Armed bandits had continued their attacks unabated on villagers in Shiroro Local Government Area, Niger State, yesterday as the death toll increased to 70, with eight more villages affected while the number of displaced persons have also risen to over 1, 000.
The figure from the attacks which started in the wee hours 2 Sunday 9th June, 2019 has risen from the initial 12 people that lost their lives as the bandits were said to have spread their indiscriminate killing spree to more villages.
Our correspondent gathered that apart from the several injured people who were rushed to nearby rural health facilities in Kuta, Erena and Zumba, many of the displaced villagers were taking refuge in seven Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps around the area.
Information made available to journalists by the Senator representing Niger-East, Senator David Umaru in whose constituency has been a victim of the massacre indicated that no fewer than 19 persons died in the past six days in Kwaki village, 14 in Barden Dawaki village.
Our correspondent also learnt that, 8 persons died in Ajatawyi village, 7 in Gwassa, 5 in Ajayin Bataro, 4 others in Bwailo, 3 in Baton village and 2 reported dead in Giji village, while over 800 herds of cattle belonging to the villagers have been rustled within the same time.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger state command, DSP Mohammed Abubakar Dan-Inna said the police could only confirm 12 people so far dead in the attack, adding however that more security personnel have been deployed to the troubled area.
Meanwhile, Senator David Umaru has appealed to President Mohammed Buhari to come to the rescue of his people in Shiroro, Niger East Senatorial district from the rampaging bandits by ordering deployment of more security personnel to the area.
“I am in pains and sorrow over the killing of my people by armed bandits who have taken over our communities in the past few days”.
“It is horrible that over 69 people have been killed and 1000 displaced and yet there is no respite for the good people of my constituency,” adding that it has become apparent that the situation is beyond the capacity of the police”.
According to him, “I am appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the military into the area to stop the bandits from further annihilation of my people by the armed bandits who have continued their onslaught unhindered and unabated”.
“I am also calling on the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Div Nigeria Army, Kaduna to deploy more personnel to save the armless villagers from the onslaught of the armed bandits”, Umaru said, as he stressed the need for the State Government to provide adequate logistics to enable the security agencies crush the bandits.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Kaduna State Chapter, has called on the Federal and Kaduna State Governments including agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives on the country’s highways to expedite action to end the needless loss of lives on the Kaduna-Zaria road.
NMA observed that since the commencement of the reconstruction of the road and subsequent blockade and road diversion, it has led to increased road traffic accidents and impacted negatively on the already overstretched accident and emergency services in the hospitals.
Addressing newsman in Kaduna yesterday, State Chairman of the Chapter, Dr. Stephen Akau Kache said, “It is important to note that many travellers along this road suffer untold hardship and are exposed to enormous risks due to the blockade and several diversions on certain sections of the road. This, in turn, has resulted in loss of man-hours and several accidents have occurred with varying degrees of injuries and deaths occurring as a result. The most recent of which happened on Monday, 10th June 2019, in which several people were either injured or lost their lives, including that of Professor Adeola Abosede Orogade from the Department of Paediatric, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.”
The NMA called on government among others to declare a state of emergency on the Kaduna-Zaria expressway, pointing out that in doing so, they must deploy a joint task force of security operatives on the road to ensure strict adherence to traffic laws.
It added that there is the need to deploy cranes and other equipment at strategic locations along the road that could be used to extract victims who are trapped in vehicles as well as establish emergency medical units in strategic locations along the road.
The association noted that the government should prevail on the contractors to adequately mobilise and complete the road construction.
In the interim, to curb road accidents, NMA suggested that a number of diversions on the road should be minimized to one at a time and by extension, the repair of the road should be done in shorter segments.
“Temporary rumble strips (speed breakers) should be putin place and also on that portion of the road, set up mobile courts to try and prosecute traffic offenders,” NMA advised.
It said, “We believe that the reconstruction of the road is a laudable initiative and all efforts must be put in place to ensure the safety of lives plying the road.”
