The spate of insecurity in the Northern part of Nigeria took a dangerous dymenion yesterday as not fewer than 43 persons including two soldiers lost their lives to violent attacks in Zamfara, Kaduna, Taraba and Benue States.
The Nigerian Army yesterday said troops killed 21 armed bandits and recovered weapons in Tunga Daji, Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
The army also confirmed in an earlier report that two soldiers were killed during the operation.
In a statement, the Director, Army Public Relations, Texas Chukwu, said troops of 232 Battalion Zuru, while on clearance patrol on Wednesday, encountered the armed bandits and “neutralised 21 of them.”
Mr Chukwu said many bandits also escaped with gunshot wounds. He said two soldiers died during the operation.
Our correspondent reported how two soldiers were killed by the bandits at Tunga Daji in Anka Local Government Area of the state.
“Unfortunately we lost an officer and a soldier during the encounter. The remains of the officer and soldier has been evacuated to Federal Medical Center Gusau,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Chukwu listed recoveries from the bandits to include five AK 47 assault rifles, one light machine gun, five magazines and 35 rounds of 7,62mm special ammunition.
He said the troops have been mobilised on a special operation to “comb the general area and arrest any fleeing bandit.”
Scores of people have been killed in attacks by bandits in Zamfara in the past few months. Last week, over 50 people were killed in such attack in the state.
Meanwhile, a Kaduna community was yesterday afternoon attacked by bandits who killed the village head and five others.
The attack occurred in Sarari village near Kuriga town in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State
The incident which happened around 2 p.m. left about eight people injured.
One of the injured victims, who identified himself as Henry and was shot on the leg, confirmed the death of their village head.
He said the bandits stormed the village, going house to house shooting people.
“I don’t know where they came from we were just sitting down when we started hearing gun shots from all directions.
“They came on motorcycles in large number. They go house to house shooting people. Our village head and five other people were killed. I was shot on the leg while trying to escape,” he told our source in a telephone interview.
Our source learnt that all the dead victims were male adults.
Mr Henry gave the names of the dead as Sule Sarari, the 60 years old village head, ‘Lado, Yunusa, Jonah, Tela and one other person.’
The victims were rushed to a Primary Health Centre in Oduwa town, few kilometres from where the incident occurred.
The nurse in charge of the PHC where the victims are receiving treatment, Silas Ayuba, confirmed to newsmen that six bodies were brought to the clinic.
“Yes we have six bodies right now at the clinic; all males. Eight people were injured and we are doing our best to stabilise their condition,” he said in a telephone interview.
The Kaduna State Government spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, did not answer his call when contacted on the attack. Same with Kaduna Police Command Public Relations Officer, Aliyu Muktar.
This latest incident comes few days after the Minister of Interior Abdulrahman Dambazzau, led a federal government delegation to the area over the incessant killings there.
Also, two young men have allegedly been killed by unknown gunmen in the early hours of yesterday in Asso community of Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Member representing Jema/Sanga Federal Constituency, Nicholas Shehu Garba, confirmed the incident to newsmen, saying, “The victims were returning to their village after taking a sick relation to the hospital in Kafanchan.”
According to him, “This will be the third time that an attack will be carried out from the uncompleted Asso bridge.
“This unfortunate incident is coming less than a week after the killings in Bakin Kogi in Kaninkon Chiefdom where six persons were brutally murdered by unknown gunmen.
“That these attacks are being perpetrated in the absence of any provocation and despite the presence of security personnel within the vicinity, is an affirmation that a silent war has been declared on our communities by agents of darkness.
“I am calling on the Kaduna State Government to show more than passive interest in these attacks.
“I am also appealing to the Military Task Force based in Kafanchan to work harder to fish out these agents of darkness.
“Until the state is able to fish out, expose and punish the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, for so long will these criminals continue on their path of perfidy.
“To our communities, one cannot over emphasise the necessity for eternal vigilance.
“My condolences to the bereaved families, and my dear community, Asso that has become the latest victim of yet, another attack,” he added.
In another development, suspected herdsmen, last Wednesday, killed four members of a family in Mbiya village, Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State.
The gunmen, according to a statement by the state government, stormed the village in the early hours of last Wednesday.
The head of the family, Sunday Sabo, his wife and two children were killed during the attack.
Special Assistant to the Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan Abu, in the statement said the suspected herdsmen were armed dangerous weapon, including AK-47.
“The family was asleep at the time the attackers stormed the community.’
Sources said they were more than 20, all of them armed with guns and cutlasses.
The herds later headed for Bassa village where they also set houses ablaze,” the statement read in part.
This attack is the latest in the wave of attack on innocent people in the state by suspected herdsmen.
Taraba State is among the states where Operation Cat Race by the Nigerian Army is currently going on.
The operation, according to the military, was aimed at disarming bandits in order to secure lives and properties.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 10 persons were allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen in Mbakyondo, Mbakpa and Sengaev communities in the Agagbe district of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State.
Sources from the area told newsmen that the invading herdsmen stormed the communities at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday and started shooting sporadically in all directions.
Many villagers are said to have been killed in their sleep, with several others injured in the attack, as several houses were razed by the invading herdsmen.
Our correspondent gathered that the invasion may not be unconnected with the alleged clash between some youths in Mbakpa community and some Fulani herdsmen in the area early in the week.
Our correspondent gathered that during the clash between the youths and the herdsmen, one Fulani herder was missing, the development leading to a mass exodus of locals from the community for fear of reprisals.
Speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, Commissioner of Police in the state, Fatai Owoseni, who confirmed the clash between the youths and the herdsmen in Mbakpa Community, said the State Police Command was already in talks with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and the body of herders on the matter.
“Gwer West Local Government in Mbakpa community woke up to a report that the youths in that community led an attack on some herdsmen in that area. There is now an exodus of members of that community into Naka town for fear of a reprisal attack,” Owoseni stated.
“We are still talking with leaders of herdsmen in that area to ascertain the level of casualty. We heard that one of the herdsmen is missing and we immediately got in touch with leadership of MACBAN and the body of herders in order to douse and prevent an escalation of anything that could come as reprisal.”
The Police Commissioner, warning that his Command would not tolerate any form of reprisal, urged the general public to report any form of security threat in their areas to security agencies rather than taking laws into their hands.
However, efforts by our correspondent to get the Commissioner to confirm the Wednesday attacks failed, as text message sent to his phone was yet to be responded to at the time of filing this report.
Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate
Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.
Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”
Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
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