Nasarawa Communities Fight Bandits, Says Governor Sule

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule

 

 

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has said that communities in the state fight bandits who terrorise the people.

He stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“In Nasarawa, what we do is that the moment we see the bandits coming in, we alert our people. These people are coming to your side and the information is there.  The communities rise up to the occasion and also the communities fight them,” he said.

Governor Sule blamed the banditry activities in Zamfara State on illegal mining being carried out in the state, adding that those stoking problems in the north-western were interested in illegal mining.

“I think that is the right decision to make. One of the problems we have been facing in Zamfara State and some of these places where mining activities are going on.

“Those who are actually igniting these problems in Zamfara State are those who are interested in mining the gold that is there,” he said.

The governor also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring a no-fly zone in Zamfara as part of the measures to tackle the increasing insecurity in the state.

READ ALSO: Buhari Declares Zamfara ‘No-Fly Zone’, Bans Mining Activities

While noting that the declaring of the presidential order is long overdue, he said the government had to take time to carefully understand the Zamfara situation before coming up with decisive action.

“I think the government wanted to take a lot of time and understand what is going on there before they imposed a no-fly zone. I think the no-fly zone is even overdue, so imposing it today is fantastic, excellent.

“It will bring out more of those people who are hiding under whatever guise and taking care of this mining. It is a lot of illegal mining and not about the economy of the state,” he added.

To the Nasarawa Governor, the presidential ban on mining activities would effectively address the insecurity in the state, adding that the order wouldn’t affect the economy of Zamfara State.

On the granting of amnesty to bandits, the governor explained that he, alongside his other northern colleagues, would not give in to the dictates of those he described as militants.

Although he said that the recent release of the abducted Zamfara schoolgirls was made possible via negotiation, the governor explained that his administration would approach insecurity using both kinetic and non-kinetic strategy.

His remarks come few hours after President He made the disclosure to State House correspondents after a five-hour National Security Council meeting presided over by the President at the Presidential Villa in the nation’s capital.

We Will Deal With Banditry, Insurgency – Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said there will be no softening of the ongoing measures aimed at tackling insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals constituting a threat to innocent citizens across the country.

The President gave the warning through his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, during a security meeting of the Northern State Governor’s Forum and traditional rulers in Kaduna State.

President Buhari admitted that the country is battling with different dimensions of security challenges, but added that he has asked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end the ugly situation.

Meanwhile, the Northern Governors have resolved to partner with the Federal Government and their Southern counterparts in tackling the challenges.

Thursday’s meeting, which took place at the Kaduna state government house, came barely two weeks after governors of the Northwest zone held a similar meeting with the service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser to discuss ways to address the issue of banditry and kidnapping bedeviling the zone.

Among the governors who attended the meeting were those of Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kano, Katsina, Plateau, as well as the Deputy Governors of Bauchi, Kogi, Zamfara, Benue, and Niger states.

In their opening remarks, the host Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong said the meeting was long overdue and crucial for the progress of the North and the country in general.

While El-Rufai urged his colleagues to adopt strategies to forestall all forms of security challenges in the North, Governor Lalong regretted the attacks and killings menacing the region, noting that it is the responsibility of governors and other leaders to find lasting solutions to the problem.

He also described the recent kidnap of school children in Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger State as a wake-up call for leaders and also as a sad reminder of the difficult situation the north is facing.

On the issue of herder-farmer clashes, which has in recent weeks generated serious concerns because of the harsh rhetoric from various parts of the country, Lalong agreed that open grazing is no longer sustainable for obvious reasons.

He also reiterated that the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has keyed into the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP), a veritable option that will go a long way in ending the clashes through organised ranching.

The northern governors also appealed to their colleagues in other parts of the country and all citizens particularly opinion leaders to be cautious in their utterances and actions, warning that such unguided utterances could provide the oxygen for the exploitation of the nation’s fault lines to the detriment of the entire country.

