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Terrorists Control Villages, Collect Taxes In Borno, Residents Confirm

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Security sources and locals residing in communities outside most of the local government areas in northern and some other parts of central and southern Borno State have revealed that there are still towns and villages under the control of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram and Islamic State for West African Province also known as ISWAP.

A resident of Maiduguri, Sani Adam Malumfatori, said that, “These local government areas include: Abadam, Gwoza, Guzamala, Kalabalge, Magumeri, Gubio, Marte, Damasak and Dikwa in Borno State as well as Yunusari and Gaidam in Yobe State”.

It was gathered that people living those villages or crossing from one town to another or from one local government to another still pay taxes to the terrorists who normally block the roads against travellers.”

He said although local government headquarters seem secured, the same cannot be said of towns and villages under them.

International NGO officials working in Borno State have also said that there are areas, particularly in the northern Borno and the Lake Chad area where activities of Boko Haram/ISWAP is still showing red and they are not expected to carry out any activity there for the safety and security of aid workers.

He said, those areas are “no-go areas.

“Despite the fact that there are no incidents in Maiduguri, the non-state actors have been very much active outside Maiduguri. There are hundreds of people in need of food and medications that cannot be reached particularly in the Lake Chad region due to the increasing activities of AOG (armed opposition group),” a security official with one of the INGO in Borno said.

Earlier this month, ISWAP, which broke out from the mother body – Boko Haram in 2016, declared that a new union of ISWAP-Boko Haram terrorists’ group has reshuffled its leadership and structures.

This followed the death of some top commanders in a battle with the Nigerian military who are currently on clearance operations in most towns and villages across Borno State.

According to the sources with close information about the group, “the leadership ‘restructuring’ was in line with a directive from ISIS headquarters in Iraq, which was resulted from the recent losses of some of ISWAP-Boko Haram commanders to military offensives and the realignment of forces by the hitherto separate insurgents groups.”

There were also videos being circulated to the effect that the two warring groups in northeast Nigeria have come together to pursue a common cause.

Their fighters carrying AK-47 rifles and other dangerous weapons have spoken in such videos, and have warned residents and other religions in the region.

The terrorist’s organization has also claimed to have in their restructuring, appointed governors to rule some areas of their occupation.

The Lake Chad region was one of such places a governor was said to have been appointed by the group to govern.

Situation within Borno State has degenerated recently due to the activities of Boko Haram/ISWAP.

The state, for example, has been in total darkness in the last six months owing to the destruction of lines supplying electricity to the state by terrorists.

Last Monday, Chairman of the Borno State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Usman Mahdi Badari decried the level of inflation and insecurity in the state while with the state working committee, calling on the authorities to do the needful to save the state.

A member of the ruling party, APC, in Borno State, Adam Guzamala, said that his local government area is still under the occupation of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram/ISWAP.

“All you need to know that all is not well is to go round the IDP camps and ask yourself why the people are still in the camp. I believe this is also the reason the government is doing everything possible to see that no camp remains in Maiduguri.

“However, you can ask questions again: are these people being returned to their towns and villages or are they being kept still in camps within the local government headquarters? This is politics, but it is unfortunate doing it with the lives of the common man,” he said.

Tijjani Kachallah, a resident of Rann in KalaBalge Local Government Area of Borno State said, while it is true that terrorists had claimed to appoint a governor in the Lake Chad region, it will be apolitical for the governor of Borno State to agree with such claims.

“Even if I am the governor, I will not agree to any statement depicting a situation such as we have at hand. Zulum is the governor of Borno State. If Boko Haram has their own governor, it is not the governor of Borno State and they can have their own Boko Haram governor; after all, they never claimed to pay allegiance to constituted authority,” Kachallah said.

A military commander, who is not authorized to speak openly said that, whatever the position of the Borno State governor in reacting to the questions about the claim of ISWAP, is a position any political leader will take.

“However, that is not to say that these bad elements are not in operation in the state. That is why the military is still fighting them and I assure you, we are winning the battle and the war. This is not something I can tell you will end today or tomorrow. You have been reporting this conflict for over a decade and I need not to educate you on what is going on,” he said.

A political analyst in Borno State, Modu Moromti, said that, “We have not been experiencing bombs and gunshots in Maiduguri like before, but life outside the state capital has not been easy for our people. Normally, if a governor visits a local government, a town or a village in the state, you will see a crowd of people following him, particularly children. That can only happen in a time of peace.

“Today, the governor can travel anywhere within areas of conflict, but you can only see the crowd when he goes to share food in the IDP camps and not on a normal street. When he goes to the street; I don’t know whether you have been observing the photos of the governor in circulation. All you see is the governor and his few aides and the military who are giving him protection. This is not the situation in times of peace. However, politically speaking, I am 100% with the Borno State governor’s position in reaction to questions you journalists are asking.”

Moromti also said that the claims that informed the reaction by the Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum was not looked at deeply.

