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Politics / 6 Months After Buhari’s Promise, No Special Salary Yet For Teachers by jarawa: 8:08am On Jun 03, 2021
The World Teachers Day celebration in October, 2020, brought a lot of smiles to the faces of Nigerian teachers following the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari on the approval of a special salary scale for them.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, also reviewed upward their retirement age to 65 and said the approval was to take effect immediately.

The approvals came after cries by teachers on thier poor salary package, a development which many have attributed to be responsible for the falling standard of education in the country.

The president also approved the building of low-cost houses for teachers in rural areas and the sponsorship of teachers, just as he assured of prompt payment of salaries and timely promotion to eliminate stagnation. This is in addition to the Teachers Conversion Programme (TCP) and ICT training to mitigate the current dearth of qualified teachers.

A month after the pronouncement, the national implementation committee on the revitalisation and repositioning of the teaching profession was inaugurated. It was charged to focus on specific areas of intervention as approved by the president and submit its report after three months.

This is over six months now and the teachers are yet to get the special salary as promised.

A teacher, Olasunkomi Opeifa, said they were yet to see anything and “they are not even saying anything about it.”

Opeifa said; “As a teacher who is committed to giving quality education with available and self-acquired resources, I will want to appeal to the government to expedite its plan of restructuring teachers’ salary scale as announced on October 5, 2020.

According to him, the fulfillment of the new scale will go a long way to serve as a reward for old teachers who have served in moulding the country’s upcoming leaders, and motivation for young teachers.

“It will also place us at par financially with our colleagues in developed countries. May I shock you? Many of us will still use our new financial status to better the quality of education by acquiring personal technological gadgets that will enhance learning. Yes, we are that selfless; we are teachers,” he said.

While noting that the new salary scale will not just give them financial relief but psychosocial upliftment, Opeifa said many of them would be able to achieve their dreams with little stress and give their children proper upbringing.

He lamented that, “Many teachers are mentally ill (without knowing) because of their financial status,” adding and appealing that, “I strongly appreciate the thought and the promise of the new salary scale; yet, I strongly appeal that the implementation should not be delayed any further.”

Another teacher who does not want to be mentioned said she was happy after the pronouncement, especially with the fact that the president said it was with immediate effect, but that, “We are yet to see anything different.

“I was hopeful then and believed that we would get a lift financially, but up till now we are not sure of what is going on, but I pray it will come soon so that we can appreciate the government more.”

Reacting to the development, the Secretary General of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, said the teachers who were saying their salaries had not been increased were right on one hand, but that on the other they were wrong.

He said being learned people they should understand that when certain pronouncements were made it takes time to process.

He explained that, “About the time it was made we were very happy that the bonanza had come, but I keep saying Mr President just fired the first shot; meaning that the journey has just started.

“Many times, some of these pronouncements have to pass through legislation and policies because they don’t just come into effect because the president pronounce them.

“The truth is that it is not just like cooking pepper soup; all these pronouncements have to pass through processes and at times when they are passing through the processes they can be smooth in one area and there may be bottlenecks in another area.”

Dr Ene further said, “Like the issue of retirement, we are still on it. Our letter has just gotten to the president, the National Assembly must legislate on it; that is the only way the governors will not argue and that is the only way it can become law of the land. So many people who don’t understand it will be saying there is no implementation, and when people speak like that, it will look like we are not appreciative of the authority.”

Therefore, the NUT secretary general believes that there is a possibility of the implementation coming through before the next World Teachers Day, saying, if not 100 per cent, the major ones will come.

On the delay, the Director of Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, told Daily Trust that six committees were set up to look into the new salary structure, saying it would not be an easy task.

According to him, the age of service was implemented almost immediately as the ministry dispatched letters to the relevant authorities.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, who is also the chairman of the main committee, while speaking to journalists at the weekend, said the new improved welfare package for teachers was another significant thing done by the president and that it was the most encouraging.

Mr Echono said, “Even in the public service, every day I am inundated with requests by people who originally studied education but find themselves working in different agencies and ministries, wanting to return to their original career because now the remuneration will be higher than the civil service scale.”

He said they would now have a tenure that extended five years more than what the average civil servant would go.

He further said, “And again, we have commenced the implementation of this; we are working closely with the Head of Service; she’s been wonderful and very supportive, and the salaries and wages commission too as we speak, is computing rural allowances, science allowances, hazard allowances and so on to ensure that teachers get their reward here on earth and not hereafter.”

https://dailytrust.com/6-months-after-buharis-promise-no-special-salary-yet-for-teachers
Food / Bakers Hike Bread, Biscuits Prices By 30% Nationwide by jarawa: 6:47am On May 27, 2021
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), has directed its members nationwide to increase the prices of bread, biscuits and other baked items by 30 percent over the rising cost of production.

The directive was part of the resolution reached at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association held in Abuja recently.

The AMBCN resolution was read by its national president, Mansur Umar, explaining that the adjustment of price was as a result of the sudden increase in the cost of production as well as prices of sugar, butter, yeast and flour. While commending the federal government for resuscitating the cassava flour programme, the association bemoaned the skyrocketing price of regular flour in the last six months with one truck of flour which cost less than N6 million is now N9m.

“After considering the impact of the skyrocketed prices of baking ingredients/materials for the survival of our noble business, which is presently bleeding, the association came to the conclusion to adjust our prices by 30 percent,” he said.

The association also resolved to ask the federal government to reverse the tariff regime imposed by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and to streamline bakers’ regulation by NAFDAC only.

Also speaking, the national secretary, Jude Okafor, was hopeful that the federal government will meet their demands to avert the increase.
https://dailytrust.com/bakers-hike-bread-biscuits-prices-by-30-nationwide

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Politics / Bandits Set Church On Fire In Kaduna by jarawa: 7:34pm On May 19, 2021
A building housing the Assemblies of God Church in Ungwan Gaida community, near Kurmin Kaso, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has been set ablaze by armed bandits.

At least eight persons were killed in the attacks while several houses were torched.

Samuel Aruwan, Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, who confirmed the attacks, identified those killed as Samaila Gajere, Bawa Gajere, Bitrus Baba,Umaru Baba, Solomon Samaila, Sambo Kasuwa, Samuila Kasuwa, and Gideon Bitrus.

Aruwan said Governor Nasir El-Rufai condemned the attack on the place of worship, and directed the State Emergency Management Agency to carry out an urgent assessment of the damage done by the invaders.

Aruwan also said troops of the Nigerian Navy “neutralized three bandits” and arrested two accomplices after repelling an attack on Wakwodna community, near Kasso village, still in Chikun LGA.

According to him, the troops stationed at the Kujama checkpoint foiled the attack at Wakwodna following a tip-off.

He said bandits fled into surrounding bushes on sighting the troops, and abandoned some rustled cattle, which were rounded up and returned to their owners.

“The troops arrested a suspected bandits informant, Kapido Halilu, and a logistics supplier, Umar Maipashi. Food and medical supplies meant for the bandits were confiscated. The suspects were taken into custody for further investigation,” he said.

He said El-Rufai noted the report of the attack on Ungwan Gaida with sadness, and condoled the families of the slain citizens, as he offered prayers for the repose of their souls.

https://dailytrust.com/breaking-bandits-set-church-on-fire-in-kaduna
Politics / Zonal Congress: Our South West Leaders Disappointed APC, Others – PDP by jarawa: 9:06am On Apr 15, 2021
The National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has said leaders of the party in the South West have disappointed chieftains of the APC who were fuelling crisis in the zone.

The secretary of the committee, Linus Okorie, in a statement, commended the leadership of the party in Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Lagos, Osun and Ogun states for the successful conduct of the zonal congress in Osogbo, where officers of the party were elected in a free, fair and peaceful manner.

The statement reads: “The committee stated that the maturity, peaceful disposition, unity, devotion, good spirit of brotherliness and sportsmanship displayed at the congress deserves emulation by PDP leaders in other zones within the party.