In another development, the leadership of the Abia State Police Command says it has arrested 15 police personnel under its command for allegedly extorting money from motorists and other members of the public.
The police officers, it was learnt are standing orderly room trial at the command’s Headquarters in Umuahia, the state capital.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Ene Okon who disclosed this in Aba said that the command would not shield any corrupt person within its workforce that is trying to tarnish its good image.
The CP who was reacting to the calls made by some traditional rulers during a Town Hall Meeting in Aba, asking him to call some of his extortionist officers to order, assured that the Nigeria Police does not shield anyone with criminal behaviour.
Okon pointed out that the command is determined to get rid of bad eggs among its personnel, stressing that it was why it declared one Sergeant Collins Akpugo wanted for killing Mr. Christian Onuoha in Umuahia.
He further disclosed that a reward of N500, 000 will be given to whoever has information on his whereabout.
Okon, who maintained that bail is free, however, urged the members of the public to resist the urge of giving money to any officer who tries to extort them, stressing that every citizen ought to know his right and stand on it.
“We are the only organization that when you err, we punish. All of you must have heard about a policeman that shot somebody and killed him on the 4th of June in Afara Umuahia?
“After killing, he ran away and disappeared. We have declared him wanted and we have placed N500,000 on his head. Anybody that will give us information on his arrest collects N500,000 cash from me,” the CP said.
Speaking on bribery and extortion by police officers, Okon said “It takes two to tangle. If you don’t give, the police will not take. It starts with you. If you know that you’ve not done anything wrong, if you know that you’re operating your joint according to rules, if a policeman comes, you prove to him that you know you’re right.
“I don’t know that policeman that will not be afraid to even tell you to bring knowing that you know your right. Insist that you know your right. Let me be very frank to you, I am not supporting police collecting any money.
“As I’m talking to you, I have 15 policemen in my cell. 7 were arrested here at Opobo Junction when I heard the information that they were collecting money. I sent out my monitoring unit and my monitoring unit went there and met them in the act and arrested them.
“I subjected them to investigation and we have completed investigation and they’re undergoing ‘orderly room trials’. Let God be with them if they’ll escape. At the end of the day, they’ll turn to civilians and be giving money too and see how painful it is.
“I have monitoring unit. We are not sleeping on it. I don’t like it, but you too must stop giving.
If you don’t give, they’ll not take. Insist on your right. My phone number is here, call me, give me the information and see what will happen.”
Rivers LG To Give Grants To 80 Post-Graduate Candidates
The Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, has concluded process of giving grants to 80 indigenes of the area to pursue Masters and Doctorate degree programmes in universities in the state.
The council Chairman, Barrister George Ariolu, disclosed this, yesterday, when the leadership of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) visited him in his office at Rumuodomaya, near Port Harcourt.
Ariolu stated that grants will be given to 50 candidates to pursue Masters degree programme and another 30 to those pursuing Doctorate degree programmes in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
He said: “Our main focus as we promised our people is the area of human capacity development. Not that we don’t have interest in infrastructures, we do.
“As it stands today, we are giving grants to our people, those who are interested in advancing their academic qualifications by taking up Ph.D and Masters degree programmes.
“For Masters degree, we have grants for 50 while Ph.D is 30 for now. But because of pressure, we will likely take it up to 50. We set up a committee made up three professors, an academic doctor, who is a senior lecturer and a lawyer. Today, they are conducting interviews for the applicants at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
“Our catchment areas are University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education. Those are universities in Rivers State so that little money we will give will be of immense benefit to them.”
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ, Amaechi Okonkwo, assured the Council Chairman of the support of journalists throughout duration of his tenure in office.
Okonkwo said: “We have had a relationship with you before now and we are happy with that relationship because we were getting quality service and advise from you.
“So, we deemed it fit and necessary to come to say congratulations to you and to assure you of our support through your stay as Chairman of Council.”