“ISWAP in the said reports did not claim to have appointed a governor over Borno State. They said they have appointed a governor to oversee their activities within the Lake Chad region. Even the outlaws have a certain respect for constituted authority. And of course, Zulum cannot oversee the activities of terrorists. He can only ensure that they are brought to justice for the activities they are carrying out in the Lake Chad region, which is against the law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he added.

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Winners-Take-All Approach Detrimental To Political Justice And Unity – Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned that the prevailing “winners-take-all” approach to politics in Nigeria is detrimental to political justice and unity.
Speaking yesterday as the chairman of the national symposium to mark this year’s Democracy Day at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan emphasised the need for a more inclusive system where parties that perform well at the polls are given a role in governance.
The symposium, which marked this year’s Democracy Day, brought together prominent figures from across the country to discuss the state of democracy in Nigeria and the need for reforms.
Jonathan highlighted the negative impact of the current zero-sum practice, which he said fosters a culture of do-or-die politics. He urged the National Assembly to work out a formula that would ensure parties that score a certain percentage of votes in an election are included in governance, thereby promoting political justice and unity.
“The powers of the presidents are defined by different constitutions and so on and so forth.
“So our National Assembly can also look at models that will suit us. The zero-sum approach, where a party that even sometimes gets 40% of votes, especially at the state levels will have nothing, gives rise to this do-or-die politics.
“That zero-sum approach, I think, is inimical to consolidating and strengthening our democracy.
“Let me conclude by saying that together, we can forge a Nigeria where every citizen has a voice, where opportunities abound, where the promise of a better tomorrow is not just a dream but a tangible reality.
“Let us therefore celebrate this milestone with pride and renewed determination.”
President Jonathan also advised President Bola Tinubu’s administration to ensure that the politics of the next 25 years are transformative and inclusive, saying that there must be a determined effort to dilute the politics of region and religion.
“And I know you and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was a key actor in the June 12 crisis, will have the capacity to navigate through that process.
“I believe this programme and others commemorating this landmark will point the way to that glorious vision and prepare the nation for golden time centenary celebrations of enduring democracy.”
Noting that the path towards democratic consolidation has been a difficult one, he said the return of democracy in 1999, after many years of military reign, signalled a new phase in the national journey and shared vision of unity, peace and progress.
The former president added: “In the last 25 years, we have made modest progress in this regard amid some challenges. As a nation, we built an economy that was once the biggest on the African continent, experienced significant infrastructural growth, made strides in the arts and sports, and recorded many peaceful political transitions at the national and sub-national levels.
“Democracy has also brought about improved access to governance, amplified silent voices and reinforced the idea of sovereignty.
“Whenever I tune in to Nigerian TV stations, especially in the morning and see young men and women discussing and interrogating contemporary political issues and holding leaders to account, I thank God for democracy and appreciate the gains we have made over the years.
“In these 25 years, through four power transitions from one president to another, including the death of a sitting president, we have seen the gradual strengthening of our democratic institutions, the expansion of civil liberties, and the active participation of our citizenry in the political process. This progress, while commendable, also reminds us that our work is far from done.
“It is, therefore, time to make this journey seamless, through good citizenship, patriotic service as well as sacrificial and exemplary stewardship.
“We must continue to build upon the foundations laid, deepen our democratic roots, and ensure that the dividends of democracy are felt by all Nigerians, regardless of their social, economic or geographic status.”
Jonathan also called on the political class and elites to lead by example and work with unity of purpose to guarantee peace, social justice, and effective governance for Nigerian citizens.
He emphasised the need for elected representatives to reflect their roles through their lifestyles and actions.
He said: “For democracy to yield its desired dividend, we the political class and elites must lead by example and work with unity of purpose to guarantee peace and social justice for the citizens. And our lifestyle must reflect that we are elected people.

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Ibom Developers Drive Sustainable Growth Through Skill Acquisition Workshop In Amazaba Community, Akwa Ibom

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Skill acquisition is a principal factor for building a successful career, significantly enhancing one’s employability and opening doors to various career opportunities. It serves as a cornerstone for driving holistic development within communities, fostering economic empowerment, and promoting sustainable growth.
Recognising the transformative impact of its ongoing skill acquisition initiatives, Ibom Developers has extended its programme to the Amazaba community in Eastern Obolo LGA, Akwa Ibom State, from 3rd to 14th June 2024.
This initiative aims to foster economic empowerment and community development by equipping participants with practical skills essential for economic independence.
During the event, 160 women received intensive training in catering, food hygiene, packaging, hairdressing, wig making, ventilation, and styling over a period of two weeks.
Distinguished guests, including Chief Gogonte Luke Nglass, Chairman of the Amazaba Council of Chiefs, Chief Alexander Ikowa, Village Head of Okorobilom, Chief J.J Job, Village Head of Bethlehem, Mrs. Gloria Gogonte, Vice President of the Amazaba Women Association, and Victoria Solomon Bibama, Assistant Secretary of the Amazaba Women Association, were present.
Grateful for the initiative and its impact on the community, especially in advancing women’s skills, Chief Gogonte Luke Nglass expressed optimism for transformative change, stating, “We are grateful, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing the profound effects of this initiative on our community.”
Skill acquisition empowers individuals to navigate the modern job market, achieve personal and professional growth, and contribute to economic and social development.
Emphasising the role of skill acquisition in empowering women and youth, Victoria Solomon Bibama expressed, “This is highly commendable, and initiatives like these bring us closer to a future where every woman can thrive, and no community is left behind.”
Equipping women with relevant skills, especially in rural areas, expands opportunities for meaningful employment. Ibom Developers’ efforts contribute to building a stronger society, facilitating economic growth and social progress.
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HYPREP Celebrates WED In Style 

