign my cheque.

“Now, I heard that criminal is begging for forgiveness and that people are even campaigning for his release. Has he forgotten the damage he did to my family and many others? The police should please ensure his other members walking free are caught. That’s the only way I can feel safe.”

Dunu, said the release of Emeka and others has placed his life and those of his family members under threat. He insisted that he heard Emeka’s voice and also saw him at the Igando den, where he was detained for more than two months.

He said: “Nobody should have allowed those suspected workers in my company to be granted bail in any guise because I have evidence of the active participation of, particularly, Emeka, my pharmacist. Releasing him has worsened my plight and that of my family.

“Why should police release Emeka, the chief accomplice in my kidnap? I not only heard his voice while in captivity, but saw him there few days after my kidnap. He came asking them where I was kept. When they showed him, he opened the door where they kept me in chains and our eyes met. Though I was blindfolded, I was about eating when I heard his voice and I normally remove the blind. That was how I saw him and I had the greatest shock of my life.

“He was always there with my abductors. His voice is unmistakable to me having stayed with him since 2003. The man in charge of the den, Uche, whom he claimed he does not know, speaks the same dialect with him. He is the person Emeka met each time he visited. There was also another member of the gang who spoke the Abakaliki dialect of Yoruba and I don’t know whether those arrested have confessed about his whereabouts to the police.

“I have a strong feeling that Uche and Emeka are from the same town because they speak the same dialect. Those guarding me were initially two. When the Abakaliki man travelled on Easter Monday, they brought another person to replace him. That one is very sick because he was coughing constantly. I knew that the Abakaliki man travelled because I heard Emeka discussing with Uche, asking whether he had travelled and Uche said, yes.

“That same Easter Monday, I overheard Emeka and Uche saying “We will kill him.  We have no alternative until chairman comes back.”

“Two weeks after, chairman came back and I knew whenever he visited because they shut all the doors and switch on the generator perhaps, to stifle their discussions.  His visit did not last more than 10 minutes and that was the first and only time he came to the den while I was there.  That same night, the Abakaliki man brought noodle for my dinner.

“He told me to eat so that I will have enough energy to face ‘us at the canal.’ They later told me that canal is where they use to ‘bath’ their captives and I concluded that it means where they killed their victims. I was made to understand that the Abakaliki man is the one that would kill me if chairman gives the order.

“That was when I realised the killing they were discussing with Emeka was about to take place.  Earlier, I thought that the killing they were discussing must be probably another person. But after this canal; discussion, I now knew that I was their target.  After that, I overheard Emeka again, about two weeks later, discussing with Uche saying ‘If they want to kill him, they should kill him.  In fact, kill him.’

“Then, their last discussion was on Wednesday before my escape on Friday. I heard Emeka again asking whether they had killed me. They said no, it was going to be Friday night. That was when I concluded that it was all over.”

Asked if he had any disagreement with Emeka before his kidnap, Dunu said the only thing he remembered was making some adjustments after he suspected Emeka was fleecing him.

He said: “I suspected that he and some of my boys were stealing goods from my warehouse and I made changes, which I suspect did not favour him. I strongly suspect that this must be his motive to connive with those kidnappers.  In fact, before my abduction, we had a meeting with a foreign partner and I remember vividly that during one of my telephone conversations with their chairman whom I suspect is Evans, he asked me who the two ladies in my office were the same day I was kidnapped.

“Emeka came to the office that same day and those ladies were with me.  Why did the chairman ask that question? Who told him that I was with two ladies in my office? These are the unanswered questions police should have asked.

“Secondly, my kidnappers told me that they have a group picture of my staff which we took last January.  We use to meet every January and all the sales representatives including Emeka attended. They also claimed they went to take inventory of the goods in my warehouse. Yes, they did but we are still auditing to know whether goods were missing or not.

“Even, an account opening document was found in Emeka’s official car before he was taken to the anti-kidnapping unit after his arrest.  Emeka was the only visitor that came to the den while I was there. He was not an ordinary friend to those that guarded me.

