Flood Hits More Communities In Niger State

Scenes from communities hit by a flood in Niger State.

 

Barely three days after the Niger State Government disclosed that over one hundred communities have been affected by a flood, at least fifteen new communities have been hit by a fresh flood in the Lapai local government area of the state.

The communities include Egba, Achiba, Apataku, Ebwa, Arah, Adunbenku, Old Muye, Reba, Sokun, Edda, Pele, Dere, Eshi, and Yawa.

Several houses have been flooded and farmlands washed away.

An eyewitness Alhaji Zubairu Musa who sent video clips and pictures of the situation to Channels Television Correspondent in Niger State said a lot of properties have also been destroyed.

“Many houses and farmlands have been submerged, destroyed and a lot of properties have been lost so far.

“Some people have been evacuated to a safe place for the safety of their lives,” Musa said in the text accompanying the clips he sent to us.

In the video clips, residents of the Egba community are seen on canoes, making frantic efforts to rescue their children and whatever they could rescue.

A woman by name Maryam Egba said they were asleep at the time the flood happened.

“We were asleep when it all happened. I woke up and found that the water flooded our rooms. There is no place for us to sleep,” Maryam said.

Another woman, Kulu Abdulrahman lamented that they were hungry as the flood had washed away their foodstuff.

“We don’t have what to eat. It’s really a trying moment for us. We appeal to both federal government to come to our aid,” Abdulrahman cried out.

Most riverine communities in Niger State are affected by flooding annually.

Many have attributed the challenge to the presence of three hydroelectric dams in the state, namely, Jebba Dam, Kainji Dam, Tagwai Dam, and the fourth one under construction at Zungeru in Wushishi local government area.

The state Emergency Management Agency has also announced that a more severe type of flooding experience, “Black Flood” could occur still in this year.

According to the Director-General of the agency, Ahmed Inga, neighbouring countries such as Benin, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon may release water from their dams, and Niger State sitting along the River Niger could be badly affected.

The Deputy Governor of the State, Ahmed Ketso during the visit of a team from the National Emergency Management Agency to his office on Thursday had appealed to the Federal government to help in the construction of houses at some of the relocation sites that the state government had secured for the relocation of communities around the riverine areas so as to mitigate losses whenever there is a flood.

He also reiterated the need for the government to support the rural farmers with inputs to enable them to embark on dry season farming which will help them carry on their age-long profession even after they have relocated.

[UPDATED] PDP Congress in Niger State Disrupted

The Peoples Democratic Party is one of the major political parties in Nigeria.
The Peoples Democratic Party is the main opposition party in Nigeria.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party’s congress in Niger State has been disrupted by violence following agitation by supporters of the incumbent chairman of the party who want him to stay on for a second term.

After waiting for more than six hours for the commencement of the congress which was scheduled to hold by 10 am, some youths began protesting, alleging that there was a plan to impose another candidate Mukhtar Mohammed on them by conducting an election.

Such a move, they said, was contrary to an initial agreement reached by the party members to affirm the current chairman Tanko Beji.

The two contestants for the Chairmanship position are the incumbent chairman, Tanko Beji, and Mukhtar Mohammed.

Things took a turn for worse when a former Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Baba Shehu Agaie, was attacked by a mob upon his arrival to the venue.

He was hit several times with sticks for allegedly withholding tags that were meant for delegates from his area before being rescued by security personnel.

Even with the presence of security operatives, the agitators could not be tamed.

As anger boiled over, giving way to violence, members of the electoral committee led by the PDP governorship candidate in Borno State in the 2019 general elections were whisked away by security guards who shot into the air to disperse the agitators.

As of the time of this report, many supporters of the PDP were still around the party’s secretariat amid speculations that a secret congress might still hold.

None of the party leaders in the state could be immediately reached for comments.

Meanwhile, some of the delegates and other members who spoke to Channels Television have expressed disappointment over the way the congress turned out.

A member of the party, Ibrahim Bilyaminu described what happened has unfortunate.

“PDP is one big family. So, we are not happy with what happened today,” Bilyaminu said.