Insecurity: Address Nigeria’s Descent Into Chaos, Nigerians Tell UN Assembly
The Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance (NINAS), yesterday, urged the United Nations General Assembly to take urgent steps to address the country’s alleged descent into chaos, saying that Nigeria has failed as a state.
This was contained in a letter addressed to United Nations Security Council, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly by NINAS at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The letter was signed by Chairman of NINAS and Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye; Prof Yusuf Turaki of Middle-Belt Movement; and Secretary-General, NINAS and Lower Niger Congress, Tony Nnadi.
The letter reads, “We, the Indigenous Peoples of Nigeria at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York to alert the United Nations, and the rest of the global community that the union of Nigeria has failed irredeemably; and is now at the verge of a violent disintegration with catastrophic consequences for global peace, and security as our population of over 200million would become an instant global refugee nightmare.
“Amidst the extraordinary difficulties inflicted by the imposition and enforcement of Sharia by a section of Nigeria in a supposedly secular union, the immediate reason for this looming catastrophe is the cocktail of mass killing, kidnapping and general banditry being orchestrated against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria by an invading Fulani militia masquerading as herdsmen in an undisguised ethnic cleansing campaign that progressively demonstrate the complicity of the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani man, who as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is also the Life Grand Patron of the notorious Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), that proudly takes responsibility for the murderous exploits of the Fulani herdsmen militia designated the fourth most deadly terror group.
“Compounding their impunity, the same Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association at a recent press conference organised to mock the planned NINAS million-man freedom march to the UN boasted to be in control of the UN through their daughter, the Deputy Secretary-General at the UN, Amina Mohammed.
“An indication that (Amina Mohammed) nominated to that exalted UN position by President of Buhari, is in some way a part of the grand protection design for the Fulani herdsmen in their bloody, onslaught against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria.
“It will be recalled that following widespread extrajudicial killings in Nigeria, the UN in August of 2019, dispatched a Special Rapporteur Mission to Nigeria led by Agnes Callamard. The damning verdict of that Rapporteur Mission was that the widespread extrajudicial killings were flowing from the unitary constitutional arrangements of Nigeria, which operates as a pressure-cooker for injustice and that Nigeria under that Constitution is a danger to global peace and security.
“The report warned that unless something is done urgently, Nigeria would snap, plunging its 200million population into turmoil that will trigger a large-scale refugee crisis of unprecedented magnitude at a time the global terror networks, ISIS, ISWAP and AL-Qaeda are already converging in Nigeria.
“That Nigeria has failed as a State is no longer a subject for debate, having emerged the global poverty capital, and playing host to two of the world’s top four most deadly terrorists’ organisation, with three-quarters of the constituent components (South and Middle-Belt), seeking urgent extrication by way of referendums from what has become a union of death.
“Looking back at the recent turn of events in Afghanistan, this freedom march to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, is to alert the global community of the rapidly degenerating situation of Nigeria, and to invite United Nations, particularly the Security Council, and Trusteeship Council, to initiate urgent steps to arrest Nigeria’s descent into chaos, as besieged communities drift dangerously to self-help.”
Power Sector Revenue Declines By 4.54% In Q2’21
Gross revenue of Nigeria’s electricity market declined by 4.45per cent in the second quarter of 2021, Q2’21, to N176.27billion against N184.27billion generated in the first quarter, Q1’21, latest data from the sector has shown.
The data from the Power Sector Working Group, however, showed that the N360.54billion generated in the first half of this year was 24.57per cent higher than the N271.96billion generated in the last six months of 2020.
A monthly analysis of the power sector financials in the first six months of 2021 showed that revenue has been fluctuating month-on-month.
A total of N64.98billion was generated in January, but revenue, however, fell by 13.30per cent in February to N57.35billion.
Further analysis showed that revenue in March rose by 7.41 per cent to N61.94billion but declined again in April by 8.76 per cent to N56.955billion.
