An unspecified number of people, including security personal have been reported killed by a Boko Haram attack on Damboa Village in Borno State, yesterday.
A local vigilante source told newsmen, yesterday, that the insurgents had earlier written to the communities of Damboa of their planned attack.
Though they were said to have made several failed attempts until yesterday when they launched the attack.
Some of the eyewitnesses said the insurgents came with about 30 gun trucks mounted and began to fire sporadically at anything within sight.
The soldiers were said to be in position, ready to repel attacks, having been pre-informed of the planned attack by the insurgents.
“When they starting shooting, people began to run to the bush. The hunters and CJTF along with soldiers, engaged them, but it seems they have come prepared until the soldiers got air support before the insurgents began to withdraw, “ Adamu Yusuf disclosed.
Another resident, Isa Adamu said, the insurgents were being expected since Monday, but they did not show up until this morning (yesterday) and they came from three directions, a situation which almost threw the soldiers into confusion.
Sanusi Ibrahim said both the ground soldiers and the Air Force support helped the soldiers to overcome the attackers.
“We are lucky because of the Air Force jet. It would have been worse without them. The soldiers on the ground also did well,” he informed.
Damboa is located between Alagarno and Sambisa forest.
It has been one of the vulnerable villages prone to Boko Haram attack because of its proximity to.
The number of casualty is still not certain as no official statement has been released by the Army
Meanwhile, late last night, more than 300 persons, including 223 children (10 of which are girls), were released from Nigerian Army administrative custody and Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison after they were cleared of suspected ties with armed groups.
They were released to the safe custody of Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, UNICEF and Borno State authorities in Maiduguri, Borno State.
This was disclosed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), yesterday, in a statement.
The statement explained that the children will now immediately enter a programme that will help them reintegrate into their communities, re-engage with their families, and take the first steps towards creating a new life and means of livelihood.
Some of the children had been missing for up to four to five years, with many presumed dead by their families.
According to UNICEF Representative, Peter Hawkins, “The release of these children is a huge step forward and one to be welcomed and celebrated. These children deserve to have a normal childhood – and now require our full care and support to re-enter the lives that were so brutally interrupted by this devastating conflict.”
Now in its tenth year, the conflict in North-East continues to uproot and devastate the lives of tens of thousands of children, women and men.
Since 2016, 3,559 people associated with armed groups have been released from administrative custody, including 1,743 children (1,125 boys, 618 girls).
All have gone through the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Centre in Maiduguri in Borno State and have since been reunited with their families or placed in the most appropriate alternative care, where they are accessing rehabilitation services and reintegration support in their communities.
Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.
RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku
The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.
Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”
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