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New Joint Task Force Commander In The Niger Delta Promises Oil Thieves 'No Mercy, Tough Time'

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:15pm

The operatives of Joint Task Force nicknamed 'Operation Delta Safe' say the task force stationed in the Niger Delta will show no mercy for oil thieves and other criminals in the region.

Speaking on Sunday during the handover ceremony at the headquarters of the OPDS, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, Real Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, the new Commander of ODD who took over from Real Admiral Apochi Suleiman, promised criminal elements in the region that tough time awaits them.

While thanking the outgoing commander for his leadership style, Akinrinade assured the public that he would only add a proactive driven effort to curb all forms of criminalities and their networks.

One of these strategies, he explained, is strengthening the synergy and coercion among the various units, components and formations of the task force.

In his remarks, Rear Admiral Suleiman, the immediate past Commader, said the operation under his command has destroyed and dislodged major militant camps in the Niger Delta, thereby boosting security in the region.

He said the relative peace in the command had greatly increased crude oil production index of the country, which has risen remarkably from a mere 900 barrels per day in 2016 to over two million barrels per day.

According to Suleiman, the increase is due to the serious checks against oil pipeline vandalism in the region.

“When I came here in 2016, there were issues of militancy all over my joint operation area," he said.

"But diligently, we have taken out the major militant camps in the Niger Delta region. We have dislodged militant camps at Karawei in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa. The Bakassi strike force in Cross River, Lobia 1, 2 and 3 in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and Lowasiri camps in Bayelsa were strong bases of militants and kidnappers.

"We have also dislodged militants in Etim Ekpo/Ukanafun Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom and restored peace to the areas. The Asuzuama set of militants in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Baylesa were all dislodged.

“We tracked down Don Wayne eventually, because of the pressure of our operational activities; he ran into the hands of another security group that eventually took him out. As of today, that camp at Amoputu is closed."

Suleiman has been posted to Defence Headquarters, Abuja, as Chief of Defence Administration.

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All Eyes On Leo Ogor, Uduaghan, Ogboru, Okowa As Delta Elections Tribunal Begins Sitting

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:03pm

Ahmed Gusau, Secretary of the Delta State Elections Petitions Tribunal, has announced that it will hold its inaugural sitting on Monday towards decising the petitions filed by aggrieved candidates of various political parties in the just concluded 2019 general election.

Last week, Gusau had told Journalists in Asaba that the tribunal received a total of 51 petitions, including the ones filed by former Governor and Delta South Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Emmanuel Uduaghan, against his opponent, James Manager of the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The petitions also include that of APC governorship candidate, Great Ogboru, against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, as well as that of APC House of Representatives candidate for Isoko, Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, against the House of Representatives Minority Leader, Leo Ogor of the PDP.

Speaking on the commencement of the tribunal sitting on Monday, Gusau disclosed that some applications had already been granted against various respondents at the preliminary stage, adding that the tribunal granted the application for substituted service on the respondent in the petitions filed by Uduaghan, who is challenging the election of Manager.

The tribunal scribe also said application for substituted service had also been granted to the APC senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege, whose election is being challenged by Evelyn Oboro of the PDP, while the application of APC candidate for Delta North, Doris Uboh, was granted for substituted service on the PDP senator representing Delta North, Peter Nwaoboshi.

According to Gusau, other petitioners whose applications for substituted service were granted include the candidates for the House of Representatives election, including Sebastian Okoh, Monday Igbuya, Mariere Ogaga and John Agoda.

"The tribunal is at its preliminary stage of serving all the respondents. Once it is served, it is as good as the person was served personally," he said.

"It is posted at the party’s secretary and the time starts counting from when the order was served. An order to inspect the materials used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also been granted."


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Blade of Nigeria Air Force Helicopter Accidentally Chops Off The Head Of Aircraftman

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 11:13am

A blade of the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) helicopter on Saturday killed Umaru Abdul Ganimu, an aircraftman, in Bama, Borno State.

ACM Ganimu, a member of the NAF team actively engaged in counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, was passing through the side of the functioning rotor when the blade chopped off his head.

The aircraft was recovered and taken back to the airbase without any damage on tail rotor.

Ganimu has since been buried according to Islamic rites, at the Maimalari Military Cemetery in Maiduguri after his relatives were duly informed.

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Conclusion Of Inconclusive Elections By Erasmus Ikhide

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 11:07am

At the twilight of 2018, prior to Nigeria's 2019 general election, I had -- in a previous address -- inundated a jubilant but revolutionary retinue of Civil Rights movement in Mozambique, that obsolete, compromised and banal electoral institutions like the Mozambique National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been programmed to kill people and all fabrics of democracy in most African countries. True to type, the 2019 elections in Nigeria have truly become a disaster and Nigeria has become a disgrace to democracy.

The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, can now sleep with an estrogen drip in the arm for further debasing the cancerous institution and using the blood of Nigerians to write the results of the most rigged presidential, gubernatorial and parliamentary elections in Nigeria's history. 

Nigerians or any other Third World country's citizens who have been deliberately incapacitated or criminally miseducated to believe that a retarded and redundant electoral body such as INEC, headed by a lame duck chair who can't think for himself -- yet appointed by the ruling party's President, must know that the people's will can't escape being subverted by the oligarchs and the political actors. 