Matawalle Receives Repentant Bandits, Calls For Appreciation Of Peace Initiative

 

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has urged Nigerians to appreciate his administration’s peace and dialogue initiative in the quest to curb banditry and insecurity. 

The governor noted this on Thursday when he received another group of repentant bandits. He believes his reconciliation and dialogue initiative is for the benefit of the country and not Zamfara State alone. 

While insisting that not all Fulanis are criminals, the governor said some of them have been pushed to criminality. 

Some of the weapons and ammunition surrendered by the repentant bandits include seven AK-47, two general-purpose machine guns, one rocket-propelled grenade launcher, several live ammunitions and anti-craft ammunitions.

As the government seeks to tackle criminality, more bandits have been surrendering their weapons and ammunition and embracing the peace initiative of the northwestern state. 

Some of the arms and ammunitions surrendered by the repentant bandits.

 

On Tuesday, seven repentant bandits surrendered their weapons to the government and vowed to abandon their former ways.

They also welcomed the reconciliation process, released eight kidnapped victims who are mostly women.

The governor while receiving the seven repentant bandits and eight women who were kidnapped, thanked God for the successes recorded in the fight against banditry in the state.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Can Overcome Its Security Threats, Says IBB

He appealed to people of the state to see the fight against insecurity as everybody’s business by providing credible intelligence to security operatives to help them succeed in eliminating banditry.

The previous day, three notorious bandits surrendered their weapons to the Zamfara Government.

After giving up their AK-47 rifles and other ammunition, the bandits swore with the Holy Qua’ran not to return to banditry.

One of them who spoke in Hausa at the Government House in Gusau said that they have sincerely accepted the peace initiative of the state government; pledging not to commit dastardly acts any longer.

Thursday Update: Bawa’s Confirmation, Bandits In Kaduna And Nigeria’s Vaccine Wait

Good morning,

We are leading with the Senate’s confirmation of Abdulrasheed Bawa, more bandit attacks in Kaduna, and Nigeria’s long wait for COVID-19 vaccines.


EFCC Boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was confirmed by the Senate on February 24, 2021.
EFCC Boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was confirmed by the Senate on February 24, 2021.

Senate Confirms Abdulrasheed Bawa

The Senate has confirmed Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr. Bawa, during his screening by the lawmakers, defended his competence to lead the anti-graft agency’s task of ridding Nigeria of corruption.

After his confirmation, 40-year-old Bawa said he would represent young people with distinction. “I am going to give the young people a very good representation in the governance of this country so that more young people will be given more responsibility in this country,” he said.

He also denied selling off any assets seized by the commission in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Corruption Allegations: Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Kwari, defended the lawmakers’ decision to ratify Mr. Bawa’s appointment, despite allegations of corruption brought against him. He said they were “wild allegations that could not be proven.”

Related: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said the Senate disappointed Nigerians by confirming the immediate past service chiefs as the nation’s ambassadors.

Police Trust Fund: Meanwhile, the Senate has approved N11.3 billion for the fund’s 2020 budget. About N1.3 billion was allocated for the procurement of teargas, while about N1 billion was set aside for the procurement of arms and ammunition.


A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s north-west region.

Bandits Kill 18 In Kaduna

Attacks by bandits across three Local Government Areas in Kaduna have left at least 18 persons dead, the state government said on Wednesday.

The bandits burnt houses, barns, storehouses, rustled cows, and abducted people.

The attacks are the latest in a string of violent crimes that have rocked the North-West state for years.

Bala Mohammed: The Bauchi State Governor said he has no apology for justifying why Fulani herdsmen wield AK-47 guns. But he also pleaded with the herdsmen not to carry weapons illegally and embrace peace instead.

Delta State: One policeman has been confirmed dead and three others injured after gunmen attacked a bullion van belonging to a new generation bank along the Ubulu-Okiti, Aniocha South Local Government Area.

Borno Attack: Governor Babagana Zulum visited victims of Tuesday’s attack on Maiduguri. The number of those injured from the attack has risen to 50, the Governor said.