“With what happened in Osogbo, our leaders in the South West have demonstrated that the PDP can retake the South West in 2023 and that with the incompetence being displayed by the ruling party, a united and refocused PDP is a better option for the enlightened people of the South West.”

He recalled how last month the reconciliation committee waded into what looked like an unresolvable stalemate in the Southwest when the Fayose group insisted there was a court case in which an order had been given for the congress not to hold.

He said the committee, which at various times, had to also appeal to Governor Seyi Makinde to concede the hosting of the congress outside Ibadan, also ensured that the court case was not used to stall the congress.
https://dailytrust.com/zonal-congress-our-s-west-leaders-disappointed-apc-others-pdp

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Education / Hijab Controversy: Kwara Government Orders Immediate Reopening Of 10 Schools by jarawa: 10:25am On Mar 17, 2021
The Kwara state government has announced the immediate reopening, on Wednesday, of the 10 schools recently shut down over hijab controversy even as the government’s peacebuilding efforts continue.

This is contained in a statement from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

According to the statement, ”The closure of the schools became necessary to forestall security breaches which may affect lives and properties.

”The government is convinced that its policy to allow willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijab in public schools will lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding.”

”This path to mutual respect, understanding and peace with regards to hijab had long been adopted in northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti and Oyo States,’” the statement read in part.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the schools were closed on Feb. 19 over dispute in the usage of Hijab in some of the schools.

The government set up a committee to find a solution to the dispute and it was later announced that the schools will resume on March 8 with willing female students allowed to use hijab.

The government, however, rescinded its decision to reopen the schools over safety concerns as the Christians were not willing to accept the government’s verdict.

This led to the continuous closure of the schools.

The statement added that students preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WAEC) would hold at least two-hour extra lesson to make up for the closed period.

”As the students resume normal classes, the government took special notice of the plight of those of them preparing for WAEC and hereby directs affected schools to hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all the intending candidates after school hours daily.

”The government will provide light lunch for the students until the beginning of their exams while teachers allotted for the extra coaching will get stipends for their efforts.

”This is to bring the students in line ahead of the impending external examination,” the statement read.

The governor commended the Christian and Muslim leaders for their understandings and their efforts to build peace within their respective communities in the past weeks.

”It urges everyone to join hands with the government to raise a generation of school children who will respect one another’s differences and together build a sustainable future for our state.

”The government reminds all its employees such as school principals and teachers in the affected schools to take special note of the policy.

”There will be zero tolerance for violations of anyone’s fundamental human rights under their watch,” the statement warned.

NAN reports that the affected schools included C&S College, Sabo-Oke, St. Anthony’s Secondary school, Offa Road, ECWA School, Oja Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.

The others are CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam road, St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo-Oke, St. John School Maraba, St. Williams Secondary School, Taiwo Isale, and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.

https://m.guardian.ng/news/hijab-controversy-kwara-govt-orders-immediate-reopening-of-10-schools/

Politics / How Ironsi, Gowon, Obasanjo Laid Foundation For Insecurity — Sultan by jarawa: 8:38am On Mar 12, 2021
The chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Thursday, said the regimes of Generals Aguiyi Ironsi, Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo relegated the traditional institution to the background with no constitutional role.

Speaking in Abuja at a meeting with the Steering Committee of the Senate Constitution Review Committee, he said Ironsi’s 1966 Unitary Government Decree, Gowon’s 1967 and Obasanjo’s 1976 Local Government Reforms Decrees stripped traditional rulers of their powers and gave same to the local government councils.

The sultan, represented by the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, said the decrees resulted in insecurity and corruption currently facing the country.

He said before the 1976 local government reforms, Nigeria was progressive, peaceful, decent and full of beautiful traditions and cultures.

He called on the National Assembly to restore their constitutional powers.

He said the colonialists needed the traditional rulers to consolidate their indirect rule; the politicians, to stabilize their governments and the military, to gain acceptance.

“All the respective levels of governments needed them to maintain peace and security as traditional rulers were always at hand to douse conflict that the police, the military and the government officials could not contain.

“Currently, traditional rulers do not have the constitutional or other legal backings to perform effectively as they’re not even mentioned in the 1999 constitution. This is a great departure from all earlier constitutions that recognized them, and even gave them some functions to perform.

“Indeed, all the Nigerian earlier constitutions gave the chairmen of the State Councils of Chiefs seats in the National Council of State alongside former Presidents and Chief Justices.”

He asked that the constitution be amended to give the traditional institution a unique constitutional recognition, noting that no community or nation would thrive successfully without due consideration of its historical evolution, customs, values and beliefs.

“The constitutional provision should provide for states to enact state laws that cater for specific peculiar matters relating to traditional rulers in the respective states. In addition, the chairmen of the State Councils of Chiefs should be recognised by the constitution as members of the Council of State as it has been in all the Nigerian constitutions, except the 1999 one,” he added.

Responding, Deputy Senate President and chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Ovie Omo-Agege, told the traditional rulers that their requests were “not too much to ask”, urging them to lobby lawmakers at the National and State Assemblies, who are their subjects, for their requests to sail through.

https://dailytrust.com/how-ironsi-gowon-obasanjo-laid-foundation-for-insecurity-sultan

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Crime / BREAKING: Kidnappers Storm Kaduna School, Abduct ‘only Female Students’ by jarawa: 8:11am On Mar 12, 2021
Gunmen have abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanism in Mando area of ​​Kaduna.

According to the BBC, a witness said half of the female students were taken but not a single male was abducted.

Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, has confirmed the incident, saying investigation is ongoing.

Details later…

https://dailytrust.com/breaking-kidnappers-storm-kaduna-school-abduct-only-female-students
Politics / Shasa Market Crisis: Traders Express Displeasure Over Release Of Suspects by jarawa: 8:44am On Mar 11, 2021
Following the release of seven suspects arrested by the police in connection with the crisis that erupted in Shasa market, Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State, some affected traders have expressed dissatisfaction over the release while others call for more investigation into the matter.

Some of the traders asked the police to provide the first suspect who killed a shoemaker, which led to the destruction of lives and properties.

The chairman of Sasa Market Traders Association, Alhaji Usman Idris Yako, told Daily Trust that the Hausa Community was not happy with the released of the suspects.

He said: “We thought the suspects are going to face the wrath of the law to prevent future occurrences, but they are not.

“We are not surprised about the outcome, that is why we did not go back to Shasa market. We are now doing our businesses in our new base in Akinyele.

“Most of the assistance giving by the government and well-wishers is not enough.”

He further said support was rendered through Sarkin Sasa who has no business in Shasa market.

“The Sarkin Sasa who has no business in Sasa collected many of the palliatives.

“He didn’t give us anything. We are the real victims but here we are. We have decided not to go back to Sasa for our own safety,” he said.

However, Chief Popoola Rasheed, Babaloja of Sasa market, said” “I cannot pray for them to be jailed since the police and superior authority have said they have no case to answer.”

A trader in the market, Mrs Rebecca Akinjide, said those arrested were not the real suspects.

“If the police truly want to do their job, they should look for the boy that killed that shoemaker.

“Those people arrested are all Yoruba, who are mere residents of Sasa. Those who killed the man should be arrested. Ninety per cent of the properties destroyed were owned by the Yoruba people.

“Do you think they can be foolish to burn their own properties? The seven people we are talking about were arrested by soldiers who were protecting the Hausa people. We know the politics,” he said.

The police public relations officer Olugbenga Fadeyi said the police acted on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution.

“Soldiers arrested the seven people and handed them over to the police. We told you that they were released based on the advice of the DPP,” the police spokesman said.

https://dailytrust.com/shasa-market-crisis-traders-express-displeasure-over-release-of-suspects

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Politics / Wike Mocks Amaechi, Says ‘I Taught Him A Lesson In Politics’ by jarawa: 8:08am On Mar 11, 2021
In a statement issued on Wednesday, his Special Assistant (Media), Kevin Ebiri, quoted the governor as saying despite Amaechi’s opposition to his political ambition, he has been able to get elected twice as governor.