Nigeria and its democracy would have been pretty lucky if it had a dynamic legislature ready to override the veto of a sick President who isn't aware he is the nation's President but was given a second term of four years by the misinformed electorate with the help of a trade-off electoral institution. 

How did we get here? Come to think of it, shall we by any change expect the APC and Buhari-led government to roll back the flow of blood and heads in 2023 general election with the present entrenched tradition of electoral heist. Did the PDP make any effort in 16 years to revamp INEC to a world acceptable standard so the poeple's votes can count and not subverted. Shall we safely say PDP's fictional proposition to rule the nation for 60 years is predicated on inordinate manipulation of the people's votes. Which meaningful African country still depends on electoral body, thugs, police and the military to rig its leadership to office outside of the masses' votes? How do we expect votes manipulators to take the nation out of the woods?

Would it be rocket science for INEC to make polling unit small machine like the ATM machine that can accept PVCs that are not dependent on the polling units so that Nigerians can vote from any machine nearest to them without human influence.

This idea is simple, slot in your PVC; accredit yourself by scanning your thumb. The polling unit machine (PUM) will validate the PVC for single vote and then detect the PVC Polling Unit. It will display the Election for that day or possibly all elections on the same day. 

Then it will display the logo of all registered plitical parties, further tap the logo of the party you intend to vote for, you will be notified immediately (that you have voted. INEC also will receive a notification as well. 

The selected political party’s vote will increase by one vote; simultaneously there will be a general display of the total result as voters continue to vote. The moment INEC concludes voting, the machine displays the total results. There is no need for a useful idiot who calls himself an INEC chair, Collation Officers, Returning Officers, Armed Personnel, sensitive and non-sensitive election materials, or ballot boxes and papers, burning of ballot boxes and papers and loss of lives. 

The beauty of this method is that every PVC is registered to a polling unit so if a polling unit machine is hijacked or burnt, other polling unit machines can be used and PUM will just detect the PVC and assign the vote to the damaged machine. The profiteers profiting from the unnecessary chaos  called elecrions know that between age 18 and 90 who are the actual voters do not need anybody's guidance before withdrawing money from the regular ATM machines across the country. They know that their fate would be hanging in the balance if the rights are done. 

There's no gain saying that the PDP hopes to rule the nation forever by manipulating the people's voices just the same way the APC muffled the voice of the masses and wrote election results, standing on the graves of the masses. I have said time and again that, the solutions to the nation's electoral malfeasance will never come from the criminal political elites but from external pressure, labour unions, Civil Society movements and the media. 

As we wallow in the dark in the land of generals without war; professors without discovery, politicians without ideology, wealth without prosperity, religion without piety, leaders without vision, the oppressed without worries, courts without justice, criminals without fears, history without glory, heroes without honor, schools without learning, artists without taste, intellectuals without thought, terrorists without identity, 
politcal appointees without pedigree, hunger without famine, change without progress, next level without foundation, democracy without citizens, unity without love, leaders without sacrifice, policies without plans, crime without culprits, saints without humility, integrity without principles, wars without enemies, billionaires without business, youth without dreams, elders without wisdom, straddling between the devil and the deep blue sea remains our fate. 


Follow me on Twitter @ikhide_erasmus

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SERAP Gives Okowa Seven Days To Explain Actual Spending On Education — Because Of Success Adegor

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 10:59am

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, seven days to provide information on details of the budgetary allocations and actual spending on primary school education in the oil-rich state.

SERAP made the demand in reaction to the video of Success Adegor, a pupil of Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele expressing displeasure over her dismissal from school for failure to pay her exam levy.

The video went viral and made success an instant celebrity; it also made many well-to-do Nigerians come to her aid.

In its response to the vido, the Delta Government suspended Vero Igbigwe, head teacher of the school, for collecting illegal fees.

According to Chiedu Ebie, the Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education," basic and secondary education — primary, Junior and secondary — in Delta state is still remains free"

Chiedu said the head teacher had no right to impose any levy or fees on the students of her school.

However, SERAP believes the Delta Government can do more. It therefore urged Okowa to "use his good office and leadership position to urgently provide information on details of the budgetary  allocations and actual government spending by your government to provide and ensure acccess of Nigerian children to free and quality primary school education in your state between 2015 and 2019".

SERAP said "the evidence of education deficit in the state is further buttressed by the case of Adegor, who was sent home because her parents could not pay the illegal school fee/levy of N900 and the insufficient and poor-quality education infrastructure of Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele".

It added: “If we have not heard from you within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you to comply with our request.”  

“Full development of human personality is essential objective of education. A strong Delta State in the future requires a strong education system today. A poor education system will severely cripple Delta State’s future growth, development and sustainability, both socially and economically. Providing the information as requested would show your commitment to ensuring access to quality education as a public good," SERAP said in the FOI request, dated April 5, 2019, and signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, its Deputy Director.

“Despite the huge resources available to your government and the massive budgetary allocations to primary education in your state, including from the UBEC funds, several of the around 1,124 primary schools across the State are in a shambles, and with very poor teaching facilities, thereby jeopardizing the futures of tens of thousands of Nigerian children in the State.”

The FOI request read in part: “SERAP notes that since assuming office, your government has received over N7.8 billion from Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). Your government has also received funds from federal allocations to Delta State. Your government accessed over N3 billion of UBEC funds between 2015 and 2016, while also reportedly approved the release of N1.28 billion counterpart fund to enable it access UBEC funds for 2017.  Your government also received N213 billion from Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in 2018, at an average of N17.8 billion monthly.