Another member, Yusuf King, said, “It is a shame to our party.”

Prior to the congress, some top members of the party under the aegis of PDP Stakeholders led by a former Deputy Governor Dr Nuhu Zagbayi had accused the immediate past Governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu, of undue interference in the party.

Explosion: Over 40 Shops Burnt Down As Trailer, Tanker Collide In Niger

 

At least 49 shops, 4 residential houses, and two motorcycles have been engulfed by fire at Lambata in the Gurara Local Government Area of Niger State, following a tanker explosion in the area.

The explosion occurred at the late hour of Sunday after a tanker laden with petrol collided with a tanker.

The tanker driver who was on his way from the Suleja axis of the road was said to have lost control and rammed into the trailer which was Minna and heading towards Suleja.

The collision led to an explosion, which affected the shops and the residential houses by the roadside.

READ ALSO: At Least 17 Killed By Suspected Bandits In Niger State

Goods worth millions of Naira have also been burnt to ashes.

One of the affected persons, Julian Aluko, a widow with six children said she lost all her goods and wonders how she will be able to cope with her children.

“I couldn’t pick anything from my shop. Not even a pin. I have six children and now I just don’t know how I train them. My husband has died, and since then it is from the shop that I train my children,” Aluko said.

Another trader, Friday Amaechi whose four shops were completely razed down lamented about his losses, describing it as an eternal scar on him that he would never heal from till his death.

“Four shops that I have laboured for years have all gone. I am short of words. I don’t know where to go. I am owing many people’s credit. Because I collected the goods on credit,” he said.

Chairman of Gurara local government area, Yusuf Wali blamed the incident on the recklessness of tanker drivers who also park their vehicles indiscriminately by the roadside.

He said despite efforts to stop the ugly situation, the tanker drivers have refused to heed to the directive.

On scene to access the level of damage were officials of both the State Emergency Management Agency led by the Director-General, Ahmed Inga, and the National Emergency Management Agency.

Mr Inga said, “The Governor has directed that we carry out an assessment of the situation, and that is what we have done. No life has been lost, but two trucks, two motorcycles, 49 shops, and four residential apartments with sixteen rooms have been burnt down. It is really unfortunate what has happened, but we believe the state government will come to their aid. In the meantime, I urge the victims to remain calm.”

This is not the first time such an incident will occur at Lambata, in 2004 when a tanker went up in flames, at least three persons were killed.

The state government in recent times, has issued directives warning tanker drivers against indiscriminate parking of their vehicles. But, not much has been done in enforcing the directive as the trend has continued.

Tanker Explosion Razes Down 49 Shops, Four Houses In Niger State

 

 

At least 49 shops, four residential houses and two motorcycles have been razed down by fire at Lambata in Gurara local government area of Niger State, following a tanker explosion in the area.

The explosion occurred at the late hour of Sunday after a tanker laden with petrol collided with a tanker.

The tanker driver who was on his way from Suleja axis of the road was said to have lost control and rammed into the trailer which was Minna and heading towards Suleja.

The collision led to an explosion, which affected the shops and the residential houses by the roadside.

Goods worth millions of Naira have also been burnt to ashes.

One of the affected persons, Julian Aluko, a widow with six children said she lost all her goods and wonders how she will be able to cope with her children.

“I couldn’t pick anything from my shop. Not even a pin. I have six children and now I just don’t know how I train them. My husband has died, and since then it is from the shop that I train my children,” Aluko said.

Another trader, Friday Amaechi whose four shops were completely razed down lamented about his losses, describing it as an eternal scar on him that he would never heal from till his death.

“My four shops that I have laboured for years have all gone. I am short of words. I don’t know where to go. I am owing many people credit. Because I collected the goods on credit,” he said.

Chairman of Gurara local government area, Yusuf Wali blamed the incident on the recklessness of tanker drivers who also park their vehicles indiscriminately by the roadside.

He said despite efforts to stop the ugly situation, the tanker drivers have refused to heed to the directive.

