The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, has blamed Northern political leaders for the worsening situation and calamity befalling the region.
He lamented that as a result of their lukewarm attitude towards addressing the issues bedevilling the area; social vices have become the order of day.
He spoke when some groups presented to him a letter of complaint on the insecurity challenges facing them in their various communities for onward submission to the National Assembly.
Sani said the entire Northern region was currently under siege and being faced with various security challenges. Sani said, “Today, the entire Northern Nigeria is under siege. In the North Wes,t it is the armed bandits, the North Central is experiencing herdsmen attacks and the North East is ravaged by insurgents.
“In Kajuru, it is Muslims and Christians against one another, in Birnin Gwari, it is banditry and kidnapping and along Kaduna-Abuja Highway, it is kidnapping and raping.
“I have been visiting you regularly and this time, you are in my residence. I have listened to your lamentation, tears, cries and appeals. “ I believe any conscious Nigerian is aware of what you are facing in Birnin Gwari.
“I must say the issue of Birnin Gwari reflects the fears and dangers we are facing in North West today. “Kidnapping is what we used to hear of in Niger Delta.
Today, Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Niger and Zamfara States are under siege,” Sani lamented. Sani, however, blamed the challenges of the region on the lukewarm attitude of the Northern political leaders. According to the senator, one of the problems of northern leaders is sycophancy which is now making the region bleed with overwhelming killings.
“The situation in Birnin Gwari is one that reflects the tragedy and danger that we are facing in the northern part of the country today. Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Kajuru, Southern Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and some parts of Sokoto State are under siege.”
While speaking in empathy, Senator Sani said the situation in the North has forced many people to resorting into buying of anti-bullet charms for protection.
He said the insecurity in Kaduna is as a result of the governor and government not admitting the real security challenges the state is facing.
He urged residents of the affected areas to rise to face the situation by challenging those in the position of authority to do the needful and tackle the situation. “The most ideal thing is to face the situation and question those that we have elected into positions of authority,” he said.
Leader of the Coalition of Birnin Gwari Association, Nasir Khalid, in the protest letter, said several communities had been under attack of bandits since the eve of the general elections to date.
He said no fewer than 40 drivers had been killed in the last three months, while several communities in Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina States were ransacked. Khalid lamented that the various governments had continued to pay lip service towards addressing the situation.
He appealed to the senator to deliver the letter to the Senate in particular for immediate intervention.
Meanwhile, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari for his “slow response” in dealing with the terror caused by Fulani herdsmen across many parts of Nigeria.
He said Buhari has failed on the security threat posed by herdsmen, adding that he was repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, in not dealing with the Boko Haram menace in a timely and adequate fashion.
“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny”, he said.
Soyinka appeared on the BBC’s Hardtalk programme on Monday and anchored by Zeinab Badawi.
Reacting to Badawi’s question that he backed Buhari in 2015, describing the ex-army general as a “reformed democrat”, Soyinka said Buhari, “won by default” in 2015 because it was difficult to back Jonathan, and which meant supporting a continuation of the corruption associated with that regime. Nigerians were caught “between the devil and the deep blue sea”.
Soyinka criticized Jonathan’s ineffective response to Boko Haram, but placing the blame for failing to nip the problem in the bud at the feet of Olusegun Obasanjo, who was president from 1999 to 2007.
He said; “Obasanjo contributed to the emergence of Boko Haram by not preventing the first governor in one of the northern states from establishing a “theocratic state”.
Soyinka said that the president failed to act because he was “compromised” by his ambitions to continue in office beyond the second term limit.
He was, however, silent about why Buhari’s response to the killings of the herdsmen was so inadequate and said little about how the problem could be tackled effectively.
In a related development, the Nigerian Air Force, yesterday, said more than 10 armed bandits have been killed in Sububu forest in Zamfara state.
It said the bandits who have been terrorizing the various communities within the area were killed during air operations.
The spokesman of the NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, explained in a statement that the Air Task Force of operation Diran Mikiya working together with ground troops carried out the operations.
Daramola said: “The Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation Diran Mikiya has neutralized no fewer than 10 armed bandits at Sububu Forest area in Zamfara State.
“This was achieved Tuesday, April 23, 2019, while the ATF was responding to a request for close air support by ground troops of Sector 7 Area of Responsibility of Operation Sharan Daji, who had come into contact with armed bandits in Shinkafi Local Government Area (LGA).
“Accordingly, the ATF dispatched 2 Alpha Jets and an attack helicopter to provide the needed support and also conduct armed reconnaissance over identified locations in Shinkafi LGA as well as Sububu and Dumburum Forests and environs.
“At Sububu Forest, one of the Alpha Jets spotted a group of armed bandits, who fired at the aircraft with their rifles, whilst running for cover. The Alpha Jet engaged the bandits, neutralizing no fewer than 10 of them while others escaped with injuries.
