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Senator, Assembly Member Die In Jos Crisis

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A senator of the Federal Republic, Senator Gyang Dantong (PDP-Plateau North) and the Chief Whip of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Gyang Fulani, are among 52 persons who were yesterday confirmed dead following internecine killings in 13 villages near Jos, the state capital.

The federal and state lawmakers died yesterday afternoon as a result of shocks following spontaneous shooting at the scene of the mass burial for the victims of Saturday’s conflict between some Fulani herdsmen and villagers.

About 23 persons had died on Saturday in raids on 11 Christian villages by Fulani herdsmen.

The Tide learnt that raids and reprisal attacks yesterday had left 52 people dead in Christian villages near Jos city where men of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) have struggled to contain religious violence.

In a swift reaction to the latest spate of killings in the state, the Plateau State Government, yesterday, announced the imposition of curfew on four local government areas, hit hard by the conflict.

The local government areas include Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom.

A statement from the office of the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Abraham Yiljap, read: “Governor Jonah Jang has approved the immediate curfew to commence from 7:30pm Sunday to 7am Monday while the curfew commences from six in the evening of Monday till further notice”.

This is coming on the heels of the security situation that resulted in the killing of a serving senator, Gyang Dantong Dalyop and the Chief Whip of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Gyang James Fulani, early yesterday.

In a statement yesterday, Senate President David Mark, described Senator Gyang Dantong’s death as shocking, saying “the incessant killings of innocent Nigerians must be stopped.”

Mark, in the statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said governments at different levels and security operatives “must rise to halt these senseless killings.

“We must do everything within the ambit of our laws to ensure that this type of murderous acts is stopped. As a nation, we must just rise against those who are determined to return us to a state of nature where life had little or no value”.

Describing Dantong’s death as a personal loss, the Senate President said the deceased was “a patriotic parliamentarian, quintessential gentleman and committed nationalist who was killed in active service to his fatherland”.

Mark urged the security agencies to bring the perpetrators of the gruesome act to justice.

The brother of the deceased, Mr. Ruwang Dantong, told newsmen that Senator Gyang Dantong died after seeing the dead bodies of his kinsmen killed in an attack on Kakuruk village in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Ruwang also confirmed the death of Assemblyman, Gyang Fulani, representing Barkin Ladi constituency in Plateau State House of Assembly.

Ruwang said that both representatives were at the scene of the attack carried out between Friday and Saturday when they started hearing gunshots from another set of attackers.

Shocked by the situation, the duo collapsed, and were taken to Barkin Ladi General Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

When newsmen visited the Rayfield residence of the late senator, relatives and well wishers were in shock and wailing over the deaths.

Media aide to the state Governor, Ayuba Pam also said that the Senator and member of the state Assembly died following the shooting at the burial.

”As far as we are concerned, Senator Gyang Dantong was killed. Although he was not directly shot, he died following the sporadic shooting at the grave side by the Fulani attackers which forced everyone to run for safety. Heart attack doesn’t develop suddenly.”

The JTF spokesperson, Mustapha Salisu, assailants launched “sophisticated attacks” on several villages near Jos early Saturday, adding that “they came in hundreds. Some had (police) uniforms and some even had bulletproof vests.”

He said the special task force fought back for hours and lost two policemen in the battle. Salisu initially said that 37 people were killed, including 14 civilians and 21 assailants.

However, later in the day, Nigerian Red Cross official, Andronicus Adeyemo said aid workers had counted 52 dead and more than 300 displaced people from the attacks. He did not give a breakdown.

Authorities declined to comment on who they suspect, but similar raids had been blamed on Muslim herdsmen in the past.

Mark Lipdo, who runs a Christian advocacy group known as the Stefanos Foundation, gave a list of the 13 villages where he got reports of attacks. He said they were all Christians.

He blamed Muslim herdsmen of the Fulani ethnic group for the attacks. However, Nurudeen Abdullahi, Plateau State Chairman of Miyetti Allah Fulani Herdsmen Association, denied any involvement by the herdsmen.

“This is a usual propaganda used on our people but we are not the ones that attacked the villages in the area,” he said.

Abdullahi accused Christian farmers of attacking Muslim settlements and stealing their cows.

Jos and surrounding communities in Plateau State have been torn apart in recent years by violence pitting its different ethnic groups and major religions — Christianity and Islam — against each other. While divided by religion, politics and economics often fuel the fighting.

These are just the latest killings to target the Riyom and Barkin Ladi local government areas, regions of farmlands that supply produces like potatoes, corn and tomatoes to the rest of the nation.

Nigeria, a multi ethnic nation of more than 160 million people, is largely divided into a mainly Christian south and a predominantly Muslim north. Jos is located in the “middle belt,” at the meeting point of these two regions.

Human Rights Watch says at least 1,000 people were killed in communal clashes around Jos in 2010.

However, the rise in Boko Haram insurgency has added a new dimension to the long-running conflict, fanning religious tensions in this flashpoint area.

Salisu said authorities discovered a bomb and safely detonated it late Friday in a populated neighbourhood in the city of Jos.

They declined to say who they suspect but sect members have claimed responsibility for bomb attacks in Jos in the past.

All previous Jos attacks had targeted churches, a deliberate move to trigger off more religious violence, many have said. They all sparked reprisals.

 

Nelson Chukwudi

L-R: Minister of Science, Prof. Ita Ewa, former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, at the 2nd Prof. Barth Nnaji Biennial Lecture at Agbani, Enugu State,last Saturday

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.

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