“We urge you to provide details of budgetary allocations and actual spending by your government between 2015 and 2019, including specific projects carried out to improve access to free and quality primary education in your state, the locations of such projects and the primary schools that have benefited from the projects.

“We also seek information on specific details of the steps your government is taking to improve the overall welfare of children in primary schools across your state, and details of your government’s fee-free programme, if any, across primary schools in the state and information on indirect costs, including uniforms, exercise books, and transport costs to students and their parents.

“Your government should also provide details of specific projects by your government to improve access to education for children with disabilities. SERAP believes that investment in education is an obligation of States under human rights law, and adequate resources must be allocated to the education sector including primary education on enduring basis and in a transparent and accountable manner.

“Promoting transparency and accountability in the spending on primary schools would demonstrate your commitment to achieve the goal of universal quality education for all free of costs, as stated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations Summit in July 2015.”

SERAP noted that the information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act.

"The information bothers on an issue of access to education, development, good governance, transparency and accountability," it said. "The disclosure of the information requested will give SERAP and the general public a true picture on how budgetary allocations and UBEC funds received by your state have been spent to provide access to free quality primary education.”

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Blood-Thirsty Demons Of Zamfara (II): Killing For Fun, Kidnapping For Ransom

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 10:34am

Injured vigilante

Ammu Ibrahim

Madawaki's empty throne

Kara market

Isah Shuaib

Samaila the traditional ruler of Tsaure

A common thread of monumental loss runs through the stories of every emirate visited by the brutal bandits. They are the footprints left behind in these communities to say ‘we were once here’. These pains and losses, most often, change the course of the residents’ lives; they are indelible scars they will bear to their graves.

Hadiza and Fatima fled Kayayi village in Shinkafi LGA, after the murder of their husband, Yussuf Lawal. The two women have become inseparable since they left their village for the city. They depend on each other for strength to navigate this new world they now live.

The two women kept a solemn countenance. It was obvious that adapting to the world where they had no male figure to guide, guard and provide for them was strange but they had no choice; seven children were depending on them for daily survival.

Lawal, their husband, was murdered in cold blood by the bandits who routinely launched attacks in Kayayi village.

“What happened was the bandits knocked our door,” she begins. “My husband stood up and locked the door but they used their saw blade to cut the door down. They drew him out and shot him.”

The bandits were enraged by Lawal’s attempt to prevent them from gaining entrance into the room. So, when they shot him, they took him along with them to watch him draw his last breath. Hours later, Hadiza received a call that her husband was dead. After killing him, they phoned her to inform her of their dastardly deed. They did that only to increase her pains, his body was also not released to her neither could anyone risk going in to pick his corpse — that would be a suicide mission.

As Hadiza narrated the tragic incident that flung them into a totally different life, Fatima, the younger wife, shook her head in regret. Her face wore the agony that she had gone through in commensurate degree. Her brow contorted into furrows. Her eye bags were swollen, heavy with the sorrow of loss. Things were bad and her demeanour was a dead giveaway. She seemed to have lost the ability to smile or even be happy.

What is there to be happy about? They live in an abandoned structure with no means of sustenance. They rely on alms and charity from people. Their seven children have dropped out of school.

“I lost a lot,” says Fatima. “I don’t have a husband. My husband did not leave any treasure for us. He sold our farmland and animals to cater to our needs and he is not here to help. Our children are no more going to school.”

A dead husband is bad but a lost one is worse

A dead loved one is better than a lost one, according to a popular Yoruba maxim. The rationale for this would be that one might find solace in the irreversibility of death and the hope that the great beyond is a better place, but one might never find closure knowing that one’s loved one might be out somewhere, helpless — perhaps hapless too — and subjected to inhumane conditions.

Ammu Ibrahim is from Yan Taskuwa, a small village in Shinkafi LGA. She has her tribal marks tattooed on her forehead. Ammu has worn the tattoo as a symbol of her heritage and identity. It has been what announced her even before she introduced herself. This cultural symbol has also become a reminder of a ruined home and a lost husband.

Ammu’s husband was kidnapped by bandits from her village. With no money to pay the ransom demanded, he remained in captivity. Although she is hopeful her husband is still alive, there is no way to know for sure. Ammu has five children with no means to provide for their basic needs. She says she has lost everything and except her husband returns, she doubts she would ever smile again.

“I don’t know where my husband is,” she says. “He was kidnapped by the bandits… I don’t have a husband now and I am left with small kids. There is no support. It is only God that is helping us.”

The 35-year-old mother of five looks forward to when she would return Yan Taskuwa with the hope that one day, perhaps, her husband would return, and that she would be home to receive him and maybe recreate a happy home she used to have with him, their children and the extended family.

“I want my husband back home because we were living peacefully before the incident,” she grunts under her breath.

This, sadly, is mere wishful thinking.

The village has been deserted with many of Ammu’s relatives killed. Those who were lucky, like her, to escape the fangs of the bandits are flung in different directions, trying, as she is doing, to mend the pieces left of their shattered lives.

34 days in captivity                       

Wasilat was also kidnapped from Kayayi village. The night she was kidnapped alongside 15 other women made it the fourth time the bandits would storm the village, hacking off doors in their usual callous manner and taking the women of the perceived affluent villagers. Wasilat’s husband was not home when she was snatched from her matrimonial home, she said.