“They said we will not be Governor, we taught them a lesson in politics. In 2015, they said over their dead body will we be Governor, I’m looking for the dead body. 2019 they said we will not be Governor, that they are in power. I said you are not in power, God is in power. We defeated them. They are small kids in politics,” he said.

He also accused the federal government of shielding Amaechi from prosecution for corruption.

Wike said the Federal Government’s action is appalling despite the Minister’s “inability to account for $308 million from the sales of the state-owned power plant and other critical assets when he was the Governor of Rivers State.”

The Governor said the protection Amaechi is getting is the reason why he has consistently made efforts to undermine the state government by “influencing who is to be posted as Commissioner of Police and General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army to Rivers State.”

“People gave you an opportunity. You (Amaechi) sold our property for $308 Million and kept $208,000 for us,” he said.

“But let me warn the man who thinks he has President, he has soldiers, he has police. You should have learnt your lesson by now, that when God has left you there is nothing you can do again.”


Amaechi governed Rivers between 2007 and 2015 and Wike was one of his allies.

Wike had served as Amaechi’s chief of staff before he got appointed a minister of state for education.

He fell out with Amaechi in the buildup to the 2015 election.

https://dailytrust.com/wike-mocks-amaechi-says-i-taught-him-a-lesson-in-politics

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Politics / Nigeria’s Foreign Trade Dropped By N7tr In 2020 — Report by jarawa: 1:04pm On Mar 10, 2021
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has reported that Nigeria lost N7.38 trillion in foreign trade in 2020.

The Foreign Trade Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2020 released by the NBS showed that Nigeria incurred losses in foreign trade because the country was involved more in imports than exports.

The report showed that total trade was valued at N32.42 trillion in 2020, or 10.3 per cent less than the value recorded in 2019. The value of total imports in 2020 stood at N19.90 trillion, or 17.3 per cent higher than in 2019 while total exports were valued at N12.52 trillion, or 34.8 per cent less than in 2019.

In addition, Nigeria’s trade deficit rose to its highest level and a fifth consecutive quarterly deficit at N2.73 trillion in the third quarter of 2020.

The negative trade balance in the fourth quarter of 2020 was an increase of 14.30 per cent compared to the deficit in the third quarter of 2020.

NBS explained that this was because “imports nearly doubled the value of exports” in the fourth quarter.

The report showed that in the fourth quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s total merchandise trade stood at N9.12 trillion, representing 8.9 per cent over the level recorded in the third quarter of 2020 but was 9.9 per cent lower when compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

However, the value of trade in the fourth quarter was the highest recorded over the past year.

https://dailytrust.com/nigerias-foreign-trade-dropped-by-n7tr-in-2020-report
Travel / FG Introduces Temporary Passports For Nigerians Abroad by jarawa: 11:59am On Mar 10, 2021
The Federal Government on Monday inaugurated an electronic temporary passport to replace the emergency travel certificate for effective identity management.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said in Abuja that the temporary passport was an electronic document with all the features of a regular passport.

According to Aregbesola, the difference is that it is temporary and valid for one trip and will be retrieved from the user at the entry point.

“The temporary passport is ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) compliant and is valid for only 30 days.

“It’s a replacement for the hitherto emergency travel certificate issued to Nigerians in emergency situations where their passports were not available and had the need to travel to Nigeria.

“This new document is not a replacement for the Nigerian passport; it’ll only serve a temporary purpose in the case of loss or misplacement of the Nigerian passport by a Nigerian abroad.

“In the light of the present security challenges faced by the country, the temporary passport will no doubt help to checkmate the excess of criminal elements that takes advantage of the ETC to infiltrate the country,” he said.

The minister further assured Nigerians having difficulties with obtaining the Nigerian passport that the challenge would soon end. (NAN)

https://dailytrust.com/fg-introduces-temporary-passports-for-nigerians-abroad

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Politics / Zamfara: PDP Kicks Against Plan To Declare State Of Emergency by jarawa: 9:20pm On Mar 03, 2021
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has kicked against an alleged plan by the federal government to impose a state of emergency on Zamfara State.

The federal government had declared Zamfara State a ‘no-fly zone’ on Tuesday to halt the swap of gold for arms by armed bandits, other criminals and illegal gold miners in the state, according to the Presidency and security sources.

The PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who briefed newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, noted that there’s escalated crisis in APC-controlled states yet no attempt had been made by the federal government to intimidate the governors, seek to impose a state of emergency or declare such states as a “no-fly zone”.

He said if mining was the reason for declaring Zamfara State as a “no-fly zone”, the approach should be holistic because mining is currently ongoing in Nasarawa and bandits are on a killing spree in the state.

“It is even more worrisome that the [Muhammadu] Buhari’s Presidency will gloss over Kaduna, Niger and Mr. President’s home state of Katsina, where killings, kidnapping and abductions have become a daily routine, only to be contemplating an emergency situation in Zamfara.

“The PDP counsels that rather than this selective approach to fighting banditry, terrorism and kidnapping, the Buhari Presidency should go back to the drawing board and adopt a holistic approach to quell the prevailing insecurity in our nation.

“Our party will therefore not allow the Buhari Presidency to tag and intimidate Governor Matawalle for seeking to find solutions to a very depressing situation.

“Consequently, the PDP hereby directs Governor Matawalle to stop his intervention approach as our party charges Nigerians to hold President Buhari and his administration directly responsible for any further assault or killing of innocent citizens in Zamfara State.

“In doing this, the PDP charges President Buhari to be mindful of the type of advice he receives from his officials in the security circle on the Zamfara security concerns, especially as there are allegations of hidden interest among his officials,” he stressed.

https://dailytrust.com/zamfara-pdp-kicks-against-plan-to-declare-state-of-emergency

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Business / Re: Seyi Bickersteth Is Dead by jarawa: 9:13pm On Mar 03, 2021
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Politics / ACF Asks Buhari To Extend Flight Ban To Benue, Taraba, Borno by jarawa: 4:07pm On Mar 03, 2021
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the recent flight ban on Zamfara to other states affected by banditry.

Buhari had on Tuesday declared Zamfara “a no-fly zone” and also and banned all mining activities in the state.

The directive, disclosed by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, followed the release of 279 students of the Government Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata-Mafara Local Government Area earlier abducted by bandits.

In a statement on Wednesday, ACF’s National Chairman, Audu Ogbeh, commended the directive and hailed the release of abducted girls.

He, however, said there was need to replicate similar directive in other states such as Benue, Taraba and Borno where there are rumours that helicopters frequently drop arms for bandits and insurgents.

The statement was issued through the Forum’s National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, in Kaduna.

It read: “Arewa Consultative Forum congratulates the people and government of Zamfara state on the safe release of the kidnapped schoolgirls from the Government Girls Secondary School in the state.

“We are also happy with the federal government’s decision to ban flights in the state.

“We also plead with the government to extend the ban to other states like Benue, Taraba, Borno where there are rumors that helicopters frequently drop arms for bandits and insurgents operating in these states.

“We believe that such an extended ban will curtail the operations of the criminals in these areas.”
https://dailytrust.com/acf-asks-buhari-to-extend-flight-ban-to-benue-taraba-borno

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Politics / Re: Food Blockade:hausa Farmers Are Loosing More Than Miyetti Allah by jarawa: 12:19pm On Mar 03, 2021
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Politics / Re: Kano Tomato, Onion Farmers, Marketers Lose Big As Blockade Persists by jarawa: 7:05am On Mar 03, 2021
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Politics / Bello Matawalle Rejects FG’s No-Fly Zone In Zamfara by jarawa: 6:59am On Mar 03, 2021
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has reacted to the National Security Council’s decision to declare Zamfara State as a no-fly zone.

The National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd), disclosed this at the end of National Security Council meeting on Tuesday.

Monguno also announced that the federal government had banned mining activities in the state.

He said the actions were taken as a result of the high level of insecurity in the state.

But reacting to the development when Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), visited him on Tuesday, Matawalle said he is not sure the federal government understands the situation.

“It seems the security council doesn’t understand where the nature of the security problems in Zamfara state but if they decided to take such action let them go ahead.

