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Death Toll In Kogi Killings Rises To 29 …Suspected Herdsmen Kill 13 In Plateau

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The Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday, met with Tawari community and promised to fish out the killers of their kinsmen as casualty figure rises to 29.
Bello, who held a peace meeting at the Government House, Lokoja, yesterday, with the paramount rulers and people of the Tawari communities, called for calm, saying government was working hard to restore permanent peace in the area.
According to him, the casualty figures had risen to 29 persons as more deaths were recorded in other communities within the district.
Bello, who acknowledged the peaceful disposition of the Tawari people, said the attack took place when there was no provocation, stressing that his administration will leave no stone unturned in unravelling those behind the dastard acts against the communities.
He noted that government on receipt of the distress call acted proactively by drafting security personnel to secure the communities and to provide palliative measures for the people.
The governor added that his government would not fold its arms and watch bandits and terrorists unleash mayhem on his people, insisting that he will adopt security measures that will be mobile and effective to deal with any security challenges across the state.
He explained that the same methods that worked in Dekina, Bassa and Omala local government areas, when they were attacked, will be replicated in Tawari to bring lasting a solution to insecurity in the area.
Bello promised to adopt community police to complement the activities of the conventional police whom he said were being overwhelmed with inadequate manpower and lack of knowledge of the local communities.
He urged the traditional rulers, youth groups and opinion moulders in communities across the state to join hands with the government to ensure the success of the new security architecture to rid the state of criminals and people with predatory tendencies.
The governor, however, directed the youth leader and the critical stakeholders of the communities to furnish his office within 24-48 hours of the level of damage done to individuals for monetary compensation.
Earlier, the youth leader of the Tawari communities, which comprises of four villages, Mr Gabriel Ndazago, said the initial figure of 24 deaths was recorded in Towari village while five other bodies were picked up from three other communities making it 29 deaths.
He appealed to the government to establish and strengthen the local vigilantes, which according to him, have the commitment and competence to deal with security infractions within their communities.
He lamented the frequent killings and kidnapping of Tawari people even in their homes and on their farms with consequences of payment of humongous ransom and in some cases killing of the victims for failing to meet their demands, adding that the January 2, 2020 attack was the climax of the gruesome murders of his people.
In his remark, the Aguma of Bassa and Paramount Ruler of Tawari, Alhaji Idris Alhassan Yusuf, commended the government for the prompt response to the crisis, and pledged the loyalty of his people to the government and its policies.
He appealed to the government to establish permanent security outpost in the area, reconstruct the damaged infrastructures, open up the roads to the villages, and provide adequate medicaments for the injured who are receiving treatments in various hospitals and clinics within the area.
However, the Plateau State Police Command, said gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, yesterday, killed 12 persons and injured one at Kulben village of Kombun District of Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Terna Tyopev, made this disclosure to newsmen in Jos.
According to Tyopev, the incident occurred in the early hours of yesterday.
“In the early hours of today (Thursday), we received a distress call that gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen attacked Kulben community of Kombun District of Mangu.
“As a result, 12 persons lost their lives and one severely injured.”
Typopev said the injured are receiving treatment at Mangu General Hospital at present.
He called on residents of the community to remain calm and be law-abiding, adding that the police and other security agencies would do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to book.
“No arrest is yet to be made, but we are doing everything possible to ensure that the criminals are arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law,” he said.
He called on the public to provide the police with useful information that would enable them to track down the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, the Sokoto State Fire Service has recorded eight deaths and saved 927 lives in 572 fire incidents in 2019, according to the State Fire Prevention Officer, Malam Nuhu Lawal.
Lawal told newsmen, yesterday in Sokoto that properties valued at N4.5billion were lost while the agency was able to save N4.7billion worth of valuables during the period under review.
The official blamed the fire incidents on electrical sparks and negligence, urging residents to be vigilant and embrace safety measures.
He said that the organisation had functional fire-fighting vehicles, water trucks back-ups and operational fire stations equipped with modern fire-fighting tools within Sokoto metropolis.
According to him, the Governor Aminu Tambuwal-led administration bought additional 10 new vehicles, refurbished the existing ones and constructed eight fire stations.
“The administration also drilled two boreholes and provided two water tankers as back-ups, to facilitate the agency’s activities,” he said.
He also lauded the state government for the prompt supply of chemicals used in putting out fires as well as the provision of rain boots and jackets.
The Fire Prevention Officer said that each of the 23 local government areas in the state had a fire-fighting vehicle, but lamented their poor use by the local authorities.
He also decried the poor maintenance of fire fighting gadgets in the local government areas, and regretted that fire fighting officers were not motivated to put in their best.
The Operation Officer, Sokoto State Fire Service, Mr Mustapha Abubakar, who also spoke with newsmen, cautioned members of the public against late reporting of fire incidents.
He also cautioned members of the public against blocking the movement of fire fighting engines during incidents.
Abubakar cautioned people against engaging the inferno before informing the agency, saying that the situation usually lead to the escalation of the fire before the arrival of the fire fighters.
He said that additional 50 fire men had been recruited to beef the agency’s strength, adding that new offices had also been established at Mana, Bado and Kalambaina towns.
He appealed to the state government to provide the organisation with an ambulance to ease services to victims and minimise the danger involved in waiting for hospitals to provide the facility