She had prepared her older children for bed and was rocking her last child, who was a year and some months at the time, to sleep.  Suddenly, a crushing sound from the heel of one of the bandit forced her door open. Her four older children whose sleep was also interrupted by the sound began crying. The sights of these men were terrifying. These are men who entertain no entreaties, even that of the innocent children rudely jolted out of sleep.

“I was begging them, that my husband was not around but they would not listen,” she recalls.

The mother, with her toddler, latched to her back, was hurried out of her home to join others who had been ripped away from their bed that night. Wasilat remembers it was about 11pm on a Friday. She and eight other women already kidnapped were taken from home to home, as the bandits knocked down doors to kidnap more women. By 11:30pm, 16 women had been held hostage in Kayayi village.

With 16 bounty heads, the bandits had their full loot for the night. They then led the women into a thick forest, to their hideout where Wasilat would later be held for 34 days.

“On Saturday, they untied us while speaking with our husbands,” she recalls.

The bandits began dictating what every one of the women was worth. The next four days, according to Wasilat’s account, four of the women were killed. Their husbands had said they could not afford the bounty placed on them, and the bandits would not release them as that would create a bad precedent. They could not also keep them, as that would be an avoidable burden, so they slaughtered them like goats each day to instil fear in the others.

Wasilat’s husband, a rich cattle rearer, paid N5.7million to save his wife and baby but the bandits refused to let them go despite the millions already collected.

“He paid our ransom three times; the first time was N2 million, the second ransom was also N2 million and lastly N1.7 million. It was the number they gave my husband that he used to call them to give them the money but they denied that the money was not given to them. So they threatened that they will kill me and my baby on Thursday."

Wasilat was told she and her daughter would be executed on Thursday just like the four who were executed in gestapo style. But, on a Wednesday night, that could have been her last night, one of the bandits had a brief repentant moment, took pity on her little child and showed Wasilat and four others the route out of the hideout.

She ran through the forest for hours, trying to find her way back to Kayayi village. She finally got into her village midday, tired and most of all thankful.

After her escape from the bandits’ hideout, Wasilat and her husband packed what was left of their belongings and let the village for the town in Shinkafi LGA. Her husband has moved to Sokoto state to find some sort of employment. He has no farm; his life savings had been exhausted on ransom.

“I can’t go back to my village because I am scared of what happened. Now I am living with my relatives, they are the one catering for us. We want the government to intervene and provide security,” Wasilat pleaded.

Kill the head, displace the followers

The death of Ibrahim Madawaki, the District Head of Kucheri, sent a signal to other traditional leaders. Although Madawaki was not first the traditional ruler to be murdered by the bandit, he was the first Hikimi with his clout that was killed.

The evening Madawaki was killed, Salamatu, the last wife of the traditional head, said her months old twin girls could not sleep all through the night. “They cried all night,” she says. “It was like they knew something had happened to their father.”

Madawaki’s murder was widely reported in the media. He was a village head with the clout to extract condolence message from the state government, a privilege very few families enjoy.  But, there are more villages that have been deserted and their village heads killed, without the media ever finding out. The murder of Alhaji Mamman was one of such.

When the bandits first attacked Tungar Kolo, another village in Shinkafi LGA, they were repelled by the vigilantes before they could do much damage. With crude guns and the determination to keep their women and children safe, the men in the village faced the fierce bandits on seven different occasions, until their leader was struck.

The gruesome murder of Hadi and Alhaji Mamman, the vigilante leader and village head of Tungar Kolo, defeated the village. Once the two leaders were killed, the message became clearer to every other person in the village. There was no winning the battle; so they packed what was left of their belongings and began to leave the village one after the other.

Over a hundred houses — including farmlands — were burnt to the ground in Tungar Kolo.

Isah Shuaib, a former resident of Tungar Kolo who now lives with his two wives and eight children, in Jauri, a small community in Gusau, knows the exact number of animals that were stolen from the village. He said the bandits went away with “700,115 sheep and 330 cows."

The death of Hadi and Mamman was the last strike that dispersed residents of Tungar Kolo.  They could no longer confront the bandits. The vigilante group dissolved and moved out of the village.

“As I speak with you, a single hen is not in our village again, not to talk of human beings,” Shuaib said with regret-laden voice.

In Tsuare village, the village head was not killed, his subjects were dissipated under his watch and he could do nothing. “Under my custody in Tsaure they killed more than 100 people,” Samaila the traditional ruler of Tsaure, says.

Samaila, an agile looking octogenarian, lives in a crowded one-room apartment with his son, in Kucheri. He had left his village in the dead of night, with his son, Sulaiman, and few clothes.

Samaila was born into royalty. He inherited the now deserted throne from his father, just as his father took it from his father’s father. But all 83-year-old Samaila has left of his royalty are memories buried in the chambers of his mind. He now lives like every other victim of banditry in Zamfara.

In Kucheri, a community in Tsafe LGA, where he has been for the last three months, he said he shares a single room with 30 other people.

"I am really not happy living here,” he says, "because the place is overcrowded and not conducive to our health".

Once Upon Kara Market

Kara means abattoir in Hausa, or a place where cows are sold. Apart from farming, cattle rearing is the next major trade in Zamfara State. Cow merchants from Lagos and other southwestern states in Nigeria buy livestock from these markets, but since the crisis in the state, traders have migrated to other Kara markets outside Zamfara. Trade has significantly dropped and what used to be full, noisy cow markets have become large, quiet fields with lonely pegs.