“I’m not afraid of any body and the problem of insecurity in the state predated my administration.

“Nigerians are waiting to see the outcome of the security council resolution to see if these bandits would be crushed. If the federal government fails to crush them after this resolution, then Nigerians will understand that they only sat and serve themselves tea, nothing more,” he said.

He said he had started investigating those behind the abduction of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jengebe, Zamfara.

On his part, Fayemi said the federal and state authorities must work hard to put an end to the spate of kidnapping in the country.

Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi accompanied Fayemi on the visit.

https://dailytrust.com/lets-see-if-this-will-crush-bandits-matawalle-rejects-fgs-no-fly-zone

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Politics / 386 Soldiers Quit Army In 1 Year – Reps by jarawa: 5:50am On Mar 03, 2021
The House of Representatives Committee on Army says its investigation revealed that 386 soldiers voluntarily disengaged from the army due to medical and other reasons in the second quarters of 2020.

The chairman of the committee, Abdulrazaq Namdaz, who presented a report to the house yesterday, said records by the army indicated that 356 soldiers left the army after losing interest, 24 left to take up traditional titles; while six were discharged on medical grounds.

He said the records also indicated that 6,752 soldiers were discharged from the service in the last five years; while 25,655 soldiers had got enlisted within the same period.

“The lack of commitment on the part of some soldiers is the major reason for voluntary discharge from service. The army disclosed to the committee that some soldiers, having seen the reality of going to the battle front, especially against Boko Haram usually voluntarily discharge from the service.

“Those soldiers did not realize that engagement in the Army is more than a job; it entails personal commitment, regardless of welfare package.


“The documents show that all the voluntarily discharged soldiers were Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO), ranging from Master Warrant Officer (MWO) to private (PTE).

“Based on the facts available to the committee, there was no mass resignation from the army. Individual soldiers resigned on their own from their units.

“The army also told the committee that many soldiers also voluntarily resigned because they simply lost interest in the profession and wanted to take up or look for another job.

“Others voluntarily discharged from the service to take up traditional titles. There are also a few who voluntarily resigned for health reasons.


“Soldiers do not resign in group, rather each soldier resigns on his/her own choice as an individual by submitting his/her own hand-written resignation letter to his/her own unit.

“It has become a routine that every year soldiers resign voluntarily, and so the case of the resignations in the second quarter of 2020 is not unusual.”

Namdas further said that the document presented to the committee by the army command also revealed that 1,908 soldiers left the Army voluntarily or on medical ground, while 4,844 left was as a result of regular run out date.

The committee recommended that the Nigerian Army improve on the welfare of its personnel, especially those in battle fields or other combat operations, to make them more committed to their job and to the nation.

It also recommended effective monitoring or follow-up in the delivery of the welfare packages in all the Army formations to ensure that they reach the soldiers in a fair and equitable manner.

https://dailytrust.com/386-soldiers-quit-army-in-1-year-reps

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Crime / Pastor Who Blocked Masquerade From His Church Beaten To Coma In Kogi by jarawa: 8:53pm On Mar 02, 2021
A group of angry youths, numbering 20, have reportedly beaten the Pastor of United Evangelical Church, Pastor Michael Samson, to coma.

The clergy of the Church located at Iyano community in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State was said to have prevented the youths from carrying out a certain ritual.

Trouble started when the pastor had, during the day, denied the youths access to the church with their Masquerade while they were performing a ceremony.

Angered by the pastor’s denial, the youths came back, armed with dangerous weapons to beat the pastor when he was fast asleep.

It was gathered at the time of filing this report that the pastor was responding to treatment at Idah general hospital.

A dependable source was quoted as saying that the attackers wanted to perform some rituals to the gods of the land which they call “Ane” in Igala land.

The pastor, who was vehemently opposed to that in “God’s house” told them that the church was a mistaken venue for their planned rituals and that they should leave.

“After leaving, however, they came back in the night fully kitted with dangerous objects to beat the Pastor to coma.

“They were up to 20. We are praying right now that nothing happens to our brother because he is currently in critical condition,” the source said.

”The incident has been reported to the Police Division in Onyedega under Ibaji LGA,” one of the pastor’s family narrated to our correspondent on Tuesday afternoon.

It was, however, gathered that Police are on the trail of the people behind the act.

https://dailytrust.com/angry-youths-beat-pastor-to-coma-in-kogi
Politics / Borno Confirms 10 Killed, 47 Injured In B/haram Attack Shells by jarawa: 5:37am On Mar 01, 2021
Misbahu Bashir, MaiduguriBorno State Government yesterday said shells fired by insurgents on Maiduguri on Tuesday killed 10 civilians and injured 47 others.

Governor Babagana Umara Zulum was said to have visited two hospitals in Maiduguri were the victims received treatments.

The statement signed by the governor’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, said weapons fired by the attackers from Kaleri, outskirts of Maiduguri included Rocket Propelled Grenades.

“The grenades traveled to hit Gwange and Adam kolo communities, both densely populated areas in the inner city. Most of the deaths occurred in Gwange. One of the RPG shots, hit a children’s play ground in Gwange, it was also gathered,” it said.

Governor Zulum who confirmed the attacks during his empathy visits to the State Specialist Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Maiduguri where the victims who had sustained various degrees of injuries were being treated, also directed the ministry of health shoulders the bills.

Speaking on military’s recapture of Marte town, he said:

“I am optimistic that the insurgents will not take over Marte again”.

https://dailytrust.com/borno-confirms-10-killed-47-injured-in-b-haram-attack-shells
Politics / Kagara Abduction: Four Bandits Swapped With Freed Victims by jarawa: 6:35am On Feb 28, 2021
By Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Fidelis Mac-Leva (Abuja) & Romoke W. Ahmed (Minna)

Staff, students and others abducted by gunmen from Government Science College Kagara in Niger State were freed Saturday morning after officials agreed to release four members of the bandits’ gang, sources familiar with the process told Daily Trust on Sunday.

The armed gang had attacked the school located in Rafi Local Government on February 17 where they abducted 27 students, 3 teachers, two non-teaching staff and 9 family members of the staff.

After days of working to establish contact with the abductors and subsequent negotiations, the victims were released to a team of police and other security agents around 7am on Saturday.

The victims who were received by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello on Saturday recounted their harrowing experience in the hands of their abductors.

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered from reliable sources that the kidnappers, who operate between Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, and Rafi Local Government in Niger State, had demanded the release of six members of their group arrested at different times by security agents.

Four of the six named persons, were identified in different detention facilities in Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.

Niger state government told reporters yesterday no ransom was paid for the release of the affected persons. Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Idris, said there was no prisoner swap as strategies were deployed for the release of the students.

But a source told a Daily Trust on Sunday that two of the persons identified were released to the bandits before the students were set free.

“The process to perfect release of the other two was being concluded,” the source disclosed Saturday afternoon.

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the bandits kept the victims deep in the forests, making it difficult to reach them with ease.

“One of the bandits used in reaching out to the group had to ride on motorcycle for nine hours to go and meet the Kachalla (leader) of the kidnappers. The Kachalla was persuaded to allow the victims to be set free even though not all the persons they wanted out from detention were released.

“Between the leader was and the location they hid the victims it was another long journey. It was therefore difficult even more for the abductees who had to trek for many hours to freedom,” the source said.

Meanwhile, it was a day of emotions for the victims and parents of Government Science College, Kagara, who were abducted by bandits as they recounted their ordeal during their meeting with Governor Abubakar Sani Bello at the Government House, Minna.

Punishment

An SS3 student, Abubakar Sidi, 21, said the punishment they received depended on the occupation of their parents, adding that they were not fed on the first day of the abduction.

“After feeding us, they told those whose fathers are policemen and soldiers to step aside. The amount of beating you received depended on the occupation of your father. They beat us mercilessly; I wish I died there because the beating was too much. The experience was horrific,’’ he said.

‘My decision to return to school depends on government’

For Mahmood Mohammed, his experience was not different from that of his classmate as the nine days became hell for them.