“The NAF, working in consonance with surface forces and other security agencies, will sustain its operations to flush the bandits out of the North-West of the country”.
Similarly, the Nigerian Army said, yesterday, that troops of 72 Special Forces (SF) Battalion in Makurdi killed suspected mercenaries and averted a clash between two Tiv clans – the Shitile and the Ikyora.
The Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa explained in a statement that the troops laid the ambush, last Monday, after receiving information on a planned attack on Katsina-Ala town by suspected Shitile militia.
According to him, following the ambush, troops were able to recover one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), two AK-47 rifles, 198 7.62 mm rounds of NATO ammunition, 16 7.63 mm rounds of Special ammunition, two vehicles and seven motorcycles.
Musa commended those who provided the information that led to the prevention of the clash and urged Nigerians to always be their “brother’s keeper’’.
He also called on the public to always give useful information to security agencies for decisive action.
RSG Uncovers 11,000 Workers With Forged Age …1,500 With Multiple Pay Points, Identifies 5,000 Fake Pensioners
The recent biometric exercise on civil servants and pensioners conducted by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike-led administration has uncovered no fewer than 11, 000 civil servants who forged their age in service.
The government also discovered no less than 1,500 civil servants with more than one pay point, meaning that they were stealing from the government by earning double salaries from different ministries.
It also identified no fewer than 5,000 fake pensioners during the last biometric exercise, just as the government has concluded plans to begin fresh biometric capture of all retiring civil servants from next week.
These details were made public by the Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mr. Ibifuro Asawo, during a chat with newsmen, last Monday in Port Harcourt, over the activities of his department in the past two years.
Asawo explained that the new policy of the Wike administration was to ensure that all sectors were driven by ICT to inject transparency and accountability in the system.
“We plan to synergise and link all ministries, departments and parastatals for the ease of doing business in the state,” he emphasised.
On the new policy of government to run an ICT-driven administration, the governor’s aide said that the new automated public service system was such that no civil servant can cut corners.
“What we have done now is such that we know how many people will be retiring each month and at each quarter, and so, nobody can short-change government”, Asawo noted.
The plan in the upcoming months, according to Asawo, is to move down to the grassroots, stressing, “We plan to cover the 23 local government areas. Our vision is to encourage them to invest in ICT because that is the way to go now.”
Currently, he revealed that the ICT department has covered all health institutions in the state through an automated and integrated system.
“Everything we are doing now is going digital. So, if you go now to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, doctors are now using the system to register patients and keep records for easy tracking and retrieval.”
The next step, he revealed is to capture all health facilities and professionals online. This, he said, will curb quackery.
Wike’s Feats In Education, Unprecedented, Aide Affirms …As Rivers Excels In WAEC Exams
The Rivers State Government has stated that its investments in education development have yielded quality results and improvements in the sector since May 29, 2015.
In a joint press briefing, yesterday, the Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku and Information and Communications Commissioner, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, noted that Governor Nyesom Wike has been outstanding in reviving the education sector.
They argued that aside renovating and revamping abandoned public schools and tertiary institutions, the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration has set new record in the revitalization of the education sector in the past four and half years in Rivers State.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku stated that on assuming office in 2015, the governor began a special rehabilitation programme to restore and upgrade abandoned public schools, which among them were: Government Girls’ Secondary School, Rumuokwuta; Government Secondary School, Ogu; Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori; Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema; Government Crafts Development Centre, Port Harcourt; County High School, Ahoada; Government Secondary School, Abua; Government Secondary School, Ubima; and Government Secondary School, Okaki; among others.
This, he said, was aside the primary schools that were equally rehabilitated and renovated across the 23 local government areas of the state.
For tertiary education sub-sector, Ebeku said that the expansion and completion of the Faculties of Law and School of Medicine in the Rivers State University remains landmark as those projects can speak for themselves.
He pointed out that the recent registration of state indigenes for the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) and West African Examinations Council (WAEC) sets the Wike administration above past administrations as the gesture was first of its kind in the history of the state.
Currently, he disclosed that in a bid to further boost learning of indigenous language, the state government has started making arrangements for the teaching of indigenous languages in schools.
In the same vein, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said that so far, the governor’s achievements in education has began to resonate with the milestones recorded by the state in the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Senior School Certificate Examinations by taking second position in 2017 and fourth in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Nsirim added that, “these milestones cannot be possible without adequate attention to education because WAEC is the bedrock of education for any person or society.”
Both commissioners explained that, “Governor Nyesom Wike, former Minister of State for Education, came into office as Rivers State governor with a clear vision on the education sector. At his first inauguration on May 29, 2015, he declared that he seeks to provide accessible, quality and affordable education for all in the state. Nearly five years on the seat, he is walking his talk. In this press briefing, we provide you snippets of his giant strides in the education sector.