Airport workers transport on dollies a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme, at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra on February 24, 2021. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

Ghana Takes Delivery Of COVID-19 Vaccine

Ghana has received 600,000 doses of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute Covid inoculations for free to poorer countries.

The West African nation was the first to receive vaccines from the scheme, which plans to ship two billion doses by year’s end.

Nigeria is also part of the scheme and is expected to receive part of its share before mid-March, according to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

But the precise date of delivery is unavailable as it is not in the hands of the government, Dr. Ehanire said.

Quote:  “So, COVAX begins to deliver before the end of February,” Dr. Ehanire said. “And we hope that before the end of this month, it would be our turn or latest by the beginning of next month.”

NCDC: Nigeria confirmed 655 new cases of the virus and 11 deaths on Wednesday, according to the disease control agency.


What else is happening?

Rotimi Akeredolu: The Ondo State Governor has been sworn-in for a second term in office. He won re-election in October.

Ifeoma Abugu: Although men of the defunct SARS said she died of a cocaine overdose, an autopsy of her remains has come out negative for the substance, a report submitted at an #EndSARS panel said. Abugu was taken away by SARS operatives from her home in Lokogoma, Abuja in September 2020, only to be reported dead at the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital the next day.

The Nigeria Labour Congress picketed the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja on February 24, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
The Nigeria Labour Congress picketed the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja on February 24, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Organised Labour: Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) clashed at the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja over alleged anti-labour activities. The TUC attempted to stop the NLC from picketing the commission.

Abdulrasheed Maina: A Federal High Court will hear the bail application of the former ex-Pension boss today. Mr. Maina, notorious for jumping bail, is being prosecuted by the EFCC for money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.

Facebook: The social media giant has pledged to invest at least $1 billion to support journalism over the next three years.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine vials against the COVID-19 coronavirus are seen at the Klerksdorp Hospital as South Africa proceeds with its inoculation campaign on February 18, 2021. Phill Magakoe / AFP
Johnson & Johnson vaccine vials against the COVID-19 coronavirus are seen at the Klerksdorp Hospital as South Africa proceeds with its inoculation campaign on February 18, 2021.
Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

Johnson & Johnson: The US Food and Drug Administration has found the drugmaker’s single-shot vaccine as highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19, including newer variants.

Champions League: Manchester City continued their blistering run by beating Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League round of 16 first leg tie, but coach Pepe Guardiola wants more from his players.


And that’s it for today. See you tomorrow.

We Have Secured Release Of Over 1,000 Captives Without Ransom – Matawalle

Zamfara in the northwestern part of Nigeria has seen a rise in banditry in recent times.

 

Governor Bello Matawalle of  Zamfara State on Sunday said his government has secured the release of more than 1,000 people from their captors without paying a ransom.

“We have also secured the release of 1,000 captives without paying any ransom,” the governor said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. “We equally received over 300 sophisticated weapons surrendered by bandits and their leaders.”


 

He explained that the government’s approach has ensured the return of some people who fled their homes due to attacks and promised to always do everything possible to make Zamfara State safe.  The governor also believes that if other governors adopt dialogue, criminality will be reduced in Nigeria.

 READ ALSO: Niger Govt Secures Release Of Kidnapped Commuters

“To me, as a leader, I cannot fold my arms seeing my people killed every day. I have to initiate anything I know I can to be able to make my people sleep with their both eyes closed,” the governor who had served as a commissioner in the state between 1999 and 2003, noted.

“That’s why I have to initiate that dialoguing with these people. And I believe that by the time all governors come together and agree on doing so, we can be able to secure our country.”

—‘ Nothing Has Been Paid’—

Governor Matawalle, however, does not support the payment of money to kidnappers and other criminals, reiterating that the abductors of Kagara schoolboys were not paid any ransom.

A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

 

“I have said it earlier, nothing has been paid to them,” the governor insisted, corroborating the statement from the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed that the Federal Government did not pay money for the release of students who were at some point kidnapped in the country.

