Friday, 20 May 2022

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Wednesday, 04 November 2020 16:17

Biden now leads Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin

Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden is now leading President Donald Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin by a narrow margin.

While 90 percent of votes have been counted in Michigan, 98 percent of the votes have been counted in Wisconsin.

The the election in the two states are close to call.

In Michigan, Biden has secured 49.3 percent of the votes, polling 2,516,759 votes to narrowly lead trump who has secured 49.1 percent of the votes, polling 2,507,100 votes.

In Wisconsin, Biden has already secured 49.4 percent of the votes, after polling 1,630,337 votes, while Trump has 48.8 percent of the votes after scoring 1,609,640.

But Trump maintains huge lead in Pennsylvania after 77 percent of votes have been counted, garnering 54.3 percent, polling 2,981,316 votes, while Biden secured 44.3 percent of the votes, amounting to 2,431,315 votes.

Elite Commandos of the US military have staged a military raid of bandits camp in Nigeria to free an American abducted in Niger Republic.

The American, Philip Walton, was abducted on 26 October by suspected bandits last week in a village in Niger, close to Nigeria. Nigeria has porous borders with Niger..

The US military rescued Walton during a high-risk U.S. military raid in Nigeria.

Officials told ABC News early Saturday that the counter-terrorism mission was undertaken by elite commandos as part of a major effort to free the 27-year-old U.S. citizen before his abductors could get far after taking him captive in Niger.

According to report, the operation involved the governments of the U.S., Niger and Nigeria working together to rescue Walton quickly.

It said the elite SEAL Team Six carried out the rescue mission and killed all but one of the captors, according to officials with direct knowledge about the operation.

“They were all dead before they knew what happened,” another counterterrorism source with knowledge told ABC News.

The Pentagon lauded the rescue mission in a statement.

“U.S. forces conducted a hostage rescue operation during the early hours of 31 October in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men,” said Pentagon chief spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.

“This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation.

“We appreciate the support of our international partners in conducting this operation.”

U.S. and Nigerien officials had said that Walton was kidnapped from his backyard last Monday after assailants asked him for money. But he only offered $40 USD and was then taken away by force, according to sources in Niger.

Walton lives with his wife and young daughter on a farm near Massalata, a small village close to the border with Nigeria.

Nigerien and American officials told ABC News that they believed the captors were from an armed group from Nigeria and that it was not considered terror-related. But hostages are often sold to terrorist groups.

Concern grew quickly after the kidnapping that an opportunity to rescue Walton could become much more dangerous if he was taken by or sold to a group of Islamist militants aligned with either al Qaeda or ISIS and American special operations commanders felt they needed to act swiftly before that could occur, said one counterterrorism official briefed on the hostage recovery operations.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed after the kidnapping that an American citizen had been abducted in Niger and said the U.S. government was “providing their family all possible consular assistance.” The spokesperson declined to comment on the case, citing “privacy considerations,” but added, “When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with families however we can.”

Another American, Christian humanitarian aid worker Jeffery Rey Woodke, 60, has been held hostage for the past four years since being kidnapped in northern Niger by armed militants.

Friday, 02 October 2020 20:52

Trump, Melania test positive for COVID-19

President Donald Trump has tested positive for Covid-19, upending the already tense US election, but was described by his doctor on Friday as feeling “well” and able to perform his duties while quarantining.

Trump, 74, first announced on Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump, 50, had tested positive for the virus.

“We will get through this TOGETHER!” he wrote.

The extraordinary setback for Trump had immediate political consequences just 31 days before election day, forcing him to cancel campaign trips and adding new volatility to a contest already steeped in tension.

Trump’s challenger, Democrat Joe Biden, is well ahead in the polls and has made criticism of the Republican’s handling of the coronavirus — and frequent downplaying of the pandemic’s seriousness — a key issue.

Trump, in response, has been betting on an evermore aggressive schedule of campaign rallies around the country. The events, which he says prove his true political strength, bring together thousands of people, often without masks and sometimes in contravention of local rules.

That strategy is now in doubt, with the White House immediately cancelling a planned campaign rally in the crucial swing state of Florida later Friday.

It looked certain that Trump would have to cancel a trip scheduled for this weekend in Wisconsin, another battleground. He had also been expected to travel frequently next week, including longer distances to western states.

A second televised debate with Biden is scheduled for October 15.

Technically obese and in his 70s, Trump is in a higher-risk category for coronavirus patients.

