“Colonel Yombe told newsmen this Friday, that the vehicles have been reinforced with hardened steel and suitable for battle with provisions for a driver, a gunner and space for extra troops,” the statement said.
“He explained that the action was approved and supported by Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu towards providing transportation to combatants as a major requirement in warfare in securing the lives and property of the citizenry.
“The Deputy Governor described Kebbi State as the pace setter in the country in such innovative technology, which served as both cost effective measure and advancing Nigeria’s quest for technical know-how.
“Toyota Land Cruiser Buffalo vehicles were remodelled into armoured personnel carriers with gun turrets through the engineering ingenuity of colonel Yombe.”
Troops of the Nigerian Army operating under the auspices of Operation Hadarin Daji supported by the Nigerian Air Force component have rescued more abductees of the Federal Government College Birnin Yawuri in Kebbi State.
A statement signed on Sunday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed that one teacher and three students were rescued on Saturday at Makuku in the ongoing search and rescue operations.
According to the statement, the troops also killed one bandit, recovered nine motorcycles and four phones from the fleeing bandits.
Nwachukwu also noted that additional troops have now been deployed to dominate the forest.
Two teachers and five students had been rescued on Friday by the gallant troops in a coordinated firefight with the kidnappers.
The incident is the latest in a series of increasing school abductions across the country.
Bandits had attacked the school in the early hours of Thursday, whisking away a yet to be confirmed number of students and teachers.
The Deputy Force Commander of the Joint Taskforce in the Northwest zone, Air Commodore Abubakar Abdulkadir, in a communique on Friday said the troops came in contact with the bandits in the early hours of the day and engaged them in a gun duel which forced them to abandon five students, and a teacher.
One of the abducted students of the college, unfortunately, died.
“In the early hours of this morning, we have come across the kidnappers. They came to our blocking point, and we engaged them,” Abdulkadir said.
He added, “At that point, they abandoned five of the students and one of the teachers. Unfortunately, I think we have lost one of the students.”
Air Commodore Abdulkadir also disclosed that 11 trucks of rustled cows were also intercepted in Zamfara State.
He said troops got credible intelligence about the rustled animals and were instructed to lay an ambush which led to the recovery of the cattle.
Bagudu further stated that a premium has been placed on the provision of logistics and the necessary equipment to security agencies to waging total war against banditry and all acts of criminality until normality and tranquility are attained fully.
The governor added that additional security would be provided to all institutions of learning within the state.
While addressing parents, staff, and students of the College, Governor Bagudu sympathized with the school authorities on the unfortunate incident.
He commended all security services in the state for their quick response which led to the rescue of some of the abducted students and teachers. He also appreciated parents and guardians for remaining calm and courageous with regards to the ugly incident and urged that they also pray along for God’s intervention on the matter.
Over 90 bodies have so far been recovered from River Niger in Warrah, in Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State where an overloaded boat with more than 100 passengers capsized.
The Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu stated this on Saturday night at the Government House in Birnin Kebbi when Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal led a high-powered delegation on a condolence visit over the sad incident.
Bagudu who expressed sadness over the development said though the exact number of passengers on board was unknown, testimonies of survival indicated that over one hundred and fifty passengers were on board the boat designed for just sixty passengers.
“Over ninety dead bodies had so far been recovered with 59 of them from Warrah, while 22 were rescued alive,” the governor said.
“The exact number of the passengers in the boat was not known, even as averred. However, some of the survivors said that the ill-fated boat was carrying over 150 passengers which started its journey from Lokon Mina, in Niger State to Warrah, Kebbi State.”
Speaking during the visit, the Director-General of the Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency, Sani Dododo, also said the state government has decided to come up with measures and review of code of conduct of operations of the commercial boat in the state to guide again future occurrence.
He explained that the government is planning to review maritime operations in the state by ensuring international best practices are adhered to henceforth.
On his part, Governor Tambuwal sympathized with the families of victims and the Kebbi State Government over the sad event.
Tambuwal described the loss as huge not only to Kebbi but to Sokoto State whose people share common traditions, religions, cultures and forefathers.
The governor was in Kebbi in the company of the Speaker, Sokoto State House of Assembly, the Chief Judge, Grand Khadi, Secretary to State Government and several other top government functionaries.
He made a donation of N40 million naira to support the families of the victims.
At least two people were killed and hundreds of villagers displaced as gunmen suspected to be cattle rustlers attacked nine villages in Wasagu-Danko local government area of Kebbi state.
The suspected bandits were said to have invaded the villages which are remotely located, and share border with neighboring Zamfara state, at about 7pm on Tuesday night, opened fire on the residents, and later carted away their animals, money and other valuables.
An indigene of the area, Usman Mohammed gave the names of the affected villages to include Shengel, Duru, Wadako, Kawo, Auda, Dadin kowa, Mashigi, Zaggai, and Yar Kuka.
