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Fresh Violence Claims 20 Lives In Taraba

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About 20 persons have been reportedly killed and 300 cows stolen following a fresh outbreak of ethnic violence on the Mambilla Plateau in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State, local officials and residents told our correspondent, yesterday.
A fleeing resident, Saadu Mogoggo, who said his house was attacked at Leme suburb of Gembu, said two of his brothers were killed last Saturday evening and their cattle rustled by a group he identified as the Mambilla militia.
“As I am talking to you, we are yet to bury their corpses,” he said toour correspondent, yesterday.
‘’The ethnic militias attacked our residence in Leme where they killed our father last month. During this attack, the Mambillas took away our over 100 cows.
‘’My two younger brothers reported the matter to a nearby military base and a soldier was attached as escort to retrieve the stolen cows. Unfortunately, in the process, my younger brothers were both killed while the soldier fled with injury,’’ he said.
Abdu Gagarau, another resident of the area who said he was speaking from hiding, said, “The burning and killing of the Fulani continued till early this morning. As I am talking to you now, from last Thursday they have been attacking our settlements and over 20 people killed. Some were buried and over 300 cattle stolen by the militias.
“The Mambila ethnic group are known for attacking other tribes. They attacked the Pansos in 1982, The Fulanis in 2002 and in 2017, when eventually we retaliate then the normal shouts of herdsmen will start. Let government be proactive and come to our rescue,’’ he said.
A Fulani community leader in the area, Ahmadu Nguroje , called for government and security intervention.
‘’At least 20 people are feared killed, looting of houses, shops and burning down to ashes by the Mambilla militias along Tapare and Yerimaru axis have been recorded here in Sardauna LGA of Taraba State,” he said.
‘’About 12 others were also wounded and are on admission at a hospital in Gembu,’’ Mr. Nguroje said.
The lawmaker representing Nguroje and Gembu constituency in the state House of Assembly, Bashir Muhammad, confirmed the latest disturbances.
“There have been silent and systematic killings of Fulani nomadic herdsmen in the remote areas in Mambilla Plateau,” Mr. Muhammad said.
‘’It is unfortunate that while efforts are being made to restore peace, the killings continued unabated and many people feared killed between Thursday to Sunday, just as dozens of livestock were killed or injured. I was even told that over 200 cows were rustled.
“Security is grossly in adequate because some of the affected villages are remote and in hinterlands that can take one or two hours to be reached. We want presence of more security, particularly soldiers to ensure peace,’’ the lawmaker pleaded.
Reacting to the report of the attacks, the state governor, Darius Ishaku, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, called for an end to the violence.
‘’Anyone who takes any life, irrespective of religion or tribe, is a criminal, whether it is on the summits of Mambilla or the plains of southern Taraba and anywhere in this state. And we shall deal with them as criminals.”
Mr. Bello said the governor, ‘’was committed to an amicable resolution of the crisis in the state and peaceful co-existence of all ethnic nationalities,” attributing the renewed crisis to “disagreement between two ethnic groups.”
The police spokesperson in the state, David Misal, told our reporter that four people were confirmed killed from both sides of the ethnic groups in the conflict. He added that security officials had been dispatched to the area to restore peace, but that no arrest had been made.
Investigations revealed that the crisis started last Thursday over a land dispute between nomadic Fulani and Mambilla in Yerimaru village and later snowballed into neighbouring villages.
Meanwhile, Police in Taraba have confirmed that five people were killed and several others injured in fresh attacks on communities in Sardauna local government area of the state.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), David Misal, told newsmen last Saturday that the crisis erupted in Nyiwa and Yerimaru areas last Thursday as a result of a misunderstanding between a farmer and a herder.
He said units of mobile policemen and soldiers from the 20 battalion in Serti have been deployed to the area to maintain law and order.
Mr. Misal added that the situation, which led to the burning of several homes and killing of many cows, has been brought under control.
A victim of the attack, Abubakar Ardo, who escaped with his family, toldin Gembu that the attacks started at midday last Thursday and most of the killings occurred in the night.

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North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.

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Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?

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Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua could face his toughest test yet when he fights Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday, says ex-world champion George Groves.
Joshua, 31, puts his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian has won all 18 professional fights, beating Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora on that run.
“Technically, Usyk is brilliant,” said Groves . “He showed that in unifying the cruiserweight division in great fights and I believe he could be Joshua’s toughest test to date. This is the first fight when I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua got beaten.
“Joshua has fought [Wladimir] Klitschko and been in with Joseph Parker and also been beaten [by Andy Ruiz] and the only question mark for Usyk Is he big enough to compete with AJ?
“If Usyk keeps a high pace and makes Joshua miss with a lot of shots, that will work to Usyk’s advantage as he has probably got a better engine.
“Joshua is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous punching power and strength but has a tendency to tire out if the pace is uncomfortable for him.”
A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected and it will be the largest attendance Joshua has fought in front of since his win over Alexander Povetkin with 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in September, 2018.
Since then, Joshua has lost to Ruiz in New York before winning the rematch in Saudi Arabia and gained a ninth-round victory over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, with only 1,000 fans attending because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Joshua and Usyk won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, at super-heavyweight and heavyweight respectively, with the Briton going on to win 24 of his 25 professional fights, including 22 inside the distance.
Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and is pushing for a rematch with him or a shot at WBC champion, Tyson Fury, believes the key to beating Usyk on Saturday is to adopt an attacking strategy.
“I think it’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds,” Whyte told Tidesports source.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter. Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Groves, who held the WBA Super-Middleweight belt in 2017 and 2018, added: “If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early.
“In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also suggested Joshua could get an early victory.
Hearn said: “I’m always nervous for an Anthony Joshua fight, especially when you’re fighting someone that really believes he is going to win”.

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2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, has said that Cameroon is “on track” to successfully host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year after visiting Olembe Stadium in Yaounde last weekend.
The venue will host the opening match and final of the AFCON in January and February of 2022.
A CAF delegation, including President Motsepe and General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, were joined by Cameroon’s Sports Minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi in inspecting progress made at the Olembe Stadium and various other facilities in the capital city.
“I’m very satisfied with the briefing I got and what I saw. I saw the Olembe Stadium and it is world class; we should all be proud as people of Cameroon and as Africans,” said Motsepe, as quoted by CAF’s website.
“We must applaud Cameroon [for] building such infrastructure. In partnership with the Government, the Minister of Sports, LOC, FECAFOOT President and CAF administration under Veron [Mosengo-Omba], I’m certain that in January next year, the rest of the world will be impressed. I’m very satisfied with what I have seen. We are on track.”
Motsepe continued: “The quality of football that will be played here will once again show the world that Africa has the quality to one day win the FIFA World Cup, that is the ultimate goal. The AFCON is special and I think it is important for us to set the tone in Cameroon.”
Mosengo-Omba also heaped praises on Olembe Stadium: “The infrastructure and architecture of the stadium is world class and can be compared to many other famous stadiums globally. In Cameroon, we have six beautiful match venues. Our job now is to ensure that we are ready with everything else.”

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