The Nigerian Army, yesterday, says it has neutralized not fewer than 10 bandits and inflicted injuries on several others in a fierce battle with the bandits in Batsari and Faskari local government areas of Katsina State.
This was also as it says it loses one of its gallant soldiers while two others sustained injuries from the encounter.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig-Gen Bernard Onyeuko, who disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen, yesterday, also said the Army arrested three collaborators and informants of the bandits as well as recovered arms and ammunition.
Onyeuko said troops of the Operation Sahel Sanity carried out the offensive onslaught against the bandits which saw to the death of the five bandits in each of the council areas in the state.
According to him, “In furtherance of their operational activities and in line with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai’s directive extending Operation Sahel Sanity to March, the gallant troops have increased the momentum of the operation.
“They have continued to dominate the North-West theatre with confidence building patrols, robust and aggressive ambushes coupled with clearance operations. This is with a view to completely wipe out the remnant bandits and other criminal elements from the region.
“Consequently, on January 2, 2021, based on credible human intelligence about the movement of armed bandits sighted crossing Garin Inu in Batsari LGA heading towards Bugaje in Jibiya LGA both in Katsina State, troops deployed at Batsari swiftly mobilized and laid ambush along the bandit’s route at Garin Garus.
“While at the ambush position, the gallant troops made contact with the marauding armed bandits and engaged them with overwhelming firepower thereby neutralizing five bandits while others escaped with varying degrees of injuries as indicated by traces of blood along their escape routes.
“Further exploitation of the area by the gallant troops led to the capture of three AK-47 rifles and two AK-47 rifle magazines loaded with 18 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.
“In another development, on January 10, 2021, troops deployed at Sabon Layi while clearing bandits enclaves around Maigora general area in Faskari LGA of Katsina State, came in contact with armed bandits at Unguwar Rimi leading to a fierce gun battle.
“The troops were swiftly reinforced by another team from Faskari and supported by helicopter gunship delivering a lethal blow to the criminals thereby forcing the bandits to withdraw in disarray into the forest due to the troop’s superior firepower.
“During the exploitation phase of the operation, five bodies of neutralized bandits were found while several others were suspected to escape with gunshot wounds as indicated by bloodstains on their escape route.
“Regrettably, one brave soldier paid the supreme price while two others sustained minor injuries during the encounter. The wounded soldiers are in stable condition and currently responding to treatment in a military medical facility.
“Relatedly, on January 3, 2021, troops deployed at Dan Ali village acting on reliable information from reliable sources arrested a suspected bandits’ collaborator named Ya’u Tukur at Sabon Gida village in Kankara LGA of Katsina State.
“During preliminary investigations, the suspect confessed to being working for a notorious bandit gang that has been masterminding nefarious crimes, including kidnapping for ransom in various places. Troops are on the trail of other members of the notorious gang.
“Furthermore, on January 4, 2021, troops deployed at Maraban Maigora, acting on credible information arrested one Yahaya Aliyu while riding on a new motorcycle.
“The arrest was executed following reports from reliable sources on the suspect’s alleged involvement in the kidnapping and facilitating payment of ransom for kidnap victims in the area.
“During preliminary investigations, the suspect admitted his involvement in the alleged crimes, adding that the motorcycle he was riding was part of a bounty as ransom from a kidnapped victim.
“Additionally, on January 8, 2020, troops deployed at Yankara while acting on a tip-off arrested a suspected bandit’s collaborator named Alhaji Adamu Mamman around Yankara general area in Faskari LGA of Katsina State. The suspect has been at large following his involvement in harbouring bandits in his house.
“To this end, the gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity are commended for the successes and their unequalled commitment. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the North-West zone is rid of all criminal elements.
“Additionally, the good people of the North-West are once more assured of the Nigerian Army’s commitment to the safety of lives and properties within the zone.
“They are also encouraged to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist in the conduct of their operations,” Onyeuko, however, appealed.
Kebbi Approves N464m For Women Empowerment, Others
The Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, has approved N468.5 million for the execution of projects and empowerment programmes under the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Maikurata, made this known while briefing newsmen in Birnin Kebbi yesterday.
“As part of Gov. Atiku Bagudu’s continuous efforts to reduce poverty and uplift the standard of living of the people, especially the vulnerable in the state, the governor has approved the execution of projects worth N468.5 million for the ministry.
“The ministry of women affairs and social development will be fully involved in executing the projects in critical areas in 11 local government areas identified by the Kebbi state House of Assembly.”
According to her, the local government areas identified for the projects include, Gwandu,Koko/Besse, Aliero, Maiyama, Jega, Bagudo, Fakai, Ngaski, Argungu, Danko/Wasagu and Yauri.