In the early days of the crisis, when cattle rustling were the only problems Zamfarans had to deal with, the Kara market in Gusau was the conversion ground of the rustlers. They sold the stolen cows at cheaper prices to dispose of them very quickly. The crisis then worsened and the market soon became endangered. Not only did the looted cows not sell in the market anymore, Gusau’s Kara Market and similar markets across the state also became subjects of attacks.

The Zanfara State Police Command foiled an attack on the Kara Market in Talata Mafara community, sometime in 2018. Twelve suspects were arrested in connection to the attack. Some rustlers were also arrested in Gusau’s Kara market about the same period.

As Kara markets became targets of these numerous attacks, cows, goats and rams began to disappear from the pegs without replacement. As cattle rearers got killed in the villages, the markets’ sizes also shrank.

“These sticks (pegs) you see used to have animals tied to them but everywhere is now empty,” laments Mohammed, a young man who used to have a robust business selling cows.

Lawali Muhammadu Gusau, the Treasurer of Kara Market in Gusau, corroborates Mohammed's claim, saying banditry "has really affected business” because of the increased attacks on cattle rearers across the state.

“We can no longer find most of them," he says. "People no longer come to buy rams here because they are afraid of being killed or kidnapped."

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Police Station Torched As Bandits Kill Two Policemen, Two Residents in Kaduna

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 9:01am

At least four people — two policemen and two residents — lost their lives when suspected bandits burnt down a police station in Kakangi village, Gwari Local Government area of Kaduna state.

According to witnesses, the gunmen arrived the community on motorbikes at about 5:00am, fully armed with AK-47, and started shooting sporadically.

Meanwhile, those who sustained injuries in the attack have been taken to the hospital for prompt treatment.

Ibrahim Nagwari, Chairman of the Birnin Gwari Vanguard for Security and Good Governance (BVSGG), also corroborated the account of the eyewitness.

Nagwari said the security situation in the community had worsened, owing to activities of the bandits.

"Security situation has worsened due to armed banditry and kidnapping,," he said. "Many communities particularly along Birnin-Gwari Funtua had deserted their homes and taken refuge in Birnin-Gwari and elsewhere."

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Buhari Urged To Actualise Jonathan's Almajiri Integration Initiative

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 7:42am

The Nigerian government has been warned to act fast and integrate Almajiri boys into the conventional school system, in order to stem the tide of violence and extremism in the country.

A coalition of groups made the call in the aftermath of escalating violent crimes in the country, urging President Muhammadu Buhari "to actualise President Goodluck Jonathan's Almajiri integration initiative".

SaharaReporters gathered that currently, Adamawa State is home to an estimated 200,000 Almajiri destitute children, most of them coming from neighboring Yobe, Gombe and Bauchi states.

They are part of UNICEF's annual report on Nigeria, which puts 2,711,767 as the number of almajiris from the North-East, representing 25 per cent of the total 9.5 million Almajiri population  in Nigeria.

The implication is that the Almajiri population represents 72 per cent of the country's 13.2 million out-of-school children.

Almajiri tutorial system provides exclusive Islamic education to children from age four, many of them separated from their parents at that early age.

Iliyasu Usman, Project Manager of 'Almajiri Is Also A Child', made the appeal while launching an advocacy for the vulnerable children in Yola on Saturday.

He said Yola was chosen to kick-start the advocacy due to its large number of Almajiri tutorial system.

At the launch, over 500 Almajiris attended and went home with a pair of bathroom slippers each.

usman further noted that his group embarked on the campaign in view of the direct involvement of "Almajiris in the alarming rate of violent extremism".

However, with the advent of extremism, the Almajiri system has been identified as manpower source for non-state armed groups such as Boko Haram and other criminal gangs.

He lamented that Almajiris, who are victims of social neglect, are also vulnerable to drug-related offences and exploitation by evil elements.

Usman expressed optimism that addressing the Almajiri menace will go a long way in depleting the manpower base of Boko Haram and other violent groups.

Only recently, 'Shilla-Boys', a local terror group that specialized in petty thieving, like bag snatching, was touted as being notorious for recruiting Almajiris into their ranks.The Nigerian government has been warned to act fast and integrate Almajiri boys into the conventional school system, in order to stem the tide of violence and extremism in the country.

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BREAKING: Nigerian Government Bans Mining in Zamfara

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 7:19am

Mohammed Adamu, acting Inspector-General of Police, has announced the ban of mining activities in Zamfara State following the protest against killings in the state.

Adamau disclosed this to journalists in Abuja on Sunday after a security meeting at the Presidential Villa, saying a special operation would also be launched against banditry in the state.

According to the acting IGP, foreigners and individuals must stop mining forthwith or risk losing their licences.

The development comes 24 hours after some protesters marched to Aso Rock to draw attention to the security situation in Zamfara.

Many have been killed, with property worth millions of naira destroyed in attacks by armed men.
Details later..

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Father Of Local Government Chairman In Bayelsa Kidnapped By Seven Heavily-Armed Gunmen

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 7:06am

Wellington Magbisa, father of the Chairman of Sagbama Local Council Area in Bayelsa State, has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

According to witnesses, Magbisa was whisked away by unknown assailants in the wee hours of Sunday.

