Kaduna state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Joseph Hayab, is quoted to have disclosed that the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna have been released after 20 days in captivity.
Online media platform, TheCable, reported Hayab to have said this on Sunday.
A total of 121 students were abducted from their hostels by bandits on July 5.
“Hayab could not immediately confirm the number of students that were released,” TheCable stated.
The Nigerian Baptist Convention had approached some of its churches in order to raise the ransom demanded by bandits for the release of some students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State.
Recall that the bandits had on July 5, 2021, around 2am, stormed school located along the Kaduna-Kachia highway in the Chikun Local Government Area and made away with the students.
The proprietor, who is also the President, Kaduna Baptist Conference, Rev. Ishaya Jangado, disclosed that no fewer than 121 students were abducted by the bandits.
One of the students was later released by the bandits on health grounds.
After series of negotiations, the bandits who initially demanded N100m ransom reduced it to N60m.
On Wednesday the President of the NBC Revd. Israel Akanji, said although the convention was opposed to the payment of ransom for freedom, “we have been boxed in, we have been given no option but to look for ways to rescue the children.”
It was gathered that earlier on Wednesday, the convention had reached out to some churches in the fold for contribution towards freeing the schoolchildren.
A member of the church in Lagos State told one of our correspondent that the pastor of his church forwarded a WhatsApp message to one of the churches platforms the request of the NBC, urging members to contribute to freeing the children.
The message reads partly, “The latest situation as of this morning is that … so far … has been pulled together from different contributors… Please if we could have more from our people, it will help us. Thanks. We desire to close this deal by the end of the Sallah break in order to have the children back possibly by the weekend.”
The member said since Wednesday there had been efforts by members to help free the children.
He said, “I understand our members in selected churches are participating in the contribution.”
Another member also in Lagos said the children would be out by early next week, adding, “But I don’t know how much have been made.”
Akanji could not be reached as one of his aides, who picked his mobile phone said he was in a meeting.
The body’s Director of Publications, Reverend Ijaola Adelokoji, when contacted said, “I am not authorised to speak on the matter, but there will be a press conference to let everyone know the state of things.”
Police rescue two abducted students
Meanwhile, the police in Kaduna State have rescued two of the students.
The police said its operatives rescued the two students in the Rijanna area along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
Following the rescue of the two students, the number of students left in the kidnappers’ den is now 118.
Confirming the development, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said the students had been taken to a medical facility.
Crypto is a danger to world economy, tool for money laundry- EFCC Boss
Advancement in digital assets such as cryptocurrencies increasingly portends huge risks to the world economy, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said.
This, according to Bawa, is partly because, many criminals now play significant roles in crypto-currency markets. He said the virtual currencies had become their preferred mediums of exchange.
Bawa spoke while delivering his keynote address Monday at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, themed, ‘Economic Crime-Who pays and who should pay?’
The event was organised by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, who captured some highlights of the event in a statement, quoting Bawa as saying, “The developments in new technologies and the growth of cryptocurrencies portrays a far greater danger to the world economy than ever before with many criminals playing significant roles in crypto-currency markets.
“Criminals now elect to transact or receive illegal monies (such as ransom money) for
cyber-attacks in cryptocurrencies with Bitcoins and Ethereum as the most commonly used mediums for these exchanges.”
He lamented that “the sophistication and complexity that defines the dynamics of economic crime in the 21st Century continues to evolve, spurred by technological advancement in the global economy that has become borderless and transnational.”
This he said had “inevitably led to the prioritisation of law enforcement action on crimes that drive Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) across the globe”.
‘No nation is immune’
According to the EFCC Boss, “economic crimes which are largely illegal acts committed for private gain affect the vital structures of global economies, causing significant damage to the Global Financial System and depriving developing nations of the needed resources for sustainable development”.
He noted that developed countries are not immune to the scourge, which, according to him, has “magnified with the proliferation of cyber-crimes which threatens the stability of Global Financial Institutions.”
Bawa said the platform of the event provided an opportunity to interrogate the challenges of economic crimes.