He told our correspondent that most of the villagers have fled with their animals to Waje and Chonoko communities for fear of being caught in the attack that has lasted for two days.
Confirming the incident to our correspondent, the Spokesman of Kebbi state police command, DSP Nafiu Abubakar, says the bandits came into the communities from Zamfara state and rustled many cows, and later shot two people to death before disappearing into the forest before the arrival of security operatives.
He also explains that the bandits were able to carry out their dastardly act due to the remote nature of the villages, adding that security has been beefed up in the affected villages to forestall any fresh attack.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned “the harassment, intimidation and unfair treatment of the former acting Chief Judge of Kebbi State, Elizabeth Karatu, who was barred from gaining access to her courtroom to deliver certain judgment by an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), who claimed he was acting based on the directive given to him by the management.”
The organization urged the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to: “publicly condemn the unfair treatment of Justice Karatu and urgently refer the matter to appropriate authorities for a prompt, thorough and effective investigation in order to ensure that those responsible for this unlawful act are named and shamed and brought to justice.”
In a video clip, Justice Karatu is heard saying: “I am the most senior judge in this court and I am here to deliver my judgment. Can you imagine? Which management gave you the order? Today is my last day to be here and it is my right to be here. I have come to deliver my judgment. As far as I am concerned, everybody in this court is my junior and I need a courtroom to deliver my judgment.”
Reacting, SERAP in a statement today by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “Barring Justice Karatu from delivering judgment is an intolerable act of intimidation against the highest judicial authority in Kebbi State at the material time. Regardless of any allegations that may have been levelled against her, it is clear that Justice Karatu has been unfairly treated by the apparently unlawful actions of the Kebbi State governor, Mr. Atiku Bagudu and the NSCDC barring her from gaining access to her courtroom to rule on cases.”
According to SERAP, “Barring Justice Karatu from gaining access to her courtroom is entirely incompatible with the sacred principle of judicial independence, and the failure by the authorities to observe important procedural guarantees here is a textbook case of executive rascality. SERAP will vigorously pursue justice in this case, to ensure that this shameful act does not affect the work of other judges or undermine their ability to freely and effectively perform their judicial duties.”
The statement read in part: “The NJC should immediately set up a panel to thoroughly and effectively investigate the alleged role played by the new acting Chief Judge of Kebbi State, Justice Suleiman Mohammed Ambursa in the unfair treatment, harassment and intimidation of Justice Karatu, and if there is sufficient and relevant admissible evidence, to ensure appropriate disciplinary measures and sanctions against him.”
“The ultimate responsibility for the crisis in Kebbi State’s judiciary lies with governor Bagudu. To prevent further erosion of the constitutional principles of judicial independence and separation of powers, the governor must publicly apologise for the blatant infraction of Justice Kataru’s human rights, and ensure her access to justice and effective remedies, including reparation.”
“It is clear that the rule of law in Kebbi State is under siege. SERAP urges the government of governor Bagudu to refrain from any threats or interference that may further hamper the court’s independence and authority as the supreme guardian of the Nigerian constitution and legislation.”
“By putting the court entrance under lock, the government of governor Bagudu and the NSCDC have obstructed justice, a form of corruption under the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party, as they have apparently unlawfully stopped Justice Karatu from performing her judicial duties and delivering certain judgment on the eve of her retirement.”
“The apparently arbitrary actions by governor Bagudu and the NSCDC also amount to an unlawful interference with Justice Karatu’s private and professional life, contrary to the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”
“The Nigerian constitution and these human rights treaties afford legal protection against arbitrary interference by the authorities, including in Kebbi State. The unfair treatment and intimidation of Justice Karatu, apart from being incompatible with the rule of law, has had tangible consequences for her material well-being and her family.”
“Such arbitrary and illegal actions expose judges at both the federal and state levels to political and executive pressure, endangering their independence and impartiality.”
“Under our laws, judges can be removed only in accordance with an objective, independent procedure prescribed by law. Any sanctions or disciplinary procedures for judges must ensure sufficient separation of the judiciary from other branches of State power and provide appropriate guarantees against abuse and misuse of disciplinary measures and sanctions to the detriment of judicial independence.”
“Judges must be free to carry out their professional duties without political interference and must be protected, in law and in practice, from attack, harassment or persecution as they carry out their professional activities.” “Courts play a major role in the fight against corruption, and ensuring that victims or potential victims of human rights violations obtain effective remedies and protection, that perpetrators of human rights violations are brought to justice.”
“But when judges are unfairly treated, the role of the judicial system to act as check and balance on the other branches of government, ensure that laws of the legislative and the acts of the executive comply with the rule of law, is seriously eroded.”