A witness told SaharaReporters that the kidnappers, numbering seven and all male, came heavily armed, broke into his residence and forcefully took him.

”The incident occurred at about 12am at with his residence at Mile 2, Sagbama LGA.

Confirming the incident, Butswat Asinim, State Police Public Relations officer, said the captors gained entrance via an unprotected window and abducted their victim.

”Five men came in through an unprotected window, captured him and escaped through the waterways," he said. ”All sister angecies have been altered to rescue the victim and also arrest the captors."

The incident has thrown the Magbisa's family into a state of grief.

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#EndSARS Movement Asks Nigerian Govt To Scrap Anti-Robbery, Anti-Cultism, Anti-Kidnapping Squads

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 5:41am

Nigeria Police Force's Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)

The #EndSARS Reform Police movement has continued to put more pressure on the Nigeria Police Force to curb extrajudicial activities by its personnel.

In a statement signed by Segun Awosanya, the group stated that personnel of the force must at all times respect the “sanctity of life and the lives of all Nigerians”.

The EndSARS group also maintained that the Police have been acting outside the law, leading to the killing of Nigerians by a different unit of the police.

“Our lives — the lives of all citizens — matter and we must continue to demand that men and women of the Police Force respect the sanctity of life and the lives of all Nigerians," read the statement.

“When our country is saddled with a Police Force that operates outside the bounds of law, without operational restraints — the culture of impunity, spawned by such inhuman chants of police officers like 'I will kill you and nothing will happen' and 'I must kill someone today', what we get are not only killer squads that reign supreme but a Police Force that have gone rogue, killing and maiming defenceless citizens.”

The group, which held a protest across the country on Friday, is also asking for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Special Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS) and Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad (SAKS), asserting that other unit of the Police can take care of their responsibilities.

“In light of the foregoing, therefore, we restate that all ad hoc squads within the Police Force be scrapped and their responsibilities transferred to discernible structures within Police Force.

“For clarity, the Federal Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), with its concomitant substructure at the level of the States Police Commands (SCIID), can adequately take care of the responsibilities of SARS and other hybrid squads, as it was in the past.

“This particular demand, among other demands, is driven by the insistence that our country and its security forces place a premium on the lives of citizens, particularly the youth who have become the target practices of the menacing operatives of the killer squads of the Police Force.”

The EndSARS Reform Police movement is demanding compensation for families of those killed by men of the police force as well as new operational guidelines for the Police.

“We demand as follows: that the Police Force and the Federal Government MUST pay monetary compensation to all families of citizens felled by its rogue operatives; the Attorney General of the Federation must ensure the criminal prosecution of police officers named in the killings of Nigerians; that all killer squads of the Police Force be scrapped and their responsibilities transferred to proper structures within the police.

“That new and updated operational guidelines on the use of arms which respect the right to life as preserved by the 1999 Constitution be issued; the 8th National Assembly (Senate) MUST AS A MATTER OF UTMOST URGENCY pass the Police Reform Bill 2018 and transmit same to the President; President Muhammadu Buhari MUST ASSENT TO AND SIGN the Police Reform Bill 2018 into law without delay and without the antics of rejection that have attended bills in recent times.”

Nigerians are demanding a reform of the Police Force or scrapping of SARS and SAKS after their personnels have been involved in extrajudicial killings of Nigerians.

Some of those who have suffered death in the hands of the rogue officers are: Emeka Ojinze (23), Linda Angela Igwetu (23), Richard Peter Gora (22), Sofiyat Yekin (23), Mrs Kudirat, Anita Akapson, Kolade JOHNSON (36), Ademola Moshood (the motorcycle rider who was killed over N200).

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Nigerians Marry Late Because It's Difficult For Them To Find The Right Partners, Says Expert

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 5:25am

Mope Ogunlusi, a relationship expert and marriage counsellor, has said Nigerians marry late because finding the right partner is usually difficult for them.

Ogunlusi, who has been a counsellor and matchmaker for 15 years, disclosed this on Saturday in Osogbo in an interview with NAN.

She also attributed late marriages to issues of genotype compatibility, financial status and parental influence on who a child should marry.

She said: “A lot of Nigerians are still single and unmarried despite reaching the marriageable age bracket because they often times find it difficult to find the right partners.

“The act of searching for a partner with the right genotype and looking for a financially capable partner are creating problems for singles in selecting a partner and often times eliminating the feeling of love.

“Sometimes, people fall in love just to find out that their genotypes are not compatible and this often times lead to searching all over for a new partner, often times leading to frustration if the same incompatibility keeps re-occurring.”

According to Ogunlusi, a lot of Nigerian singles now have little or no time to socialise and search for a life partner because of the financial pressure they face on daily basis.

“The need for financial security and meeting daily needs has created a routine life style for a lot of people and finding time to socialise has become difficult because of the time invested in searching for daily needs," she said.

In addition to the financial security challenges individuals face, she said some ladies and men are too choosy in selecting their partners based on his or her financial position and status.

She said the trend of looking for rich men or ladies to marry is creating a corrupt cycle that has affected marriage as a sacred institution ordained by God.

She added that some parents set standards for their children on who to marry, which adds to the problem.

"Some parents usually set specification of the kind of man or woman their children can marry in terms of looks, tribe, ethnicity, educational qualification and finance," she said, commending, however, the efforts of matchmaking outfits in trying to help eliminate these problems created by social ills and nature, by creating a platform for singles to meet and have their dream marriages come true.