Trump’s official physician, Sean Conley, said in a statement that the president and his wife “are both well at this time.”

“They plan to remain home at the White House during their convalescence,” he said. However, “I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”

The shock news came right after one of Trump’s closest advisors, Hope Hicks, was reported Thursday to have come down with the virus.

Hicks, 31, travelled with Trump to Cleveland for his first debate with Biden on Tuesday. She was with him again for a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.

With Hicks sharing Trump’s Air Force One plane and the even more cramped confines of the Marine One helicopter, speculation immediately erupted that Trump and possibly many others in his close entourage were exposed.

Despite Hicks’ diagnosis, Trump took another Air Force One trip on Thursday to meet with donors in New Jersey.

It was only late Thursday that Trump confirmed media reports about Hicks while giving an interview to Fox News. He announced that he had been tested but did not say whether he had received the results.

“You know I spend a lot of time with Hope, and so does the first lady,” Trump said.

Hicks is the most senior White House aide announced to have contracted Covid-19.

In May, the spokeswoman of Vice President Mike Pence and wife of Trump’s speechwriter, Katie Miller, came down with the virus. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien contracted the virus and went into quarantine in July.

Trump says the United States has put behind the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans, and he rarely wears a mask, noting that he receives frequent testing.

However, his own health experts have often given less rosy assessments of the state of the pandemic in the world’s richest country.

And Trump has been sharply criticized for the large rallies where few supporters wear masks. He himself has given mixed signals to the public on the need for wearing masks at all.

By contrast, Biden has run a low key campaign with social distancing at most events, no large gatherings, and conspicuous use of his mask wherever he goes.

At their first debate on Tuesday, the candidates were tested and spent the angry, often chaotic 90 minutes standing close to each other. Trump’s family and supporters in the audience did not wear masks.

White House spokesman Judd Deere earlier said: “the president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.”

Deere said the White House takes care to follow procedures “for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the president is travelling.”

INDEPENDENCE DAY ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF NIGERIA’S SIXTIETH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY, THURSDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2020

Fellow Nigerians

I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country’s 60th independence Anniversary. As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.

2. Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.

3. At this stage in our nationhood it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.

4. On October 1st 1960 when Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa received the constitutional instruments symbolizing Nigeria’s independence, he expressed his wish that having acquired our rightful status as an independent sovereign nation, history would record that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace.

5. This optimism was anchored on the peaceful planning, full and open consultation and harmonious cooperation with the different groups which culminated in Nigeria emerging as a country without bitterness and bloodshed.

6. Our founding fathers understood the imperative of structuring a National identity using the power of the state and worked towards unification of Nigerians in a politically stable and viable entity.

7. That philosophy guided the foundation that was laid for our young nation of 45 million people with an urban population of approximately 7million occupying an area of 910,768 square kilometers. These demographics led to development challenges for which major efforts were made to overcome.

8. Today, we grapple with multiple challenges with a population exceeding 200million occupying the same land mass but 52% residing in urban areas.

9. Sixty years of nationhood provides an opportunity to ask ourselves questions on the extent to which we have sustained the aspirations of our founding fathers. Where did we do the right things? Are we on course? If not where did we stray and how can we remedy and retrace our steps?

10. Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programmes that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30-months of civil war.

11. We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government. This positive trajectory continued with a return to democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.

12. For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years existence as a nation, we have been under military rule.

13. My summary of our journey so far as a nation is necessary to appropriately chart where we need to go and how to get there TOGETHER.

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14. Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by unbridled craving for political control.

15. An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.

16. In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.

17. We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.

18. The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration.

19. To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – OUR PEOPLE – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.

20. It has been demonstrated time and time again that Nigerians in the diaspora frequently excel in science, technology, medicine, sports, arts and many other fields.

21. Similarly, the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Nigerian at home have resulted in globally recognized endeavours.

22. I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations TOGETHER we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme TOGETHER to mark this epochal event.

23. Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly, together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.

24. I chose the path of self-reflection because this is what I do on a daily basis and I must confess that at most times, I always felt the need for a collective reflection as I know that the foundation for a solid future which this administration is laying can only be sustainable if there is a collective commitment by Nigerians.

25. Nigeria is not a country for Mr. President, any ruling or opposition party but a country for all of us and we must play our part, irrespective of challenges we face, to make this country what we desire.

