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Suspected Cultists Kill 300-Level OOU student

19 July 2019 - 8:06am


A 19-year-old 300 level student of Olabisi Onabanjo University with matric number SMS/16/17/0983 was reportedly killed by suspected cultists in Ago-Iwoye area of Ogun State on Wednesday.

An eye witness, who pleaded anonymity, told SaharaReporters that the cultists came on a bike, and shot him at a close range before speeding off.

A statement by the OOU Students' Union President, Akinbo Afolabi, and the Public Relations Officer, Najimu Oladele, partly reads, “A student of this citadel of learning, Odeyale Sideeq Damilola, in the department of Business Administration, has been shot dead at his residence, No 3, Oke Ebute, Ago-Iwoye this evening by suspected cultists.

“According to an eye witness, who pleaded anonymity, the suspected cultists came on a bike, got very close to him and shot Sideeq in the eyes.

“Owing to this, the union hereby implore OOUITES to be careful of who they relate with, accept as friends and also the people they allow into their homes.If you notice any suspicious movement within your vicinity, kindly report the person to the nearest police station."

“A meeting was held with the university management and the king of Ago-Iwoye, and security operatives have swung into action," Afolabi told SaharaReporters on the phone.

The General Secretary of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Ogun JCC, Adeyemi Samson told SaharaReporters that there had been a series of meetings among stakeholders of the university, the monarch, Oba Oba Abdulrazak Adenugba of Ago-Iwoye, and the security operatives in the bid to find the culprits and bring them to justice.

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Boko Haram Kills Aid Worker In Borno, Three Others Missing

19 July 2019 - 7:57am


Boko Haram militants have killed a member of the Action Against Hunger, as well as a driver while three health workers are missing.

The incident happened when a convoy of the aid agency was heading to Damasak in Borno State.

The attack is coming a day after an army commander, colonel and some soldiers were ambushed in Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists. 

A statement by Action Against Hunger reads, “One of the drivers was killed, while one Action Against Hunger staff member, two of the drivers and three health workers are missing.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these are colleagues dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the northeast of Nigeria. We are very concerned and want to ensure that they are safe and can be reunited with their families.

“Action Against Hunger strives to ensure that millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria receive the essential services required for their survival, especially women and children.”

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Lagos State Emergency Responders Cry Out Over Unpaid Salaries

19 July 2019 - 7:55am


Emergency responders attached to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency have cried out over illegal pay cut, harsh working conditions, as well as four months of unpaid salaries.

A source at the agency told SaharaReporters that despite taking a pay cut, more than 50 emergency responders had been sacked since AVANT-GARDE Management Services (AMS) took over the management and operations of the call centre.

The shortage of staff, the source said, has led to the delay in response when a call is placed to the 112/767 emergency line because “most times, only 3 and 5 call centre agents will be at work as against the 50 agents per shift planned by Lagos state government.”

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) was established by the LASEMA Law 16 of 2008 for emergency and disaster management in the state in pursuance to decree 12 of 1999 as amended by Act No. 50 of 1999 which established the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The source told SaharaReporters that on January 16, 2019, AMS wrote a memo stating that “all member staff must take a 15% pay cut. The memo said that this would allow AMS to pay the staff salary hence the salary deduction. This, however, turned to be false.

The source said, “Equipment operators now sleep in the office because they work from 8 am-8 pm daily without break hours or public holiday. Staff HMO was stopped long ago. The last time staff pension was paid was July 2018.

“The state of most equipment is in comatose. What is the fate of the project? Who will address about 400 staff who are scared to lose their jobs if they speak? How will hungry people attend to distress calls?

And how many lives will be lost if emergency operations are grounded?"
 

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Mutual Suspicion And Worsening Security Situation By Raymond Oise-Oghaede

19 July 2019 - 7:03am


It is so unfortunate that insecurity is still waxing strong in our polity despite all efforts of the government to bring the menace under control. Day in, day out, people are being slaughtered like chickens and there is palpable fear in the heart of the masses.

Mutual suspicion has pervaded the nook and cranny of the country and this has provoked dilemma amongst the people as to the true identity (ies) of the perpetrators.

Thus, it did not come as a surprise when some people persistently point accusing fingers to the direction of the Fulani herdsmen. 

As a result, I tried as much as possible in my article titled “HERDSMEN AND THE STATE OF THE NATION” (which was published in February, 2018) to disabuse the minds of the citizenry from painting these nefarious activities with political, ethnic or religious coloration. 

I admonished the people from always jumping into conclusion to arrogating most of the killings to the herdsmen even without investigations by the security agencies. 

The review further cautioned that it will be a miscarriage of justice if innocent people are punished for crimes they did not commit. Therefore, I advised that all hands must be on deck to give necessary support to the government in the fight against insecurity. This was followed by “THE POLITICS OF INSECURITY IN OUR NATION” wherein, the people were also advised to disregard sentimental considerations in their perceptions about security issues for the good of the nation. 

It averred that there was the need for the collective and conscious efforts of all well-meaning Nigerians regardless of their tribal, religious and political affiliations to come together and rally round the government to fighting the wanton destruction of lives and properties squarely. 

I also cautioned that rather than waving aside the warnings of some statesmen and other well-meaning people; the government should engage in wide consultations with stakeholders (regardless of political affiliations) to finding lasting solutions to the menace and many others. Just recently, I wrote about “THE REAL ENEMIES OF OUR NATION”, and “INSECURITY AND THE PRESIDENTIAL IMPRECATION OF NECESSITY” to support issues raised in the previous articles; but, I doubt if these have yet made any considerable meaning to the people in the corridors of power.

Presently, insecurity has taken another dimension with the perpetrators having the guts and the wherewithal to abducting/kidnapping and killing travelers at will on the highways. 

There have been reports of some victims who were taken into the bush to be dehumanized beyond human comprehension. 

The lucky ones amongst them were released after they have been repeatedly gang-raped, tortured, sodomized and ransom collected from their loved ones; while, the unlucky ones never returned to recount their ordeals. 

As a result, there have been series of outcries from patriotic and well-meaning people for the government to do the needful about the undesirable situation; but, the last we heard was that the issues were exaggerated. 

However, some western countries have reacted by warning their citizens from visiting some cities in the country. Just recently and unfortunately, the daughter of a prominent statesman was killed in an attack on the highway (may her soul and those of others who have been killed in similar circumstances rest in perfect peace) and the best our people could do is to start up another argument about the identity of those behind the act. 

The fact that we are still at the stage of trying to prove or disprove the true identity(ies) of the perpetrators is an indication that we are undoubtedly divided in the fight against insecurity. 

If that be the case, it means that we still have a very long way to go. Interestingly, in the same “HERDSMEN AND THE STATE OF THE NATION” under reference; I advised further that if we continue to arrogate all crimes to a particular set of people without proof; it will be difficult to find lasting solutions to the problem. 

I even went as far as making an illustration of how the “real perpetrators” could disguise as herdsmen or native farmers/hunters to carry out any crime and thereby create identity problems for the people and the security agencies. 

