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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Top Stories from South-east: Ihedioha Leaves PDP, Lecturer Accused of Sexual Assault on Student, and More

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The past week was eventful in Nigeria’s South-east, where both shocking and sad events made headlines.

It was the last week of April 2024.

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Here are the highlights of the top stories that made headlines in the region within the past week:

Ex-Imo governor, Emeka Ihedioha, dumps PDP

We set off the week, on 21 April, with our report on the resignation of a former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Ihedioha announced his resignation from the PDP in a letter addressed to the chairperson of the party in his Mbutu Ward in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of the state.

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The letter, obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, was dated 23 April 2024.

The former governor cited inability of the party to carry out reform as a reason for his resignation.

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The development signals that the PDP may be gradually losing its firm grip of the South-east where it had enjoyed dominance since 1999.

Nigerian governor slashes university’s tuition fees, increases workers’ salaries

We also brought you a cheering report, on 21 April, of how Governor Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State slashed the tuition fees of undergraduates of Ebonyi State University.

Mr Nwifuru also approved the increment of salaries of both academic and non-academic staff of the state-owned institution by 20 and 10 per cent, respectively.

The governor announced this on 21 April during the 12th to 15th combined convocation ceremony of the university, according to a statement by his spokesperson, Monday Uzor.

Mr Nwifuru also announced that indigenes of the state who graduate with first class degrees will be offered automatic employment as graduate assistant lecturers.

Lecturer’s attempted sexual assault against student

It was a shocking day, last Monday, when a lecturer at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) allegedly attempted to sexually molest a married female student in the institution.

The lecturer, Mfonobong Udoudom, works at the General Studies Programme (GSP) Unit of the university, where he teaches Peace and Conflict Resolution and Nigerian People and Culture.

Mr Udoudom was seen in a viral video clip putting on only shorts in his office where he was said to have attempted to molest the student.

The university authorities would later announce the indefinite suspension of the lecturer, adding that he would be punished after investigation.

The latest development highlights the growing incidence of sexual assaults in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Barely eight months ago, Cyril Ndifon, a law professor at the University of Calabar, was indicted for sexually harassing his students.

Mr Ndifon has since been suspended as dean of the Faculty of Law of the institution and is currently facing trial at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Abia Assembly, speaker refuse to inaugurate PDP member declared elected by Appeal Court

On Wednesday, we reported how Abia State House of Assembly and its Speaker refused to inaugurate a PDP candidate who was declared elected by the Court of Appeal in Lagos State.

The PDP member, Aaron Uzodike, lost in the 18 March 2023 House of Assembly election for Abia North State Constituency to his Labour Party rival, Destiny Nwangwu.

However, the PDP candidate challenged the victory of Mr Nwangwu at the Court of Appeal where he was declared as the winner of the exercise on 27 November.

Mr Uzodike told PREMIUM TIMES that, on 14 December 2023, he submitted all the documents needed for his inauguration to the House of Assembly, but the speaker, Emmanuel Emeruwa, insisted that he would not be inaugurated because there was an order from “above” against his inauguration.

The Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Mr Emeruwa, declined to speak when contacted on Tuesday for comments.

Mr Emeruwa answered the PREMIUM TIMES reporter’s call, but the reporter was still presenting the matter when the speaker interrupted him.

“I don’t want to talk about this now,” he retorted.

He was pressed further for comments.

“Just go to the Federal High Court of Appeal, Abuja. Look for the judgement of 27 February 2024. That will give you the information,” he said and immediately ended the call.

There is no court in Nigeria known as the “Federal High Court of Appeal” being referred to by the speaker.

Nigerian woman breaks Guinness World Record with longest interview marathon

Last Wednesday was an exciting day for Clara Chizoba Kronborg, a Nigerian Youtuber and social media entrepreneur.

It was the day she broke the Guinness world record for the longest interviewing marathon with a time of 55 hours 24 seconds.

Ms Kronborg interviewed 90 people of various nationalities and occupations, including politicians, business owners, content creators, actors, real estate agents among others.

Her success came after she overcame several obstacles to achieve the feat.

