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Blasphemy: Police Initiate Peace Talks With Religious Leaders In Borno 

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Fearing the rising tension occasioned by the murder of a Christian student, Deborah Samuel, in Sokoto State at the weekend, the Borno State Police Command, has initiated a peace talk with some religious leaders and  critical stakeholders in the state.
The Tide reliably learnt that the peace-building meeting which took place at the command’s headquarters in Maiduguri late Saturday night through the early hours of yesterday was to forestall any unrest that might disrupt the peace of the already ravaged state of the North-East sub-region.
The Commissioner of Police, Abdu Umar, who convened the meeting at the instance of the state government told newsmen shortly after the meeting, that an intelligence report indicated that certain elements were already gearing up for a shutdown in the city in reaction to the Sokoto State incident but that his personnel, along with other security agencies like the Civil Defence, the DSS, and the military, have been deployed across the state capital to maintain law and order.
“We convened the stakeholders meeting with all religious leaders in the state after meeting with the Deputy Governor, Umar Kadafur, at the government house. The Deputy Governor charged me to call on leaders of the two major religions in the state to speak with their followers on the need to maintain peace and safety in the midst of security challenges confronting Sokoto and threats of retaliation in some states like Kaduna.
“We, in Borno, have suffered our share of security challenges in the past 12 years, as such, we don’t want to go through that experience again, hence, the need to proactively engage the stakeholders to beckon on their followers to sustain the peace being enjoyed at the moment,” Abdu Umar remarked.
“We have not only engaged the religious leaders, the police and other security agencies have, since the unrest started in Sokoto, deployed personnel across the state capital and also stepped up our surveillance. In case of any eventuality or surprise, we are also going to embark on a show of force from Sunday (yesterday) to alert residents that we are active, on alert, and battle-ready to pounce on anybody that will want to attempt to disturb public peace,” the CP said.
On his part, the CAN Chairman Borno State chapter, Bishop Mohammed Naga, during the meeting assured that Christian leaders in the state have been instructed to inform their members to exercise restraint and not take any laws into their hands as God is capable of fighting their battles.
“We, the Christian community in Borno State, have agreed to maintain peace. I have written letters to all the pastors in Borno telling them to inform their members that we don’t want any reaction from them and that they should go about their normal routine activities without any fear of attack.
“We are law-abiding and we have a total submission to the teaching of God as enshrined in the Holy Bible”, Naga stated.
The Muslim leaders in the state led by the Chief Imam pleaded with Borno residents to desist from the temptation of commenting on religious posts on social media, saying those comments are the root causes of the crisis.
According to him, those comments could be inciting and injurious to others which could lead to violent reactions among the populace.
Present at the meeting were the representatives of the Nigerian army, the DSS, NSCDC, State government, Christian and Muslim religious leaders.

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NDLEA Arrests 774 Suspects, Seizes 3,874.3kgs Of Drugs In Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau

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NDLEA arrested 774 suspects and seized 3,874.3kgs of various narcotics and psychotropic substances in Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau State in the first half of 2022.
The three states make the Zone D of the narcotics agency.
Zonal Commander in the zone Umoru Ambrose, said this in Lafia yesterday while marking the 2022 UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
He said 134 drug suspects were prosecuted during the period, while 378 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated.
He added that states in the zone had intensified their operations in the War against Drug Abuse and sensitisation.
Ambrose called on all stakeholders to get involved in curbing drugs menace in the zone.
In his remarks, NDLEA Commander in Nasarawa State, Peter Odaudu, said the celebrations underscored the need for access to proper treatment for people with drug disorders.
He stressed that the war against drugs must be intensified in Nasarawa State especially given its position as the second highest drug prevalence state in the North Central after Kwara.
“Statistics from the 2018 drug survey showed a very alarming trend, the involvement of females in drug issues.
“We have at least one female out of every four drug users; this development is worrisome and must be reversed,’’ he said.
Odaudu thanked Nasarawa State’s Governor Abdullahi Sule for his support for the NDLEA and solicited urgent intervention in the provision of operational vehicles and the construction of a rehabilitation centre.
Guest speaker, Mr Nwora Okpalaeke, who is coordinator of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria in Nasarawa State, said 494,000 users died of drug abuse in 2019.
He spoke on “Illicit Drugs in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’’
He said drug abusers suffered liver cirrhosis, stroke, hepatitis, kidney and heart failure, noting that 14.3 million Nigerians are drug addicts, while three million are suffering from drug-related disorders.
“Government should strengthen the system to prevent proliferation of drugs and pay attention to agencies charged with reversing the situation.
“Drug abuse affects economic growth; the higher the abuse the higher the level of insecurity and poverty,’’ he said.
Senior Special Assistant on Primary Healthcare to Governor Sule, Margaret Elayo, commended the NDLEA in the state and assured of partnership to curb drug abuse in Nasarawa State.
The theme for this year’s celebration of the Day is: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’

