Following the killing of 12 policemen at Azuzuama of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State last Saturday, security operatives have moved into the area and surrounding creeks in search of the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.
The Tide gathered that this was in compliance to the directives of the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar, who had vowed to ensure that those responsible did not go unpunished.
Reports from the area indicates that residents of Azuzuama, and all nearby communities are in panic, fearing that the Odi episode may be replayed in their area.
As at the time of reporting, the driver of the boat and three policemen who escaped the mayhem were said to be in protective custody at Police Headquarters in Yenagoa. Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Akhigbe told journalists in Yenagoa that neither the guns nor the bodies of the slain policemen had been recovered.
Meanwhile, facts emerged on Monday in Yenagoa that the killing of the policemen may not be the handiwork of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) which had earlier claimed responsibility for the act.
The killing was allegedly carried out by disgruntled followers of Kile Selky Torughedi whose mother’s burial resulted to the ugly event.
‘General’ Torughedi, popularly known as ‘Young Shall Grow’ had been accused of embezzling the sum of N80million given to him by Federal Government to share to his followers under the amnesty programmes.
Soon after collecting the money, Torughedi was said to have escaped to Abuja, avoiding home until the death of his mother, hence, the ‘’boys’’ decided to teach him some lessons.
However, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has vowed to collaborate with security agencies in the state to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Governor Dickson, who made the pledge in a chat with Government House correspondents, stated that government would do everything humanly possible to bring the culprits to book, emphasising that steps were already being taken to comb the nooks and crannies of the state to apprehend them.
A visibly angry Hon. Dickson stated that, government cannot fold its arms and watch people take the law into their hands for whatever reason, stressing that government would not relent until acts of criminality and lawlessness are completely eliminated in the state.
“We will not rest on our oars and we will make the environment very uncomfortable for criminals and perpetrators of other related offences to operate.”
For the umpteenth time, government is warning our youth and their collaborators, who take delight in kidnapping, maiming and taking the lives of innocent and law abiding citizens, to turn a new leaf or have themselves to blame, because nobody will be spared.”
He noted that government’s tough stance and zero tolerance for acts of criminality and lawlessness were still in force, stressing that every offender would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The Governor, thereafter announced, the appointment of a Special Prosecutor for violent crimes and other related offences in the State to further underline government’s commitment to end all forms of crime as well as ensure that criminals are prosecuted and punished according to the laws of the land.
The Special Prosecutor, Barrister Andrew Seiweniowou, whose appointment is informed by the need for government to take firm action, especially in the way and manner criminal cases are prosecuted as well as the need to fast- track and guide the process of investigation and prosecution of apprehended culprits.
The Special Prosecutor is to, among other things, review all such cases, direct investigations and prosecute them and he is also to head a special team comprising an Assistant Commissioner of Police, State CID, OC Legal, the Director of Public Prosecution in the state Ministry of Justice, the officer in charge of the investigation at the Special Police Unit (Operation Doo Akpo), the Special Adviser on Security and such other persons that may be appointed later.
Meanwhile, about 27 persons are said to have been killed at Zango village in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State as ethnic militia engaged in fresh orgy of hostilities in the area, late Monday night.
The killings, which are believed to be a continuation of hostilities between the Tarok and the Fulani herdsmen were alleged to have left several casualties on both sides.
Our correspondent gathered, yesterday, that armed militia invaded Wase town in the late hours of Monday, but for swift intervention of vigilante members from the community who pursued and killed many of the invaders, more havoc would have been recorded.
However, the Police Command in Plateau State said in Jos, yesterday, that it had deployed additional personnel to Wase town and its environs to quell the crisis in the area.
Many people were reported killed between Sunday and Monday while houses and property were destroyed by rival groups involved in violent clashes in Zango village.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Felicia Anselem, told newsmen yesterday, that the command was concerned about the situation and was working to restore law and order.
“It was in the early hours of this morning that we heard of the conflict between the Fulanis and Taroh people.
“We also learnt that the roads were blocked while gunshots were heard sporadically fired.
“Houses were also burnt, but we cannot ascertain the number of people that died.
“As I speak, police counter terrorist group, mobile policemen and many other regular policemen have been deployed to Wase to reinforce those on ground,’’ she said.
Anselem described the situation as ‘very sad and unfortunate’ and warned people against taking laws into their hands.
She assured Plateau residents that normalcy was being restored in the area and urged law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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