In May, revenue rose by 8.24 per cent to N62.07billion.
It, however fell in June to N57.25billion, a drop of 8.42 per cent.
The Power Sector Working Group blamed poor power supply as well as glitches for the fall in revenue in the second quarter, especially in the month of June.
“June is a bit short due to glitches in the sweep mechanism and a low energy supply (there were gas payment challenges we have been working on).
“Through the collection discipline via CBN there is full visibility to DisCos collections. Collections over the past six months have stabilized at between N57billion to N65billion.
“The regulator and policymakers are focusing in the second half of the year on boosting electricity and rolling out phase 1 of Mass Metering to boost supply to reduce tariff and increase collections.
“Procurement is being completed for most of the CAPEX interventions that will help boost supply”, the group added.
Earlier, the group disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded arrangements for the commencement of the second phase of its metering program tagged National Mass Metering Program which it expects to drastically reduce estimated billing by DisCos, that will ensure consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume by installing meters free of charge in household and business premises that are currently unmetered.
The Federal Government provided funding for the program through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to DisCos.
“Meters are provided to customers free of charge. This is indeed unprecedented and has so far led to the tremendous success recorded so far”.
Speaking on how to grow the electricity market, a leading power sector expert and Managing Director of Target Energy Ltd, Abdullahi Umar, harped on the need to review some of the policies that may be hampering growth and development in the power sector.
Umar said at the weekend that the new Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, needs to conduct a thorough review of the sector.
“I am part of those stakeholders who are of the view that the declaration of the transitional electricity market (TEM) in February 2015 was too ambitious and premature.
“What should have been was a phased transition into TEM or at the minimum a testing of the market before the full declaration of TEM.
“The errors of such declaration have continued to plague the power sector with a heightened liquidity crisis in 2016 and 2017, that saw a drastic decline of the revenue flows in the power sector, DisCos remittance went from 70 per cent to a sharp decline averaging about 28 per cent – 30 per cent for that period,” he said.
He pointed out that July, 2021, saw the end of Eligible Customer Regulation in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), adding that the decision by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to rescind the ECR, has sent mixed signals across the board.
Umar further stated that “we have seen the accusations and counter-accusations between the generating companies (GenCos) and distribution companies on the issue. The action by NERC has signalled the lack of preparedness of the market to accommodate direct sale between market players.
“It is a case of willing seller, willing buyer and an unwilling infrastructure; the market cannot accommodate any distortion at this time especially as the grid still operates at average capacity.”
The ECR allows GenCos and Independent Power Producers to bypass the Bulk Trader for excess un-contracted capacity within their portfolio and sell directly to eligible customers who can take a minimum of 2MW of power monthly.
“The ECR was issued on the 6th of November, 2017 by the then Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Fashola”, Umar also averred that the “recent repeal of the ECR further demonstrates the weakness in the NESI and the need for more effective and consistent regulation.”
He further advised, “With a new Minister of Power in the saddle, I suggest that a cue is borrowed from the former Minister of Power, Work, and Housing; who commenced his tenure with sector-wide stakeholder consultation and monthly review meetings, it is important that new Minister of Power gets a proper briefing with all market participants in the same room to curtail self-serving suggestions and recommendations.”
“The frequent policy conflict is fast eroding the little gains of the NESI since the declaration of TEM and plunging the sector deeper into uncertainty.
“The new Minister of Power must pursue sector-wide collaboration and effective corporate governance to move the sector forward.
“It is time to go back to the drawing board,” he concluded.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has, however, denied that it has ended or suspended the Eligible Customer Regulations which allowed power generation companies, GenCos, to supply electricity directly to large demand customers.
NERC, in a statement by its General Manager, Public Affairs Department, Dr. Usman Abba Arabi, stated that the Eligible Customer Regulations has not been suspended and at no time has the commission issued a directive for discontinuation of service to any customer.
The commission explained that what it suspended was the unauthorized direct supply by GenCos to big consumers.
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