On the scene to access the level of damage were officials of both the State Emergency Management Agency led by the Director-General, Ahmed Inga and the National Emergency Management Agency.

Mr Inga said, “The Governor has directed that we carry out an assessment of the situation, and that is what we have done. No life has been lost, but two trucks, two motorcycles, 49 shops and four residential apartments with sixteen rooms have been burnt down. It is really unfortunate what has happened, but we believe the state government will come to their aid. In the meantime, I urge the victims to remain calm.”

This is not the first time such an incident will occur at Lambata. In 2004 when a tanker caught fire, at least three persons were killed.

The state government in recent time had issued a directive warning tanker drivers against indiscriminate parking of their vehicles. But not much has been done in enforcing the directive as the trend has continued.

 

Niger Soldiers Executed Dozens Of Civilians, Investigations Reveal

A map of Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River.
A map of Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River.

 

Soldiers in Niger executed dozens of civilians during the counterinsurgency campaign against jihadists in the country’s troubled Tillaberi region earlier this year, a probe into the deaths reported.

The West African nation has suffered years of conflict with Islamic militants operating in the vast and inhospitable Sahel desert, with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed to date.

The national armies of Niger and its neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso have been accused of war crimes in their response operations, including forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Niger’s National Commission on Human Rights was investigating reports by Amnesty International and other rights groups that 102 civilians had gone missing in the western province between March 27 and April 2 after an army operation.

“There have indeed been executions of unarmed civilians and the mission discovered at least 71 bodies in six mass graves,” said Abdoulaye Seydou, the president of the Pan-African Network for Peace, Democracy and Development, which participated in the probe, on Friday.

“It is elements of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) which are responsible for these summary and extrajudicial executions,” he added, saying those killed were attacked with bladed weapons and small arms.

But he said the investigation was unable to establish whether senior levels of the military hierarchy were responsible for the deaths.

Jihadist violence resulted in 4,000 deaths in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso last year, the United Nations has said.

The UN has condemned what it said was a spike in criminal acts by national armies in the Sahel at the beginning of this year, including more than 100 extrajudicial executions by the Malian army between January and March.

Amnesty International reported in June that the armies of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso had been responsible for nearly 200 disappearances in the space of a few months.

 

AFP

Tension In Niger Community As Suspected Bandits Attack Bank

APC Candidate Wins Niger East Senatorial Seat
A map of Niger, a state in north-central Nigeria.

 

Gunmen suspected to be bandits have attacked the First Bank branch in Kagara, a community in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

Eyewitnesses said scores of armed men riding on motorcycles stormed the area at about 6pm on Wednesday and started shooting into the air before heading for the bank.

They added that many residents in the area sustained varying degrees of injury from gunshots and a yet-to-be-ascertained number of people were feared killed.

A traditional title holder in Kagara told Channels Television that members of the local vigilante group in the area had attempted to combat the assailants, but they were overpowered by the gunmen.

He started hearing the gunshots a short while after returning home, initially believing they were from the vigilante group in the area.

But when the shots persisted he suspected something was amiss. A phone call he received not long after confirmed what was going on.

Asked about the reaction of the police to the attack, and the situation around 8pm, he said, “The personnel we have cannot confront them (the attackers) as a matter of fact. Apart from the fact that they are many, they have more weapons.”

In addition to the firepower the attackers had, he said they positioned themselves  in strategic locations and acted in an organised manner.

Chief Imam’s Son, Two Others Kidnapped In Ogun Community
File photo of a gunman wearing bullets.

 

The source said details about the casualty figures were not clear but they were casualties on both side.

“I think one (of the attackers) was even captured alive,” he said. “I know of four people that were shot but not fatally… one on the arm, one on the leg, but the other two, I can’t tell where they were shot.”

He said a fighter jet from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) had helped to repel the attack.

“When it started, we made some calls and an Air Force jet came. So that rattled them,” he said. If we have been having this kind of support as we have with the Air Force, I am telling you this thing (the attacks) would be a thing of the past.”