So, it is unfortunate that some people are just waking up from their slumber to realize that it could possibly be so. 

Be that as it may, the fact remains that the security situation in the country is persistently worsening and the government has not been able to live up to expectations. It is, therefore, immaterial whether the perpetrators are herdsmen, bandits, vigilantes, kidnappers, hunters, armed robbers or cultists; the most important thing is to put an end to the menace. 

The government should step up its efforts towards discharging its cardinal responsibility of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. At this point, it is very important to mention that our security agencies have shown great gallantness; but, the situation at hand is very difficult unlike the conventional battlefield where enemies are easily identifiable; no one can say for sure who is who in the present circumstances. 

The perpetrators of these crimes are humans and they live amongst us. So, if we are not committed to cooperating with the security agencies; these criminals will remain elusive and continue in their devilish acts. This is also an obvious pointer to the pervading mutual suspicion because the people are not comfortably disposed to giving voluntary information for fear of same boomeranging at the end of the day.

That is the more reason why it is very crucial to restrategize and think outside the box in order to make meaningful headway. Consequently, our honest responses to the following pertinent questions will go a long way towards eradicating the menace from our polity:

(1) Is it the stockpiled ammunitions of over four years (during the previous administrations) that the perpetrators are still using to date?

(2) Is this administration sincerely committed to eradicating insecurity in the country? 
(3) Is this administration solely meant for members of the ruling party or the citizenry in general? And, 
(4) Are there any hidden/secret challenges hindering the government from achieving the desired results? 

If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative; then, why has the government (security agencies) not discovered the armoury where the arms are stockpiled ever since it came on board? In the same vein, if the answer is on the contrary; then, how did those sophisticated weapons (as we have been made to believe) got into the country under this administration? (It clearly shows that there is a need to improve on our intelligence gathering, and also ensure that our borders are better secured).

If the government is truly committed to eradicating the menace in response to the second question; then, why has there not been deliberate efforts to engage the rulers and leaders at the grassroots level with the aim of identifying the root causes of the problems and with a view to finding lasting solutions? (you will agree with me that the perpetrators are human; and, they live amongst the people. Give the people a sense of belonging and they will open up to you).

If the answer to the third question is in the affirmative; then it is undesirable and most unfortunate. Otherwise, why has the government not called an all-inclusive meeting of representatives of all political parties and other stakeholders in the country to deliberate on the monster called insecurity and other challenges facing the country? (It is not for the fun of it that democracy is defined as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. The people must be carried along in governance to get the best out of them).

The answer to the fourth question is also very important so that we can appreciate why it is taking the government `so long` to do the needful. The persistence reassurance that Leah Sharibu and other captives will be rescued sooner than later is an indication that the government is in contact with the captors and is abreast with the captives’ present condition. 

So, what is delaying her/their release? Why have there not been arrests, prosecutions and convictions of perpetrators over the years? (If Leah and others are still very much alive; get them released as soon as possible; otherwise, the mutual suspicion will persist).

As easy as the questions seem if they are given deep reflections; you will be surprised that the keys to unlocking the security challenges are therein. 
Therefore, the government needs to take bold steps to defuse the mutual suspicion pervading the country. The people have been brutally divided along political, tribal and religious lines; and, it will be very difficult, if not impossible for the nation to progress in such atmosphere. 

As an avowed proponent of good governance and peaceful coexistence amongst the citizenry; it will be a disservice to turn closed eyes and deaf ears to this perilous situation. Hence, I am using this medium to appeal to all patriotic citizens and friends of the country to come together and join forces with the government to save our country. Stop drumming for war. We have come a long way together. 

Let us remain united to do better things together. It does not matter whether we are Hausa, Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, Edo, Tiv, Berom, Ngas, Igala, Ibibio and Efik to mention but a few; or whether we belong to the ruling party or the opposition parties; or, whether we prefer this administration or still waiting on the tribunal/courts for a change; the most important thing is to save our country first. Let us always remember that, “without a country, there will not be a government”.

Please take note that the above recommendations are without prejudice to the subsisting suits at the various Election Petition Tribunals/Courts. 
Thanks.

Public Policy Analyst/Commentator,

Suru-Lere, Lagos.

08023116867 and 08099405562.

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Apostle Suleman, Nnamdi Kanu, And FFK Are Merchants Of Dangerous Tribalism By Churchill Okonkwo

19 July 2019 - 7:02am


Per Prof. Patrick Lumumba, people who are politically and intellectually bankrupt normally seek refuge in ethnicity and religion as their major fact of mobilization. The recent ethnoreligious politics over an image that represents the Fulani tribe on the new Nigerian Passport championed by “Apostle” Suleman, Nnamdi Kanu and Femi Fani-Kayode was sinister. It points to a new dangerous retreat to tribalism by doomsayers who are politically and intellectually bankrupt.

If you joined these doomsters in propagating that misleading and mischievous narrative that the inscription of your tribe’s ethnic identity together with that of the Fulani on our passport, is a confirmation that “Fulanization” has commenced, then, count yourself among the politically and intellectually bankrupt. It is you all that have made tribalism the central dividing line in our politics.

In practice, Nigerians of different ethnicities and religion live relatively peaceably. The question, thus, is; how do we explain the increasing polarization in attitudes? Why do so many ethnic groups regard others as threats? Why will Nnamdi Kanu and FFK feel happy when they saw their red-caps on our passport but felt threatened by cows that represent the Fulani ethnic group?

In today’s Nigeria, any group of three or more talking politics can’t make it past the first minute before the animosity and cynicism boils over and derails the conversation. A casual glance at the comment section of any Nigerian online publication and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter will reveal that the only consistent trait we still share is anger. From disagreement to disdain to the dehumanization of people with different views, the increasing level of animosity and hatred is pushing Nigeria to dangerous new tribalism.

There are thousands of glaring failures and incompetence that anyone that wants to attack Buhari can latch on without resorting to the dangerous politics of tribalism in demonizing the Fulani. It is unfortunate, very unfortunate that Nigerian politics is increasingly no longer about argument or discussion of substantive issues; but about trivialities and trying to put Nigerians with different political ideologies into the dark box of ethnicity and religion.  

Contrary to what Kanu, Suleman that calls himself an apostle and FFK will want you to believe, the real threat to social cohesion is not enmity between the Igbo and the Yoruba or the Igbo and the Fulani, but a regressive politics of identity that they are propagating. The problem with Nigeria is the emergence of a tribalized society in which people have an increasingly narrow sense of belonging. At the fringes, this can, for example, funnel disaffection into a sense of entitlement over grazing land on one hand, and into anti-Muslim-anti-Hausa hatred on the other.

The trio of Suleman, Kanu, FFK together with Obasanjo, Yinka Odumakin, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Christian Association of Nigeria, Northern Elders Forum, and Ohaneze are gradually shifting the mindset of millions of Nigerians from an identity politics that emphasized our common humanity, to an identity politics that emphasizes having a common enemy.