“I feel so bad that the police allowed the court to set him free thereby endangering my life. I don’t think the police carried out a thorough investigation after the so-called identification parade which was simply a charade. I am calling on the police authorities to do the needful by re-arresting Emeka and investigating him thoroughly.” 

Why suspect got bail, by police

The police have explained how Emeka was released.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Administration, Dansuki Galandashi, said  Emeka and two others, Kingsley and Tochukwu, were arrested and charged to court on May 17. The suspects, he said, were remanded in prison custody before court granted them bail on June 23.

“Before they were granted bail, Evans was arrested. We did an identification parade and they said they did not know Evans. Evans also claimed not to know any of them. “Since the Inspector-General of Police (IGP’s) creed is to inspire openness, we had no choice than to charge the case to court. The court looked at the evidences and released the suspects. The police did not release them, the court did,” Galandashi said.

Published in Headliners

The spectacular success while it lasted, of Chukwudi Onuamadike,  alias Evans, in his line of ‘kidnapping business’ necessarily elicits  endless questions and  speculations about the nature and the values that, made possible his exploits and on the other hand, the capacity of  the state and its law enforcement apparatus to assure the  most fundamental  purpose of government  which,  to quote the extant constitution of the country is ‘the security and welfare of the people’. Nevertheless, the Nigerian Police must be commended for diligence and the arrest of Evans.

For nearly a decade since he started in 2008 but created his own gang in 2015, Evans roamed in what may be described as a derring-do manner, the length and breadth of the land taking on ‘jobs’ as he called kidnapping, from informants and collaborators. He made millions in local and foreign currencies, acquired foreign citizenship, owned luxurious houses complete with bullet-proof doors and Jacuzzi-equipped bathrooms within and outside the country, expensive cars and personal accessories, and generally lived it up like a genuinely successful businessman. He lived in a respectable, upscale neighbourhood too while his family lives abroad. Given the prevailing money-centered ethos of this society, Evans was, until caught, the kind of man who might be invited to sponsor or chair the wedding of a young honest couple, launch a book titled The evils of Kidnapping, give a lecture on the evils of  criminality, or even donate to  the fund-raising of a religious organisation. If Evans is not a traditional chief, with an honorary doctorate to boot, it is only because he has not sought to pay for it. Alas, this was a criminal of so sufficiently heinous type as to be punishable with death in some states of the federation!

The sordid details of Evans’ operational methods- information gathering mechanism, groups with sectional heads in different locations, weaponry, detention houses and camps, cooks, huge proceeds and more, are still being revealed. One thing is certain: More than other kidnappers who have been caught by law enforcement agents such as a certain Terwase ‘Ghana’ Akwaza in Benue State, Samaila Madu in Edo State and one ’Vampire’ in Imo State, Evans was a smart, calculating, sophisticated, cold-hearted criminal whose life purpose appeared to make big money irrespective of the darkness of the source. But only for a time and a season.

Many reasons can be offered for his staying power in his kidnapping enterprise. For one,  and this cannot be denied him,  Chukwudi Onuamadike  treated  kidnapping as  a structured business and he invested in  recruitment, arms, including the assault rifles AK 47, AK 49 and  thousands of rounds of ammunition, multi-million naira high-end phones equipped with anti-tracking  device so that his  conversations with his operatives in the field  could not be  monitored. He kept his gangs ignorant of each other and only gave the most limited information necessary to execute assigned duty. And he made working for him worth the risk too, saying ‘I usually pay Uche N20 million for every operation’ and N2 million to others on every operation.’ It is no wonder that he was not caught through whistleblowing, of course, of the security officers.

Evans has been able to gather information on people through the Internet. Again, the cheap vain and senseless urge of some people to flaunt material achievements overexposes them to men of criminal intentions.