“If you are giving them money, they can use the same money to acquire more weapons which I believe we cannot do. These people, they can listen and you can discuss with them,” he explained, stating that the Zamfara government is working to empower some of the repentant bandits so they do not go back to crime.

Nigeria’s northwest region has in the past few years witnessed a growing level of criminality, notably banditry. Across the region, organised crime groups seem to have overpowered security forces, with kidnapping taking centre stage in an area were cattle rustlers  – in the past – had a field.

 

 

 

 

 

Banditry: IGP Deploys 275 Special Forces To Zamfara

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Operatives of Operatives Puff Adder during the flag-off of their operations at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja on February 15, 2021. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has deployed 275 Special Forces to Zamfara State as part of efforts to tackle banditry, kidnapping, and other related crimes in the state.

The troops under Operation Puff Adder 2 were drawn from the Counter-Terrorism Unit, Mobile Force, and Special Forces of the Nigerian police.

The Commissioner of Police Abutu Yaro while addressing the troops at the launch of Operation Puff Adder 2 in the state enjoined them to be law-abiding.

He also urged them to be firm and ruthless on criminal elements that may threaten the safety and security of the people of the state.

READ ALSO: Banditry: IGP Deploys 302 Special Forces To Kaduna

He assured the people of the state that operation Puff Adder 2 in Zamfara State would be community-driven and would be executed in sustained collaboration with other sister security agencies in the state.

Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle who was represented by the Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs, Abubakar Dauran assured that the state government would supply all the necessary logistics to ensure perfect operations in the state.

He said the state government was worried over the incessant terror attacks and banditry in the state and also appealing to the general public to help the security agencies with vital and timely information, pointing out that security is a collective responsibility.

Zamfara State is one of the states in the northwest zone facing difficult times as a result of banditry and kidnapping in the area.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu had earlier on Monday flagged-off  Operation Puff Adder 2 at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The special security is aimed at reinforcing the ongoing fight against banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, and other violent crimes in the country.

The IGP explained that the new special operation, which will be intelligence-led and community-driven, will be executed in sustained collaboration with the armed forces, intelligence community, and other sister security agencies.

Niger Govt Releases Names Of Students, Teachers, Others Abducted From Kagara School

Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, in Niger State was attacked by gunmen on February 17, 2021.
Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, in Niger State was attacked by gunmen on February 17, 2021.

 

The Niger State Government has released the names of the students, teachers, and other residents abducted from Government Science Secondary School Kagara on Wednesday.

A list which emanated from the State Ministry of Education shows 27 students were abducted alongside five staff and nine members of their families, making a total of 41 persons abducted from the school.

Three of the staff abducted are teachers while two are the non-teaching staff.

The names of the students include Jamilu Isah, Shem Joshua, Abbas Abdullahi, Isah Abdullahi, Ezekeil Danladi, Haliru Shuibu, Mamuda Suleiman, Danzakar Dauda, Abdulsamad Sanusi, Bashir Abbas.

Others are: Suleiman Lawal, Abdullahi Adamu, Habakuk Augustine, Idris Mohammed, Musa Adamu, Abdulkarim Abdulrahman, Abubakar Danjumma, Abdullahi Abubakar, Bashir Kamalideen, Mohammed Salisu.

The names of persons abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, as released by the Niger State Government on February 18, 2021.
The names of persons abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, as released by the Niger State Government on February 18, 2021.

 

The rest of the students abducted are Yusuf M Kabir, Isah Abdullah Makusidi, Polineous Vincent, Lawal Bello, Mohammed K Shehu, Mubarak Sidi and Abdulsamad Nuhu.

According to the government list, the names of the abducted teachers are Hannatu Philip, Lawal Abdullahi, and Dodo Fodio, while the non-teaching staff are Mohammed Musa and Faiza Mohammed.

Others abducted include Christiana Adama, Faith Adama, Maimuna Suleman, Nura Isah, Ahmad Isah, Khadizat Isah, Mohammed Mohammed, Aisha Isah, and Saratu Isah.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, armed men attacked the Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State shooting sporadically.