26. To achieve this, we must focus our minds, TOGETHER as a people, on ways of resolving the identified critical challenges that underlie our present state. These include:

a. Evolving and sustaining a democratic culture that leaves power in the hands of the people;

b. Supporting the enthronement of the rule of law, demanding accountability of elected representatives and contributing to good governance;

c. Increasing our commitment to peaceful co-existence in a peaceful, secure and united Nigeria;

d. Harnessing and Optimizing our tremendous human and natural resources to attain our goal of being in the top twenty economies of the world and in the process;

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e. Lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years;

f. Strengthening institutions to make them stronger in protecting National Interests; and

g. Imbibing tolerance in diversity.

27. I am a firm believer in transparent, free, fair and credible elections as has been demonstrated during my period as a democratically elected President.

28. The recent build-up and eventual outcome of the Edo State elections should encourage Nigerians that it is my commitment to bequeath to this country processes and procedures that would guarantee that the people’s votes count.

29. The problems with our electoral process are mainly human induced as desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office.

30. Democracy, the world over and as I am pursuing in Nigeria, recognizes the power of the people. However, if some constituencies choose to bargain off their power, they should be prepared for denial of their rights.

31. This call is made more urgent if we realise that even after a transparent, free, fair and credible election, desperation leads to compromising the judiciary to upturn legitimate decisions of the people.

32. It is necessary to, therefore support the enthronement of the rule of law by avoiding actions which compromise the judiciary.

33. Fellow Nigerians, our history has shown that we are a people that have the capacity to live peacefully with one another.

34. As a government, we remain committed to our constitutional oath of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. I, however, call on the citizenry to also support government by providing the necessary community level intelligence in addressing these challenges.

35. In moving forward together, it is important to strengthen our economy to provide sustainable means of livelihood for as many Nigerians as possible so as to eradicate absolute poverty from our midst.

36. I want to re-emphasize my dedication and commitment, a dedication and commitment that propelled my public service career and informed my quest to continually seek for an opportunity to improve the lives of Nigerians, set the country on the path of prosperity and lead the country to a better future.

37. This administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria. Of course, we have met and are still meeting the challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative – more so that of a nation like Nigeria that has undergone avoidable levels of deprivation – but can be surmounted if we all work together.

38. I wish to re-iterate that our people and our spirit of excellence remains our most important asset.

39. In this wise, the need to return to our age-old ethical and high moral values would be necessary and this informed my launching of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy on Monday 28th September, 2020.

40. The policy would not implement itself and the first contact of the visibility of its implementation is the Public Service whose on-going reforms would be expected to be sustainable and give a radical re-direction in providing services to all Nigerians.

41. Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.

READ ALSO Buhari mourns death of Hama Bachama

42. Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources.

43. In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible. The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.

44. Accordingly, in the last three years, we have introduced unprecedented measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of our society in the shape of:

a. Tradermoni

b. Farmermoni

c. School Feeding Programme

d. Job creation efforts

e. Agricultural intervention programmes

45. No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.

46. In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.

47. Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;

a. Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre

b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.

c. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.

48. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.

49. Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.

50. Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges.

51. It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

God Bless us all. Thank you.

Wednesday, 05 August 2020 00:57

Virgin Atlantic files for bankruptcy

Virgin Atlantic Airway has filed for bankruptcy, as the aviation industry continues to be ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Virgin Group airline filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in New York on Tuesday, marking the latest business casualty for the airline industry.

It is the second of billionaire Richard Branson’s aviation business to file for bankruptcy, months after Virgin Australia took a similar step.

Airlines have been one of the hardest hit by the global health crisis as borders were shut, flights were banned and passenger traffic shrank.

The London-based Virgin Atlantic, is owned 49% by Delta Air Lines.

According to Business Insider, Chapter 15 is a form of bankruptcy designed for cases involving multiple countries, providing a mechanism for foreign-based companies undergoing bankruptcy proceedings in their own country to access the US court system.

It effectively protects Virgin’s US assets from creditors as a UK court oversees claims.

Virgin Atlantic announced a £1.2billion ($1.57 billion) private rescue package in July but had not finalized the agreement.

The airline had also appealed unsuccessfully for a bailout from the British government.

Richard Branson, the Virgin Group founder offered his private island as collateral for a bailout or loan.

The airline said during a court hearing in London on Tuesday that it would effectively run out of cash in September, Bloomberg reported .

Tuesday’s US filing appeared to be linked to the London hearing, at which a judge gave the go-ahead for a meeting allowing creditors to vote on the restructuring plan.

