Zamfara State Government has said that a total of 3,526 persons were killed by armed bandits in the state in the last five years.
This was disclosed by the state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, yesterday in Gusau during a Town Hall Meeting attended by the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
“Nearly 500 villages have also been devastated and 8,219 persons injured, some are still in critical condition,” the governor said.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Abdullahi Shinkafi, also said that over 13,000 hectares of farmlands were either destroyed or made useless as the farmers can no longer farm there.
“The economy of the state has seriously suffered because thousands of shops were destroyed by the rampaging bandits who had displaced thousands of our people from their places of abode, many of whom cannot sleep with their two eyes closed because of fear,” he added.
Yari said the government had written volumes of reports containing over 7,000 pages, giving details of the crises right from the beginning to the infiltration from Libya and Boko Haram.
He disclosed that the government was aware of eight prominent bandits’ camps at different bush locations in the state, and urged that they should all be neutralised in order to decimate the criminals.
The governor said that recent suspension of mining activities in the state by the federal government must “be followed by enforcement, because, it is one thing to ban, and another to enforce.”
Earlier, Adamu, the acting IGP, told the gathering that the police would take more proactive measures in the fight against bandits and commended the state government for providing enabling environment to security personnel to operate in the state.
Our correspondent reports that the town hall meeting was attended by traditional and community leaders, including herders and farmers.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Police Command, yesterday, said 21 persons were killed while 50 cattle were rustled in an attack by armed bandits in Banono and Anguwan Aku in Kajuru Local government area of the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state, DSP Yakubu Sabo said three other persons were injured while 10 houses were burnt by the bandits, who he said, “came in large numbers on motor bikes”, adding that no arrest has been made.
The statement reads: “On 08/04/19 at about 0930hrs, we received a distress call that a group of armed men in large number on motorbikes entered Banono and Anguwan Aku both are remote neighbouring villages in Kufana district of Kajuru LGA.
“The attackers started shooting sporadically attacking the villagers and in the process shot and killed 21 persons, injured three others and torched 10 houses. The bandits also rustled about 50 cows.
“Combined teams of PMF personnel, conventional police, Army and the local vigilante were promptly mobilized to the area, repelled the attack and evacuated both the dead and the injured to hospital.
“While efforts are on to apprehend the fleeing criminals, reinforcement of more police operatives have been drafted to the area for intensive combing and patrol with a view to forestall further breakdown of law and order/reprisal and arrest the perpetrators.
“The Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdurrahman is saddened by this attack and has reiterated the command’s commitment to apprehend the culprits. He sincerely condoled with the affected families on the irreparable losses.
“The command appeals to members of the public to continue to assist the police with useful information that could help in addressing these challenges and for the possible arrest of these criminals” the statement added.
But while reacting to the persistent killings across the nation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate sufficient leadership by addressing what it called the escalated insecurity, particularly the killings, rising spate of kidnapping, banditry and acts of terrorism in various parts of the country.
The party, in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, yesterday, said it was heavily grieved by the pain, anguish and horror Nigerians have been subjected in the hands of marauders “following the failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to provide adequate security in the country, despite the huge resources at its disposal.”
The statement read, “The PDP notes that by every indication, the President Buhari-led Federal Government has no solution to the security challenges of our nation, which has festered under its incompetent watch.
“The PDP tasks the All Progressives Congress (APC) to give account of the whereabouts of the political mercenaries it imported into the country from neighbouring countries, particularly from Chad and Niger Republic during the build-up to the 2019 general election.
“This demand is predicated on fears in the public space of the possible involvement of the imported political thugs, who assisted the APC to unleash violence on Nigerians during the elections, in the heightened acts of banditry in our nation.
“Nigerians could recall that the PDP had raised a red flag on the dangers of the heavy importation of unscreened aliens by the APC to involve in its presidential election campaign rallies. The PDP and other well-meaning Nigerians had expressed fears that such aliens could be used by unpatriotic elements to unbridle violent acts against Nigerians.
“The party lamented that the Federal Government has failed to exert enough commitment in protecting the lives of Nigerians and curb the bloodlettings and kidnapping of compatriots in Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Bauchi and other states. We have been proved right that President Buhari and the APC do not believe in their campaign promises.
“This is the very reason Nigerians are anxious for the retrieval of our stolen Presidential mandate, which they freely gave to Atiku Abubakar, at the tribunal, so that our nation can have the benefit of a purposeful government that is alive to its responsibility of ensuring the security and wellbeing of the Nigerian people”, the PDP added.
Similarly, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), has decried the incessant killings in the country, especially the armed banditry in the northeast and called on the Federal Government to be alive to its responsibilities in the protection of lives and property.
ASUP also frowned at the disposition of the Federal Government and its agencies towards re-negotiation of FGN/ASUP agreement, alleging that it was a ploy to cripple the system and perpetuate suffering on its members.