A student Benjamin Habila was shot and killed by the bandits on the school premises while several others abducted.

Some teachers and their family members residing within the college staff quarters were also said to have been abducted by the gunmen.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Attack School, Abduct Students, Others In Niger

The operations started from the staff quarters and ended in the students’ hostels and in the process, other students were also wounded by gunshots.

The gunmen gathered some staff and students at a place for hours before moving them out of the school premises to an unknown destination.

They wore a military uniform and entered the school premises which has about 1000 students, overpowered the security guard, before whisking away the students and staff.

A staff member by the name Batagi who was among those kidnapped has escaped and is in the school as of the time of publishing this report. Others still with the bandits are Mall. Lawal, Ali, Hannatu, and her husband, Dodo, Mohammed Abubakar(Akawu), among others.

Following the incident, the Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on insecurity in the country.

The resolution follows a motion by Senator Sani Musa during plenary on Wednesday.

Senator Bima Enagi from Niger State in his contribution, accused the President of incompetence as the security situation is worsening in the country.

He argued that the constitution should be amended to give governors more powers as they are the security officers in their states because the Federal government is incompetent in handling security.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed armed forces and police to ensure the safe return of the abducted students.

The President has also dispatched a team of security chiefs to coordinate the rescue operation.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has received reports of the brazen attack on Government Science College, Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, following which a yet to be ascertained number of staff and students have been abducted by gunmen.

“Following these reports, the President has directed the Armed Forces and Police, to ensure the immediate and safe return of all the captives. The President has also dispatched to Minna, Niger State a team of security chiefs to coordinate the rescue operation and meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the College”.

Banditry: IGP Deploys 302 Special Forces To Kaduna

Some of the Special Forces deployed to Kaduna State on February 17, 2021 by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

 

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has deployed 302 Special Forces to  Kaduna State as part of efforts to tackle banditry,  kidnapping and other related crimes in the state.

This is as troops of the Nigerian military have killed seven bandits in Birnin Gwari local government area.

The troops under Operation Puff Adder were drawn from the Counter-Terrorism Unit,  Mobile Force and Special Forces of the Nigerian police.

According to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri, they will be deployed to troubled areas in Birnin Gwari,  Giwa, Chikun,  Zango Kataf, and Igabi local government areas of the state where the menace of banditry has continued to be a nightmare for the residents.

Addressing the troops ahead of their deployment, the Police boss charges them to take the battle to the doorsteps of the bandits and restore normalcy to the troubled areas.

“Being the lead security agency saddled with the responsibility of internal security of the state and country at large, the sole aim of this Operation Puff Adder is to reclaim space from criminals that are threatening our internal security order,” he said.

“The dynamic nature of crime continues to present new trends which makes it imperative that we continually evaluate strategies and then emplace new operational architecture with a view to sustaining the gains already recorded.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Directs Armed Forces, Police To Ensure Safe Return Of Abducted Kagara Students

Kaduna and other states in the northwest zone are no doubt facing difficult times as a result of the rising case of banditry and kidnapping in the area.

The attacks have led to the loss of lives of citizens of the zone,  with thousands of people currently displaced from their homes,  while in some cases,  Security agents pay the supreme price in trying to battle the bandits.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai, represented by his Commissioner for internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, was also on the ground to see the troops ahead of their deployment and to also offer them some words of encouragement.

Flagging off the operation, the governor asked the troops to consolidate on the gains of Operation Puff Adder 1, by helping to restore peace in the troubled areas in Kaduna state, while assuring them of the state government support for the success of the operation.

See photos below:

Nigerians Should Not Be ‘Cowards’ When Attacked By Bandits – Defence Minister

 

The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, says Nigerians should not show cowardice in the face of attacks from bandits.

Major General Magashi’s comment comes a few hours after armed men attacked Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, killing a student and abducting many others.

Speaking with newsmen after the screening of service chiefs by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Magashi said security is not the sole responsibility of the military, adding that Nigerians must join the fight against bandits and other miscreants threatening the nation’s peace.

