Tanker Drivers Vow To Continue Protest In Niger, Block Major Roads

 

Tanker drivers have continued their protest for the fourth day in Bida, Niger State, blocking major exits from the town. 

The drivers, who vowed to continue the protest for as long as three months, also said they will not leave until the Minna-Bida Road is reopened. 

One of the drivers, Mohammed Liman, lamented that the poor state of roads in the state has led to the loss of lives and properties. He blamed the Niger State Government for the delay in the construction of the road (Minna-Bida).

Another one, Baba Abdullahi, said some of the tanker drivers were being abducted due to the bad roads; calling for their immediate renovation.

According to Mohammed Tasiu, a tanker driver, the Bida-Lapai-Lambata road has been their route over the years. He, however, claimed the government had abandoned the road, making it a nightmare. 

The road is no longer motorable for them, especially trailers, hence the need for the protest, he added. He also called on the government to open the only alternative – Bida-Minna Road  – for them to ply.

A Worrisome Development 

A screen grab of a section of a road blocked by the protesters.

 

But some residents of the state have faulted calls for the reopening of the Bida Minna Road for the tanker drivers.

For Usman Suleiman, the protest in Bida is worrisome and the drivers’ action has paralyzed economic activities in the area. 

He insisted that the Minna-Bida Road should not be opened for the trailer drivers because of the adverse effects such would have on the road. According to him, the Federal Government should be blamed for abandoning the dilapidated road for too long. 

One resident, Saidu Isah, expressed sadness over the development. Although he did not blame the drivers for the protest, he decried the effect of their action on the masses. 

The situation, he appealed, should not be allowed to deteriorate into confrontation as he called for dialogue among major stakeholders to tackle the issue. 

No Going Back

Niger State is in North Central Nigeria.

 

While responding to the development, the Niger State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructural Development, Mamman Musa insisted that the Minna-Bida Road will remain closed, explaining that heavy duty trucks will not be allowed on the road until the work is finished. 

Meanwhile, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (Niger State) and the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations have given a forty-eight hour ultimatum to the Petroleum Tanker Driver’s Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to vacate the Suleja-Lambata-Bida Road or face mass civil action.

In  a statement on Saturday, the Chairman of the council, Bello Sheriff, lamented the drivers’ action, adding that it has brought hardship and uncertainty to motorists plying the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Insecurity: Niger Government Suspends Cattle Markets

Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State (File Photo)

 

Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello has suspended the operation of cattle markets across the state.

This was communicated in a statement signed on Tuesday by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Matane, which stated that it was part of measures to address security challenges in the state.

The directive is expected to take effect from Wednesday.

“Any vehicle carrying cattle into the state must show way-bill and evidence of the origin where the cattle were purchased and their destination,” the statement added.

It also noted that the state government had banned the sale of petroleum products in jerry cans or any other containers at filling stations.

“All filling stations should not sell petrol of more than N10,000 to each vehicle at a time and should be wary of vehicles or motorcycles coming for repeat purchases,” the statement read.

Read Also: Zamfara Govt Orders Closure Of All Markets, Fuel Stations

The government also said it had suspended the operation of trucks carrying firewood/timber across the state, adding that all motorcycles are only allowed to operate from 6:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.

“Government is aware of the inconveniences the measures would cause the people, but the decision was taken in the overall interest of the state.

“Government has condemned in strong terms the degree of carnage and mayhem bandits and kidnappers are causing to some parts of the state and reiterated its continued determination to rid the state of any security threat”.

The government, therefore, called on the people of the state to be very vigilant, security conscious and report all suspicious characters, movements or objects to security agents.

They also directed security agencies to ensure effective and strict compliance/enforcement of these measures.

PHOTOS: Freed Islamiyya Students Arrive At Niger State House

The freed students arriving at the Niger State Government House around 12:00 pm on Friday.

 

Ninety-three students of an Islamic seminary who were recently freed after three months in the den of kidnappers have arrived at the Niger State Government House.

Their captors had let them go late in the night on Thursday and the government had made arrangements for them to be brought to the capital, Minna.

Upon arrival, they were greeted by their parents and government officials, all cheerful for their safety.

However, one of the pupils died in the captors’ den.

Read Also: Gunmen Free 93 Islamiyya Students Three Months After Abduction

 

 

The gunmen had abducted the students from their school in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State on May 30.

A few days later, they demanded a ransom of ₦110 million and threatened to kill the victims but 11 of them were released hours later, according to the Niger State Government.

The governor of the North-Central state, Sani Bello had earlier ruled out the option of paying a ransom to the abductors.