“Within 100 days in office, he completed and furnished the Faculty of Law of the Rivers State University, which had been abandoned by successive governments since the 1990s.
“He further established a Medical School in the Rivers State University, which had been without medical school since the university was established in 1980. A befitting building was speedily completed and commissioned by him. Moreover, the school has received accreditation from the National Universities commission (NUC) to run several medical programmes. To consolidate on this, the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital has been upgraded and equipped to a standard teaching hospital.
“Within the Rivers State University Campus, several departmental buildings have been completed and others are still ongoing. You will find similar infrastructural developments in other tertiary institutions of the state”, they stressed.
They pointed out that the annual Rivers results and placement in WAEC show the extent of the success recorded by the Wike administration.
“The state in the last five years has maintained first four in WAEC Ranking for 36 States, including Abuja, which shows sustained growth in the education sector.
“They are as follows: 2016 – 4th; 2017 – 2nd; 2018 – 4th; and 2019 – 4th.
“Shortly, the state government is making arrangements to implement the state law on the teaching of indigenous languages in the state schools. This important aspect of education has been ignored by previous administrations, but Governor Wike recognizes that indigenous language, being part of our culture, should not be allowed to die.”
The commissioners noted that Governor Wike has demonstrated his love for education by sponsoring free JAMB 2019/2020 registration for candidates of Rivers State origin and free WASCE 2020 registration for all candidates in public schools in the state, notwithstanding where they come from.
They stated: “At the basic and secondary school levels, the giant strides of Governor Wike are clearly manifest. The reconstruction and furnishing of primary and junior secondary schools in the state under the auspices of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) are testimonials for everyone to see.
“Besides infrastructural development, Governor Wike has further demonstrated his love for education by sponsoring free JAMB 2019/2020 registration for candidates of Rivers State origin and free WASCE 2020 registration for all candidates in public schools in the state, notwithstanding where they come from.
“Furthermore: 100 medical students of Rivers State origin to enjoy state scholarship at PAMO University of Medical Sciences annually for five years; all basic school teachers across the 23 LGAs in the state were given a one-month capacity building training in August, 2019; Endowment of Education Trust Fund for high-flying pupils in public schools who recently won national laurels”, they listed as some of the extraordinary achievements of the Wike-led government in the state.
Rivers Angels, Others Share $194,031 From World Cup
Rivers Angles FC and 19 others Nigerian Women’s Football League clubs will share to the tune of US$194,031.57 as a result of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 Club Benefits programme.
The female clubs are Rivers Angels, Nasarawa Amazons, Bayelsa Queens, FC Robo Queens, Delta Queens, Coal City Babes, Invincible Angels, Sao Paulo Queens and Delta Youth Sports Academy.
Others are Ibom Angels, Abia Angels, Iwundu Academy, Living Boot Academy, C & C Sports Club, Clever Stars FC, Novia Queens, Omidiran Babes, Pelican Stars, Remo United Queens, YFSON Queens and Pelican Stars.
While some had already received their allocations, the relevant payments for others are currently being processed by the Nigeria Football Federation, having received a payment from FIFA.
The world governing body recognises the importance of club football in developing the women’s game and improving its professionalisation with providing professional football pathways.
With this in mind, financial rewards were paid to member associations to pass on to their affiliated clubs that have helped contribute to the successful staging of the competition.
For the first edition of the Fifa Women’s World Cup Club Benefits Programme, the total amount of US$8.48million will be paid as rewards to clubs.
These amounts are part of the overall financial contribution of US$50 million for the Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019, which was approved by the Fifa Council on 26 October 2018.
The Club Benefits Programme 2019 will be based on the principle of rewarding clubs for providing players with a professional football pathway.
The amounts will, therefore, be split between the clubs with which the players representing the participating member associations at the final tournament are currently registered and the clubs that have trained these players between the ages of 12 to 22.
Seven of 23 Nigeria players in France were from Nigeria’s Women’s Premier League clubs, with Tochukwu Oluehi and Chiamaka Nnadozie, Evelyn Nwabuoku and Alice Ogebe all from Rivers Angels.
While Chidinma Okeke came from FC Robo, Alaba Jonathan from Bayelsa Queens and Amarachi Okoronkwo from Nasarawa Amazons.
In the breakdown, Rivers Angels will receive $45,500 – the largest amount under the allocation, followed by Nasarawa Amazons with $27,534, Bayelsa Queens third with $27,103 and FC Robo Queens fourth with $25,810.
The Super Falcons reached the World Cup knockout stages for the first time in 20 years at the showpiece event in France under the tutelage of Thomas Dennerby after their last progression in 1999.
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