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It's Ridiculous To Suggest That I'm Indifferent To Killings In Nigeria, Says Buhari

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:58am

President Muhammadu Buhari says it is ridiculous to suggest that he is indifferent to killings in Nigeria.

He also reassured Nigerians that ending banditry remains a key priority of his administration and he would do whatever it takes to ensure the country's security system confronts these public enemies with merciless determination.

Speaking on the recent spike in reported incidents of banditry and kidnappings in some parts of the country, Buhari condoled with all those affected by the unfortunate events, stating that he is one of the unhappiest leaders in the world.

A statement by Garba Shehu, the President's spokesman, quoted Buhari as stating that: "How can I be happy and indifferent to the senseless killings of my fellow citizens by bandits? I am human and I understand the pains of the victims and their families who have been traumatized and impoverished by constant ransom demands by bandits.

"The politicisation of tragedy reveals the darkest sides of our primitive politics. Almost every week, I summon my security chiefs to get an update on the strategies being devised to defeat these mass murderers.

"There is no issue that dominates my mind every 24 hours like security because, as an elected President, protecting the citizens of my country is one of the primary functions of my administration.

"I constantly listen to our security personnel in order to understand their problems and needs, and I have never hesitated to attend to those needs in terms of motivating and equipping them to respond effectively to our security challenges.

"It is therefore ridiculous to suggest that I am indifferent to these killings.

"I have ordered rapid and robust deployment of troops to all the areas currently under attack from bandits and we are determined to tackle this challenge ferociously until these remorseless killers are crushed and utterly defeated."

Buhari called on communities where banditry is active to support and cooperate with the security agencies, particularly the recently launched Operation Puff Adder by the Nigerian Army, to battle bandits and kidnappers.

The President said it was regrettable that bandits have informants within some communities and utterly reprehensible that certain communities have signed protection deals with bandits at the expense of other communities, thereby creating complications and frustrating government's intervention.

He appealed to communities to report suspicious movements of bandits into their areas within the shortest available opportunity, especially considering the fact that intelligence is critical to detecting, frustrating, neutralising and defeating the criminals.

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2019 Elections, Tragedy For Igbo People, Says APGA Chairman

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:52am

APGA National Chairman Victor Oye

APGA National Chairman Victor Oye

Chief Victor Oye, National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), says the 2019 elections in Nigeria constituted a tragedy for the Igbo.

He said although his party did well in the elections, his people should not have put all their eggs in one basket.

According to Oye, the people should have given 40 per cent of their votes to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking in an interview published by The Punch newspaper on Sunday, he said: "The last election was a tragedy for our people. I was among those who spoke against putting all our eggs in one basket. My idea was that if we could give President (Muhammadu) Buhari about 40 per cent, then, the balance could go to anyone who we so much loved.

"But today, we have lost out. It was that mistake that we made on February 23 that is having serious impact on our people in Lagos. The people there voted for a party they saw as theirs and didn’t want Ndigbo to do otherwise. When you go to Rome, behave like Romans."

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Using Minors As Shepherds Is An Offence, Nigeria Police Tell Herdsmen

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:48am

Shina Olukolu, Oyo State Commissioner of Police

Shina Olukolu, Oyo State Commissioner of Police

The Nigeria Police Force says it is an offence for minors to herd cattle.

This was disclosed at a meeting held on Saturday, comprising herdsmen, farmers, security agencies and Oyo State government officials on addressing the conflict between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

This is just as the Oyo State government said the Grazing Control Bill would be passed into law before April 30 to help forestall farmers/herders conflicts in the state.

Abidemi Siyanbade, the state Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Community Relations, at a stakeholders' meeting organised by the State Police Command at Eleyele, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, said:

“Before the end of this month, the Grazing Control Bill will be passed by the House of Assembly. We will also ensure that the peace committee meeting at the local government levels will be revived."

Meanwhile, Adeniji Moses, the State Chairman, All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN), lamented that the bill had been promised since 2016 and nothing had been done about it. 

However, Yakubu Bello, the state Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, commended the Oyo State Police for organising the meeting and promised to abide by the agreement.

On his part, Shina Olukolu, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, said using minors as shepherds is an offence. He called for between the farmers and the herdsmen, The Guardian newspaper reported.

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IBEDC Staff Dies After Electrocution

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:33am

Adewale Adegoke, a staff of Nigeria's Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), died after he was electrocuted around Onireke in Ibadan North West Local Government Area of Oyo State.

It was gathered that Adegoke died after he attempted to fix an electrical fault on Friday, but could not and decided to work on the faulty wiring again on Saturday.

According to Daily Trust, one of the IBEDC officials, said: “They left Mokola early in the morning to the Onireke axis where the fault was detected. Mr. Adewale Adegoke was working on the high tension cables which normally comprises three wires when he was suddenly trapped and electrocuted. Help didn’t come on time because reports said he was there for almost 30 minutes.

“He was an experienced officer and the job wasn’t an illegal type. It was duly communicated to the control room where they must have secured the power outage before effecting correction on the high tension."

IBEDC management confirmed the death of Adegoke and commiserated with his family.

A statement by the company read: “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we at IBEDC hereby confirm the unfortunate passing of our staff, Mr. Adewale Adegoke, during the course of duty this morning as he was involved in an electricity related incident.