“As the victims of crime continue to suffer globally from the effects of financial crimes, either directly or indirectly as part of a social system, the determination of who pays or who should pay becomes a critical measure of the criminal justice system in place.”
He underlined the imperatives of an impartial judiciary in ensuring that “the perpetrators of acts and not the victims pay for their crimes.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had barred commercial banks and other financial institutions from transacting with cryptocurrency in fear of the risks it poses to investments and the economy at large.
Despite these actions, there have been reports over the use of these digital or virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and others, with criminals turning it to a haven to launder proceeds of corruption, fraud, drug trafficking, and other heinous crimes.
PRecall that last month that the United States Department of Justice training over 50 Nigerian investigators and prosecutors to tackle cryptocurrency-enabled organised crimes.
Efforts to fight crypto-related crimes
While highlighting some of the transparency and accountability achievements of the current administration by President Muhammadu Buhari, Bawa pointed out that the EFCC, as the rallying point in the fight against economic crimes in Nigeria, has recorded important milestones in investigations, prosecutions and assets recovery.
“Since its establishment in 2003, the Commission has recorded no less than 3,500 convictions and recovered assets of significant value including properties in Nigeria, the UK, USA, and the UAE. All these have measurably contributed to the national efforts against economic crimes in Nigeria,” he said.
The EFCC charged participants to come up with practical solutions to curb the international threat of economic crimes.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the symposium, Saul Froomkin, thanked the EFCC boss for his insightful presentation, and the support received from Nigeria in organising the event.
Participants at the symposium were drawn from law enforcement and security agencies, accountability institutions and partners across the world.
SuperTV CEO: Lagos DPP to charge Chidinma Ojukwu, two others
A Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State has adjourned to sept 29, further hearing in the murder of Usifo Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV.
A 21-year-old student, Chidinma Ojukwu and one Adedapo Quadri were again presented. before the Chief Magistrate, Adeola Adedayo on Monday after they were ordered to be remanded for thirty days at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre last month.
Police Prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor, informed the court that the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution had issued a legal advice on the case, recommending their trial for murder which implies that the case will now be heard at the high court of Lagos state which has jurisdiction to hear matters of this nature
She, however, adjourned the case to await further Information from the DPP as to the status of the case at the high court that will now hear the matter.
The News Beat also gathered that the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Olayinka Adeyemi, recommended the release of four persons who are also standing trial at the Magistrate court for obstruction of justice and dishonestly receiving stolen belongings of the deceased .
The four persons are Babalola Disu, Olowu Ifeoluwa, Olutayo Abayomi, Nkechi Mogbo, Ojukwu Onoh, who is said to be Chidinma’s adopted father.
One Egbuchu Chioma who was allegedly found in possession of the deceased’s iPhone 7, and who had initially refused to release the phone on demand, is however to continue her trial.
Omoyele Sowore’s younger brother shot dead
Sahara Reporters Publisher and ex-presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, has narrated how kidnappers shot dead his brother in the Okada area of Edo State on Saturday.
According to him, Olajide was killed in the early hours of Saturday on his way from the Igbinedion University where he was studying Pharmacy.
Sowore, in a tribute on his Facebook page, described his deceased brother who almost clocked 50 as an “out-of-the-box thinker”
He wrote, “My immediate younger brother, Olajide Sowore was today shot and killed near Okada in Edo state by reportedly herdsmen /kidnappers on his way from Igbinedion University in Edo sate where he is studying Pharmacy.
“They snuffed out the life yet another real human being!
“Rest In Power, “Dr. Mamiye!”
“This act in itself will not delay their day of justice.
“I travelled widely with you and our father as a little kid. You were the most loved robust kid I ever first knew. You, Mr. magnet had no enemy!
“You, Mr. Sunshine Foundation who made everyone happy.
“You, the boy who snuck out his older ones to parties, taking all the blames when our disciplinarian father found out.
“You, the guy who was an out-of-the-box thinker who decided school wasn’t for you and created you own genre of music and then turned around to go to school after you almost turned 50!
“You lived your life so that everyone could be alright but now assassinated by everything that’s not alright!
“Saddest day yet!”
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