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Wike Lifts Curfew On Parts Of Port Harcourt …Lifts Suspension Of Obio/Akpor LG Chairman, Deputy …As RSG Moves To Implement Palliatives

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has lifted the curfew imposed on Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road, and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba, effective, today.
Wike also lifted the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
He announced these decisions during a state broadcast, yesterday.
Wike said: “With effect from tomorrow, April 3, 2020, the 24 hours curfew imposed from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba has been lifted.
“All borders and markets in the state remain closed.
“Following the interventions of some well-meaning citizens of the state, the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area has been lifted.
“However, this should serve as a warning to local government chairmen and traditional rulers who will allow markets to be open in their areas.
“Residents of Mgbuosimini-Rumueme in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area are hereby warned to desist from flouting government directive on closure of markets or be prepared to face unpleasant consequences.
“Commercial vehicle operators will soon get appropriate directives on their operations in order to maintain social distancing”, the governor said.
Wike explained that his administration was working out palliative measures to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home directive.
He said: “Implementation of palliatives to cushion the effects of recent directives on the citizens will soon take effect.
“International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the state should support government by donating towards the containment of the virus”, he appealed.
The governor thanked Rivers people for their cooperation, saying, “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, let me sincerely thank all of you for your patience and understanding all these days.
“The sacrifices we are all making have greatly helped us not to record any positive case since the index case was reported.
“As we continue to put in our best as human beings, we expect that the Almighty God will intervene on our behalf and wipe away this plague from our midst.
“May I, therefore, urge you all to continue to seek the face of God as we earnestly await His divine intervention,” he added.

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US, UK Diaspora Groups Hail Wike’s Measures Against COVID-19 Spread

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Two Rivers groups based in the United States of America, Ikwerre Peoples Forum, and Rivers Development Forum, have commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for taking proactive measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
In separate press statements, yesterday, the two groups expressed satisfaction that the governor was committed to the protection of Rivers people through actions that have stopped the explosion of Coronavirus in the state.
The Chairman of Ikwerre Peoples Forum, USA, Mr Michael Ewule, said that after Lagos State, Rivers State was the next major hub in the country that can be accessed through air, land and sea.
He said that the determined efforts of Wike saved the state from the uncontrolled spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The forum stated that: “We have watched closely what is happening all around Nigeria, and we are happy that our Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has worked hard to prevent Coronavirus from spreading.
“We support the measures that have been taken by Governor Nyesom Wike to stop Coronavirus from killing our people. Worldwide, such measures have been taken by governments to stop Coronavirus”, the forum noted.
The group urged the Rivers State Government to continue to review the measures in line with new developments.
The forum stated that it was working with non-governmental organisations and faith-based groups in Rivers State to reach out to Rivers people with donations of hand sanitizers and face masks.
The group also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for setting up a world-class treatment centre, which was handling the index case in the state.
The IPF further lauded the Rivers State governor for mobilising health professionals, facilities and drugs to tackle the disease.
Similarly, the Chairman of Rivers Development Forum, USA, Piegbara Baridoma, said the union was happy with Governor Nyesom Wike for working for the people at this tough time.
He called on Rivers people to support the governor to keep the state healthy through the right measures.
Baridoma noted that the sensitization process by the Rivers State Government since the index case of Coronavirus in Nigeria was reported has helped to create awareness of the disease in the state.
He explained that because the people are aware, it would be easier for health professionals in the state to contain the disease.
Meanwhile, Rivers United Front, a Coalition of Rivers State Indigenes based in the United Kingdom has commended Governor Nyesom Wike for displaying pragmatic leadership in the fight against coronavirus.
In a statement issued by the President and the Secretary of the Group, Dr.Tubotamuno Mpaka and Mr. Kingsley Chimzi respectively, they stated that the proactive approach employed by the Governor has helped to contain the virus.