Magashi who does not support the calls for legalization to have civilians bear firearms in the country, however, noted that citizens need to show that they are not afraid of bandits.

“Well, is it not the responsibility of the military alone? It is the responsibility of everybody to be alert and ensure safety when necessary.

“We shouldn’t be cowards. Sometimes the bandits come with about three rounds of ammunition and when they fire shots everybody will run. In our younger days, we stand to fight any form of aggression.

“Why should people run away from minor, minor aggressions? We should stand and face them. If these people know that the people have the competence and capability to defend themselves, they will run away,” the minister told newsmen.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Declare State Of Emergency, Senate Tells Buhari

In this photo, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), briefs reporters at the National Assembly in Abuja on November 3, 2020.

 

Mr Magashi also assured Nigerians that all abducted students would be rescued as soon as possible.

He said the service chiefs would swing into action swiftly as to track down the kidnappers and rescue those who were abducted.

According to him, the government will replicate the strategy used in freeing the Kankara schoolboys to obtain success in freeing the Kagara students and staff.

The minister said: ”We have demonstrated our ability to take on the challenge. We have done it in Katsina; when children were kidnapped. Within two days, we got them back. Hopefully, this time, we will do the same (thing) to get these captives back. We are planning.

“We have not got feedback on the activities going on in Niger State. But I am sure that before the end of the day, we will be given a full brief on what is going on in Niger State.”

Banditry: Governors Agree To End Open Grazing In Nigeria

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

The Nigerian Governors Forum on Thursday said it had reached a consensus on the “need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night, and underage grazing in the country.”

In a communique issued at the end of its 25th virtual meeting and signed by Forum Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, the Governors were encouraged “to put in place systems to accelerate the grazing initiative of the National Livestock Transformation Plan and ranching in the country.”

The consensus was reached to address the rising insecurity in the country which has been linked to armed herdsmen operating as bandits.

Meanwhile, the Forum condemned the ethnic profiling of crime in the country and resolved to “convene an emergency meeting of all Governors” on the matter.

“The Forum respects the right of abode of all Nigerians and strongly condemns criminality and the ethnic profiling of crime in the country in an effort to frame the widespread banditry and the herders- farmers crisis,” the communique said.

Read the full communique below:

ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 25th TELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM (2ND IN 2021) HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY 2021.

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held on 10th February 2021 received extensive briefs on a number of issues, deliberated on various matters of national concern and reached some resolutions:

1. On the current conversation on the COVID-19 pandemic, which is focused on making vaccines available as soon as possible to Nigerians, the Chairman called on all relevant agencies and public- spirited organizations involved in the procurement of vaccines to work amicably to ensure that the vaccines arrive the country quickly. He announced that the NGF will shortly inaugurate an advisory group of experts to provide high-level strategic guidance and support to the NGF on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines in the short time and the local production of vaccines in the medium to long term.

2. The Forum is also engaging directly with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to ensure that vaccines are administered equitably, first to workers who are on the frontlines of the pandemic.

3. The Forum deliberated on the underutilization of fiscal facilities in the country including the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and the Saving One Million Lives programme for results (SOML) which are meant to expand the size and scope of resources spent on health and education across all States of the Federation. The Forum recognises that the timely implementation of these facilities in line with the financing plans of States is vital to ensure expenditure coherence and the sustainability for several projects on primary health care and basic education implemented at the State-level, especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic where the demand for government intervention has been heightened.

4. On the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) performance for results project, the Chairman announced that the Federal Ministry of Health, the Commissioners for Health Forum and the World Bank have resolved to distribute the outstanding funds under the Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLI 1,2) equally amongst all the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

5. On the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), the Chairman expressed concern over the delay in the payment of funds to the three pilot BHCPF States of Abia, Niger and Osun. He urged the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the World Bank (WB) to urgently disburse the funds to these States using the original BHCPF Guidelines for States.