“I faced hell. It was not easy. I did not know that I would come back. They didn’t take care of us. I am very happy because God has given me the opportunity to be reunited with my family.

“We are happy to see all the government officials who came out in their numbers to welcome us. This has shown to us the level of concern they have towards us while we were in the wilderness.

“My decision to go back to the school is in the hands of my parents, as well as the level of concern the government might show towards the security of the school, ” he said.

‘No more boarding school for my son’

Some of the parents of the students lamented that government officials did not allow them to speak with their children, adding that they suffered a lot as they never faced this kind of situation. They vowed not to allow their children go back to that school or any other boarding school.

Mrs Elizabeth Jonathan, mother of an SS2 student, Collins Vincent, said she didn’t sleep throughout the days the children were in captivity.

“I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I have seen him and we waved to each other. I thank God that he came out alive. My child won’t go back to that school, and he won’t attend a boarding school again,’’ she said.

The rescue

Speaking on the rescue, Governor Bello said one of the students was suffering from excessive exhaustion and was receiving treatment in a hospital. He also noted that their health conditions would be monitored for some days before they reunite with their families.

“They have been through tremendous torture. We will study and review every step involved, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the challenge.

“No ransom was paid to get them back. However, it involved a lot of logistics because we involved many groups. It was a very difficult and demanding task, but at the end, we are happy it yielded results,’’ he said.

Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, who was part of those who went to the forest to dialogue with the bandits said, “It took a lot of courage to go there. And when we got there, it was a matter of life and death because anything could have happened. But God who knew why we were there protected us.”

He noted that the same method used to secure the release of the NSTA victims also helped to get the students released.

“Many will live to remember this for the rest of their lives. The experience is traumatising. They trekked for eight hours, with limited food. So you can imagine what happened to them,’’ he said.

4 killed, 11 kidnapped as bandits return to Kagara

At least four persons were killed and 11 others, including seven women, were kidnapped in fresh attacks on different villages in Kagara.

The armed bandits were said to have first struck at Gidan Adamu, near Yakila, headquarters of Gunna district.

The district head of Yakila, who was kidnapped many weeks ago, has remained in captivity till date.

A source told our correspondent that the bandits attacked another village called Gidan Wamban Karaku and abducted seven women, two of whom are nursing mothers.

They also rustled a large number of cows and headed to Madaka district, where they kidnapped the Imam of Rubo village.

The deceased victims have been buried.

A security source told Daily Trust that in Karako village, many cows were also rustled.

In Angwan Adamu, one person was killed while many were abducted.

https://dailytrust.com/kagara-abduction-four-bandits-swapped-with-freed-victims

Politics / IGP Fails To Produce Katsina Whistleblower, Mahdi Shehu by jarawa: 8:13am On Feb 27, 2021
The Inspector General of Police on Friday failed to produce critic of the Katsina State Government, Mahdi Shehu, who is alleged to have been detained illegally before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo had on February 23 ordered the IGP to produce him in court within three days, and to show cause by affidavit why the court why the applicant should not be released unconditionally or upon bail.

But at the resumed hearing, the police failed to produce Mahdi.

However, the death of the former Chief Judge of the court, made the court to rescheduled the case to Monday March 1 for hearing.

Mahdi was rearrested at the Kubwa train station on February 16 and detained at Wuse Police Station on February 16.

His lawyer, Mustapha Abubakar Esq filed the fundamental rights enforcement application seeking his release.

The Kaduna-based critic was first arrested in November 2020 over his allegations of corruption against the Katsina State Government.

https://dailytrust.com/igp-fails-to-produce-katsina-whistleblower-mahdi-shehu

Politics / Jangebe Students’ Abduction: PDP Asks Buhari To "Wake Up From Slumber" by jarawa: 6:11am On Feb 27, 2021
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the abduction of over 300 students of Girl’s Science Secondary School Jangebe in Zamfara state.

In the early hours of Friday gunmen stormed the school and kidnapped unspecified number of students on an exchange programme.

The party, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Friday, also tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to wake up from slumber and deal decisively with the escalated scourge.

The statement read: “The party laments that the terrifying spate of abduction and acts of terrorism in the country validates concerns that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its administration have become bereft of solutions to the escalated insecurity under their watch.

Demands victims’ release

“Our party demands immediate full scale investigation into this particularly abduction given some worrisome reports going round in the public space.

“The PDP is further alarmed by the current situation wherein outlaws have turned the kidnapping of innocent school children and other vulnerable citizens for ransom, into a lucrative business following the lethargic approach and compromises under the Buhari administration in the fight against terrorism in our country.

“Only last week, gunmen had a field day invading communities after communities in Niger state, killing and maiming our compatriots after which they descended on Government Secondary School Kagara where they killed a student and abducted 40 others alongside their teachers.

“In December, just two months ago, the nation was jolted when gunmen invaded President Buhari’s home state, Katsina, at the time he was holidaying in the state and abducted over 600 students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara.

“Indeed, our party weeps over the unfortunate situation that our nation is being plunged into by the incompetent, deceptive and uncoordinated APC and its administration that not only caused the escalation of acts of terrorism in our country but also failed to run an effective command structure to secure the nation.

Says APC imports bandits

“The PDP had earlier alerted of a link between the APC and the outlaws. It is unpardonable that the APC has failed to rein in their bandits, who they brought from neighboring countries to help them to muscle the 2019 election. Instead, they had allowed them to continue to invade our communities and wreck havoc on our people.

“The party therefore charges President Buhari to step out of the Aso Rock presidential villa and ensure the immediate rescue of the abducted students.

“Mr. President should also do the needful, as the commander-in-chief, to put an end to this high-level insecurity under his watch, before our nation is consumed in his hands.

“The PDP identifies with the families of the abducted children as well as the victims of the worsened insecurity occasioned by the failures of the Buhari administration and urge all Nigerians to remain alert, strong and not resign to despondency”.

https://dailytrust.com/zamfara-students-abduction-pdp-asks-buhari-to-wake-up-from-slumber

Politics / Jangebe Schoolgirls Held In Dangulbi Forest by jarawa: 5:27am On Feb 27, 2021
Shehu Umar (Gusau), Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Taiwo Adeniyi, Abbas Jimoh, Muideen Olaniyi, Abdullateef Salau, John Chuks Azu (Abuja) & Dickson S. Adams (Jos)

The over 300 schoolgirls abducted from Government Girls Junior Secondary School Jangebe, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State in the early hours of Friday have been sighted at Dangulbi Forest, credible sources told the Daily Trust Saturday last night.

Gunmen stormed the school around 1am and abducted most of the students who are between 12 and 16 years old from their dormitories.

A school teacher who spoke to Daily Trust Saturday on the condition of anonymity said out of 600 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, only about 50 were left behind. However, the police in the state said 317 students were kidnapped while the Zamfara State Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Sulaiman Tunau Anka, said the exact number of abducted students was yet to be ascertained.

Daily Trust Saturday last night gathered that security personnel and officials of the Zamfara State government have established the identity of the girls’ abductors.

An authoritative source close to the efforts to secure the release of the girls told Daily Trust Saturday that the window of engagement was being opened to discuss with the armed bandits.

“The schoolgirls are being held at Dangulbi Forest in Maru Local Government Area,” one of the sources said.

The source, who craved for anonymity because he had no permission to speak on the incident, said they mystery behind the abduction would come to the fore soon.

The forests between Dangulbi and Maru are known enclave of bandits who for years have been terrorising residents of neighbouring villages.

The Zamfara State government said security operatives have launched a manhunt for the criminals. Governor Bello Matawalle has been pushing for a dialogue with bandits for peace to reign while the abduction happened hours after the state government said some repentant bandits had surrendered their arms.

Boarding schools shut

The Zamfara governor yesterday in a state-wide broadcast ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the state.

Matawalle said his heart is with the families of those affected by the abduction.

“My dear good people of Zamfara State, this is not a moment to trade blame. The recent twist in the spate of banditry brings to the fore the need for the adoption of a uniform strategy across all the affected states.