Last week, a trending video clip showed an official of the NSCDC barring Justice Karatu, from gaining access to a courtroom. The judge, who was billed to retire on July 5, was supposed to rule on cases on July 4, her last day in office. Mrs Karatu, until her retirement, was the most senior judge in Kebbi State judiciary. The civil defence official barricaded the road as he prevented the senior judge and her police orderly from gaining access to the court premises.
Justice Karatu, a Christian, was appointed an acting chief judge of Kebbi State in October 2018, following the retirement of the former chief judge, Bala Mairiga, who left the bench the same month. The Kebbi State House of Assembly refused to confirm Mrs. Karatu as the substantive CJ after the state governor, Atiku Bagudu, sent her name to the House, for confirmation.
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum has commiserated with the people of Akwa Ibom State on the recent collapse of Reigners Bible Church in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital which led to the death of some worshippers.
The incident occurred during the bishopric ordination of its General Overseer, Apostle Akan Weeks.
The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari delivered the message when he led the forum’s delegation on visit to Governor Udom Emmanuel at his country home, Onna.
Governor Yari was accompanied on the visit by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state and his Kebbi state counterpart, Abubakar Bagudu.
He said that they were in Onna to commiserate with the Governor, the government and people of Akwa Ibom state on the unfortunate collapse of the church building with the governor in attendance.
Yari thanked God for sparing the Governor’s life and commended him for personally supervising rescue operation at the scene of the incident.
The forum also acknowledged the contributions of Governor Emmanuel to efforts aimed at managing the current economic recession in the country.
Governor Udom Emmanuel thanked the delegation for the visit and commended its leadership for the existing bond of unity among the governors in spite of political differences.
He disclosed that his administration has done everything necessary to ensure that victims of the church building collapse receive the best treatment possible for quick recovery.
The Governor assured his colleagues that he remained focused and determined to make life better for the generality of the people in spite of the incident.
The visit was remarkable as the three visiting governors belong to APC while their host belongs to PDP.
The President was represented by the Environment Minister at the event designed to plant one million trees annually in Kaduna State.
He pointed out that over 576 million trees were lost annually due to deforestation, adding that the situation had led to the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of Nigeria.
President Buhari feared that with the upsurge in the rate of deforestation, the Federal Government’s effort to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.
The Council also appointed six national commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to bring the number of commissioners for the electoral body to 12.
Briefing reporters on the appointments on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said that the six appointees were drawn from the six-geopolitical zones of the country.
They include Mohammed Haruna (north-central), Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Tijani Muazu (rtd) from northeast, Abubakar Nauche (northwest), Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu (southeast), May Agbamuche Mbu (south-south) and Dr. Adekunle Ladipo Ademola (southwest).
The Council further approved five new commissioners for the National Population Commission (NPC).
They are Dr. Eyitayo Oyetunji from Oyo State, Mr Patricia Inyanya from Benue State, Mr Benedict Ikpong from Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Haliru Bala from Kebbi State and Gloria Izonfo from Bayelsa State.
The National Council of State is the highest constitutional advisory body and it constitutes Nigeria’s sitting President, Vice President, all former Presidents and Heads of State, former Chief Justices of the Federation, the 36 state governors and the leadership of the National Assembly.
The meeting, which held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Only three past Heads of State were present – Chief Ernest Shonekan, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Also present were five former Chief Justices of the Federation, state governors and some deputy governors.
Former Heads of State; General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo were absent.
Also absent are the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed worry that Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world in spite of campaigns against such acts.
The President made the remark at the flag-off ceremony of the Keep Kaduna Green Project, designed to plant one million trees annually in the state.
Represented by the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, President Buhari pointed out that over 576 million trees are lost in the country annually due to deforestation.
He said that this situation has led the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of the country.
President Buhari feared that with the growing deforestation in the country, the effort of the federal government to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.
He commended the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai for the initiative which he said would go a long way in combating illegal felling of trees and restoring the green environment in the state.
On his part, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said that the project, apart from restoring the environment, will also create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba and his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu were among the dignitaries who planted trees to flag off the Keep Kaduna Clean Project, with a determination to replicate same in their states.
According to environmental experts, Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rate of deforestation of primary forests, where more than 50% of such forests have been lost in the past decades through unsustainable logging.
These practices contribute to the environmental challenges such as erosion, flooding, desertification among others.
An estimated 1.3 billion people, or nearly 20% of the world’s population, rely on forests and forest products for their daily activities.
Stakeholders say the plan by the Kaduna State government to plant one million trees should be a project that should be keyed into by states and local government if the country must tackle erosion, flooding and other environmental challenges.
Meanwhile, the Director General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr Lawrence Anukam says the agency will deal with companies, organizations or individuals that degrade the environment through their operations.
This measures according to him is to mitigate all forms of environmental challenges in the country.