6. Following an update from Governors on the various initiatives taken by State governments to address the rising insecurity in the country due to the activities of herdsmen, members reached a consensus on the need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night and underage grazing in the country. State governments are encouraged to put in place systems to accelerate the grazing initiative of the National Livestock Transformation Plan and ranching in the country.

7. The Forum respects the right of abode of all Nigerians and strongly condemns criminality and the ethnic profiling of crime in the country in an effort to frame the widespread banditry and the herders- farmers crisis. In the light of the economic and security risks that have arisen from these circumstances, the Forum resolved to urgently convene an emergency meeting of all Governors.

8. The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) and Governor of Plateau State, Rt Hon. Simon Bako Lalong provided an update on steps taken by the Governors of the nineteen (19) Northern States and cautioned against the tagging of ethnic groups based on the misbehavior of a few criminally minded individuals. He called on State governors to address this matter head-on in their various States.

9. Following an update by Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, members resolved to immediately address the misinformation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources that it has so far registered 4.5 million farmers nationwide under the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), a key component of the Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan (NESP) designed to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.

10. On the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 (NNBP), the Chairman briefed the Forum on the letter from the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC) requesting Governors to give effect to some of the Infrastructure, Policy and Demand Drivers Pillars of the Broadband Plan in order to achieve full implementation of the NNBP.

11. The Chairman drew the attention of members to the letter from the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) requesting States to submit details of work done at the subnational level on lifting people out of poverty. This information will help the Council in developing a poverty reduction strategy/plan at the national level. States are expected to submit these on or 26th February, 2021.

12. The Chairman announced that the Forum was in receipt of a letter from the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Against Gender Based Violence (NGWA-GBV) thanking members particularly the Governors of Kogi, Ondo, Niger, Plateau and Ekiti who attended the High Level Policy Dialogue on December 2, 2020 for their support in making the event a huge success. The NGWA-GBV implored Governors to maintain the momentum around the emergency declared on GBV on June 10th, 2020. While noting the concerns of the NGWA-GBV, Governors resolved to endorse all requests and proposals contained in its letter dated January 26th, 2021.

13. Following the Presentation that was made at the 24th NGF Teleconference meeting on enhancing States’ IGR through harmonized Traffic Management System, the Secretariat was mandated to convene a meeting of the Committee headed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, to further review and advise the Forum on the project.

14. On the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) performance for result programme, the Chairman briefed the Forum on emerging concerns with the Independent Verification Agent (IVA) following the nomination of a new Auditor General for the Federation. He assured members that the Governor of Edo State who doubles as the Chairman of the NGF SFTAS Committee is working with relevant stakeholders to engender a final resolution that will sustain the momentum and quality service delivered by the IVA on the programme so far.

15. As part of the SFTAS update, Ajogbasile Olanrewaju, Senior Programme Manager (HelpDesk and SFTAS TA Programme) at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat provided the following:

a. All 36 States are set to meet the 2020 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) Eligibility Criteria having prepared and published online an IPSAS-compliant 2019 Audited Financial Statements by 31 August 2020 and their FY2021 State Budgets under the National Chart of Accounts (NCoA) by 31st January 2021.

b. Twenty Six (26) States including Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe State achieved the Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) 12.1 (strengthened procurement function for COVID-19 or emergency situation and facilitated participation of SMEs in public procurement in the resilient recovery phase).

c. Anambra State Annual Performance Assessment (APA) result for Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) 11.1 (announced and started implementation of a tax compliance relief program for individual taxpayers and businesses) has been revised following additional considerations that confirm that the State met the requirements of the DLI.

d. State Governors were encouraged to sustain high-level support for the SFTAS programme, promote an incentivised environment for participating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as State officials. They were also advised to leverage existing technical assistance on the programme and implement in full and not in part the SFTAS verification protocols for the annual eligibility criteria and Disbursement Linked Results (DLRs).

16. On the operations of SFTAS, the Governor of Edo State, H.E Godwin Obaseki called on members to further strengthen the institutional capacity of the NGF Secretariat to become a stronger resource and policy centre for the provision of technical assistance to States.