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NDLEA Arrests 218 Suspects, Seizes 1,471.314kg Of Drugs In Imo

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The Imo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested 218 drug suspects made up of 171 males and 47 females.
The agency has also seized 1,471.314kg of drugs between July 2021 and June 2022.
The state commandant, NDLEA, Mr. Reuben Apeh, disclosed this while speaking to The Tide ahead of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking.
He said that 1,458.49kg of Cannabis Sativa, 1,0513kg of cocaine, 0.2077kg of Heroine, 3.896kg of Methamphetamine and 3.184kg of Tramadol were exhibits seized within the period under review.
Apeh disclosed further that cannabis farm in hectares was also destroyed in Imo State while 0.5278kg of Rohypnol and 2.5135kg of diazepam were among the seized exhibits.
He stated that some of the arrested suspects had been arraigned and convicted for drug related offences at the Federal High Court.
According to him, “Within the period covered, 51 were convicted and 145 were charged and their cases are still on going”.
Apeh described the drug situation in Imo State as worrisome, saying women have joined the illicit trade for financial gains.
He lamented that drug peddling was alarming among the younger generation in the state.
He, therefore, called on the stakeholders to partner with NDLEA to sensitize the society on the dangers of drug abuse.

By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri

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NDE Trains 750 Youths On Apprenticeship Skills In Imo

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The National Directorate for Employment (NDE) has commenced the training of 750 youths on various apprenticeship skills in Imo State.
Director-General of the NDE, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu-Fikpo, made this known while flagging off the training programme in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The Tide reports that the training is captured under the Advanced National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (A-NOAS) and Basic National Apprenticeship Scheme (B-NOAS) of the Directorate’s Department of Vocational Skills Development (VSD).
The training skills include barbing, basic tailoring, hairdressing, welding, event planning, make- up, confectionery and auto mechanic, among others.
Nuhu-Fikpo, represented by the State Coordinator of the NDE in Imo State, Mrs Ngozi Ihenacho, explained that the trainees include youths and women drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state.
According to him, the intensive training programme will take place in the Directorate’s training centres, one in each senatorial district of the state, and last for three months.
He urged the trainees to utilise the opportunity provided by the training programme to acquire viable skills that would enable them become self-reliant, and thereby decongest the labour market, and reduce poverty and hunger.
“In today’s world, opportunities such as these are rare and hardly come on a platter and I  urge you, my dear beneficiaries, to take this opportunity serious, be punctual at the training venue with the aim of liberating yourselves from the chains of poverty and unemployment”, he advised.
Also speaking at the programme, Director of the VSD, Mallam Isa Abdu, explained that the training scheme would run simultaneously, with the beneficiaries receiving transport allowances for the duration of training.
Abdu, represented by a senior staff in VSD, Mr Onyekwelu Igwesi, said that expert trainers had been hired to conduct the training and urged the trainees to justify the opportunity given them to become employers of labour.
“All over the world, as the value of money depreciates, entrepreneurs are adjusting with the times, hence the need for viable skills that can drive the economy. Learn the skills and be your own boss”, he said.
One of the trainees, Miss Oluchi Uchenna, who responded on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the NDE for creating the opportunity for them to thrive in their quest to become economically independent.

By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri

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