“Even though we have ruled out payment of ransom, it is time for the government to take decisive measures towards ending the bandits’ activities that are forcefully changing the lives of the people, especially in the rural areas,” he said during a meeting with the parents of the abductees.

Upon their release, the headteacher, Abubakar Alhassan, did not say if any ransom was paid.

The circumstances of their release are also yet to be clear.

Niger Governor Calls For Joint Effort To End Banditry

Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State (File Photo)

 

Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello has called for joint efforts among states to bring an end to banditry.

The governor made the call on Wednesday when he visited Ma’undu in Mariga Local Government Area of the state which has been deserted by members of the community for nearly a year due to banditry.

The aim of his visit was to boost the morale of the over 300 security operatives including vigilantes that liberated the community and to assess the extent of damage in the community.

Bello who explained that there were no bandit camps in the state, noted that the bandits usually come in from neighbouring states particularly Zamfara State, to carry out their nefarious activities before returning.

The governor, therefore, stressed the need for synergy among the states affected by the activities of the bandits, pointing out that individual state efforts would not yield much result.

He, however, maintained that the state government will continue to make every effort to secure affected communities like Ma’undu which has diverse agricultural potentials so as to prevent food shortage in the area.

He also assured that feeder roads and culverts will be provided for the community to ease mobility.

Speaking further, the governor commended the security operatives for what he described as their gallantry in pushing the bandits out of the community and promised to continue supporting security personnel especially in the areas of logistics and welfare for optimum results.

“Your efforts will not go unnoticed. I am glad I am here today to associate with you, to feel part of what you feel and see the difficulty in accessing the terrain”, he said.

The governor enjoined the security operatives to remain focused and also be wary of informants, adding that families of those who paid the supreme price will be taken care of by the government.

On his part, the Commissioner of Police Niger State Command, Monday Bala Kuryas, said that there have been lots of security operations against the bandits and with combined efforts, peace will be restored in the society soon.

Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, who stated that more strategies are being developed to end insecurity, however, did not disclose any of the plans.

Ma’undu is a farming community with about 1,000 houses surrounded by four other major communities.

I’d Have Resigned If Govt Had Paid Ransom – Niger Commissioner

Niger is a state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country.
Niger is a state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country.

 

A Niger state commissioner who regained freedom from bandits on Thursday has said he would have resigned if the government had paid ransom to secure his release.

Muhammad Idris, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, revealed this while speaking to journalists at his Minna residence.

He spent about five days with his abductors before he was released.

While narrating his ordeal in the hands of the bandits, he said that he had committed everything to God and resolved that a ransom will not be paid.

He appreciated the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello for maintaining the policy of non-ransom payment to bandits.

According to him, his release was as the result of prayers, adding that he remained resolute and could not be broken down by the bandits and eventually, after a lengthy discussion with the bandits, he was set free.

He said that he was happy to be reunited with his family and that he was happy to be a cabinet member of the state especially with the love he has received

The commissioner was seen with his daughter who he said witnessed the incident and the brutality on him before he was whisked away.

The commissioner’s son, Faisal Idris, said the family was happy that their father has been reunited with them and credited God for the release.

Niger State Commissioner Abducted By Bandits Regains Freedom

 

The Niger State Commissioner for Information Mohammed Idris has regained freedom from bandits who abducted him on Monday.

Top government officials in the state confirmed the return of the commissioner to Channels Television on Thursday.

Idris was released around 9:30pm at a location in Suleja after which he was taken to a hospital for medical check-up.

The officials, however, said no ransom was paid before the commissioner was released by his abductors.

Speaking after his release, the commissioner expressed gratitude to God for protecting him during his stay in the bandits’ den.

“As a Muslim, prayer is the the best shield against evil. Allah has a way of testing the faith of believers,” he said.

“My abductors regretted their cruel action and I have forgiven them. I urge you to forgive them too.”

Mr. Idris was kidnapped at about one o’clock in the early hours of Monday from his home at Baban Tunga village in Tafa local government of the state.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap APC Zonal Chairman In Niger State

Commissioner for Information in Niger State Government, Mohammed Idris

 

Kidnappings have been on the rise in the northwest and central of Nigeria where heavily-armed groups have been operating. Foreign workers have also been occasionally targeted for ransom abduction.

Last weekend, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was kidnapped in Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State.

Aminu Bobi who is the Zone C chairman of the ruling party in the state was kidnapped on his farm.

A resident of the area confirmed the incident via a telephone conversation in Minna.

Gunmen Kidnap APC Zonal Chairman In Niger State

A file photo of a man carrying a gun.

 

Gunmen have abducted a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Aminu Bobi in Mariga Local Government Area of the state.

Aminu Bobi who is the Zone C chairman of the ruling party in the state was kidnapped on his farm last Saturday.