Here is how they manipulate Nigerians: by sowing seeds of disaffection in reframing mainstream politics as a war between “northern” and “southern” Nigerians and Muslims and non-Muslims alike, these merchants of dangerous tribalism propagate politics of identity. The result is that millions of Nigerians now see their problems through the narrow lenses of tribe, culture, and faith. 

Nigerians see values less as ideals than in terms of identity. For many non-Fulani, the nomadic culture of cattle rearing conjures images of oppression of farmers and Islamization agenda of the APC administration and Buhari. For many Fulani on the other hand, open grazing that leads to the destruction of crops in farms means no more than an affirmation of cultural tradition.

In Nigeria, urged by these merchants of dangerous tribalism, we have regressed to a primitive moral ethos. For years, we have been telling our tribes, for example, that the Igbo are terrible or that the Yoruba cannot be trusted or that the Hausa-Fulani are still marching towards the Atlantic to fully Islamize Nigeria. The result is that we now have two generations of Nigerians whose ancient tribal circuits are turned on and ready for battle.

It is not thus surprising that many Nigerians are thrilled with a sense of meaning and purpose as the merchants of dangerous tribalism push for Armageddon. Although we are not divided into warring camps, the consequences of tribalism have been devastating. The tribal common-enemy thinking is tearing us apart. It is fueling the heightened insecurity and derailing governance.

Suleman, Kanu, FFK and Nigerians attempting, by all means possible, to push Nigeria down this dangerous slope are merchants of ethnic nationalism. They see things that don’t exist and fail to recognize things that do. For example, how could “apostle” Suleman who happily collects Nigerian currency with the inscription of cows at his church use the same inscription to divide Nigerian?

If you encounter an ethnophobia with a mindset that is half empty, it makes your job of reorienting their mindset easier. The trouble is that many Nigerians like Suleman, Kanu and FFK have a full-closed mindset - saturated with garbage, hate, and hypocrisy. After cracking open and peeking into their mind, you realize that the purpose of education, which is to replace a closed mind with an open one, is made more taxing. First, is to empty the garbage in the mind of a would-be student.

The mindset of “Apostle” Suleman, Nnamdi Kanu, FFK and millions of Nigerians that have caught the bug of dangerous tribalism must be emptied if we are to avoid entering this unchartered and dangerous territory.  Every ethnicity and religion should stop fighting to write their own gospel that defines their own virtue. The oppressor and the oppressed should stop telling a story and building their own innocence on their status as victims. Because, as we all know, just about everybody can find a personal victim story.

For a political revolution to happen in Nigeria, we MUST do away with stereotyping and dangerous tribalism. We must STOP us versus them thinking. We MUST say no to the seductive whisper of seeking national disintegration from these merchants of doom. Throwing fuel on fire we, surely, consume us ALL. Only as a united Nigeria can we find a way forward, together.


Together, we can.

You can email Churchill at Churchill.okonkwo@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi

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EXCLUSIVE: How Akume, Suswam, Built A Kidnapping Empire In Benue State

19 July 2019 - 6:49am


Former Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam


George Akume

Former Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam

There are pieces of evidence that Gabriel Suswam, a former governor of Benue state, is currently funding and sustaining a violent kidnapping ring in his home state, SaharaReporters can confirm.

An exclusive investigative report obtained by SaharaReporters revealed that the first wave of carefully orchestrated violence started in 1999 on the orders of George Akume, who was then-governor of Benue State in 1999.

In the beginning -Akume

As his popularity diminished, Akume engaged the services of two members of his government at the time - Mzenda Iho, a former speaker of Benue State House of Assembly; and Emmanuel Udende, ex-commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs - for the purpose of mobilizing youths who were converted to political thugs for his re-election campaign. 

Subsequently, the thugs were overtly or covertly given the mandate to harass, intimidate and destabilize political opponents, snatch ballot boxes, obstruct electoral process or rig elections. 

The duo were from the Sankera part of Tiv, comprising Katsina-Ala, Logo, and Ukum in Zone A senatorial district.

The report showed Prof. Daniel Saror also tried to raise a similar group to counter the Akume's in Sankera axis, a task which proved unsuccessful. 

Aside from Senator Saror, Paul Unongo, then of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), also from the opposition, was able to match, violence for violence in the electoral process, Akume in Sankera and Kwande. 

The violence led to unprecedented bloodshed compelling the Senate to set up a committee led by Senator Iyabo Veronica Anisulowo; as well as the leadership of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, to intervene. 

Within the same Zone A, Akume recruited Chief Benjamin Aboho, a retired colonel, to perform similar duties in other local governments, which include Kwande and Ushongu LGAs. 

He was the main man countering Unongo. His allies were Chief Asom Bur and Mrs. Margret Gom, now late. 

Those recruited by the former governor were expected to deliver their respective constituencies to Akume with a promise that they would be returned to their offices after the elections. 

In Zone B senatorial district in the Minda axis, comprising Makurdi, Guma, Gwer West, Gwer East, Samuel Ortom, a local politician, now governor of the state, held forth for Akume.

George Akume
The Rise of Ama Bai

In the same Zone B in the Jembagh area, Ama Bai, suspected to have a long history in armed robbery, was recruited by Akume, supported by Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and the late Comrade Baver Zeremo, a former Tarka Local Government chairman, to oversee activities in the Jembagh area comprising Gboko, Tarka and Buruku. 

Bai, who recently lost his son, Orkuma Ama Bai, to a rival gang, was said to have committed a lot of atrocities in the area. 

He went on a killing spree in retaliation of the murder of his son. Because of his violent activities and relationship with the state government, a young man was killed by a mob, nicknamed One Man Squad, in order to give security operatives working on the case a false impression that it was not Bai that is causing mayhem in the area. 

Among cases linked to Bai was the murder of an expatriate with the Benue Cement Company in Yandev, Gboko. 
The second was the case of Mr. Ternenge Labe, owner of Lambeth Pharmacy around Bristow roundabout in Gboko. 

He was killed after they failed to recruit him to poison and assassinate Senator Barnabas Gemade under the instruction of Suswam during the electioneering for the 2015 general elections, the report said. 

However, they did not know Labe had revealed the plot and his objection to kill Gemade to his wife before he was killed him. 

The Nigeria Police Force commenced investigations into the murder but powerful political interests led by Suswam intervened and scuttled the investigation. 

 

How Suswam Sustained Akume's Violent Legacy 

In 2007, Suswam, popularly known by his Tiv kinsman as Kpatema U Iee, literally meaning 'black cat' in Tiv, emerged as the state's governor. 

Being a beneficiary of the entrenched violence structure, the report noted, Suswam then became conscious of the need to sustain and use the established structure to retain power and impose his hegemony in Tiv politics and Benue State. 

Suswam was reported to have recruited a more sophisticated and ruthless killer squad. It was at this point that Suswam recruited a younger and unknown member of one of the militia groups, Terwase Agwaza, popularly known as Gana; a violent village youth, petty thief and a school drop-out.