She explained that the aim of the projects was to empower farmers, widows, orphans and youths as well as vulnerable women involved in economic activities in the local government areas.
“The money to be expended by the ministry on the execution of projects is part of the N2 billion released by the governor for constituency projects throughout the state,” she said.
Maikurata also said the government recently provided incentives to 350 women in tomatoes business across the state for economic empowerment.
“This is among other various economic empowerment programmes initiated in the state in which they received N30,000 each,” she said.
The permanent secretary appreciated the unwavering support to the ministry by the governor and his unrelenting show of concern and love to orphans and the less-privileged people in the state.
Enugu Awards N600m Water Rehabilitation Scheme Contract
The Enugu State Government has awarded contract for comprehensive rehabilitation of the 9th Mile Crash Programme Water Supply Scheme to FordMarx Nigeria Limited, at the cost of N600 million.
To ensure adequate supply of potable water from Oji-River, Ajali and Iva water schemes to Enugu metropolis informed decision of the state government to award the contract.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Resources, Hon. Anthony Dubem Onyia, the contract which has a six-month duration will boost the volume of water being reticulated from the 9th Mile Crash Programme Water Supply Scheme to Enugu metropolis and environs.
Hon. Onyia, who disclosed that the 9th Mile Crash Programme Water Supply Scheme will be solar powered to address the peculiar challenges of power supply, added that the project has a two-year warranty and maintenance period by the company, FordMarx Nigeria Limited.
He explained that the project was a network of twelve (12) boreholes connected to a massive pumping station and a mini treatment plant that will reticulate water to Enugu metropolis through transmission pipelines.
Reiterating Governor Ugwuanyi administration’s commitment towards adequate potable water supply in the state, the Special Adviser revealed that the state government has commenced the bid opening and evaluation meeting for new Okwojo Ngwo boreholes augmentation to Enugu metropolis.
Onyia further explained that the Okwojo Ngwo boreholes augmentation to Enugu metropolis, which is a network of ten (10) solar powered boreholes, is a newly conceived design which will help boost water production and distribution to Enugu metropolis and environs.
He added that it will equally augment the existing water schemes in order to effectively manage and meet the demands of the growing population of Enugu metropolis.
Stressing that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration is not relenting in its bid to increase the sources of potable water supply, and to continue to maintain existing facilities, Onyia reassured residents of Enugu that they will soon enjoy adequate water supply.
In a related development, the Enugu State Government in its commitment to solve the water problem in Nsukka and environs, has engaged a consultant to prepare engineering designs for the transmission and distribution pipelines, reservoirs and booster stations for the Nsukka Water Supply Project from Adada River Dam that will eventually deliver water to people of the area.
The construction of the Dam and Water Treatment Plant is part of the project being done by Federal Ministry of Water Resources while the Enugu State Government is doing the pipelines right from the Dam site to the booster stations and reservoir which will be located at elevated points and distribution pipelines in Nsukka.
The part to be done by the state government to guarantee the speedy actualisation of the project is estimated to be at a cost of over N3billion and Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration has already started committing funds to the project with a view to delivering quality water to Nsukka and environs within the next 24 months.
COVID-19: ABUAD Records Scientific Breakthrough
The Chemo-Genomics Research Institute of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, CRIA, in collaboration with the ABUAD Multi-system Hospital (AMSH), yesterday, announced a new understanding about the reasons why humans are more vulnerable to infections by the new variant of COVID-19, popularly known as N501Y SARS-CoV-2 mutant.
One of the reasons provided by the bio-medical scientists and Researchers, led by Dr Olaposi Omotuyi, is that the new variant is 80 times more effective at binding to human cells as it is characterised by faster human-to-human transmission, more rapid progression of symptoms and death.
Since the country is not on total lockdown, the Scientists and Researchers advised that people should adhere to the laid down non-pharmacologic preventive procedures.
The researchers announced that ABUAD was on the verge of bringing out an indigenous herbal product to combat the new variant in order to reduce its spread in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
A statement signed by Director, Corporate Affairs, Tunde Olofintila, stated that the Bio-medical scientists and Researchers at the two-sister institutions took advantage of the cutting-edge Bio-computing platform at the research institute to calculate and re-evaluate the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein Receptor-Binding Domain (RBD) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 surface (ACE2) for the wild type in comparison with the new variant.
Omotuyi said one of the outstanding discoveries of the research efforts is the improved RBD binding with ACE2 following N501 mutation.
“This scientific breakthrough becomes more important and germane bearing in mind the coming of the second wave of COVID-19 which boasts of more deaths and infection than the parent pandemic.
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