A resident in the area confirmed through a telephone conversation in Minna, said the chairman want to the farm on that day but could not return as he was abducted by the kidnappers.

When contacted for confirmation, the state command Police Public Relations Officer, DSP, Wasiu Abiodun could not be reached as of the time of filing in the report.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill At Least Five In Attacks On Kaduna

READ ALSO: Bandits Kill 35 In Attack On Five Zamfara Communities

READ ALSO: Troops Overpower Bandits In Zamfara – Army Spokesperson

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Two Suspected Traffickers, Rescue 14 Victims In Katsina

READ ALSO: Inspector, Three Bandits Killed In Attack On Imo Police Station

Niger State is in northcentral Nigeria.

 

Kidnappings are increasingly common in the northwest and central states of Nigeria where heavily armed criminal gangs operate and foreign workers are also occasionally targeted for abduction for ransom.

Kidnap gangs are just one of the challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces who are also battling a 12-year jihadist insurgency in the northeast of Africa’s most populous nation.

Gangs this year have targeted schools and colleges to snatch dozens of students at a time. Around 1,000 students have been abducted in a string of mass kidnappings since December, though most have been freed after negotiations with their captors.

 

Kidnap Informants To Die By Hanging In Niger, Says Governor Bello

File photo of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has assented to some laws in accordance with Section 100(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The Laws include: The Kidnapping and Cattle Rustling (Special Provisions) Law, 2021, the Niger State Vigilante Corps (Amendment) Law, 2021; the Niger State House of Assembly Service Commission Law, 2020, the Office of the Auditor-General of the State Law, 2021 and the Office of the Auditor General of the Local Government Law, 2021

Governor Bello said the Kidnapping and Cattle Rustling Special Provisions Law of 2016 is amended to provide for the punishment of informants and all those involved in the aiding and abetting of kidnapping and Cattle Rustling in the state.

The Governor stated that informants who aid and abet Kidnappers would now have to face a death sentence by hanging in public as now enshrined in the state law.

According to him, the law now provides that “whoever instigates any person to kidnap a person or rustle cattle, or intentionally aides, abets or facilitate by any acts of omission or commission of the offence of kidnapping and or Cattle Rustling is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to death by hanging in public”

Bello said the punitive measure is a good stride and has become necessary given the security challenges that have continued to threaten the peaceful coexistence of the state in particular and the country in general.

He regretted the unpatriotic activities of informants who, according to him, have contributed to thwarting efforts of the security agencies in combating the nefarious activities of Kidnappers and Cattle Rustlers.

He also noted that the Vigilante Amendment Law is meant to invigorate and strengthen the state vigilante corp for better operational efficiency in the discharge of their statutory function of complementing the efforts of our conventional federal security forces.

Meanwhile, Bello has expressed hope that the signing of the State Assembly Service Commission Law will further enhance the activities of Legislators and solidify the already existing synergy between the Executive and the Legislature.

Niger State Government Sacks 758 Workers Over Misconduct

 

Niger state government has sacked no fewer than 758 civil servants for their fraudulent acts and misconduct in violation of extant rules.

The Chairman, Niger state Civil Service Commission, Shehu Galadima Said out of the figure a medical doctor and five accountants are involved.

He stated that a total of five thousand, two hundred and fifty-eight (5,258) civil servants have been retired in the past three years.

Galadima added that one thousand, one hundred and thirteen (1,133) were screened and employed into critical areas like Health, Education, and the State Fire Service.

READ ALSO: Court Gives DSS Permission To Remand Nnamdi Kanu

Galadima debunked the rumor of fresh recruitment ongoing in the commission but noted intended massive employment targeted at 2,000 unemployed has been put on hold due to Covid -19.

According to him, “Since the year 2018, a total of 5,258 civil servants who have completed the mandatory 35 years of Service or have attained the age of 60 years have retired voluntarily while 6,835 were promoted to next grade level”.

Galadima, further Stated that “on certificate racketeering, 328 personnel were dismissed from service after the commission undertook a forensic examination of all certificates they pledged during the interview and the institutions they purported to have attended declared their claims as forgeries.

Teachers Are Immeasurable Tools For Nation-Building, Says Governor Bello

Easter: Governor Bello Challenges Residents On Nation Building
A file photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

Niger State Government has described teachers as “immeasurable tools for nation-building as well as a veritable instrument for social change”.

Governor Abubakar Bello stated this at the 2021 Teachers’ Day Award celebration held at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Center, Minna.

The annual Teachers’ Day Award is aimed at encouraging teachers for their invaluable role in imparting knowledge and the development of humanity in line with the United Nations adopted Sustainable Development Goal for Education, which requires teachers to enjoy professional independence, appropriate recognition, and tools needed to deliver quality education.