“I appeal to the people of the state to remain calm and resist the evil machinations of those who would want to exploit the current situation to achieve political ends. Insha Allah, with our collective resolve, we would emerge out of this situation stronger,” he said.

Second school attack in ten days

News of the latest abduction comes nine days after armed men abducted some students of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State. The government is yet to secure the release of the students.

The first major attack on a school by an armed gang happened in Borno State, where over 250 students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, were abducted on April 14, 2014. Four years after, gunmen hit Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, and abducted 119 students. In December 2020, over 300 male students were abducted at Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.

Parents pull down doors, windows

Some parents of the remaining students damaged some property in the school when denied access to their daughters.

One of the teachers at the school said some angry parents pulled down doors and windows of the school after Friday’s kidnap incident.

Speaking with Daily Trust Saturday, the teacher said many parents trooped to the school after the incident. He said some of those whose children were abducted slumped in the school while those who found their children unharmed, made efforts to take them away but the school authorities initially stopped them for safety concerns.

However, the parents were said to have reacted negatively, forcing the authorities to allow them to have their way.

“Initially, the school authorities prevented them from leaving with the remaining students but they got angry and began to pull down doors and windows of the buildings in the school and the authorities had to yield to their demands,” he said.

Survivors left shattered

Some of the students who escaped told Daily Trust Saturday that the gunmen had in their midst women wielding sophisticated guns who went from bed to bed waking them up.

“One woman in black attire woke me up by banging a gun on my bed and shouting at me. I woke up in fear. I observed that dozens of my colleagues were being sent out of the dormitory. Some of them covered their body with their blankets,” a student, Madina Hamisu Kawaye said.

She said she sneaked under a double bunk as the armed woman went to wake other students from their sleep. She shared the space under the bed with two other students.

“They were asking for money and phones, one of the women among them asked for the house captain and the matron. I overheard one of the gunmen telling someone on the phone that they had just entered the school and that they had begun gathering the students in large number,” she said.

She said one of the gunmen spoke in Fulfulde adding that “it was really a terrible moment for us. We could not get out of our hiding point until they vacated the hostels.”

Another survivor simply identified as Zainab escaped into the toilet when they were gathered near the school’s mosque about to be taken to the vehicles.

“I sneaked out of the crowd and ran inside the toilet. From where I was hiding inside the toilet, I heard gunshots as their vehicles zoomed off into the forest. We were crying and pleading with them to spare us,” she said.

A parent in Kawaye community in the neighbouring Anka Local Government Area, Malam Sadi Kawaye, said his two daughters Mansura and Sakina were among those kidnapped.

“I got to know about the abduction around 3am and immediately after Subhi prayer, I left for the community where the school was located and came back along with five girls from our community who managed to escape. Nine are with the kidnappers,” he said.

Tense atmosphere in Jangebe as police call for calm

The atmosphere in Jangebe community was tensed when our correspondent visited yesterday. Some visibly disturbed residents stood in front of their houses while others pelted vehicles conveying government, security officials, and journalists. A journalist was injured in the attack.

Abutu Yaro, Zamfara State Police Commissioner, appealed to the residents not to take the laws into their hands but support the rescue efforts.

He said 317 students were abducted from the school, adding that security operatives are on the trail of the abductors.

“We have verified and unverified intelligence report and we are working assiduously to see that the girls are rescued and united with families,” he said.

When he and other top security operatives visited the community hours after the incident happened, Yaro said efforts were in place for the rescue of the innocent schoolgirls.

UNICEF, EU react

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said it was “angered and saddened” by the abduction. UNICEF Nigeria representative Peter Hawkins called the kidnap a brutal attack.

“This is a gross violation of children’s rights and a horrific experience for children to go through one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and well-being,” he said in a statement.

Hawkins said they utterly condemn the attack and called on those responsible to release the girls immediately and for the government to take steps to ensure their safe release and the safety of all other school children in Nigeria.

UNICEF acknowledges efforts being made by the Government of Nigeria to secure the release of kidnapped school children in Nigeria and calls on the government and all concerned to make schools safe in Nigeria.
https://dailytrust.com/zamfara-schoolgirls-held-in-dangulbi-forest

Politics / Jangebe Abduction: Number Of Abductes Not Known - Zamfara Government by jarawa: 10:26am On Feb 26, 2021
The Zamfara State Government has said the number of students abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, is unknown.

Daily Trust had reported how armed men broke into the school around 1am on Friday.

There are reports that over 300 students were abducted from the school.

But speaking with Daily Trust, Alhaji Sulaiman Tunau Anka, said the exact number of abducted students is yet to be ascertained.

“We are yet to verify the exact number of the students kidnapped. Security operatives have launched a manhunt for the criminals.”

“They went to the school with vehicles. Some of the girls were made to trek. We are on top of the situations as all contacts and efforts are being made to rescue the kidnapped schoolgirls,” he said.

The abduction happened hours after the state government said some repentant bandits had surrendered their arms.

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has been pushing for a dialogue with bandits for peace to reign.

The federal government is yet to react to the latest kidnap incident.

When students and staff of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, were abducted on February 17, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed security agencies to ensure their immediate release.

However, the victims are still in captivity.

https://dailytrust.com/zamfara-govt-we-dont-know-the-number-of-abducted-schoolgirls

Crime / Marwa: Kidnappers Now Ask For Ransom In Drugs by jarawa: 7:14am On Feb 26, 2021
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, says kidnappers and armed bandits now ask for payment of ransoms in drugs.

Marwa disclosed this in Abuja at the inauguration of the Special Purpose Committee of the NDLEA, comprising 33 members and observers drawn from the Academia, Civil Society Practitioners in Drugs Rehabilitation, Medical Professionals, Youth, Women Groups, Religious Bodies and Public Advocacy Groups among others.

He warned that kidnapping would continue unless the nation gets to the root cause of the menace.

He said, “The use of drugs in Nigeria is getting to epidemic proportions with about 15 million approximately, nearly thrice the global prevalence.

“Unfortunately, drug use does not show in the face, so you won’t know if your next-door neighbour is doing drugs. However, we all know somebody or someone who knows somebody doing drugs.

“No wonder we have so much criminality everywhere in our land. And it is increasing instead of abating, starting with kidnapping, insurgency, banditry (North West), then moving to Niger. Now it has upgraded to rape and assassinations.

“Behind it all is drug use. Criminals all use drugs, even kidnappers now ask for ransom in drugs. Unless we get to this root cause, we will only be scorching at the surface as the criminalities will continue to flourish.

“I should also add that criminalities involve selling of drugs to fund their nefarious activities.”

https://dailytrust.com/marwa-kidnappers-now-ask-for-ransom-in-drugs
Politics / COVID-19: FG Plans Supplementary Budget As Vaccines Arrive Next Week by jarawa: 6:11am On Feb 26, 2021
* says Nigeria will regress without more borrowing

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, yesterday said a supplementary budget would be presented to the National Assembly for COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination of frontline workers.

She said the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines would arrive the country in one week.

She said this yesterday during the maiden edition of weekly special ministerial media briefing, organized by the Presidential Communications Team, held at the State House, Abuja.

“As we see the oil price rising and provides us more revenue, it provides us some reliefs. We’ll be able to reduce our borrowing so, it is a positive thing for us and also, we have a provision in the 2021 budget for immunization.

“We’re already releasing money to the health authority to start operation in the first batch of vaccines that’s going to arrive the country in one week. But what we have in the budget is not enough. So, we’re working with the health authorities to provide a plan that’ll be taken to the president for approval and to be taken to the National Assembly as a supplementary budget specifically for COVID -19 vaccination,” she said.

The minister said Nigeria would regress if it failed to borrow more to finance critical infrastructure in the country.

She said though the country had expanded its borrowing, it was still below 25% debt to GDP ratio and within borrowing limit.

