Thousands Flee Their Homes In Kaduna Communities

Southern KadunaThousands of residents have fled their homes in Ninzo, Nandu, Gwantu and Gwandara communities in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State, North West Nigeria following the killing of over 160 people by suspected Fulani herdsmen in June.

The attack comes barely two months after Deputy Inspector General of Police, Michael Zuokumor, mediated a peace deal between the warring Fulani herdsmen and Southern Kaduna natives, where both parties agreed to sheathe their swords and live together in peace.

According to reports, more than 26,000 residents of the affected villages are presently displaced and many of them have fled to neighbouring communities in Plateau, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory.

Those who spoke to journalists in the areas said they are tired of the frequent attacks by suspected Fulani gunmen on their people and can no longer stay back for fear of further attacks since they do not trust security forces sent to protect them, insisting that they will only return once the area is safe.

Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on the 24th of June, 2014 killed over 160 people and destroyed several houses in seven villages in Sanga local government area of Kaduna State.

Addressing the State Deputy Governor, Mr Nuhu Bajoga, when he visited some of the affected communities, the District Head of Nando, Elisha Umoru and the paramount ruler of Numan Chiefdom, who spoke in Hausa, called on the Federal and State Governments to station a permanent security post in the area to prevent further attacks and give the people the confidence to come back to their communities.

On his part, the Deputy Governor, dumbfounded by the level of destruction of lives and property in the affected communities along with the senator representing Southern Kaduna in the National Assembly, Mrs Nenadi Usman, assured the people that government will put adequate security in place to curtail further attacks, and appealed to those that have ran away from their homes for fear of further attacks to come back and continue with their normal life.

He also called on the people not to take the law into their hands and contemplate any revenge.

The attack has thrown so many children out of school, and also disrupted farming activities in the area as many of the locals are predominantly farmers.

 

INEC Announces New Dates For Phase 2 Of PVC Distribution, CVR

INEC bannerThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rescheduled the second phase of its programme of distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) involving 12 states.

In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Robert Idowu, the PVCs would now be distributed at the polling unit level in the affected states from Friday, August 15, 2014 to Sunday, August 17, 2014; instead of July 18 to July 20 as was earlier scheduled.

At the end of the polling unit level distribution, uncollected PVCs would be taken to respective local government offices of the Commission for subsequent distribution.

CVR in the affected states would also be from Wednesday, August 20, 2014, to Monday, August 25, 2014; instead of July 23 to July 27 as was earlier scheduled.

The states involved in the second phase of the programme are Yobe, Bauchi (North East), Jigawa, Sokoto (North West), FCT, Kwara (North Central), Anambra, Ebonyi (South East), Ondo, Oyo (South West) and Delta, Cross River (South South).

With the rescheduling of Phase 2 of the programme, new dates would be announced later for Phase 3 involving Adamawa, Borno, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Lagos, Ogun, Edo and Rivers states.

Community Seeks Help Over Killings By Suspected Fulani Herdsmen

FULANI HERDMEN CLASHThe Numana Community Development Organisation in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State has appealed to the Federal Government to save the community from annihilation by suspected Fulani gunmen.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, National President of the organisation, Mr Sunday Audu, said that 138 persons have been killed between June 24-28, with hundreds of houses burnt by the suspected Fulani gunmen.

The organisation claimed that the entire livelihood of the people of the area had been affected with the alleged massacre and warned that if urgent steps were not taken, famine would become inevitable in Sanga Local Government Area of the state as farmers have stopped going to their farms for fear of being attacked.

The organisation also called for the rehabilitation of displaced persons who are taking refuge in the FCT, Nasarawa and Plateau States.

Nasarawa State Police Arrest Suspected Kidnappers

The Police in Nasarawa State have revealed plans by suspected kidnappers to set up a base in the state capital, Lafia.

The State Police Commissioner, Mr Ibrahim Idris, told a news conference in Nasarawa on Friday of the police’s effort in tackling the activities of criminals in the state. The Police paraded two siblings, Vincent and Onyeka Nwankwo, who are suspected kidnappers.

The Police Command also paraded 39 other robbery suspects for inter-state robbery between Benue and Nasarawa state up to the Federal Capital Territory and illegal possession of firearms.

Benue Teachers’ Strike: Public Primary Schools Shut For 8 Months

Benue schoolChildren attending public primary schools in Benue State have been stuck at home for over eight months following a prolonged strike by their teachers.