The Governor who was represented by his Deputy Ahmed Kesto said the role of teachers cannot be overemphasized as without them the quality of students can not be raised hence the need to empower teachers.

READ ALSO: Bandits Kidnap Family Of Eight, Four Others In Zaria

According to him, “indeed teachers are the most veritable stakeholders in the education system. The empowerment of teachers is a priority to us because we cannot raise the quality of our students without first standardizing the quality of those who are to impart on the character and knowledge that we wish for our students at all levels of education in the state.”

Ketso stressed that identifying and awarding outstanding teachers was timely and that efforts are on to create a sustainable education system in the state.

The Deputy Governor then commended the Niger State Universal Basic Education Board for the giant stride to boost teaching and learning through empowering the education managers and teachers.

He assured teachers of continuous government efforts towards raising the standards of teachers, adding that the state government has established a model Teacher Professional Development Institute to support teacher education programs.

The high point of the occasion was the presentation of awards of excellence and gifts to Education Secretaries, school Principals, Headteachers, and Class Teachers for their dedication and commitment to their jobs.

Also awarded by the NSUBEB included Governor, Abubakar Bello, Commissioner for Education, Hannatu Salihu.

Others are Oando, Mainstream Foundation, UNICEF, NUT Niger State Chapter, for partnering and contributing to the growth and development in the state education sector.

Earlier, In his remarks, the Chairman Niger State Universal Basic Education (NSUBEB) Dr. Isah Adamu commended teachers for their dedication and commitment to work, stressing that they are the foundation of other professions.

Speaking on behalf of the awardees, the Education Secretary, Kontagora Local Government Mr. ISAH Mamman, appreciated the NSUBEB for recognizing their efforts and assured of more commitments to work.

At Least 200 Islamiyya Students Kidnapped In Niger

 

At least 200 students of an Islamiyya school located at Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have been abducted.

One person was shot dead while another lays critically injured after gunmen carried out the kidnap operation at about 4:30pm on Sunday.

A resident of the area Zayyad Mohammed confirmed the incident to Channels Television via telephone.

Mohammed said the Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school where the incident took place, was built by a retired Immigration Officer.

According to him, this Islamiyya school is not the usual Sangaya boarding Islamic citadel, but an unconventional one where parents send their children on a daily basis for the purpose of acquiring Islamic education.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Set Fire To Newly Completed INEC Office In Imo

Throwing more light on the incident, police spokesman, DSP Wasiu Abiodun said the armed bandits on board motorcycles in their numbers invaded Tegina town, Rafi LGA shooting indiscriminately.

DSP Abiodun said operatives are yet to ascertain how many children were abducted from the Salihu Tanko Islamic school.

He said the command has mobilized all tactical teams including Operation Puff Adder 2 to ensure that the abductees are rescued.

The police spokesman called for calm, saying that the force in conjunction with other security agencies will do everything possible to ensure that the children are rescued unhurt.

Similarly, the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Matane said the government is in touch with parents in the area to know those whose children were abducted.

Mr. Matane who is the chairman of the state Security committee further revealed that while the attack in Tegina was going on, there were simultaneous attacks in Lavun LGA and some fringes of Mashegu LGA.

He said though the simultaneous attacks were overwhelming for security agencies at the time, the government in collaboration with the security agencies has mobilized troops to the various locations, including local vigilantes.

UPDATED: Over 100 Missing As Boat Capsizes In Kebbi

A map of Kebbi, a state in north-west Nigeria

 

Over a hundred people have been reported missing after a boat capsized at Corner Libata in Ingaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State.

About 180 persons were said to have been aboard the boat which capsized 30 minutes after taking off from Loko Mina in Niger State.

Speaking on the development, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello who described the incident as unfortunate sympathized with the families, relatives, and close associates of those who died in the mishap.

The Victims, most of whom are traders were said to be heading to a market in Kebbi State when the accident took place.

READ ALSO: Buhari Mourns Victims Of Boat Mishap

Authorities say search and rescue operations are ongoing. As at the time of filing this report, 20 persons were said to have been rescued with the bodies of four others recovered from the deep.

Earlier, the Director-General of the State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga told Channels Television via telephone that local swimmers had been employed to carry out rescue missions in the area where the boat upturned.

Cases of boat mishaps in Niger State have been on the rise in recent years.

Between 2019 and 2020, at least 50 people lost their lives on the Malale River following incidents of boat mishaps.

In April 2021, a boat carrying over 70 passengers, mostly farmers and traders also capsized on a river at Zumba in Munya Local Government Area of the State, leaving scores dead.