“There’s a lot sensitivity in Nigeria about the level of borrowing by the government and it’s not misplaced. And I said earlier that the level of borrowing is not unreasonable, it’s not high.”

https://dailytrust.com/covid-19-fg-plans-supplementary-budget-as-vaccines-arrive-next-week
Politics / Kagara Abduction: FG Has Abandoned Us, Says Niger Government by jarawa: 5:57am On Feb 26, 2021
Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has accused the Federal Government of not doing enough to secure the release of victims abducted at Government Science College, Kagara.

When he received Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, at Government House, Minna, on Thursday, the governor said the state has been left to handle the rescue on its own.

Although he admitted that the Federal Government sent a delegation to the state and also deployed 300 mobile policemen to the state, Bello said his administration has been left to shoulder the financial responsibility.

“So where is the support? At the moment we have not seen any Federal support here since this incident occurred. Yes we had a delegation that came to commensurate with, but we are left to ourselves,” he said.

Bello, who is optimistic about the release of the victims, said the state government has already made a commitment to the people to rescue the abducted school children and will do everything possible to ensure their release.

“We will use whatever means and resources available to make sure the children return home safely. We don’t have exact day and when these children will be released but I am sure that it will happen very soon,” he said.

Last week, gunmen had broken into the school, where staff and students were kidnapped.

Earlier, the Senator called on the Federal government to as a matter of necessity establish a joint security committee in the state and other troubled parts of the country to be able to have the representatives of all the forces in the state.

“This will fast track getting back these innocent Boys and girls as quickly as possible. We sympathize with you and we share in your grieve at the moment. We know what you are going through and this why I am calling on the Federal Government to try to set up a joint security committee in your state to be able to have the representatives of all the forces stationed in the state to compliment the existing command in the state,” he said
.

https://dailytrust.com/kagara-abductions-fg-has-abandoned-us-says-niger-gov

Politics / Why Kagara Abductees Remain In Custody 8 Days After by jarawa: 10:55am On Feb 25, 2021
Students of the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State, their teachers and other persons kidnapped by gunmen in the early hours of February 17, remain in custody eight days after because the condition for a swap proposed by the abductors is yet to be met.

The school abduction came about two months after a large number of students were abducted in a similar style from a secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State.

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello had confirmed that the government was negotiating for the safe release of the abductees.

Two former heads of state who hail from the state, retired Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) and Abdulsalami Abubakar, have asked government and security agencies to employ all means necessary to secure release of the abductees.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar who was in Minna, the Niger State capital over the kidnapping, said the police knew the identity of the abductors.

Daily Trust gathered from reliable sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations that the kidnappers, who operate between Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State and Rafi Local Government in Niger State, had demanded for the release of six members of their group arrested at different times by security agents.

The abductors, it was learnt, demanded the release of the identified persons arrested as the only condition for them to release the abductees.

One of the sources said the Niger State Government has engaged security agencies in an active search for the persons to effect the swap.

“Four of them are so far identified. Two were located in Katsina, and one each in Kaduna and Niger states,” he said.

Identifying the two remaining gang members, Daily Trust learnt, was what was delaying the conclusion of the process.

As the dialogue with the bandits continued, governors from the North under the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) are scheduled to meet in Kaduna today and tomorrow, with insecurity on the top agenda.

‘Employ all means to rescue Kagara abductees’

Babangida and Abdulsalami urged the federal and state governments to consider all possible means to secure the release of the victims.

The former leaders who were worried by the situation expressed concern over the continuous stay of the children and their teachers in the hands of the bandits.

The two elder statesmen who expressed reservations on government dialoguing with the bandits, said they will support it if that would be the best way to secure the release of the victims.

Both leaders expressed this while speaking during the visit of the delegation of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) led by the Chairman, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

According to Babangida, “The safety of the children is of the utmost importance for now. We want them to come out safely without anyone being hurt. Any measure the government takes to secure their release will be okay.”

On his part, Abdulsalami said, “Dialogue is not the best way but when you are the one wearing the shoe, what will you do? He asked.

“Our children have been abducted for over five days, even if you know where they are, it will be foolhardy to storm there and fight them (bandits) because there may be casualties.

“Sometimes there is a need to see the best way you can talk to these heartless people to see how you can get these people released. But dialoguing is not the best way.”

While speaking on the solutions to the insecurity situation in the country, the two elder statesmen said that the bulk of the work falls on the table of the law enforcement agencies in putting up strategies to prevent future incidences.

“Going forward, it requires a lot of planning and thinking but these problems can be overcome. The law enforcement agencies need to work together to map new strategies on how to deal with the problem,” IBB said.

Meanwhile, Abdulsalami in his own submission said, “The best way is to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and for it to succeed, the security agencies need to step up their game.”

Abdulsalam further urged the governors to stop inciting speeches and take their responsibilities seriously.

Earlier, NGF Chairman Fayemi told the two leaders that they were in Niger State in solidarity with the government and people in the state.

He said all resources would be employed to prevent future occurrences.

Gunmen kill 18 in 2 Kaduna LGAs

Bandits have killed at least 18 people and abducted an unspecified number of residents in multiple attacks in Igabi and Chikun Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.

Daily Trust gathered that in the last 48 hours, seven people were killed in Anaba village of Igabi while eight were killed when gunmen invaded Barinje village in Chikun LGA.

Kaduna State Government, while confirming the attacks, said bandits had also attacked the loosely connected communities of Kwarten Rigasa, Kwarten Waziri and Kwarten Shaku within Igabi LGA and in the process, killed one Danjuma Isa from neighboring Ungwan Kanti village. The Kaduna State Government also stated that gunmen had invaded Sanhu Makera village in Igabi and killed one Yakubu Abdullahi, a farmer while unknown assailants on Tuesday killed one Maryam Lash Tahir in an unusual circumstance around Ministerial Pilot Housing Estate, Millennium City, Chikun LGA.

While speaking with Daily Trust, residents of Barinje said the bandits attacked the village on Tuesday around 6 pm, shooting residents at sight.

Hassan Silas said residents have now relocated to Buruku town adding that many had sustained gunshot wounds while the bandits had abducted a toddler and rustled about 100 cattle.

Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan stated that in Anabe, the bandits had also burnt down houses, storehouses and barns as well as escaped with 20 cows.

According to Aruwan, the attacks on soft targets at Anaba and Barinje villages in the two LGAs followed the killing of several armed bandits via targeted air operations in which probing shots were fired at bandits on motorbikes.

“Suspicious movements were sighted at Goron Dutse, the sources of which were promptly engaged and neutralised. Also, at Kuyanbana, a long convoy of motorcycles was observed heading into the forest, which was likewise vigorously engaged and neutralized,” he said.

The commissioner said Governor Nasir El-Rufai had noted the reports with sadness and sent condolences to the families of all those killed in the attacks, while offering prayers for the repose of their souls while wishing the injured a quick recovery.

By: Abdulaziz Abdulaziz (Abuja), Romoke W. Ahmad (Minna) & Lami Sadiq (Kaduna)
https://dailytrust.com/why-kagara-abductees-remain-in-custody-8-days-after

Politics / New EFCC Boss Vows To Repatriate Looted Funds by jarawa: 1:45pm On Feb 24, 2021
The Chairmanship nominee of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has vowed to repatriate all looted assets stashed in foreign countries.

He made the pledge on Wednesday during his screening as chairman of the Commission at the Senate plenary.

He said he was aware of the enormity of the tasks as head of the anti-graft agency and pledged to discharge them with all sense of responsibility.

“My priority, if confirmed by the Senate, will be to repatriate all our stolen assets for the betterment of all Nigerians,” he said.

Bawa said his appointment had renewed the hope of many young Nigerians in the country and vowed to give them good representation so that more youths will get the opportunities to serve the country in different capacities.

https://dailytrust.com/new-efcc-boss-vows-to-repatriate-looted-funds

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Politics / Untold Story Of Nigeria-Niger Republic Rail Line by jarawa: 6:54am On Feb 24, 2021
The Kano-Maradi train line, whose construction was flagged off a few days ago, continues to generate debates as many Nigerians ponder why the government is building a train line to another country when Nigeria doesn’t have enough. However, in this report, Daily Trust reveals the real reasons behind the project.