 

Introduction of Kidnapping into Benue Politics

Adopting the Niger-Delta militancy approach under the tutelage of Suswam, many Benue people began to fear Gana as the Tompolo of Tiv. At this point, Suswam introduced kidnapping to the Gana group.

Their targets were clearly political opponents and relations. 

The Gana group was well-funded, assisted to acquire arms and shielded by the state government. His closeness to Governor Suswam made him become so powerful that after security meetings of the state's Exco, he had access to the deliberations and would confront, visit the homes of state officials, reminding them of their contributions and what they said about him at the state security meeting. These made people become unsafe and feared Gana the more. 

 

ADC Dickson Orlu Pawa; Gana Goes Wild

Suswam subsequently appointed Dickson Orlu Pawa, a police officer as his ADC. He is from Sankera. The governor, through the ADC heavily funded Gana with public funds to acquire arms and recruit many youths for his gang.

Suswam had high trust and confidence in Gana because they have blood relationship and kinship affinity; while Gabriel Suswam is from Gambe/Tiev, Terwase Agwaza, Gana, is from Gambe/Ya – both of the Shitile clan of Sankera, part of Tiv land. 

Gana became so powerful that politicians, businessmen and other stakeholders in the state started paying unsolicited levies to him which provided a veritable source of revenue for his squad. The levies were necessary for the safety of the payers and their family members, not to incur the wrath of Gana. 

The report added that Gana further expanded his militia group in the entire Sankera land and other parts of Tiv. The heavy funding by the Suswam government attracted school drop-outs and other young men who had abandoned their trades and handiworks, to go into militia activities because it became a reliable source of employment and an easy way to get rich quick.

 

The Emergence of Spaco: The First Kidnap Operation

In Zone B senatorial district, Markudi, Suswam made one of Gana’s allies, popularly called Spaco, the commander of another squad.  

Spaco became too powerful that even the commissioner of police, property owners and companies consulted and paid homage to him. The situation was such that even the police and other security agencies could not tame Spaco because of closeness to the governor.

Spaco was suspected to have carried out the first kidnapping operation in Benue under Suswam’s instruction. The first kidnap victim of the gang was the son of Clement Nanev Uhondu, a former member of the Benue State House of Assembly, representing Guma. He was a notable critic of the Suswam administration.

After a series of appeals by Tiv leaders that kidnapping is strange to Tiv society and politics, the kidnappers abandoned Uhondu’s son at a petrol station in Makurdi after three days.

 

Expanding the Militia Groups 

Other militia groups were also established and funded by Suswam under different social mobilization identities.  

These included the Suswam Boys, Shitile Youths for Suswam, Katsina-Ala Central Youths for Suswam, Minda Youths for Suswam. 

In practice, they were thugs terrorizing people and were shielded by the state government from arrest or being clamped down by the police and other security operatives.

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Breaking: Colonel, Captain Killed As B’Haram Ambushes Troops

19 July 2019 - 6:22am


Two senior military officers, a colonel and captain, as well as three other soldiers were killed on Wednesday as the Nigerian troops recorded another gain in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations.

The colonel, captain as well as the three soldiers, were said to have run into an ambush of fleeing terrorists from Jakana, while on transit from Maiduguri to Damaturu, leading to their unfortunate death.

However, the Nigerian troops reportedly killed an unspecified number of Boko Haram fighters loyal to ISIS and recovered many war equipment. Among the equipment recovered are one anti-aircraft gun, two rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) tubes, two AK 47 Rifles, fifteen machine gun rounds and twelve AK 47 NATO rounds.

A statement signed by Colonel Ado Isa, Deputy Director, Public Relations of Operation Lafiya Dole, states that the troops "dealt with and neutralised Boko Haram terrorists when they attempted to infiltrate a military base.

"Troops of 212 Battalion deployed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Jakana, on17July 2019 dealt with and neutralised an unconfirmed number of Boko Haram/ISWAP Terrorists when they woefully attempted to infiltrate our base in dire need for logistics.

"The terrorists came at about 1845 hours in seven gun trucks and fought fiercely to infiltrate the camp, but the attack was thwarted with heavy fire and bombardment by the gallant and patriotic troops who were vigilant and battle-ready.

"The terrorists couldn't bear the firepower any longer after losing a significant number of both equipment and personnel in an exchange of fire. They lost initiative and withdrew in disarray along the Benisheikh - Damaturu axis, - abandoning a damaged utility gun truck which was earmarked to convey looted items.

"The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai , while commiserating with the families of the fallen heroes reiterated that "Personnel of the Nigerian Army will never be deterred in the ongoing noble and patriotic fight against terrorism and insurgency in the North East.”

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Olakunrin: In Defense Of Fulani Herdsmen By SOC Okenwa

19 July 2019 - 5:53am


Those conversant with my online published weekly opinions on national issues would readily testify to the demonstrated fact that I have never been a fan of either the notorious Fulani herdsmen or the controversial APC Chieftain Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

We are for no one but Nigeria, justice and democracy. Our guiding principle for over a decade has been 'for God and country'. Each time one hits the digital keyboard the immortal words of the assassinated Burkinabe revolutionary leader, Capt. Thomas Sankara, "pour la patrie ou la mort nous vaincrons" (for the fatherland or death we shall overcome) rings a deafening bell in one's consciousness.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former irrepressible Lagos State Governor and the indisputable godfather of the rich mega city-state, is a wily political animal whose interventions in national political affairs often ruffled opposition feathers. Personally one may not like his 'area-boy' methods but they have been serving his vested interests over the years as he sought to consolidate power by proxy controlling and commanding the state politico-economic social structures in Lagos. Tinubu still nurses higher dreams and ambitions and no one would deny him these fantasies.

The Fulani cattle herders came to national limelight through their atrocious exploits in pursuit of wealth or dominance. Cattle rearing is an agro-business venture dating back centuries. It is, therefore, ordinarily, a legitimate nomadic business. But when this cow-herding business transforms itself into a terrorizing enterprise by seeking to water the cows' paths with the blood of the innocent then it must be criminalized.

Last weekend along the Benin-Sagamu Expressway, precisely in Ore town, some unknown assailants had waylaid travellers on the ever-busy highway. When the smoke cleared from the kidnapping incident the 58-year old daughter of the 94-year old nationalist, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the Afenifere national leader, Mrs Funke Olakunrin, had been gruesomely murdered! Her car was riddled with bullets. Other travellers were not spared in the attack as inter-state luxurious buses of Young Shall Grow Motors and other motorists reportedly fell victim to the marauders.

Ever since the tragic incident in south-east Ondo State prominent Nigerians had been visiting the home of the old Afenifere chieftain to express their condolence and solidarity. Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Tinubu etc. They were all united by grief lamenting the accentuated galloping insecurity across the federation. Indeed President Buhari has lost every claim of being on top of the situation. His home state of Katsina is now as insecure as Borno state or any other state for that matter. Yet the lanky executive herder seemed aloof and clueless!

