The Nigeria Police Force has arrested 297 suspects for illegal possession of firearms and recovered 520 calibres of firearms as well as 4,023 ammunition since the acting Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, assumed office.
The police boss also noted that the NPF would partner the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies to secure the borders against insurgents, especially considering the political situation in Niger Republic following the military coup.
Egbetokun made this known yesterday during a meeting with members of the Police Management Team including Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police, and Commissioners of Police at the Goodluck Jonathan Peacekeeping Hall, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
“The police also arrested 986 armed robbery suspects, 377 kidnap suspects, 848 suspects of homicide, 517 suspects of rape and defilement, 874 suspected cultists and 5,281 other suspects for various other offences.
“Also, a total of 353 kidnap victims have been rescued, and reunited with their families,” the IG said.
Noting that though there are still prevailing and projected threats across the country, the police chief said the NPF is currently carrying out several anti-banditry operations in the North-East and North-Central zones.
Meanwhile, responding to an inquiry by our correspondent, the IG disclosed that there was a temporary ban on the issuance of gun licences, citing the need to clamp down on the proliferation of the illegal possession of arms in the country.
“We are mopping up arms in circulation. There are too many arms in circulation and if we continue to issue licences on arms, we may continue to aggravate the problems we are trying to solve.
“For now, there is a temporary ban on the issuance of firearms. We may review it later, but we are not issuing firearms licences nationwide now,” Egbetokun said on Tuesday.
The IG, however, noted that the ban might be reviewed in the future.
Meanwhile, Egbetokun also revealed plans by the NPF to commence the mobilisation of the operatives for the Police Mobile Force for the Specialised Quick Intervention Squad.
The IG noted that at least 40,000 personnel of the PMF, would be drawn from across states and zonal commands for the stated purpose.
The squad, proposed by Egbetokun upon his appointment in June, is aimed at tackling the growing concerns of insecurity across the country.
According to the police chief, the officers to be mobilised are “strong and willing strong police personnel who are expected to be drawn from their respective PMFs Squadrons, zonal commands, and other tactical units for the Force”.
NEC Pleads With Labour To Shelve Strike
The National Economic Council (NEC) has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) not to abandon dialogue in their quest for better welfare for their members.
The Council also appealed to the unions to suspend their planned nationwide indefinite strike schedule to start on October 3.
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State stated this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the nation was at a very critical moment in its history, adding that some States took over such labour crisis when they assumed office in May.
According to him, some of such States just resolved the crisis and will be unfair for the labour to return to another industrial action.
The Plateau State governor said that the proposed industrial action would have immense effect on the economy of both the states and the Federal Government.
He said that the NEC expressed genuine concern about the situation in the country and appealed for calm and patience among Nigerians.
“The National Economic Council (NEC) deliberated on the planned indefinite strike by the National leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to proceed on an indefinite strike on Oct. 3, 2023.
“The council noted further the implications of the planned strike on the economy and the nation and thus urge members to continue to engage with the leadership of their respective states.
“It appeals to them to suspend the action and to continue on the path of dialogue with the Federal Government. This is the appeal of the council.”
Mutfwang said that the council appreciated the concerns raised by the NLC to have those issues addressed, adding that NEC also appealed for time to address the concerns of labour.
“We also believe that President Bola Tinubu will be addressing the nation on Oct. 1, and some of the concerns of labour will be appropriately addressed in the president’s speech.
“It is therefore important to note that it’s a federation issue, so whatever happens the labour is represented in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“And NEC is appealing that discussion should continue at the state levels because there will be peculiarities as to the issues to be addressed concerning the demands of labour and therefore dialogue is the way to go.
Burkina Faso Military Junta Foils Coup Attempt, Detains Four Officers
Burkina Faso said yesterday that four officers had been detained, a day after the military government announced it had thwarted a coup attempt.
The four are suspected of involvement in a “conspiracy against state security”, military prosecutor, Ahmed Ferdinand Sountoura said in a statement yesterday.
Two others are “on the run” according to the statement.
The junta said late on Wednesday that the intelligence and security services had foiled a coup attempt the previous day.
The military government said it would seek to shed “all possible light on this plot”.
The alleged coup attempt came nearly a year to the day the junta leader, Captain Ibrahim Traore, seized power in the West African nation on September 30, 2022.