A fortnight ago in Makira, Katsina State, the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the 284km Kano-Maradi rail line linking Nigeria to the neighbouring Niger Republic was held.

The plan is to boost the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) economic corridor, which both the World Bank and the US have been highlighting.

As far back as 2016, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Nigeria, in partnership with the West Africa Borderless Alliance, hosted a road governance caravan on the southern segment of the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) transport corridor.

The caravan started in Lagos, passed through Ogun and Oyo, and ended in Kwara State.

A 2013 USAID baseline study on the LAKAJI corridor, showed that it costs over $3,000 and takes approximately 12.5 days to send a 20-foot container from Jibiya in northern Nigeria to Lagos in the southwest. Conversely, it costs nearly $5,000 and takes approximately 19.5 days to ship a 20-foot container from Lagos to Jibiya.

The high cost of transporting goods along the corridor is largely due to the lengthy clearance time and associated costs at the Lagos port. The overall cost and delivery times along the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya corridor are significantly greater than similar corridors in West Africa.

Because of this, USAID, bearing in mind the huge economic activities along the LAKAJI corridor suggested the construction of a railway network to link Lagos to Jibiya.

Similarly, a 2018 World Bank report suggested that a “reduction in transport cost between remote and connected rural areas has a bigger welfare impact than a similar reduction in transport cost between cities and connected rural areas–local welfare gains are higher for investments supporting rural connectivity.”

The publication added, “But, for aggregate economic efficiency, there are higher gains from focusing on the development of inter-regional corridors, linking the major urban centres. For example, improvements along the LAKAJI corridor would result in estimated annual benefits of over $1.34 billion.”

Both organisations suggested the construction of a rail track linking Nigeria, a country with massive port activities, to the Niger Republic, a landlocked country.

The Niger Republic depends on Lagos ports for most containers heading to the country and due to the absence of a rail line, containers take up to two weeks from Lagos to Niger and vice-versa by road.

Daily Trust learnt that as far back as 2013, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Transportation, commissioned a feasibility study to construct a standard gauge rail line from Kano to Maradi in Niger.

In 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, the Transportation Minister, Mr Rotimi Amaechi inherited the feasibility studies and found them to be economically viable.

By September 2020, the government had approved the contract for the line linking Kano-Katsina-Jibia, Dutse and Maradi in the Niger Republic for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.

This was greeted with outcry from some Nigerians, especially the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), which queried the rationale for building a rail line to the Niger Republic.

However, from the project conception, it was clear that the economic benefits remain the driver of the all-important railway project, which was expected to boost trans-Saharan trade and improve trade relations with the West African neighbours.

Already, the Federal Government has commenced the Lagos-Kano rail, which has reached Ibadan while the funding for the Ibadan-Kano line, already awarded, is being awaited from the Chinese government.

Daily Trust reports that the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), which is going to handle the project has already commenced acquisition of right of way for the Ibadan-Kano single track standard gauge rail.

President Buhari, who wants the project completed before he leaves office in May 2023, flagged off the construction virtually, with governors of Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, the three states benefiting from the line, as well as the Governor of Maradi in the Niger Republic among dignitaries on the ground in Makira, Katsina State

The Kano-Maradi rail has a 36-month completion period while the target is to connect both tracks to allow freight movement from Lagos to Maradi in the Niger Republic.

Though the CCECC has been handling the standard gauge projects across the country, the funding for the Maradi rail line is being sourced from the European Export Credit Agencies and Development Finance Institutions with a Portuguese company, Mota-Engil, constructing the rail line.

Amaechi explained that the project has a 25Km extension into the Niger Republic and it involves the construction of a single-track standard gauge rail line with an alignment of approximately 284Km traversing Kano–Dambatta–Kazaure–Shargelle–Mashi–Daura–Katsina–Jibiya–Maradi and a 94Km branch line from Kano to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State.

“The entire network of this project has 15 railway stations of different categories with major stations of approximately 3,000 peak passenger capacity in the cities of Kano and Katsina and stations of standard category in Kazaure, Daura, Jibiya and Dutse and minor stations in Dambatta, Shargelle and Mashi, as well as halt stations in Kunya, Kano airport, Muduru, Dadara and in the Niger Republic at Annol Mata and Maradi.

“The rail line is also provided with accessories and special installations including Power and Water Supply schemes, Signalling System & Communication in GSM-Railway, Freight yards, Rolling stock depots and maintenance workshops,” Amaechi said.

There is a forecast of 9,364 passengers and approximately 3,000 metric tons of freight on return trips between Kano and Maradi daily.

“There is no doubt that this route when linked with the ongoing Lagos – Kano railway project on completion, will generate higher traffic volumes and revenue,” he said.

In a chat with Daily Trust, the Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mal. Alhassan Musa gave an insight into the LAKAJI corridor economic belt and how the rail line would boost the corridor.

“It is going to serve not just the people of these three states but the whole of the country. It is a project meant to boost economic activities within the LAKAJI corridor. People who don’t know about LAKAJI should go and check it out. It is the Lagos, Kano, Jibiya Economic Belt. There would be economic prosperity for all from the grassroots up,” he said.

He also added that it would cut down freight time from 15 days to two, and would benefit commercial centres like Lagos, Jibiya and Maradi.

But there is another reason.

“The thing is those who know Maradi and Jibiya know that they are springboards for those who want to leave West Africa and go to Europe.

“It is from these places that traffickers carry people into Libya and from Libya by boat to Europe- Italy, Greece and other places.

“So if we create economic activities here, it will make people want to sit down and earn here rather than take the risk of going through the Sahara into oblivion.

“So for many reasons, this is a very good project to serve Nigeria very well, serve West Africa and also it’s part of the greater West African Railway Network.

“Just like we are talking of Trans-Sahara Highway, Trans-Sahara Gas pipeline, we are also talking about Trans-African Railway,” he said.

The Kano State Governor, Dr Umar Ganduje said the state is the greatest beneficiary of the infrastructure development of the Buhari-led administration.

According to him, with the ongoing construction of the Kano-Kaduna Road, Kano-Maiduguri and Kano-Katsina Road dualization, the Kano-Maradi rail, when completed, would further boost the economy of the state as a centre of Commerce in Northern Nigeria.

“The railway between Kano, Katsina, Jibiya and Maradi has started, our airport is being extended. So what else do we need when we are talking of development?” he said.

As work begins on the project amidst expectation of the commencement of work on the Ibadan-Kano project, stakeholders say the completion of these projects would boost regional trade and end the plight of manufacturers and traders along the corridor by reducing freight cost from Lagos to other parts of the country.

https://dailytrust.com/untold-story-of-nigeria-niger-republic-rail-line

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Politics / Abductions: Senate Probes FG’s $20m Safe School Initiative Fund by jarawa: 6:40am On Feb 24, 2021
* Urges FG to deploy security agents to all schools

The Senate urged the Federal Government to collaborate with states and local governments to urgently design and implement a workable arrangement to deploy well-armed security teams around all schools in Nigeria.

It also mandated its Committees on Basic and Tertiary Education to investigate the use of the $20m Safe School Initiative Fund launched in 2014 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

This was sequel to a motion on “Urgent need for the Restoration and Revalidation of the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria”, sponsored by Senator Adi Odey Stephen (Cross River North).

The Safe School Initiative was launched with support from the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown to ensure schools are protected and spaces safe for children and youths to learn.

The then president, Jonathan, had committed about $10m in government funds; and Nigeria business leaders, $10m.

The initiative was backed by private businesses and foreign governments, including Germany and Norway.

Senator Stephen expressed concern that the rising insecurity in the country, with the advanced target at schools in diverse locations, had exposed the unimaginable decadence and dilapidation in the schools in Nigeria.

He said these incidents might instill fear in parents and guardians and force them to withdraw their children and wards from schools or prevent them from sending their children to schools.

He, however, said these attacks on schools by criminals could be contained and defeated through the full implementation of the “Safe School Initiative” by all stakeholders.

https://dailytrust.com/abductions-senate-probes-fgs-20m-safe-school-initiative-fund

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