Virgin has not entered administration, a form of bankruptcy in the UK, Business Insider reported.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian has said that Delta would not offer a cash injection to save Virgin from a bankruptcy restructuring.

UK foreign-ownership laws would prevent Delta or any other foreign investor from increasing its stake.

A Nigerian citizen in U.S. Damilola Bamidele Isaac Samuel, has been sentenced to federal prison for ATM fraud.

Samuel, 22, was convicted in Shreveport, Louisiana for using fraudulent ATM bank cards to steal more than $260,000 from dozens of bank customers.

According to federal prosecutors, Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. ordered Samuel to serve 33 months and pay $276,790 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph disclosed the judgement in a statement on Thursday.

He said Samuel will face deportation proceedings after serving his term.

According to court documents, Samuel conspired with others to steal money from Regions Bank customers.

Authorities said he set up accounts in legitimate bank customers’ names then transferred money from those accounts into fraudulently created accounts.

Multiple times, Samuel was seen on surveillance cameras using ATM cards associated with the fraudulent accounts, the news release said.

Samuel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud on Dec. 10, 2019.

The judgement was delivered on Monday.

An explosion rocks a village in Katsina, Northwest Nigeria on Saturday with seven people reportedly killed.

The affected area is Yardagi village in Zango Local Government Area of Katsina State.

The Improvised Explosive Device was said to have been planted on a farmland near the community.

According to The Punch, the victims died on the spot.

It was reported that the victims went to get grasses for their animals at the farm when they reportedly stepped on the device.

Five other people were said to have sustained injuries and were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The incident was confirmed by Spokesman for Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah.

He said the command would issue a statement on the incident later.

Almost all the U.S. tech firms, from Google to Amazon, Twitter and Facebook have condemned the latest visa ban announced by President Donald Trump.

They said the freeze would make the US less competitive.

Trump on Monday banned new H-1B visas, used by major companies to bring over highly-skilled engineers from abroad.

Around 18,000 H1-B visas were given to Google and Apple last year.

Trump said he did it to create jobs for Americans hurting economically due to the pandemic.

However, the tech companies said the policy was a bad one.

Amazon said the measures ‘put America’s global competitiveness at risk’.

The CEO of file-sharing firm Box dubbed it ‘unbelievably bad policy’.

A Facebook spokesperson said it will be even more difficult’ for the US to recover after coronavirus because of the measures.

An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider: ‘Preventing high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America’s economic recovery puts America’s global competitiveness at risk.’

CEO of Alphabet – Google’s parent company – Sundar Pichai tweeted: ‘Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today.

“Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”

Box founder and CEO Aaron Levie wrote that Trump’s measures are ‘unbelievably bad policy on every level. It will only mean more jobs move outside the US, and in no way makes America better or more competitive.’

Reports said that the country most hit by the ban is India.

Indians take up nearly 70% of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued every year. And the ban is expected to hurt Indian technology companies and workers.

The visa is useful for Indian tech giants like Wipro, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as it allows them to send workers from India to manage important projects.

It also helps US tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter hire talent from India.

The ban announced by Mr Trump will only affect individuals who are planning to apply for the visa – which means those who have already got it and are working in the US will not be affected.

However, H-1B visa holders who travelled to their home countries due to the pandemic will not be allowed to re-enter the US until the end of the year.

Nicholas Kalu, Abuja/ The Nation

The Nigeria Police has arrested a 54-year old man, Chukwudi Odo, for allegedly luring a 40-year old Filipino woman, Irene Panas, to Nigeria through Facebook and keeping her incommunicado for months.

She was allegedly sexually molested and money extorted from her while she was held.

Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, who paraded Odo alongside other suspects at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) headquarters in Abuja on Monday, said the woman who flew all the way from Manila in the Philippines to Abuja, came in an apparent unsuccessful search for love.

He said the woman, who was held in Enugu State, was successfully rescued by operatives of the State Police Command at Neke-Uno Village, Enugu East local government area, following a tip off.

“The Philippino was rescued six (6) months after she arrived Nigeria from the Philippines in an apparent but unsuccessful search for love.

“Irene Torento Panas, an Accountant by profession and a native of Manila in the Philippines arrived Nigeria in November 22, 2019 on a visit to one Chukwudi Odo ‘m’ 54yrs of Enugu Ezike in Igbo-Eze North LGA of Enugu State whom she met on Facebook on 8th March, 2017.