Since independence over half a century ago, Nigeria has never had it so bad a situation, one that reduces the worth of an average citizen's life to that of a cow! For us 'infidels', therefore, the lives of cows may very well be considered more important than ours in the scheme of things in Nigeria. Weep, folks, weep! Weep for a beloved nation led by 'cows' and herders!

During his well-publicized visit to Pa Fasoranti recently Asiwaju Tinubu courted controversy by his declaration. Yet he might be right by declaring unapologetically that the opposition forces were playing silly politics with the horrendous assassination of the beloved daughter of the nonagenarian Afenifere leader. He had sought desperately to remove the Fulani herdsmen from the picture of the dastardly killing. 

But he, wittingly or unwittingly, played hypocritically by falling into the same category he had railed against. By alluding to a financial gesture he extended to the fallen woman in the past Tinubu was smartly trying to remind the rest of us of his generosity and godfatherly pre-eminence.

While we acknowledge here that the Fulani armed and dangerous herdsmen are criminally involved lately in daring kidnapping raids for ransom a la Boko Haram we hold that no tangible evidence thus far implicated them in this bloody case. But by bringing Evans the imprisoned billionaire kidnapper into the mix in desperate efforts to divert attention Tinubu should have educated us more about how abduction or '419' or 'Oluwole' started in the country in the first place.

President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated his lack of executive capacity to nip the ubiquitous insecurity in the land in the bud. If the primary purpose of governance is not fighting corruption or juggling the economic indices but the protection of lives and properties of the people then Buharism scores an irredeemable 'F'. And therein lies the major national problem: leadership.

We must, however, collectively look at the issue with a larger-picture mindset. For too long concerned Nigerians have been hinting at restructuring as a sure remedy to our national malaise. With a restructured federation every component federating unit would feel safe in the forced union. The restructuring would bring about a state policing mechanism that would considerably deal with teething problems Mohammed Adamu's Abuja federal police formation has failed to solve.

The restructuring would ensure equity and justice in the system. And development would follow suit! The restructuring would tame corruption considerably bringing about healthy competition from the states. The reward for merit and excellence would be enthroned in such comprehensive devolution of powers from the confused centre to the federating states.

The cabal close to the seat of power in Abuja should consider it imperative explaining in details (possibly in the Hausa language) to their principal what restructuring entails. Its benefits and advantages should be explained equally dispassionately to the President so that he could understand better the historic responsibility of leadership vis-a-vis this national security emergency on our hands.

Until an exhaustive diligent investigation was carried out with culprits identified and brought to book formally we are inclined to rise in defence of the Fulani herdsmen! Any suggestion or imputation of responsibility at this stage, in this regard, remains, in the eyes of the law, gossiping. Linking them hastily to the bloody Ore kidnapping episode nay, terrorism at mid-day could be likened to calling a dog a bad name to gag it or hang it.

 

SOC Okenwa

soco_abj_2006_rci@hotmail.fr

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The Coming Oodua Nation By Remi Oyeyemi

19 July 2019 - 5:50am


In certain quarters, views have been expressed whether when we eventually get our own Nation, the Oodua Nation, we would be saved the agonies of incompetence, the anguish of corruption and or throes of treacherous leadership.

These are legitimate views and fears. They should be expressed and entertained. Doubts should be expressed and be catered to. For it is only the foolish that does not doubt. Doubts are essential for true progress. They are the greatest tools of the wise. Doubts help to measure where you are and where you need to be and how to get there.

Doubts are the barometers of our dreams, the thermometer to measure the temperature of our efforts and the stethoscope to gauge the beating of our hearts in the face of adversity. Our efforts must not go cold. Our hearts must be strong enough to face the adversities.

We could not and should not be afraid of our future in the Oodua Republic. If Obafemi Awolowo was afraid, he would not take the bulls by the horns in 1951. It would have a great opportunity lost.

If Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah had given in to fears and intimidation, the birth of Ghana would have been delayed until God knows when. If Sekou Toure had been cowed by the threats and eventual cruelties of the French, who plundered his country to nakedness, Guinea would have remained in bondage. Sendar Senghor had not the courage of a titan, the trajectory of Senegal would have been very much different.

If Jomo Kenyatta had not fought like a ravenous leopard, his ancestral lands would still be occupied by the racists from Europe. If Kenneth Kaunda had not the will to endure and persevere, Zambia might still not be free. If Julius Nyerere did not strive to overcome his doubts and believe in his dreams and vision for his people, Tanzania might still be in colonial bondage.

If Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru had succumbed to the tyranny of the British Empire, India would not have been free in 1948. If Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Mohammad Iqbal, Agha Khan lll and others had failed to follow their dreams and worked towards them, Pakistan would not have been freed from the British and India.

While our fears propel us to have doubts, our doubts should be tooled towards the unending possibilities of the Oodua Nation; the innate greatness of the children of Oduduwa that would be unbound and unleashed.

 I have confidence in the discharge of the ethos of the fundamentals of Omoluabi as a veritable tool in our arsenal. I have faith that the burst of the cotyledons of patriotic energy, that have been arrested since October 1, 1960, would inevitably, be let loose in a manner never seen in human history.

 There would be a joyous eruption of enthusiasm to rebuild from the ruins of about 60 years of war with an amorphous but enslaving entity called Nigeria. It would be an unshackling of a Nation after over a Century of British inspired dreary dungeon.

We have what it takes in all ramifications. The economic resources are boundless. The natural resources are there. The human resources are amazing. Geographically, we are blessed. Weather is a child of Oodua. Arable land, his twin.

Yes, like every nation on earth, we would have our issues. We would have our challenges. We would fight among ourselves, argue among ourselves, agree and disagree with ourselves. But it would be among siblings, children of the same parents.

 There is nothing as priceless as FREEDOM and LIBERTY. There is no greater satisfaction in the entire human history or human psychology that is greater than being in control of your DESTINY.

If the roads of Nigeria was paved with Gold from Badagry to Maiduguri or Calabar to Sokoto, it would still be gold in slavery. It would be gold in bondage. It would be useless. Meaningless. And valueless.

And by the way, he who owns the slave owns his belongings. Yes, it would not be worth the DREAMS and ASPIRATIONS of our children. It would not be worth the cost of the limitations to their potentials. It is always better to eat tasteless bread on the dining table than to gulp the best champagne under the table.

We must strive to give our children the right to self determine their DESTINY in a Nation of their own so that they could prove to the World at large that the Negroid race is not cursed. We should give them the leverage to inspire others.

Oodua Nation is THE MANIFEST DESTINY of the YORUBA PEOPLE. It could be delayed, but not impeded. Its attainment could be slowed, but could not and would not be frustrated.

With all the anticipated challenges of building a Nation, Oodua Republic would be a beauty to behold. It would be a semifinal study in a positively deployed human capacity incompetence and competition.

 It would be a perfect example of humaneness of man, the kindness of brotherliness and the affection of sisterliness. It would be an edification of citizenship and adulation of the citizenry.