It is certain that the Nigerian legal and cultural system is yet to, as a rule, interrogate, the source of wealth of any man or woman who appears to live lavishly without an identifiable source of income. In some other societies, the first question asked of a man who flaunts wealth is ‘what does he do?’ And if he is said to be a businessman, intelligent people ask further what line of business. It is regrettable that here, any man  who is  rich by whatever means is admired,  eagerly courted  and revered  by even those who should know better.

Again in other climes, a big house, a big car and other display of wealth attract, naturally, the attention of the tax man who would politely request to know how much the person earns vis-à-vis his/her tax returns.  It is not difficult therefrom to detect a criminal. Again, not so here. With the right price, the inquisitive official, who may be poorly paid anyway, can be paid off with more money than he earns in a year.

In this same country, but in another age, by the dictate of social mores and norms, parents would frown at their children owning things that they could not explain how they were acquired. The times are different now and parents gladly benefit from the proceeds of crime by their children.

Modernity and urbanism has encouraged a lifestyle of individualism. Neighbours hardly know or interact with one another especially in the estates of well-to-do- families. Thus, a respectable judge may be living next door to a vicious but successful armed robber or an Evans.  This may be good for privacy, but it can endanger collective safety. Unless of course, there is in place, a know-your-neighbour mechanism, as well as some neighbourhood security structure.

Nigerians must also consider the socio-economic conditions that make possible rampant kidnapping. Jobs are scarce because the funds to create openings have been stolen by the managers of national business. Those lucky to hold jobs are poorly paid, or are not paid as and when due. Opportunities for self –employment are constricted by an economic system skewed against the average citizen. It is easier to make money by crooked means and flaunt it. These of course, are no excuse but the sad reality.

The police have done a good job to track Evans and arrest him.  It is evident that, given the right equipment, training, and incentives, the Force can do great things. But with only 300,000 personnel in 5,303 divisions, it is still numerically inadequate to maintain law and order among a Nigerian population of 178 million. Government must move very quickly to empower the police force because, it bears repeating that security is one of the two primary purposes of government’s existence.

The point must be made that with a stream of self-confessions and revelations, the Evans story is assuming a saga of a man with exploits of sorts. This is needless. The police can assemble sufficient information from confessional statements to open a case against Evans and his gang.  Let the prosecution begin forthwith.

Published in Parliament

•Agencies compile list of stolen arms, ammunition
•Suspect arrested by NSCDC, handed over to JTF

Security agencies in Bayelsa State are probing the identity of Suoyo mentioned by the notorious billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeje Onwuamadike, aka Evans, as one of his gang members in the state. 

Evans, in one of his numerous confessional statements, named Suoyo as one of the active members of his gang, who had the assignment of buying arms and ammunition, for their operations.

He said: “When Suoyo, who lives in Bayels State, called me and expressed fears, I also assured him that nothing was going to happen. I told him I was making plans for another operation and needed him to go into the creeks and buy a new set of arms and ammunition”.

But security commanders in Bayelsa were said to have met over the weekend to analyse Evan’s confessional statement to unmask the real identity of Suoyo.

In the meeting which held in Government House in the presence of Governor Seriake Dickson, the security commanders were said to be certain that that the Suoyo mentioned by Evans was the same person recently arrested by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state.

Suoyo  Dickson was arrested and paraded on Thursday by the state Commandant of NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, in connection with the recent attack on a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

Suoyo, popularly known as Hustler, reportedly led a gang of vandals that attacked the Agip pipeline at Lagosgbene, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on May 30, 2017.

He was, however, arrested on June 16, 2017 at Agbigiba community in Southern Ijaw.

Suoyo, in his confessional statement, also admitted having some criminal camps in the creeks saying he led an oil and gas task force operating in Southern Ijaw to destroy the camps but became frustrated when the task force failed to reward him.

On how he attacked the pipeline, he said;: ”I used two handsaw blades and handsaw to open up the point, I cut the handle in the valve, I fetched 20 litres of petrol, I lit spark lighter and threw it into the pipe and burnt it.”

”I burnt the pipeline because the task force  did not keep to their promise of employing us after making us to show them our bunkering camps and the subsequent destruction by the military.