“The visit which was originally intended to be for 10-days however turned out to be a full case of abduction following Chukwudi Odo’s refusal to allow her return to her country against her will. She was held incommunicado by the suspect, Chukwudi Odo.

“The victim who was critically ill at the time of rescue was successfully rescued by police operatives attached to the Unity Police Division, Ibegwa Nike, Enugu State led by the DPO, SP Siga Malgwi, following a tip-off from some members of the public in the area. She was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention where she was admitted from 5th June to 16th June.

“Preliminary investigations reveal that the suspect, Chukwudi Odo deliberately lured the victim into the country with the aim of confining her, sexually abusing, and extorting money from her.”

The IGP, while enjoining members of the public to tread cautiously in their use of the social media, warns against any abuse of the cyberspace noting that such criminal acts will not go undetected and unpunished by the Force.

Meanwhile, the Force is already in contact with the Embassy of the Philippines in Nigeria so as to reunite the victim with members of her family,” Mba said.

Odo confirmed that he met the woman on Facebook in 2017 and they became friends and were keeping in touch on the social media platform until he invited her to Nigeria last year.

Odo said he was planning to marry the woman.

He said he has been married before but was separated from his wife.

He said he doesn’t have children.

“I met Irene on Facebook on March 8, 2017. I added her and sent her a message and she responded and we became friends on Facebook. Then we became familiar with each other and was in touch with each other. From 2017 to 2019. In 2017 we had agreed to marry each other. And she was working in Dubai at that time. And then she told me to have patience with her until 2019. Then she would come and live with me in Nigeria or I have an option of coming to live with her in Philippines.

“I told her for now I would not leave to another country and then I told her I was financially handicapped and being that we are in touch with one another despite the distance that we should try and save some to sustain,” he said

According to PM News:

Filipina, Irene Torento Panas, who arrived Nigeria on 22 November 2019 to meet her Facebook lover, ended up a victim of abduction for for more than six months.

Irene’s lover Chukwudi Odo turned out to be a monster.

He turned her into a sex slave, squeezed her for money and locked her up in his home in Neke-Uno Village, Enugu East LGA, making her incommunicado.

A romantic journey that was to last 10 days, became more than a six-month nightmare for the Filipino.

Her ordeal ended 5 June, when the police rescued her and arrested her abductor and tormentor.

She was critically ill, the police said today.

“She was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention where she was admitted from 5th June to 16th June”.

In a statement today, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, cautioned users of the social media, using 40 year-old Irene’s case as a lesson.

Here is Irene’s story as told by the police:

“Irene Torento Panas, an accountant by profession and a native of Manila in the Philippines arrived Nigeria in November 22, 2019 on a visit to one Chukwudi Odo ‘m’ 54years of Enugu Ezike in Igbo-Eze North LGA of Enugu State whom she met on Facebook on 8th March, 2017.

“The visit which was originally intended to be for 10-days however turned out to be a full case of abduction following Chukwudi Odo’s refusal to allow her return to her country against her will.

“She was held incommunicado by the suspect, Chukwudi Odo.

“The victim who was critically ill at the time of rescue.

“She was successfully rescued by police operatives attached to the Unity Police Division, Ibegwa Nike, Enugu State led by the DPO, SP Siga Malgwi, following a tip-off from some members of the public in the area.

“She was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention where she was admitted from 5th June to 16th June.

“Preliminary investigations reveal that the suspect, Chukwudi Odo deliberately lured the victim into the country with the aim of confining her, sexually abusing, and extorting money from her.

“The IGP, while enjoining members of the public to tread cautiously in their use of the social media, warns against any abuse of the cyberspace noting that such criminal acts will not go undetected and unpunished by the Force.

“Meanwhile, the Force is already in contact with the Embassy of the Philippines in Nigeria so as to reunite the victim with members of her family”.

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with Service Chiefs at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Service Chiefs, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin arrived at the seat of power at 08:50 GMT and proceeded straight to the Council Chambers.

The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari joined the meeting at 09:00 GMT and the meeting immediately went into a closed session.

The Service Chiefs are expected to brief State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting.

The meeting may be connected with the high level of insecurity in Nigeria especially in the North-East and the recent killings in some parts of Katsina and Kaduna states.

This is coming less than 24 hours after the United States Government condemned the brazen killings of civilians in Northern Nigeria.

United States urged the Buhari-led administration to intensify efforts in protecting Nigerians as well as bringing those responsible for the killings to book.


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