“He was confirmed dead at Teju hospital where he was rushed immediately after the incident at Onireke after all efforts to resuscitate him at the scene of the accident proved abortive.

“Our sincere condolence and prayers go to the family. We are currently investigating the course of this unfortunate incident,” the management stated.

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Yari Is The Most Useless Governor In Nigeria's History, Says Kadaria Ahmed

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:29am

Kadaria Ahmed, a veteran broadcast journalist and writer, says Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State is the most useless Governor in the history of Nigeria.

Ahmed stated this while addressing pressmen in Abuja, during a protest against the ineffectiveness of both Zamfara State government and the Federal Government on the incessant killings in the state.

When asked what she thought of the efforts of the state government in addressing the issue, she said: "As far as I am concerned, that Governor is the most useless governor in the history of Nigeria.

"Quote me: he is the most useless Governor in the history of Nigeria. This is a governor whose reaction to the killings in his state was to resign as the Chief Security Officer. He went on the record to say that he cannot be the Chief Security Officer. So, I don't know what he is still doing in office; he doesn't care.

"He only cares about the people of Zamfara when it comes to politics. The fact that they are getting killed does not concern him. He lives most of his time here in Abuja. How can you govern a state for eight years from Abuja? What sort of leadership is that? We are so happy he is on his way out.

"He is hopeless as a leader. He has not done well for our people. Under him, Zamfara has deteriorated."

The veteran said she grew up in Zamfara State, stating that the state has lost the peace and prosperity she used to know.

She called on Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the state.

"We are calling in President Muhammadu Buhari to show the people of Zamfara the same regards they have shown him. For two elections, they have come out in large numbers to vote for him. Can he also show that he cares about them?" Ahmed asked.

Zamfara State has been under attack by bandits who kill and kidnap people, as well as burn down farms and houses.

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At Least Five Killed, 32 Injured In Late-Night Twin Blasts In Maiduguri

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:10am

At least five persons were killed and 32 others seriously injured when twin bombs exploded in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, on Saturday night, residents have said.

The blasts occurred at Muna Dalti General of Jere Local Government Area of the state capital, sometime between 7:30pm and 8pm.

According to a resident, Musa Mohammed, who spoke to SaharaReporters, the bomber sneaked into the area to wreak havoc.

"Three persons were initially confirmed dead and 33 persons wounded, with the death toll later rising to five,” Mohammed said.

The Borno State Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force has evacuated the injured to the hospital.

“The area is calm and EOD teams and soldiers were seen there last night,” Mohammed also told SaharaReporters.

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BMO: INEC Acting Suspicious On PDP’s Server Claims

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:06am

The Buhari Media organization (BMO) has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to respond to the claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that it had access to the commission’s backend servers.

A statement by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke, chairman and secretary of the BMO, respectively, noted that the silence was "most worrisome".

According to BMO, INEC's "deafening silence" on the claims by PDP is "suspicious".

The statement read: “This is most frightening. That INEC is not alarmed or bothered by such blatant claim by the PDP to have procured the hacking of its systems – whether it is false or not  –is most worrisome.

We would have expected INEC to swing into clearing the air immediately and distancing itself from such criminal conduct. But INEC has kept a deafening silence. INEC’s silence on this confession of criminality against it is not golden.

“It is suspicious and carries a weight of taint that must be called out. It can be likened to a scenario where a thief says he has robbed a bank and the bank remains silent on the confession of robbery against it, whether its safes and money are intact or not. Silence is very weighty in any such instance."

BMO said the claim that it was in possession of results fraudulently fetched from the INEC servers was “a hoax and only an exhibition of the innate fraudulent character of the PDP". 

The group said: "The so-called results did not tally with reality, with fundamental errors such as the absence of votes of other political parties that participated during the election. Still, we believe that INEC ought not to be silent in the face of such wild allegations.

“The very character of the PDP is one of fraud, dishonesty and malfeasance; it is not out of its character to have made moves to procure the hacking into the INEC servers by some of the Commission’s staff. Its Freudian slip of this admission of the stupid attempt, however unsuccessful, must be dealt with and addressed with all sense of seriousness. This, INEC has failed to do.”

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'1,400 IDPs Face Starvation In Adamawa'

Sahara Reporters - 7 April 2019 - 12:01am

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Fufore, Adamawa State, are lamenting severe food shortage in the camp.

Baker Umar, one of the leaders at IDP camp in  Fufore, revealed this in Yola, on Saturday, stating that the camp has not received any food or relief materials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the last three months.

Umar said more than 1,400 IDPs, mostly women, children and elderly people, are facing starvation due to the acute food shortage in Fufore camp, claiming that they go to nearby villages to seek for food for survival. 

“In the past three months, NEMA has not supplied food to the camp and we are facing hunger. Because of the situation, we have been going to  Fufore town and other nearby villages to look for food in order to survive.”

Umar said he has been in the camp since 2014 and NEMA has been supplying food items monthly, but ever since last year, the supply of food has reduced drastically. 

He urged the authorities in charge of the distribution of the food to come to their aid.

However, Alhaji Abani Garki, NEMA Operational Officer in charge of Adamawa, told NAN that there was no food shortage in the camp. 

Garki said the agency has been notified  of the delay in supplying food to the camp.

He said: “There is nothing like starvation in the camp. In fact, the delay was not as they claimed because we experienced a short delay in  food supply in January  due to some logistic challenges which affected us in February and March."

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