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Jide Otitoju speaks on relationship with the military and inducement allegation

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Babajide Otitoju, group controller at TVC News, and co-host of popular TV show, Journalist hangout, has released a statement addressing his purported involvement in the money inducement of some top editors by the Nigerian military in the wake of the recent terrorist attack, and claims that he had been actively demoralizing the troops via his comments.

Initially my intention was simply to ignore the post by Churcill Umoren on the dinner the Chief of Army staff hosted in Maiduguri during which he claimed the army chief gave each editor in attendance ?500,000. But friends have somehow prevailed on me to respond because my name was mentioned though the writer never exactly said I got the alleged 500k. He also said army spokesman, Brig Gen Sani Kukasheka Usman accused me of demoralising troops by my comments on social media and on Journalists Hangout. I will respond to the issues one after another.

First, I need to state here that I went to Maiduguri on my own and left on my own after one week. I had announced on the day my vacation began that I would be in the northeast to see our troops. It would not be my first time of going there on my own unaccompanied. I contacted the chief of air staff’s aides with a view to travelling with them as I did last year. As they were not ready when I was ready I told the airforce spokesman I could not wait for them. However, the chief of air staff ordered that as I had requested the air task force commander should let me go on two missions with the airforce.

I flew with the Nigerian spy aircraft and the Mi35. Since I was in town a friend of mine prevailed on me to attend the chief of air staff’s dinner and while i was yet to make up my mind the army spokesman met me in the hotel lobby and told me ” you’re the one every soldier wants to see.” .

I attended the dinner held in the same hotel where I lodged and at no time did the army chief say he was giving us money much less explain that it was not a bribe but simply for xmas. We asked him questions and we offered suggestions like patriots who genuinely want the war to end.

I disappeared afterwards into my room. I didn’t receive 500k from anyone and I don’t know who got what. The army spokesman never accused me of demoralising troops. Gen Usman knows I can’t be intimidated so he couldn’t have said that to me. We have mutual respect for each other. He and Gen Buratai merely asked us to support the army and see the war as a war against Nigeria. These days I don’t attend media assignments. I would rather send my junior colleagues. Even if it’s a briefing by EFCC. Indeed the inter ministerial brIefing of editors that Aso Rock invites me to, I stopped attending since 2016. It is to avoid this kind of silly stories.

I know how easy it is for one’s good name to be destroyed. So I am doing my best to protect mine. Nobody can buy my conscience, not the army, nobody. Veteran journalist Alhaji Danladi Bako once called me and warned me to keep my name desperately. “You are the most feared journalist in our country. You’re the mouthpiece of the masses. There will be all kinds of temptations. If you go down so many of our people will be disappointed in you,” he said.

I promise to retain my integrity quotient. I don’t have a choice. Thank you friends for reading and happy new year.

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FG may redesign 2nd Niger Bridge to prevent suicide

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There are indications that the Federal government may re-design the second Niger Bridge so as to forestall anyone from committing suicide via the bridge.

The Federal Controller of works in Anambra, Adeyemo Ajani, gave the hint when he took members of the Abuja branch of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) on an inspection at the Ogbaru site of the 2nd Niger Bridge project in Onitsha on Saturday July 13th.

“What we have on the walk lane is our standard design but what the engineers are talking about is a kind of review. If we have to do abnormal design to take care of suicidal situations, it will require another design.

“There has been rapid progress on the project. The last time the minister and the vice-president came, it was 15 per cent level completion but today it is above 21per cent. When you look at it from the time the project started, we are now at 24 per cent completion.

“The main bridge has begun; we have done all the piling and the structures above water level have been done considerably. At the Asaba end, we have raised the structure to the deck up to 80 per cent.” Ajani said

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Renowned Congolese Pastor Paul Mukendi found guilty of sexual assaults in Canada

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Paul Mukendi, the renowned Congolese Pastor of Parole de Vie evangelical church in Quebec, Canada, has been found guilty of a 9-count charge of sexual assaults. 

His victim, a 31-year-old woman who came into his care after her mother “gave her as an offering” to him when she was still an under-aged teenager, had accused him of sexually assaulting her for 14 years (2002 to 2016). 

While Pastor Paul Mukendi claimed that the victim is “motivated by financial gain” and fabricated the entire story, she stood her ground as the trial began on June 4.

 Renowned Congolese Pastor Paul Mukendi found guilty of sexual assaults in Canada

The Congolese Pastor was found guilty by the Jury, as other women came forward with their own claims about being sexually abused. Judge Jean-François Émond who denied his lawyer’s request for him to be released pending his sentencing in September, opted for an immediate detention.

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Robber swallows woman’s wedding ring

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A traffic robber who swallowed his victim’s wedding ring after threatening to kill her was Friday arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Command in Oshodi and CMS part of the metropolis.

Three other suspected traffic robbers were also arrested.

The ring swallowing suspect, Taofeek Adebayo, 19, along with an accomplice, Toheeb Tijani, 20 were arrested in Oshodi-Oke shortly after dispossessing two ladies occupying a grey Sienna bus of a gold earring and a set of wedding rings.

The two other suspects, Samson Oluwa, 20 and Michael Adamu, 22, were arrested in an all-night sting operation in CMS.

Mr Adebayo and his partners on Friday pleaded with two women in a Sienna to assist them with money for food. The two ladies extended a N100 note to them, which the suspects instantly rejected.

According to the driver of the Sienna, who asked not to be named, “My colleague and I were coming from Anthony and heading to Ilasa for our association’s meeting. Three of them (pointing to the suspects) came near our vehicle. There was traffic and we could turn anywhere. We were scared. They said we should give them money for food. I reached out to my colleague to give me money.

“She gave me N100 which I gave them. They rejected it. One of them said, ‘eleyi ki I se owo ti wa’. I told them this is what I have. One of them pulled my left ear and removed my earring.”

She continued, “two of them turned to the other side of my vehicle. They threatened to waste us if we don’t give them money. ‘Where is the money’, they screamed at us. In a hurry to leave our car, they forced my friend to surrender her wedding ring.

“This yellow guy (pointing to Adebayo) took the first one and swallowed it in our presence. His colleague took the other one.”

When interrogated, Mr Adebayo said, “I swallowed it but I have vomited it and handed it over to Young Boy is the third guy when police were chasing us. I told him to hand over the rings to the ladies so that the police can release us but he absconded with the two rings and earring.”

His accomplice, Toheed Tijani, who sources said was on the watchlist of the police for snatching a mobile phone from a commuter in traffic earlier in the day, said, ‘I have released the phone to the LASTMA officials standing in Oshodi Oke. They told me that RRS officers were looking for me to arrest me.”

The two other suspected traffic robbers were arrested around Friday midnight when they were robbing a stranded motorist around CMS, Lagos.

Commenting on the development, the Commissioner of Police, Muazu Zubairu, said the police would not relent in its efforts towards making Lagos safe for law abiding citizens. He directed that the suspects be transferred to Makinde Police Division, Oshodi and SCID, Yaba.

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