 Our culture shall be decontaminated. Our agelong philosophy of cosmology shall take pride of place. Our preeminent secularism shall be rebirthed. The Yoruba Language, when revived and refined, shall be a means and ways of class as well as taste exudation of intellect and civility.

 Oodua Nation shall be a veritable pride of the Negroid race, respected by the comity of all Nations. As Martin Luther King Jr., I have been to the Mountain Top, I have seen the Promised Land of the coming Oodua Nation, it is full of milk and honey. We shall be there in due course.

 We shall occupy, soon and in unity, our God-given land. From the banks of River Niger to the belly of the acquiescent ocean, sandwiching luscious and luxuriating gifts of nature.

My fellow Yoruba brothers and sisters, I plead with you to gird your loins and be ready for the imminence of this New Dawn. I beseech thee in the following immortal words of President John F. Kennedy to:

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival of liberty." The triumph of our freedom is nigh and the integrity of the Yorubaland shall be reclaimed

Oodua land shall be free.

"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it."

-John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1960.

 

©Remi Oyeyemi

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REVEALED: Nigeria Is Infiltrated By Three Forces Behind Herdsmen, Says Gani Adams

19 July 2019 - 5:47am


Gani Adams, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland says Nigeria, particularly the south-west of the country is being infiltrated by three forces that are behind rampaging herdsmen, adding that he will no longer allow Yoruba people to be killed like fowls by the herdsmen.

He spoke to journalists on Thursday night after a condolence visit to Pa Reuben Fasoranti over the death of his daughter. 

Fasoranti's daughter, Mrs. Olufunke Olakunrin was killed by suspected herdsmen last Friday on the Benin-Ore express road. 

The 58-year-old mother of two girls had visited her father in Akure and was returning to Lagos when she was killed in a suspected failed kidnap attempt. 

The Yoruba generalissimo said: “My own Aare Ona Kakanfo is a modern one. It is not that of the olden days where the Alaafin and some Yoruba obas with the Oyo Meesi will declare war and you can go to war. We have the structure of security on the ground, the entire security apparatus.

"We can no longer allow our people to be killed like chickens. We can't keep quiet while Yoruba are being killed like fowls. We are being cautious so that we won't be set up. And the law is there that we have to operate within its ambits that is one of the reasons we are being careful.

"We don't want a situation we walk into their trap because we realize that this ugly incident is being coordinated beyond our own scene."

Continuing, he stated: How can ordinary Fulani herdsmen be holding AK 47? In our findings, the AK 47 rifle goes for about N1 million and with many bullets. So, we are looking beyond ordinary Fulani herdsmen. We realized that there are some forces behind them in three phases. 

"Those who strike in the bush, those who issued statements to back them and those who are strategists and give instructions to those that strike. Our problem in Yoruba land is that we do not prepare. We always react and when we tell our people to prepare, they employ a nonchalant attitude to it. We should stop becoming a paper tiger as Yoruba people. Let us talk less with more actions. When you come here you should not reveal your tactics about insecurity. 

"We have to go back to the drawing board and map out a strategy and in a situation that they won't turn us to a rebel and with the information at my disposal is that they are just looking for a slight mistake to hang on to."

He also disclosed that he had been meeting with various organizations in order to map out a strategy on how to protect the region against attack from marauding herdsmen.

"Don't forget, that the governors are the chief security officers of their states and in a sensitive security situation like this, we have to be very careful not to jump the gun. 

"I can tell you authoritatively that we are meeting as a group and even as stakeholders to map out strategies that will help us to complement efforts of the law enforcement agencies. I have seen this signal. I have the information. Last year, I wrote to our governors and a summit on security was held three weeks ago just within three hours we couldn't conclude that summit they left that venue. 

"They are the chief security officer of their states and anything that happens within their state is an embarrassment to them. 

"Don’t forget that they are the ones collecting all the security votes. As the Aare Ona Kankafo, I only use my personal fund. We are talking about someone that is ready to sacrifice anything for his own race and not reading political meaning to all that is happening," he explained.

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Electricity Consumers To Start Getting Meters Before Payment August, Says Nigerian Government

19 July 2019 - 5:06am


Prepaid meter

Nathan Shatti, Commissioner of Finance and Management Services at the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), says electricity consumers will be able to purchase prepaid meters before making a payment from August 1. Shatti made this disclosure to Punch Newspapers at the sideline of a press briefing in Lagos.

He explained that the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme has two payment options— an upfront payment and a post-payment alternative. 

Based on his explanation, customers will be able to pay in instalments through a monthly service charge fee, for between one to 10 years. 

He noted that the initiative began with the former ‘for obvious reasons.’ Shatti also revealed that the scheme which was supposed to fully kick off in May was delayed by some documentation hitches.

“Currently, we have asked or encouraged the MAPs to concentrate on the upfront payment for obvious reasons. The payment by instalment is scheduled to commence on August 1, 2019,” he informed. Shatti stated that Discos have given MAPs designated areas and meter rollout plans for those areas,

“MAPs will then determine the type of meter the customer needs and the customer will decide how long (the period) he/she plans to pay for the metering services.

“After confirming the type of meter and period of repayment, the MAP will install meters across the whole area in an organised and systematic manner – no exception, all customers without meters in those areas must be metered by the MAP,” Shatti explained. 

Speaking on the delayed takeoff of the MAP scheme, the NERC commissioner said, “Although the installations did not commence immediately across the country as anticipated, due to the need to finalize some documentations and also mobilize the supply of meters, I am happy to report that the installations of meters have now commenced across various Disco franchise areas.”

The directive setting out the creation of the MAP scheme was made in April 2018. 

It was aligned with a mandate to all distribution companies, who failed to carry out customer enumeration before buying electricity supply assets from the defunct National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA), to do so. 

Under the MAP scheme, companies known as MAP, will take the burden of meter role out from the distribution companies and supply the equipment to customers, after receiving clearance from the Discos.

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Probe Soldiers' Stealing Of Millions Of Naira, Reveal Identity Of Moneybag, Say HEDA, CISLAC

19 July 2019 - 5:05am


Nigeria's federal lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives have been called upon to probe the recent stealing of hundreds of millions of naira by some soldiers detailed to escort a top government official.

Reports earlier in the week said the soldiers were detailed on July 11 to escort a bullion van backed with a convoy of Toyota Hilux and a Buffalo gun truck from Sokoto to Jaji. 

The soldiers, after they escorted the cash to Jaji airstrip were said to have refused to load the money into a waiting jet.

In a joint statement on Friday, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre/Transparency International, Nigeria (CISLAC) said Nigerians needed full disclosure on the scandal saying it was a national embarrassment. 

The group noted that it was unfortunate that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Buratai, had refused to speak on the embarrassing development. 

The two organizations said the "stealing of the money by soldiers" who should represent a qualitative moral fabric of the country raised serious questions about Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against corruption.

