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Police raid Abuja hotel, arrests manager for alleged abuse, endangerment of minors

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Last Updated on August 26, 2023 by Fellow Press

The Gender Unit of the Nigerian Police Force Criminal Investigation Department, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Friday, raided Ignobis Hotels, Gado Nasco Road in Kubwa, Abuja, for alleged abuse, endangerment of minors.

The raid was led by Inspector Ossai Ojobo, an Investigation Police Officer, along with officials of the Social Development Secretarial (SDS), FCT Administration and representatives of a non-governmental organisation.

After the raid, the Hotel Manager, Mr Akbueze Chidi and a restaurant operator in the hotel, Ms Priscilla Abuyah, were arrested and taken to the Force CID for questioning and further investigation.

The raid followed a petition by Human Rights Agenda Network (HRAN), an NGO, to the Social Welfare Department of the SDS, alleging that the hotel was harbouring minors and exposing them to sexual exploitation.

Mrs Joy Omokivie, the SDS Officer in charge of the case, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the SDS channelled the petition to the Gender Unit of the Force CID to investigate the matter.

Omokivie added that the hotel was classified as a brothel by residents, where young girls, including underaged girls were being brought in for sex.

She said that in the petition, HRAN had alleged that a 12-year-old minor and her younger brother, 4, were staying at the hotel with a woman, purported to be their mother.

She added that after some investigations, the 12-year-old girl was rescued and currently in the custody of the Social Welfare Department, “while the young boy is still with the mother.”

According to her, the raid was part of an ongoing investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations and if found to be true, rescue the minors and prosecute the culprits.

HRAN had in the petition accused the woman, Mrs Immanuela Austyn-Araki, a Bolt driver of abandoning the children in the hotel in the morning, leaving them to fend for themselves.

The NGO claimed that the children eat mostly snacks and noodles until she returns late at night or the following morning.

HRAN added that its investigation revealed that the woman lodged in the hotel with the children for more than two years, exposing them to all kinds of sexual conducts by other adults lodging in the hotel.

The group said that the girl was allowed access to the internet and accessing sites not suitable for underaged children, adding that the girl had an account on Tik-Tok where she uploads adult related contents.

According to the group, men, including the hotel owner, pay regular visits to the room occupied by the minors and their mother, whenever the mother is not around.

HRAN also expressed suspicion that the woman may be involved in child trafficking, alleging that there were under aged girls in the hotel premises working as commercial sex workers.

The NGO, thereafter, asked the police to investigate the matter with a view to save the endangered child and bring the culprits to book.

However, after reading the petition at the Force CID, the manager of the hotel and the restaurant operator declined making any response except in the presence of their lawyer.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel, Mr Eze Obasi, refuted the allegation, saying “I am a good Christian and a traditional title holder in my community.

“As such, I cannot be a party to sexual exploitation, abuse, or endangerment of underage girls in my hotel.

“All I know is that the woman in question was being maltreated by her husband and she came to the hotel with her children to seek refuge from her abusive husband.

“This complaint has been brought before me by four different groups and it has been settled.

“I do not understand why police officers will still come to the hotel to embarrass my clients in the name of police search for minors,” he said.

NAN reports that after the raid that ended around 8:30 p.m., the young minor and the mother were not found at the hotel.

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Food inflation soars by 61 per cent in one year– NBS

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Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Nigerians are finding it more difficult to feed themselves, as food inflation rose to 40.66 per cent in May.

This was as the cost of food rose by 61 per cent from 25.25 per cent in June 2023 to 40.66 per cent in May 2024, highlighting a steady rise in the cost of living.

This is according to an analysis of the latest Consumer Price Index and Inflation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The CPI measures the average change over time in the prices of goods and services consumed by people for day-to-day living.

On Saturday, the NBS disclosed that headline inflation moved by 0.26 per cent to 33.95 per cent from 33.69 per cent recorded in April.

The report noted that the inflation rate climbed to a 28-year high since March 1996 on higher food and transport prices.

It said, “In May 2024, the headline inflation rate increased to 33.95 per cent relative to the April 2024 headline inflation rate which was 33.69 per cent.”

The statistics agency also reported major contributing items to headline inflation in May 2024 including food & non-alcoholic beverages (contributing 17.59 per cent), housing, water, and electricity, gas & other fuel (contributing 5.68 per cent), and clothing & footwear (contributing 2.60 per cent).

A breakdown of the data showed that the price of food commodities increased steadily from 25.25 per cent in June, to 26.98 per cent in July, 29.34 per cent, 30.64 per cent in August, 31.52 per cent in September, 31.52 per cent October, 32.84 per cent in November and 33.93 per cent as the end of December 2023.

The rate further increased to 35.41 per cent in January, 37.92 per cent in February, crossed the 40 per cent mark in March, 40.53 per cent in April and 40.66 per cent in May.

NBS said the rate rose to 40.66 per cent in May, compared to the 24.82 per cent reported in the same month last year — indicating an increase of 15.84 per cent points.

The bureau said semovita, oatflake, yam flour prepackage, garri, bean, etc (which are under bread and cereals class), Irish potatoes, yam, water yam, etc (under potatoes, yam and other tubers class), contributed to the year-on-year increase in the food inflation rate.

Other contributors are palm oil, vegetable oil, etc (under oil and fat), stockfish, mudfish, crayfish, etc (under fish class), beef head, chicken-live, pork head, and bush meat (under meat class).

“The food inflation rate in May 2024 was 40.66 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.84 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in May 2023 (24.82 per cent).

“The average annual rate of Food inflation for the twelve months ending May 2024 over the previous twelve-month average was 34.06 per cent, which was 10.41 per cent points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in May 2023 (23.65 per cent),” the report said.

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Omokri tackles Peter Obi over his criticism of ‘new’ presidential jet for Tinubu

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Peter Obi

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, on Monday accused the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, of lying over the reported purchase of a presidential jet for President Bola Tinubu.

Omokri said, contrary to Obi’s claim, the Nigerian government has no plans to buy a new private jet for Tinubu.

He clarified that the idea to change Tinubu’s presidential jet did not emanate from the presidency.

On Friday, the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence asked the FG to purchase new aircraft for Tinubu and Shettima.

Reacting, Obi said: “It’s on record that our presidential jets have an average age of 12 years, purchased when most Nigerians could afford basic necessities. Now, as our country faces significant challenges, including a high debt profile, our citizens are in even greater need.”

However, Omokri faulted Obi’s comment, which he described as “another Gbajue lie.”

Posting on X, Omokri wrote: “The statement by Peter Obi condemning the Federal Government’s plan to buy new presidential jet for President Tinubu is another Gbajue lie from a man who has elevated lying to an art.

“The reason for this is because there is no such plan. It was the National Assembly that mooted the idea, as is their right. The Executive did not make such plans and has not budgeted any money for such a purpose.

“It is the same way he lied and blamed the Tinubu administration for spending N21 billion on the new residence of the Vice President. What he failed to tell his gullible supporters is that that project was initiated and funded by previous administrations, dating to when our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, was in office. Please note that Peter Obi was then our card-carrying member, but he did not attack the project.

“Mr. Peter Obi counts on your gullibility and refusal to research what you read before believing him. That is why he tells such fibs.”

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