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The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project(HYPREP) on Wednesday joined the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s World Environment Day in grand style.

 

It actually started the celebration last Saturday with the planting of mangroves at the Bomu Creek in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.The planting of the mangroves was carried out in partnership with the Nigerian Environmental Society(NES) which massively mobilised its members to the waterfront, where the mangroves were massively planted to restore part of the degraded shoreline.

 

HYPREP indicated that it also carried out the exercise in conjunction with contractors who had already been mobilised to site to plant mangroves at the waterfront in keeping with its shoreline restoration programme.

 

At the Bomu Creek, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Prof Deinibarini Zabbey; the Rivers State Chairman of NES, Sir Amos Daminabo Atuloyedia; and others were all handy, as they stepped into the marshy environment, fully kitted and planted the mangroves, to the admiration of all present.

 

Speaking to newsmen, Zabbey said the exercise was the beginning of the 2024 World Environment Day celebration which would climax on Wednesday, June 5, the day the global event is marked annually, stressing that HYPREP was partnering with NES to plant mangroves at the waterfront to actually make the event worthwhile and colourful.

 

On his part, the NES boss, Sir Atuloyedia said the body was delighted to partner with HYPREP to celebrate this year’s World Environment Day, hinting that the society would also visit the Liquefied Natural Gas plant in Bonny as part of activities to mark the day, which he said would climax last Wednesday at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt.

 

On Wednesday, the celebration of the World Environment Day took another dimension as HYPREP mobilised students from four secondary schools in Ogoniland, namely; Community Secondary School, Bomu; Community Secondary School, Barako; Community Secondary School, Mogho; and Bodo City Girls to carry out the removal of plastics at another section of the Bomu Creek, where mangroves had already sprouted.

 

The Project Coordinator, Prof Zabbey, the students and some HYPREP workers, who were all fully kitted, moved into the marshy landscape and weeded out plastics at the base of each of the lush mangroves.

 

However, before the event proper kicked off in earnest, the Head of the Livelihood Unit of HYPREP, Mrs Josephine Nzidee; Mangrove Officer, Mr Uche Izuchukwu; and Subject Matter Expert/Team Lead Mangrove, HYPREP, Prof Franklin Tanee had given the students,drawn from the environmental clubs established by the Project pep talks on what the day was all about and what they should do at the waterfront.

 

Addressing newsmen at the end of the removal plastics, Zabbey,who practically demonstrated leadership by example, underlined the importance of the World Environment Day celebration, describing the activity as the climax of what was started last Saturday in Bomu community.

 

He disclosed that HYPREP had established 20 environment clubs in Ogoniland, which it has been supporting as part of efforts to recover the biodiversity, stressing that the removal of the plastics at the mangroves was symbolic.

 

The Project Coordinator had earlier in a statement to celebrate the World Environment Day, noted that the theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Our Land, Our Future: Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience ‘, resonates deeply with HYPREP’s mission and ongoing efforts and achievements in Ogoniland and the wider Niger Delta region.

 

He said the 2024 WED provides an opportunity to reflect, design, and facilitate approaches to protect our commonwealth- land, restore degraded ones, and discourage human activities that compromise the integrity of the environment and biodiversity.

 

Zabbey further noted that for a region whose primary livelihood depends on fertile soil and flourishing river systems, restoring degraded environments is essential for recovering and sustaining biodiversity; improving agricultural productivity; and enhancing communities’ livelihoods, stressing that the future of the Ogonis and the wider Niger Delta depends on their land.

 

According to him, HYPREP is equipped with the necessary resources and strategically positioned to lead this generation to undertake this task decisively.

 

The Project Coordinator urged stakeholders to take definite stance to prevent oil pollution occasioned by oil theft, vandalism and artisanal refining, prioritise oil infrastructure maintenance and monitoring to protect the environment; to prevent and clean up plastic pollution that defaces and impairs land and wetlands; conduct adequate sensitisation and awareness creation to mainstream good environmental behaviours; and develop citizens’ capacity to pursue alternative and sustainable livelihoods, which would dissuade local communities from engaging in unethical acts, stressing that HYPREP reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the remediation and restoration of Ogoniland.

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