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Lockdown: Open Food Reserve Centres Now, PDP Tells Buhari

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Federal lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the House of Representatives have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately unlock the national food reserve agency and distribute items to Nigerians across the 774 local government areas.
This, they said, will curb the spate of hunger in the land amid the lockdown order to halt the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In a statement issued by the parliamentarians under the umbrella name, “PDP House of Reps Caucus”, yesterday, signed by their leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers State, PDP) and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the members said that available records indicated that compliance to total lockdown has not always been 100 per cent successful if the food question was not addressed.
While commending Buhari for the directive during his state broadcast last Sunday, the caucus, in the statement titled, “COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Further and Decentralized Action”, also asked the National Assembly to immediately enact a law for national food prices control.
The caucus said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken our country on the emergency course, unexpected and unanticipated at the beginning of the year that strategic legal, policy and legislative responses have dovetailed into measures directed at curtailing or halting the pandemic.
“As members of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives, we have consistently called, and we still continue to call, for measured responses that take the poor economic conditions of Nigerians, the rights of citizens, the scaling up of the medicare framework, into account in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While many governors have stepped away from what Prof Wole Soyinka rightly described this week as an attempt to halt the spread of the pandemic virus by constitutional piracy, we note that the absence of a structured federal response, based on the dictates of the law, may have led them to ramp up measures outside the remit of their constitutional powers.
“The rule of law has now prevailed, and it is in this light we welcome some of the measures outlined in the President’s belated broadcast and in the Regulation (COVID-19 Regulation 2020) made pursuant to Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act; though the presidential broadcast and Regulation took a long time coming. Well, better late than never. While we find the measures largely satisfying, it is our considered view that the palliative measures outlined in the presidential broadcast and regulation are not far-reaching enough, while some are completely inapplicable.
“Experiences through history have shown that citizens’ rights to movement are often heavily implicated when measures directed at halting the spread of contagious diseases and restoring public safety do not address the food question behind the curtains, worsening food security conditions.
“During the Ebola outbreak a few years ago, citizens of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone openly defied the restrictions that were imposed on movement to limit the transmission of the disease, after staying indoors for a few days in hunger. We must learn quickly from these experiences by ensuring that immediate measures on food security are ramped up.
“One way of doing this is to open up our national food and grain reserves across the country and distribute food to the poorest of the poor in our country at the Local government level. The President should as a matter of utmost urgency issue an Executive Order, pursuant to his powers preserved by Section 5 of the Constitution 1999, directing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, National Food Reserve Agency and National Emergency Management Authority to release and manage the distribution of food in our national reserves.
“The Executive Order must set out clear consequences for breach, particularly as they relate to public officials who seize on the times to make brisk businesses and gains from the miseries of the people.
“Other measures such as food prices control should be ramped up; though specific, targeted and temporary legislation on food prices control will be needed for enforcement. This is where the National Assembly comes in – by establishing a framework of teleconferencing and social media communication, where the current lockdown and the medical advisories that bar public gatherings make it impossible for the reconvening of the National Assembly, to deliberate and pass such bills, as the Food Prices Control, COVID-19 Containment, Emergency and Disaster Management, into law.”
Also commending the Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and the House for the timely passage of an emergency bill to provide palliatives and the donation of members’ of March and April, 2020 salaries to fight the disease, the opposition lawmakers, however, asked that their deductions be transferred directly to their constituencies, saying they had no confidence in the sharing formula of the government.

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