“We call on the National Assembly to probe this incident. The House Committee on Defence needs to provide the necessary clue. There is no doubt that the action of these soldiers will have a serious impact on the campaign against terrorism. The Senate should get to the root of this matter before it is too late. If nothing is done, other soldiers on the frontline may be encouraged to embark of stealing of national assets,” Olanrewaju Suraju and Anwalu Rafsanjani stated.

The groups said the Senate should unravel the owner of the money to either confirm or deny speculations that the funds belonged to Major General Hakeem Otiki, the General Officer Commanding, 8th Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto.

HEDA and CISLAC said that security operatives should be the best examples in any country’s campaign against corruption, adding that the theft indicated that the soldiers have no iota of discipline and respect for the President Muhammadu Buhari.

The groups said, “They dared the consequences of crime probably because they knew it was a trend in the armed forces. There is a major problem if security operatives have no respect for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces”. 

A few days ago, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) handed over to Voice of Nigeria a property belonging to a former military chief to the government by a court. 

The groups stated further: “We call on the National Assembly to treat this issue as a top priority. Who are these soldiers? How much was the money involved? Who owns the money? Is the money owned by an individual or by the country? Is the money the proceeds of crime? There are many questions waiting to be answered.”

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Jacob Zuma Withdraws From Corruption Inquiry, Says He's Being Treated As 'Guilty'

19 July 2019 - 5:03am


Jacob Zuma, former President of South Africa has withdrawn from the corruption inquiry set up to probe his administration, saying that he would no longer give evidence in the probe over his administration.

Zuma’s lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane, according to Times Live, wrote to disclose that his client would no longer be giving evidence to the inquiry.

He wrote: “You will recall that on Monday, I expressed my reservations that a commission, which is a creature of statute, which has set out ground rules, writes a letter in June to say ‘we are calling your client in terms of no rules’.

“We expressed our reservations because this commission at all times has to comply with its ground rules.

“Basically, our client from the beginning was treated as someone who must come and answer, as someone who is accused. Everyone [every witness] who came had a grievance against him. See Also Corruption I Am Not ‘King Of Corruption’ In South Africa, Jacob Zuma Tells Anti-Corruption Panel 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

“We said our client sat waiting to be treated just like you treated [other witnesses].

“This commission does not know who is guilty, it’s trying to find out.

“A legal process must be cleansed of prejudices which come from outside… We, therefore, submit to you that there is something irrational about a parallel approach to the witness.

“We’ve come to tell you that because of the reservations we’ve raised and our experience in this room that my client has instructed me that he will take no further part in these proceedings.”

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Father Rapes Daughter, 15, To Confirm Her Virginity

19 July 2019 - 3:33am


A 37-year-old man, Wasiu Orilonise has confessed to repeatedly raping his 15-year-old daughter to confirm if she was a virgin and to protect her.

Wasiu who appeared in Oyo State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ibadan, however, appealed to the court to forgive him as he did that only to confirm if her daughter was still a virgin.

The prosecutor, Mr Sunday Ogunremi, told the court that the accused had sometime in December 2018 at Omo village, Agbofieti, Ibadan, in the Ibadan Magisterial District, raped the victim without her consent.

Ogunremi said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 34, sub-sections 1 and 2 of the Child Rights Law of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2006.

The plea of the accused was, however, not taken during the arraignment.

When the Chief Magistrate, Mr Taiwo Olaniran, sought to know what pushed him into defiling his biological daughter, Orilonise said since he lost his wife a few years ago, he had been taking care of the victim and her siblings.

He told the court that he committed the act in order to protect his daughter.

Orilonise said the incident happened when he was trying to ascertain if the victim had lost her virginity, adding that upon discovering that she was still a virgin, he started having sex with her regularly before she would leave for school and at night.

The magistrate berated fathers who were fond of sexually abusing their daughters and other under-aged girls, saying they were allowing the devil to use them to destroy the society.

He ordered that the accused be remanded in the Agodi Prison pending legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions and adjourned the case until July 30, 2019, News Agency of Nigeria reports

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United States Of Biafra: Asari Dokubo Urges Niger Deltans To Join South-east, Slams Northerners

19 July 2019 - 3:09am


Asari Dokubo, founder of the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force has declared his support for the actualization of Biafra while calling on Niger Delta people to return home following threats from Arewa youths.

His declaration came on the heels of northerners asking herdsmen to leave the South and the suspended implementation of Ruga settlements in parts of Nigeria. 

Dokubo made his position known in a meeting with leaders of Niger Delta states.

He said: "We, the people of the Niger Delta today, resolved to be part and parcel of the actualization the United States of Biafra.

"What has brought us here today is the dark cloud that is gathering. In 1967, we did not ask for war, war was imposed on us and millions of our people were killed. Our properties were destroyed and so many people until today are carrying the scars of that imposed war. 

"Our people have not gone to Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Borno to ask that land be forcefully given to us or that our resources should be used to give us properties in the north. 

"But northern organizations and northern individuals have come up to say we must surrender our land to them to create colonies on our land. Are you going to allow that?

"We will not surrender one grain of sand of our sacred land to anybody. We will stand on our land and wait for you to come and carry out your threat and inshallah by the grace of God we will defeat you.

"We have heard that you have called your people to come back home. They should all go, we will assist them to leave (because) this is what we have been looking for all along.

"We call on our people, Igbo, Ibibio, Ikwerre, Ijaw return back home. If anything happens to you and this coward spines on you, you would have yourself to blame. We would not continue to risk our integrity and our pride because of you, return home now.

"We extend a hand of fellowship to our brothers in the middle belt who are suffering the same pain and deprivation as we do. We are with you in your hours of grief and pain and we will stand with you to the end.

"To our Yoruba brothers in Afenifere, and the leader of Afenifere whose daughter has been gruesomely murdered by this Gambari invaders. We condole with you but this is the price we have to pay to wake up."

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AFCON 2021: Nigeria Draws Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Benin

19 July 2019 - 1:12am


Nigeria has been drawn with Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Benin Republic in Group L of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

The draw took place on Thursday evening at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Cairo, NAN reports.

African football icons Nwankwo Kanu, Samuel Eto’o, Khalilou Fadiga, Geremi Njitap, El Hadji Diouf and Jose Clayton were in attendance.

CAF Deputy General Secretary of Football and Development, Anthony Baffoe, was in charge of proceedings and he was assisted by Algerian football great Rabah Madjer, Eto’o and Nigeria’s Kanu.

The 48 teams were drawn into 12 groups of four teams in addition to the four winners of the preliminary round.

In Group A, Mali will join Guinea, Namibia and the winners between Liberia and Chad for size, while Group B has Burkina Faso, Uganda, Malawi and Djibouti/Gambia.

AFCON 2019 quarter-finalists South Africa will have their hands full in Group C against Ghana and Sudan.

AFCON 2019 hosts Egypt have been paired with Kenya, Togo and Comoros Island.

While Togo and Comoros Island could not reach the 2019 Nations Cup, Kenya made the trip to Egypt but could not go farther than the group stage.