His takeover was the country’s second coup in eight months, both triggered in part by discontent at failures to stem a raging jihadist insurgency, which swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
The military prosecutor has urged anyone with information that can “contribute to the manifestation of the truth to come to testify”.
Late on Tuesday, thousands of people had taken to the streets of the capital, Ouagadougou, following a call from Traore supporters to “defend” him amid rumours of a coup on social media.
Traore took to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday to stress his “determination to lead the transition safely despite the adversity and different manoeuvres to stop our inexorable march towards assumed sovereignty”.
French language news outlet, Jeune Afrique, which had recently published two articles about tensions within the military, saw its print and online operations suspended in Burkina Faso on Monday.
The Burkinabe government accused the news outlet of seeking to “discredit” the military.
Shortly after Traore’s takeover, military prosecutors in December 2022 said there had been an attempt to “destabilise state institutions”.
And earlier this month, the country’s military prosecutor said three soldiers had been arrested and charged with plotting against the ruling junta.
Investigators had received a tipoff about “soldiers and former soldiers working in intelligence” who were scouting out the homes and other locations used by key figures in the junta, including Traore.
Their goal was to “destabilise… the transition”, it said, referring to a term used to describe interim military rule before promised elections.
Burkina Faso, an impoverished landlocked country, saw Islamists sweep in from Mali in 2015.
More than 17,000 civilians, troops and police have since died, according to an NGO monitor.
Over two million people have been forced to flee their homes, creating one of Africa’s worst crises of internal displacement.
Anger within the armed forces led to a coup on January 24, 2022, toppling elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
On September 30, Kabore’s nemesis, Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, was himself overthrown by the 34-year-old Traore.
Traore has promised a return to democracy with presidential elections by July 2024.
Burkina’s military leaders earlier this month signed a mutual defence pact with counterparts in Mali and Niger.
The Liptako-Gourma region, where the three countries’ borders meet, has been ravaged by jihadism in recent years.
ECOWAS Donates $77,942 Grant To Train Poultry, Fish Farmers
ECOWAS has given $77,942 as training grant to 150 farmers in Bauchi State and the FCT to boost food security in Nigeria.
The beneficiaries are farmers of the Community Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (COMAFAS).
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture Mrs Massandje Toure-Litse, made this known at the opening of a poultry training workshop for beneficiaries in Orozo, Abuja, Tuesday.
Toure-Litse said the grant would increase young peoples’ capacity to engage in agriculture value chains and food production.
She added that the grant is meant for the training of 150 youth in poultry and fisheries, as the two sub-sectors were the main driving force behind the sub-region’s economy and development.
“ECOWAS has designed quality training modules and arranged for the training of 3,032 young people (30 per cent women and 70 per cent men)”, she said.
Toure-Litse said agricultural productivity and competitiveness in West Africa had the tendency to impact positively on the sub-region’s food security, economic development, and livelihoods.
According to her, “the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy remains the guiding framework for the 15 members of the bloc as it prioritises agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
“The programme seeks to enhance the capacity of youth and women farmers and promote their access to resources and markets and their involvement in agribusiness”.
She noted that there was the need for urgent intervention in gender participation in agriculture and youth employment, food chains, crops, forestry, livestock and fisheries.
“Products from crops, livestock and fisheries are the second largest when we talk about intra-community trade and interestingly, among these, livestock is the largest item.
“It is anticipated that by 2030, at least 30 per cent of young people in the sub-region will be employed in the agriculture sector.
“This will amount to a 75 per cent reduction in youth under-employment in rural areas”, she said.
In his remarks, the Founder/President of COMAFAS, Dr Austine Maduka, said in spite of the expansion of poultry industry in Nigeria, it could only cater to 30 per cent of the needs of Nigerians.
Maduka said the training is aimed at educating young farmers on how best to start and manage production.
He said the partnership with ECOWAS would strengthen the move to ensure availability of meat, other foods and impact relevant skills for sustainable strategies to reduce poverty.
According to reports, 75 out of the 150 beneficiaries would be trained on poultry farming in the FCT, while the remaining 75 would be trained on fish farming in Bauchi.
The FCT beneficiaries were given 50 birds each, bags of poultry feeds and drugs as start-up capital.
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