The union, in a communique after its 94th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at Shehu Idris College of Health Sciences and Technology, Makarfi, Kaduna State, commended the National Assembly for the passage of the Polytechnics Act Amendment Bill.
In the communiqué signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chris Nkoro and made available to journalists in Abuja, yesterday, ASUP said, “The NEC equally observed the rising cases of armed banditry and kidnapping in the country, a situation that has made people prisoners in their homes.
“The NEC therefore calls on government at all levels to be more alive to their responsibility of safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians irrespective of social strata or creed.”
According to him, NEC took vital note of the concluded 2019 general election, and congratulated successful candidates.
NEC also said that the election was a huge leap in Nigeria’s democracy even as it urged the elected ones to be magnanimous in victory.
“It, however, condemned the pockets of violence in various parts of the country during the elections,” the communiqué read.
It further noted with regret the loss of lives of its members in Rivers State and harassments in Bauchi and Taraba states, and called on Federal Government to avail itself of technological gadgets to track security challenges in the country.
PDP’ll Support Presidential Candidate With Capacity To Salvage Nigeria -Wike …Says, I Won’t Impose My Successor
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has explained that only a courageous person with the capacity and vision to salvage the country would be supported to fly the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election.
He clarified that although the party was yet to decide whether such candidate would be from the southern or northern part of Nigeria, adding that “one thing is certain, the candidate will be one who can confront the evil tactics of All Progressives Congress (APC)”.
Speaking on African Independent Television (AIT), yesterday, Wike said the process to determine who PDP would field as its presidential candidate would be a turbulent one.
“Let nobody come and tell you that in arriving at a presidential candidate that it will be easy. No way, it can never be. You know, there are two types of turbulences. There is turbulence that will not have a crash, which is a normal turbulence. There are turbulences that there is likely to be a crash.
“Our own turbulence in PDP is the normal turbulence, which I believe we will get through it, but APC turbulence is a turbulence that is likely to lead to a crash.
“PDP has redeemed its position towards what Nigerians are expecting, because Nigerians are tired of what is going on in the country. So, they need an alternative, and the only alternative as it is today is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
Wike said as a firm and courageous person, who having demonstrated such selfless leadership in Rivers State, he would only support a presidential candidate who would not mortgage the party for other selfish interests.
“And so, if you want to run for presidency under PDP, I will not support somebody who’ll just want to bear the name of former presidential candidate, I will not agree to that. I must see that you are prepared for it, and to confront this evil called APC.”
Wike boasted that he feels fulfilled that PDP got it right with a peaceful conduct of its national convention that saw the emergence of a new competent National Working Committee (NWC).
He dismissed insinuations in some quarters that PDP governors had forced on an early convention because they wanted sole control of the party.
According to him, any true party man would love a PDP that is stable, focus and forward looking.
The governor maintained that already the new leadership of the PDP, waiting to be sworn-in on the December 9, 2021, have started engaging Nigerians and other party members on identifying what the problems are and how to address them properly.
Wike said Nigerians are tired of the misrule of APC and would not allow their evil to continue beyond 2023.
“Nigerians are waiting. Nigerians cannot have this type of evil come up again in 2023. We will be doing a disservice to Nigerians to allow this to continue.”
He said PDP is already aware of the antics of the APC-controlled Federal Government to ensure it holds on to power at all cost.
According to him, APC is already gearing up to deplore unconstitutional means to frustrate the conduct of a free and fair 2023 general election.
Wike expressed strong reservation on the likelihood of President MuhammaduBuhari ever assenting to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
“The president will not sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. The signs are already there. It is dead on arrival. The president does not disappoint people.”
He stated that the seemingly disagreement between members of the national lawmakers and APC governors over the Electoral Act Amendment Bill was devised to frustrate it.
The governor wondered why the president would be seeking INEC’s advice on a law that is already passed by the National Assembly.
He asserted that issues of security and cost implication would be used eventually as reasons why presidential assent would be declined.
Wike said the current Senate and House of Representatives controlled by the APC lack the capacity to use veto power to override Buhari, if he refuses to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Speaking on how his successor would emerge, Wike reassured that the leadership of the party would meet to decide who to support at the appropriate time.
Wike maintained that he was obliged to ensure that PDP wins the 2023 governorship election, but he would not impose any candidate on the party.
“There is no right thinking Rivers person who will say Wike’s administration has not done well for Rivers State. And so, I believe everybody will want somebody who has something positive to add.
“One mistake I will not make is to impose somebody. From my experience as a student of history, reality has shown that it is difficult for you to say Joseph is the man I can trust. Until you give somebody power and money, that is only when you will know whether that person is trustworthy or not.”
Wike said God will not allow someone that will destroy all the remarkable progress the state has made over the years to be the next governor.
According to him, God will ensure that it is only someone who is courageous, firm and ready to protect the interest of Rivers State that will succeed him.