Although the feat went viral across Nigeria, it was widely celebrated in the South-east, particularly in Anambra State where she hails from.

The new feat highlights the effect of Hilda Baci on many Nigerians.

Since June 2023 when Ms Baci, the Nigerian Jollof Queen, achieved a new Guinness World Record for the longest cook-a-thon, many Nigerians have been making attempts at setting or breaking world records in different spheres of life.

Guinness World Records, at some point, said they had received some 1,500 applications from Nigerians in just two months.

Abia Assembly summons police commissioner, others over killing of entrepreneur

The search for justice continued on Tuesday for the killing of an entrepreneur by a police officer in Abia State when the State Assembly summoned in the Commissioner of Police in the state, Kene Onwuemelie, to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Emmanuel Emeruwa, in a post on his verified X handle on Wednesday, said the House also resolved to summon heads of other security agencies in the state over the incident.

Mr Emeruwa said the commissioner and heads of other security agencies would appear before the House next Tuesday.

The entrepreneur, Emmanuel Okocha, PREMIUM TIMES gathered, died on Friday, 19 April, in the state after a police operative shot him for allegedly refusing to give bribe to a team of police operatives.

The late Okocha hailed from Abiriba, a community in Ohafia Local Government Area in the South-eastern state.

The operatives were reportedly from the Rapid Response Squad of the police in the state.

They were said to have demanded a bribe from the victim despite having his complete vehicle documents and driver’s licence.

Ex-Nigerian Senator, Ayogu Eze, is dead

It was a sad day on Thursday, with the passing of a former Nigerian senator, Ayogu Eze, who died in an Abuja hospital.

Mr Eze, who represented the Enugu North District between 2007 and 2015, died at the age of 66.

He won his elections and served as a senator on the platform of the PDP.

But he died a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), having defected to the party in 2018.

In 2015, the politician sought to become governor of Enugu State, but was defeated in the PDP primary by Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who eventually won in the general election.

In 2018, Mr Eze defected to the APC on which platform he sought to contest the 2019 governorship election in the state, but later withdrew over omission of his name in the final list of candidates taking part in the election.

Although his death was considered a national loss, he was heavily mourned in the South-east, particularly in Enugu State where he hails from.

Suspected illegal security guards arrested in Anambra

We also brought you a report last Friday that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Anambra State arrested eight illegal security guards in the state.

The NSCDC Commandant in Anambra State, Olatunde Maku, announced this on Thursday while parading the suspects, according to a statement by the agency’s spokesperson in the state, Edwin Okadigbo.

Mr Maku said the suspects were arrested during a recent crackdown on unlicensed private security guards in Awka, just as he warned operators of illegal private security outfits in Anambra State to desist from the act or face the consequences.

The development is worrisome given that Anambra State and the entire South-east have witnessed growing insecurity in recent times.

Junior Pope’s burial date

Last Friday, we brought you another report that the family of the Nollywood actor, John Paul Odonwodo, who died early April, has announced his burial date.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that Mr Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope, and four other actors drowned after their boat capsized in Anam River in Anambra State on 10 April while returning from a movie shoot.

According to the family’s announcement via the actor’s burial poster, Mr Odonwodo’s burial arrangements began on 23 April with a requiem mass at Saint John-Mary Vianney Parish, Asaba, Delta State.

The burial arrangements will come to a crescendo on Friday 17 May when the remains of the Nollywood actor will finally be laid to rest at his country home after a burial mass at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, Ukehe.

The arrangements will be wrapped up with a thanksgiving mass at the Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, Ukehe, on 20 May.

Police arrest suspected cultists in Anambra, declare others wanted

The police in Anambra State, on Saturday, announced the arrest of 16 suspected cultists behind recent killings in Awka, the state capital.

The police spokesperson in Anambra State, Tochukwu Ikenga, in a statement on Saturday, said police authorities in the state also declared 21 others wanted in connection with the killings.

READ ALSO: Nigerian university suspends lecturer over alleged attempt to sexually assault student

The development follows the rising cult-related attacks and killings in Awka in recent times.

Several persons were reported killed in cult-related attacks in the last one month in the state capital.

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