The State Government and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), in the state have been engaged in a deadlocked dispute over teachers’ salaries since the implementation of the national minimum wage.

Channels Television was in Makurdi, the Benue State capital to examine the situation and the consequences of the strike for the pupils, the teachers and primary education in Benue State.

Life appeared normal on the streets of Makurdi, until visits to the public primary schools, where the classrooms were completely empty, with school grounds deserted and some overgrown with weeds showed the real situation.

In some cases, the buildings were already falling into ruin and the situation was the same all over the state as the prolonged strike by public school teachers had taken a heavy toll.

According to the Benue State NUT Chairman, Godwin Anyam, the problem started with the implementation of a minimum wage for public servants in the state, including schoolteachers.

“When the minimum wage was approved in the state and before its approval, I was part of the negotiation on behalf of the teachers. So when this was approved, that means the teachers also must also be part of the wage.

“What we were collecting before the coming of the minimum wage was what other workers were collecting. The only difference we had was the 27.5% enhanced allowances with the teachers, which we also fought for and was also approved by the Governor’s Forum.”

However, the State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, explained that what he decided to do was to appeal to the core civil servants whose salaries were mistakenly increased out of proportion to at least let the Government “take a small percentage” of what they had increased for them so that they would be able to accommodate teachers.

“There’s no way, even if the teachers are on strike for 20 years, I can’t raise 4billion (Naira) to pay all these salaries; that is practically out of place”, he said.

While the private schools have been cashing in on the situation and children of the privileged are receiving standard education; other children have been on the receiving end of the crisis as some have been in the streets, struggling to make ends meet.

A parent, John Awuru, expressed worries over the future of the children whose parents could not afford the cost of private schools and challenged the Government to find a lasting solution to the situation rather than condemn the pupils to a life in which they would not be able to fulfill their potentials.

All hope is not lost for those who cannot afford the cost of attending private schools, however, as few makeshift education centres had sprung up to keep the children busy for fees as low as 500 Naira per child.

As the battle over the implementation of wages continues to rage between the State Government and the Teachers’ Union, both sides appeared unwilling to concede,

The Chair, Benue NGO Network, Justin Gbagir, spoke to Channels TV, he said, “If we know the importance of education, particularly primary education which is the foundation of education, then we feel that the relevant stakeholders would have done all that is needful to ensure that the primary school teachers did not go on strike in the first instance. If at all they went on strike, they would have done everything to ensure that the strike is not prolonged.”

The Benue State Head of Service, Terna Ahua, however, explained that the State Government was approaching the problem in two directions; to cut down on the cost of governance and to increase the components of the state’s internally generated revenue.

Many public primary school children and perhaps teachers in Benue State continue to suffer the endless holiday and their deserted schools have become accommodation for the internally displaced persons fleeing herdsmen’s attacks in neighbouring Nasarawa and Taraba states.

One lesson the out-of-school children may have learnt is the meaning of the adage, “when two elephants clash, it is the grass that suffers”.

Al-Makura Doles Out Gifts To Monarchs, Women On Democracy Day

Umaru-Tanko-Al-Makura14The Nasarawa State Government has rewarded traditional rulers with jeeps for their effort in ensuring peace with neighbouring Benue State to mark Democracy Day.

The state government in a low key celebration in Lafia, the state capital said, the nation requires sober reflection, especially after months of crisis along the borderlines with Benue, where herdsmen engaged farmers in the crisis.

Presenting the vehicles comprising 28 Land Cruiser jeeps to monarchs, 13 Toyota Corolla to elected council chairmen and Prado jeeps to heads of tertiary institutions in the state, Governor Al-Makura urged them to sustain the peace already attained.

Widows and disabled women were not left out of the Democracy Day largesse as the Governor presented them with empowerment tools at a state function to mark Democracy Day.

The state, located in the north central part of Nigeria, has been the flash point of communal crisis between Fulani herdsmen and local farmers resulting in the loss of lives and property.

Nasarawa CJ Counters Area Court Order; Frees Detained House Member

gavel_lawThere was jubilation as a member of the state house of assembly, Mr Francis Orogu, representing Keana state constituency regained his freedom after the Nasarawa State chief judge, Justice Suleiman Dikko upturned an order by an area court for his detention.