“Rivers State is a state that so many people have interest. It is a state that you have to put your feet on the ground. It is a state that you have to annoy a lot of Nigerians, and a lot of Nigerians will hate you. But what is important is for you to know what is good for your people, and stand for your people. Do not allow personal interest to sway you against the interest of your people.”
‘140m Nigerians Lack Access To Justice’
About 140million Nigerians are among the 5.1billion people in the world that lack access to justice, Country Director, Hague Institute of Innovations of Law (HIIL), Mrs. Ijeoma Nwafor has said.
She said this while addressing the Justice Transformation Lab in Kaduna, adding that 11million residents in Kaduna State also lacked access to justice.
According to her, the Hague Institute of Innovations of Law came into being in Nigeria in 2018 and had been in Imo State before coming to Kaduna State, adding that it is ready to help 150million Nigerians have access to justice by solving the most urgent and most important of their justice challenges in the next nine years.
She added, “We want to help 150million Nigerians solve their most pressing justice problems by 2030. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
The country director explained that HIIL intervention is hinged on five pillars such as working from data, applying best practices, scaling game-changers, creating enabling environment for actionable plans, and strengthening the movement to ensure that people-centred justice is possible in Kaduna and in Nigeria.
Responding, the Attorney General of Kaduna State and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs. Aisha Dikko, said that HIIL as an organization focuses on a user-friendly approach to provide access to justice.
She opined that the collaboration would support the justice sector in identifying key issues and practical solutions to the administration of justice in Kaduna State.
She expressed the belief that the engagement and outcome will birth the first Justice Transformation Lab in Kaduna State, saying that the Ministry of Justice is determined to work with all stakeholders in focussing on effectively achieving its mandate.
Put Pressure On Buhari To Sign Amended Electoral Act, Wike Tells Media
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has charged the media to exert pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the amended Electoral Act.
The governor said it was important that the media should enlighten Nigerians to know why there should be electronic transmission of election results in order to save the nation’s democracy.
Wike stated this in his remark after he was conferred with the “Gold Prize for Exceptional Leadership,” award by the This Nigeria Media Newspaper in Abuja, last Wednesday.
He said considering the importance of the Electoral Act amendment to the survival of the nation’s democracy, the media ought to deem it a priority to exert pressure on the president to sign the amended Act.
“As watchdog of the society”, the governor said, “the Nigerian media should enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of both direct and indirect primaries.
“Who are those to benefit more if the direct primaries is conducted. Who are those to benefit more if it is indirect primaries? So, it is important that Nigerians should know why there should be electronic transmission of results in order to save our democracy”, the governor said.
The governor said the only way those in position of authority can become accountable to the people, is when electoral process is free and fair.
He maintained any electoral system that permits security agencies to be used to rig election, and for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to be manipulated, would not yield accountable governance.
Wike commended the INEC for the successful conduct of the just concluded Anambra State governorship election.
“Now, they have performed well in Anambra State, everybody is praising them. But when they did not perform well in Rivers State, should we praise them? We cannot. When a general in the Army will convert a whole division to INEC office, will you be happy?”
Wike urged Nigerians to always deemphasise their ethnic and religious affiliation in order for the country to achieve the desired national cohesion.
“There is the need for all of us to still believe that this country must be united. But, if we want to move forward, we must drop the issue of where you come from. We must drop the issue of where you worship. Overemphasis of these things causes a lot of disintegration and which is not the best for us.”
Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who chaired the occasion, said the country was going through tough times.
According to him, the current travails of the country also offer opportunities for the emergence of a great nation.
The guest speaker, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, who delivered the This Nigeria Inaugural Lecture with the theme: ‘National Cohesion for Sustainable Growth and Progress: The Nigeria Dilemma,’ blamed the drafters of the Nigerian Constitution for the country’s lack of national cohesion.
“Something as fundamental as a Constitution, the debate and the issues that ought to form the kernel of our governance have never been subjected to the intellectual rigour that is required. The result is that we have never debated our Constitution based on the peculiarities, the cultural expectations, the hopes, the anxieties, and the fears of ordinary Nigerians”, he said.
He argued that the country would not be fixed until Muslims understand the grievances of the Christians; and until Christians understand the grievances of Muslims.
The Publisher of ThisNigeria, Mr. Eric Osagie said Wike was conferred with the flagship award of the newspaper because of his exceptional leadership in the vanguard of infrastructural revolution.
The “Gold Prize for Exceptional Leadership”, according to him, “is usually bestowed on that man or woman who has impacted exceedingly in the lives of Nigerians, and in whose legacy has potential of transcending time and space.
“Wike”, Osagie noted, “has injected over 70percent of the state income in capital projects in the funding of roads and other critical infrastructure. A feat, that is unprecedented in the history of state administration in Nigeria”.
This Nigeria Newspapers also conferred Gold Prize in Public Service award on Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum; Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede; and Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, respectively.
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