17. The Chairman formally informed members of the death of the father of their colleague, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and prayed for the family and the people of Delta State. Members offered their sincere condolence and noted the decision of the Okowa family to opt for a quiet private burial this month, while a Celebration of Life event will be held on August 21, 2021.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum 10th February 2021

Banditry: Police Bring Five Charges Against Ex-Katsina LG Caretaker Chairman

Katsina, usually referred to as Katsina State to distinguish it from the city of Katsina, is a state in North West zone of Nigeria.

 

The police have brought at least five charges against the former Caretaker Chairman of Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State, Haruna Musa Mota, who was arrested for allegedly aiding banditry in the state.

The charges which include among others, criminal breach of trust; inciting disturbance; aiding and abetment of armed robbery; kidnapping and terrorism, were presented at the Chief Magistrate Court on Tuesday.

Mota who is currently remanded at a Katsina Correctional Centre, had been arrested in connection with the recent abduction of 344 students of Government Science Secondary school, Kankara.

Read Also: Kankara Schoolboys Abduction: Those Who Doubt FG’s Resolve To Protect Nigerians Are Mischievous – Garba Shehu

In the First Information Report (FIR), the police alleged that “On the 30, January 2021 at about 08:00 hours as a member of Katsina state Fulani/farmers reconciliation committee entrusted with the mandate of negotiating between bandits/ kidnappers /armed robbers in Katsina State, you breached the trust by deliberately using your Samsung GSM Phone with MTN Number:08032981919 in calling one well known armed bandits commander residing in Zamfara forest, Zamfara State who masterminded the kidnapping of the students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, sometime in December 2020, instigating him with unverified information regarding the release of said students.

“As a result of this information to the commander of the armed bandits by you, he informed his gang who are now rising against the government and people of Katsina State, threatening to continue terrorizing them for the money to be released to them. All these are contrary to sections 298, 78 and 47 of the Penal Code Law of Katsina State, 2019.

Two police prosecutors on the case, namely ASP Isa Liti and ASP EM Garuba informed the court where Musa had been arraigned on Monday that investigation was still in progress on the case.

They requested a new date for the case to be mentioned and the presiding Chief Magistrate, Aminat Ibrahim, granted their request and adjourned the case till March 25, for mention.

She also directed that the Certified True Copy of the FIR be released to Mota’s counsel, Barrister Ahmed Dan Baba, as requested by him, directing that Mota be remanded at the correctional centre till March 25, when the case comes up before her for mention.

Banditry: Police Arrest Ex-Katsina LG Chairman, Charge Him To Court

Katsina, usually referred to as Katsina State to distinguish it from the city of Katsina, is a state in North West zone of Nigeria.
Katsina is a state in the North West zone of Nigeria.

 

The Katsina State Police Command has arrested a former Chairman of Jibia Local Government Caretaker Committee, Haruna Musa Mota.

Mota was arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting bandits terrorising innocent people across the frontline local government areas of the state.

Confirming the arrest to Channels Television on Monday at the command headquarters, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Gambo Isah Katsina, said the culprit has already been charged to court for prosecution.

Before his arrest, an audio recording in Hausa language went viral on the social media where the culprit was heard discussing with one of the bandits’ leaders over the abduction of Kankara Students.

Channels Television recalled that on February 3, three suspected armed bandits terrorising Dutsima Local Government Area of Katsina were killed by the police with two AK-47 Rifles with 15 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition recovered in their possession.

READ ALSO: Police Rescue Five Kidnapped Victims In Zamfara

This is coming as the command showcased its recent achievements recorded in the fight against banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other forms of crimes and criminality in the state.

In a press briefing at the command headquarters, the Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, disclosed that the Area Commander of Dutsima, Aminu Umar and his team responded to distress call that bandits numbering over 50 attacked Unguwar Bera and Tashar Mangoro villages of Dutsima Local Government Area.

The team laid ambush against the hoodlums at a spot between Mara and Tashar Gajere villages of Danmusa Local Government Area of the state.