The counter order came three hours after the order by a judge at the Lafia upper area court, Justice Abdullahi Shams-Shamas to remand the lawmaker as well as a staff of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Mr Suleiman Gyabo.

The two defendants were arraigned before the area court on a three count charge of assault, criminal intimidation and obstruction of state officer from performing his official duties.

The two accused persons were charged after the state Attorney-general, Mr Innocent Lagi was restrained from serving the state assembly an order to stop the interrogation of the state independent electoral commission.

The state assembly had questioned the chairman of the state electoral commission, Mr Modibbo Sallau over the conduct of the state local government election.

However, the Attorney-general of the state was prevented from serving the order by the police after he tried to force himself into the state assembly premises, while the house plenary session was on-going.

Major Military Operations Begin In Benue, Nasarawa And Plateau

Troops of 7 Division Nigerian Army advancing for the operation
Troops of 7 Division Nigerian Army advancing for an operation

The Nigerian Army, on Sunday, commenced a major operation to put an end to the activities of all armed men and criminal gangs who have been engaging in wanton killing and destruction of lives and property in 3 states of North Central part of Nigeria.

According to a statement by the Director Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, troops have already been deployed for a major offensive which is covering Benue, Nassarawa and Plateau States.

The Internal Security Operations is meant to capture and neutralize all the enclaves of criminal gangs.

The Nigerian Air Force, Police and other security agencies are also participating in the operation designed to restore peace in the affected states.

Law abiding citizens are enjoined to cooperate by providing timely and useful information to facilitate the operation as it affects their localities.

Nigeria To Establish Grazing Reserves To End Clashes

grazing_reservesDisturbed by the ugly clashes between cattle grazers and farmers in various parts of the country, Nigerian  government on Monday approved the constitution of a committee to work out modalities for establishing grazing reserves across the country.

Consequently, a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) made up of governors of the 36 states of the federation and some ministers has been set for Thursday, this week to give teeth to the proposed policy aimed at finding a lasting solution to the clashes that had led to the death of over 50 persons since the beginning of 2014.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, after a  meeting chaired byVice President Namadi Sambo,  cited recent communal clashes between Fulani cattle grazers and farmers in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau States and other parts of the country, noting that government has resolved to address the issue head-on.

He disclosed that the grazing reserve would also help to check the smuggling of arms and ammunition across the Nigerian borders by foreigners who come into the country disguised as cattle grazers

Dr Adesina announced that the government had put in place short term measure including the creation of new functional grazing reserves, deployment of satellite imagery, remote sensing and GPS maps to track movement of animals across the country.

Al-Makura Swears-In Newly Elected LG Chairmen

Umaru-Tanko-Al-Makura14Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has charged the newly elected local government chairmen in the state to be accountable to the people that elected them.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the chairmen, Governor Al-Makura said his administration will give the chairmen free hands to run their councils.

Al-Makura said his administration was determined to entrench good governance rooted in prudence and effective management of resources.

He tasked the new council chairmen to strive to provide dividends of democracy to the electorates and urged them to see their assignment as a divine calling for which they would give account hereafter, and advised them to be fair to everyone.

The governor challenged the officials to work toward improving internally generated revenue of their councils so as to have more funds for project execution.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Henry Omaku, Chairman, Doma Local Government Council, promised that the new officials would strive to improve on the living standard of their people.

On Sunday, the Nasarawa State Independent Election Commission released results for ten local government areas and declared election inconclusive in three local government areas including Akwanga, Obi and Nasarawa following irregularities.

Ambassador Explains Nigerians’ Deportation From Saudi Arabia

This edition of Channels Television’s Network Africa looks at the repatriation of some Nigerians living in Saudi Arabia.

Nigerians living illegally in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia have been advised to regularize their stay or return to the country to avoid being arrested by the Saudi authorities. 80 out of the 508 Nigerians, who voluntarily submitted themselves for repatriation, arrived in the country during the Christmas holiday.

We seek to find out how these Nigerians got to Saudi Arabia without the knowledge of the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia. Nigeria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abubakar Bunu, was on the programme to shed more light on the real situation.

Amongst other things, he said that these Nigerians had the chance to legalize their stay in the country, with his office also putting efforts into enlightening them on the need to do so. He blamed the deportation on the nonchalant attitude of Nigerians.

Watch this video for the revealing interview.