Hosts Cameroon will participate in the qualifiers even though the team are guaranteed a spot in the finals regardless of their ranking in the group.

Their matches and results will count in determining the qualification of the other teams from their groups, namely Cape Verde, Mozambique and Rwanda.

Preliminary round of the qualifiers will be played in October 2019, while the group stage will kick off in November and will end in November 2020.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Finals of the 33rd edition except Group F.

In that group, Cameroon automatically qualify as hosts alongside the highest-placed of other three teams.

The top two teams will book their place for the 33rd edition of the championship.


AFCON 2021 QUALIFIERS FULL LIST

Group A – Mali, Guinea, Namibia, Liberia/Chad

Group B – Uganda, Malawi, Burkina Faso, South Sudan/Seychelles.

Group C – South Africa, Sudan, Ghana, Mauritius/Sao Tome.

Group D – Gabon, Angola, DR Congo, Djibouti/Gambia.

Group E – Mauritania, Central African Republic, Morocco, Burundi.

Group F – Mozambique, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Rwanda.

Group G – Egypt, Kenya, Togo, Comoros Island.

Group H – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Algeria, Botswana

Group I – Guinea Bissau, Congo, Senegal, Eswatini.

Group J – Tanzania, Libya, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea.

Group K – Madagascar, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia.

Group L – Sierra Leone, Benin, Nigeria, Lesotho.

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COZA Rape Scandal: We Can't Condemn Pastor Fatoyinbo, Rape Allegation Remains Allegation, Says CAN

19 July 2019 - 1:01am


The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle, says the Christian group will not condemn the founder of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor Abiodun Fatoyinbo over an allegation of rape.

According to him, no matter how egregious an allegation may be, it remains an allegation until proven otherwise; that is until it is properly investigated and we have a truth to hold on to.

”We have told you without mincing words that we will never support immorality in whatever form, it is alien to the culture of the church, to the teachings of Christ.

”And there is no pulpit that I know in Nigeria that the members are taught immorality, but we will not condemn until we have reasons to condemn, let the panel come out with the result let’s know what the truth is.

”I told you in the press release we issued that we have given the right to Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), because we don’t deal with individual churches, we deal with blocs.

”We have directed PFN, an arm of a bloc, which is also large enough to investigate that matter. I am telling you under God that PFN has set up that panel and that panel had been given two weeks within which to submit its report,

”Not only that, the two individuals involved have been invited by the committee and we are assuring them that nothing will be covered,” he said.

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Tell Your Violent Members To Stop The Killing - Christian Association Of Nigeria Tells Miyetti-Allah

19 July 2019 - 12:33am


Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday urged the leadership of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to call their members who are violent to order.

The President, CAN, Dr Samson Ayokunle, who made the call at a news conference in Abuja, said until they were called to order they cannot regain the trust and respect of Nigerians.

The cleric explained that nobody hates the Fulani until some Fulani began to act violently and killing innocent people.

CAN said that if there was any enemy from any Fulani man, the Fulani man created the enemy for himself, they have been living peacefully for many years in our various communities, till the killing issues started.

”In those days, our children married them, they married our children, but when they became too violent and started carrying AK47, killing people, what type of play is that? that’s a dangerous play.

”We can no longer think we are friends with that type of play it’s too dangerous, so let them call their people to order and ensure that they remove the enmity they have created around an average Fulani person,” he said.

He challenged their leaders to call out the violent ones among them to order, that is the only way people will respect them and people can trust them again.

Ayokunle also charged the government to step up its security system across the country with a view to stopping the unending killings, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

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Government Plans To Issue Birth Certificates For Cattle

19 July 2019 - 12:31am


Plans have reached an advanced stage for the issuance of “birth certificates” for the animals as well as registration of all farmers and their cattle by the Ugandan government.

Ugandan Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja, said the move became necessary to enable government trace where the products are coming from.

Ssempijja explained that the international market demanded that all countries producing food for the European market needed to provide proof so that the food could be traced.

“They want to know where the meat and crop products are coming from.

“They have been impounding and banning all consignments from Uganda if they find one box with issues.

“Farmers will be registered and their products given barcodes so that if they find a problem with one box, they look for the source and sort out the problem.

“We cannot enter lucrative markets unless farmers register,” he said at the official opening of the National Agricultural Show in Jinja, southern Uganda.

Ssempijja added that all the cattle must be registered and given “birth certificates”.

“For cattle farmers, it is going to be worse. You will be registered as a farmer, the cow will be registered, numbered and will have a birth certificate because the importers of our products demand meat for cows aged between 15 to 24 months.

“So we are going to sell the meat depending on their age,” he added.

An audit team from the European Union is expected to arrive in Uganda in September to that effect, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

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Atiku Gets 55 Cartons Of Documents From INEC As He Closes His Case Today

19 July 2019 - 12:29am


Ahead of  Friday's sitting, the Independent National Electoral Commission has produced the documents which the presidential election petitions tribunal, in Abuja called for on Wednesday at the instance of the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

The documents which were packed in 55 cartons would be the last to be presented to the tribunal as the petitioners are expected to close their case on Friday.

However, only 58 out of its proposed 400 witnesses had been called as of Wednesday which happened to be the ninth of the ten days given to the petitioners by the tribunal to present their case.

The petitioners are, by their petition, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress at the February 23 poll.

The tribunal of five judges led by Justice Mohammed Garba had on Wednesday ordered INEC to produce the documents by noon on Thursday.

This followed the complaints by the petitioners that the subpoenas issued and served on INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, and the commission’s resident electoral commissioner in Zamfara State to produce the documents had not been complied with.

The tribunal had on Wednesday adjourned the case until Friday, but the counsel to the PDP and Atiku, Chris Uche (SAN), attended the Thursday’s proceedings scheduled for hearing in respect of other petitions filed by the Hope Democratic Party and the Peoples Democratic Movement.

Uche said his presence in court was to ensure INEC’s compliance with the Wednesday’s order of the tribunal.

At about the time the five-man panel was to recede to chambers to write a ruling in respect of PDM’s petition, Uche informed the bench of his intention in court on Thursday.

In reaction, Justice Garba asked for update from INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN).
 
Replying, Usman informed the tribunal that the “documents had been substantially produced.

“It is a very tedious task, but we have to obey the court’s order,” he stated.

Within the period of the one-hour break observed by the members of the tribunal, INEC officials had brought in a total of 55 boxes of documents into the court room.

When the tribunal resumed sitting, INEC’s lawyer informed the panel that the order of the court had been complied with.

Pointing to the cartons of documents lined up in the courtroom, Usman said since the order of court was not for INEC officials on whom the subpoenas were earlier served to testify, the Director of Legal Services, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babalola, was present to represent the commission.

He also said there was a cover letter signed by the secretary to INEC, Mrs. Rose Orianran-Anthony, accompanying the documents.

He noted that the request by the petitioners for result sheets for the national assembly rerun election in Zamfara State were not available as no such election was conducted.

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