”We showed them our camps, eight of them. All the camps did not belong to me. Three were mine while other groups have five. After showing them, the task force engaged the military to destroy our camps.

”The other groups, whose camps were destroyed were not happy with me. They said I betrayed them and they started planning to kill me and my family members. The situation put me under pressure more so the employment they promised all of us after seven days did not materialise”.

It was gathered that Agu, after parading the suspect, handed him over to the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (ODS) for further investigations.

A security source, who spoke in confidence, said at the meeting of the security commanders in Yenagoa, which was attended by the heads of ODS, the police and NSCDC, it was agreed that Suoyo should be subjected to further investigations.

Following Evans’ confession, the security heads were said to be linking him to the theft of service rifles of security operatives especially policemen in the state.

They recalled many attacks on operatives by criminals, who only fled with arms and ammunition handled by their victims.

“The security heads also agreed to compile a list of such stolen arms and ammunition in the state and send it to the Force Headquarters to know whether they were among the ones  recovered from Evans.

“The Suoyo mentioned by Evans seems in all ramifications to be the same suspected arrested by the NSCDC recently in connection with attack on a pipeline. The security heads in the state believe so and they will surely carry out further investigations to determine his linkage with the Evans’ gang.”

Published in Headliners
Timo Werner netted twice as Germany set up a Confederations Cup semi-final against Mexico with a 3-1 win on Sunday against 10-man Cameroon, who initially had the wrong player sent off.

Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring just after the break before Werner struck either side of Vincent Aboubakar’s consolation effort for Cameroon on 78 minutes.

But the video assistant referee system was again thrust into the spotlight when Cameroon defender Ernest Mabouka was sent off just past the hour for a dangerous tackle on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan of Colombia initially sent off Sebastien Siani by mistake, before the decision was rectified and Mabouka was dismissed instead.

The victory in Sochi meant Germany finished top of Group B ahead of Chile, who drew 1-1 with Australia in Moscow.

The Germans face Group A runners-up Mexico in Sochi next Thursday in their semi-final, while Chile will face Portugal on Wednesday in Kazan.

Joachim Loew, who claimed his 100th win in his 150th international as Germany’s head coach, maintained his impressive record of steering the national team to the semi-finals of every tournament over the last decade.

Loew made four changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Chile on Thursday.

Centre-back Antonio Ruediger came in for Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and Werner, the top-scoring German in the Bundesliga last season, took Lars Stindl’s place up front.

After a strong season with Hoffenheim, Demirbay slotted into attacking midfield alongside captain Julian Draxler and Hertha Berlin’s Marvin Plattenhardt, who came in for Jonas Hector on the left wing.

Cameroon fielded the same team for the third game in a row as midfielder Arnaud Djoum kept his place after Georges Mandjeck injured himself in the warm-up.

The first half was a poor reflection on both teams and was blighted by stray passes, an absence of precision and a lack of tempo.

But the world champions broke the deadlock when Draxler exchanged passes with Demirbay, who blasted past Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa from distance on 48 minutes.

Aboubakar and substitute Moumi Ngamaleu then sighted the Germany goal, but the African champions were reduced to 10 men when Mabouka raked his studs down Can’s knee.

Roldan initially sent off midfielder Siani, drawing furious Cameroonian protests with coach Hugo Broos incensed on the sidelines, and even Germany boss Loew got involved.

The video referee stepped in and amended the decision with Mabouka eventually handed his marching orders instead.

The dismissal rattled the Africans and Germany scored a minute later when Werner headed beyond Ondoa.

A fumble by Marc-Andre ter Stegen gave Cameroon a glimmer of hope on 78 minutes as Aboubakar’s header flew through the German goalkeeper’s fingers.

But Werner put the result beyond doubt when he fired home substitute Benjamin Henrichs’ pass on 81 minutes.

Werner could have finished with a hat-trick as he drilled a late effort straight at Ondoa.

 

Published in Business and Economy
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