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Eze Israel Kanu, the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia, has appealed to the Federal Government to withdraw all the charges against his son and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu, who made the appeal in Umuahia on Monday, said such measure would help to foster peace and douse tension in the country.

“I call on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw all the charges preferred against Kanu in the interest of peace in the country.

“He did not commit murder. He did not carry arms; neither did he commit any heinous crime to warrant such a government clampdown.

“His only offence was that he expressed his opinion in a democracy where people are free to express themselves without the fear of arrest or molestation,” he said.

The monarch said he was not in a position to stop his son from pursuing his conviction, adding that Nnamdi was mature enough to hold an independent opinion.

“He is more than 18 years of age and has become an adult. He is capable of having an independent opinion on any issues. So, I cannot ask him to stop pursuing what he believes in.

“The only thing that can assuage him is to allow him to have Biafra and no amount of inducement, even giving him an oil block, would stop him.” he said.

Kanu, who described the bail conditions by the Abuja High Court as stringent, thanked Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, (Abia South Senatorial District), an Igbo Jewish Rabbi from Port Harcourt , Immanuu El-Shalom, and a renowned Chartered Accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, for securing his release.

He assured that his son would not betray the trust the sureties reposed in him.

He said that while in his palace, young able-bodied members of IPOB volunteered to restrict the number of visitors around him “so that he does not run afoul of one of the bail conditions.”

The visibly elated octogenarian described the two-year incarceration of his son as a period of depression.

“Very often, I kept wondering what would be his fate and hoping also that he would not die in detention. I had very strong hope that God would not allow him to die in the cell,” he said.

He also spoke on how he felt when the IPOB leader arrived at his palace on Friday, after regaining his freedom, saying that he felt very happy and excited.

“He looked quite healthy and strong. His looks showed that the prison warders took good care of him, so I was very happy and impressed when I saw him,” he said.

Nnamdi arrived at his country home at Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia on Friday to the warm reception of his parents, kinsmen and other relations as well as IPOB members.

The palace has been hosting visitors daily, including traditional rulers, politicians and other members of the community seeking to catch a glimpse of the IPOB leader.

Nnamdi, who was arrested on Oct. 14, 2015, had been standing trial at an Abuja High Court on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter and illegal possession of firearms, among others.

He was, however, granted bail by Justice Binta Nyako on April 25.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Obaseki earmarks N500m for Benin Royal Museum

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…as efforts on retrieval of stolen artefacts yielding results

Edo State government has proposed N500 million for the construction of the Benin Royal Museum, stating its intentions to make Benin the culture capital of West Africa with the planned return of the artefacts stolen from the state in the colonial era, which is yielding positive results.

Governor Godwin Obaseki said this while presenting the 2019 Budget proposal on Monday before a session of the House of Assembly.

Addressing the legislators, he said, “To fulfil our commitment towards making Edo the culture capital of West Africa, we have earmarked N500 million in 2019 proposed Budget, to commence the development and construction of the Benin Royal Museum. This will be done in collaboration with the Palace of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, Ogidigan”

Efforts by the Edo State Governor and the Benin Monarch, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, to retrieve artefacts stolen from the state in the colonial era are yielding results as European governments have set modalities in place for either permanent or temporary return of the artworks.

Oba of Benin, Eheneden Erediauwa Campaign for the return of the prized heritage objects has raged for decades, with Nigerian authorities mounting pressure on European governments and museums to return them, while the Europeans argue that holding the work was best for the preservation of the artefacts, as there were no structures in Africa to properly hold them.

The French government recently approved the return of 26 artefacts stolen from the Benin Republic after a report recommended the move, raising the prospect of more of such moves from the European country.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Okowa presents staff of office to Warri Monarch

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An array of tradition and culture played out in Warri, Delta state when Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Monday presented staff of office to the Orosuen of Okere Urhobo Warri Kingdom, Prof. Paul Okumagba, Idama ll.

The event took place 11 years after the death of the late traditional ruler, Benjamin Okumagba in Warri South Local Government Area of the state.

The new monarch, Prof. Okumagba is a renowned professor of Sociology from the Delta State University, Abraka.

Gov. Okowa who was represented by his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro, congratulated the monarch on his selection and subsequent recognition as the Orosuen of Okere Urhobo Kingdom and urged the monarch to entrench peace in the Warri metropolis.

“The Orosuen is one of you and it is a win-win situation for all the people of Okere Urhobo, Warri.

“No doubt, the government is aware of some pockets of dissenting voices in the processes leading to today’s ceremony.

“I sincerely urge you to give him your fullest support and cooperation for sustainable peace and progress of the kingdom.

“Your Royal Majesty, you are the father of all your subjects, so you should be fair to all and sundry, as the custodian of the tradition of your people, it is important that you uphold the sanctity of their custom,’’ he said.

Several traditional rulers across the state including the Orodje of Okpe, Orhue 1, the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, Abe 1, religious leaders and government functionaries attended the event.

 

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NEWS

LASG, FRSC Worry over Increase of Beer Parlours in Lagos

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The Lagos State Government has raised concerns over the increased establishment of beer parlours in Lagos.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said the state was worried because there was also an increase in the record of alcohol-induced auto accidents in the state.

Bamigbetan spoke at the commencement of 2018 Don’t Drink and Drive campaign in Ikeja, a statement said on Sunday.

“Bamigbetan said the level of consumption increased daily with the establishment of restaurants and bar in every part of the state.

“He noted that establishment, aided by peace and harmony in Lagos, has made alcoholic consumption in the state a daily routine.

“He stressed that the new level of alcohol consumption rate has justified a report released by a market research data group, Global  Data (formerly Canadean) recently, estimating five per cent annual growth rate.

“The commissioner argued that the state government was not frowning on the establishment, but those who patronise them should not drive or engage in any activity that could endanger other residents’ lives and property,” the statement added.

The Lagos Sector Commander, FRSC, Hyginus Omeje, reportedly said the level of alcohol consumption made the agency to deploy the seven breathalysers donated to it across the state.

Omeje added that any vehicle which its driver tested positive to alcohol would be impounded immediately to ensure the safety of lives and property in the state.

Earlier, the acting General Manager, Lagos Traffic Radio, Eyitayo Akanle, said to sensitise motorists to the negative effect of drunk driving, 10 billboards had been placed on major roads within the state.

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