A message from a missionary in the area during the attack said a police station was also attacked.

“Sir, this evening at 6pm, bandits attacked Kagara town, killed six people in the bank, and attacked a police station.

“Please pray and ask our brethren to also pray for us. My family is in the bush now,” the message read.

It is unclear how much was stolen from the bank by the attackers and efforts to speak with the police authorities in Niger were unsuccessful.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Wasiu, did not pick his calls or respond to messages sent to his phone.

In recent times, Kagara and many other communities in Rafi LGA have come under serious security threats by bandits.

 

Niger Republic Flood Death Toll Rises To 45

People carry their belongings while walking in a street flooded by the waters from the Niger river that flooded in the Kirkissoye neighbourhood in Niamey on August 27, 2020. BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP

 

 

 

Several areas of the Niger capital Niamey remained underwater on Thursday as the death toll in recent floods that have displaced over 225,000 people rose to 45, authorities said.

Around 25,000 households had been hit by the floods, a statement by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management said.

In Niamey, where some areas have been submerged since Tuesday after heavy rainfall caused the Niger river to breach its banks, the river rose again by several centimetres after further heavy rains on Wednesday, an AFP journalist said.

Dozens of residents fled their homes earlier on Thursday, wading or swimming through flooded streets.

Teams of firefighters took to canoes to help victims.

“Until now we were in a dry place, then heavy rains came on Wednesday night and made the waters rise which took us by surprise as we slept,” said Moussa Amadou, a resident of Kirkissoye, one of the worst-hit neighbourhoods.

 

 

People carry their belongings while walking in a street flooded by the waters from the Niger river that flooded in the Kirkissoye neighbourhood in Niamey on August 27, 2020. BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP

 

Niger, one of the world’s driest as well as poorest countries, often experiences intense rainy seasons, which typically last two or there months.

The authorities announced in July that more than 300,000 people were at risk from flooding by the Niger River and from rainwater runoff since heavy rains began in June.

In 2019, floods killed 32 people.

AFP

Two Dead As Tankers Collide In Niger State

Two persons were reported killed on August 19, 2020, after two tankers collide in Niger State.
Two persons were reported killed on August 19, 2020, after two tankers collided in Niger State.

 

At least two persons were feared dead and several others injured in a multiple road crash that occurred at Lambata in Gurara local government area of Niger State.

The accident, involving two tankers, a Mazda 323 and a BM100 18-Seater Boxer car, occurred at about 3:50pm on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses said two of the tankers, a Diesel Tanker with number plate GWU154XA and an IVECO tanker with registration number ABE338XA crashed around Bonu village along Lambata-Minna road and immediately went caught fire, which affected the Mazda and Boxer boxers, as well as a motorcycle.

A resident in the area, Abdul Sani told Channels Television via telephone that one of the tankers had wanted to overtake the other and, in the process, tumbled.

Firefighters battle the ensuing flames after two tankers collided in Niger State.
Firefighters battle the ensuing flames after two tankers collided in Niger State.

 

He said 17 persons, made up of 15 males and two females, were involved in the accident, but that only two persons got burnt in the crash beyond recognition, while at least seven others sustained various degrees of injuries.

Sani further said men of the fire service were able to put off the fire after battling it for several hours, while those who sustained injuries were taken to the Federal Medical Centre Gawu Babangida in Gurara local government for treatment.

As at the time of filing the report, the Federal Road Safety Corps in Niger State was yet to issue any formal statement on the crash.

Effort to get the Sector Commander, Mr Joel Dagwa and the Public Relations Officer, Mr Raji Egigogo proved abortive as their numbers could not be reached.\

Two persons were reported killed on August 19, 2020, after two tankers collide in Niger State.
At least 19 persons were said to have been involved in the accident.

 

Meanwhile, spokesman to the Chairman of Gurara Local Government, Halilu Bwaje, confirmed the incident in a statement obtained by Channels Television.

“Those that sustained series of injuries have been taken to the Hospital by the Men of the Federal Road Safety Corps and now they are responding to treatment at the FMC Gawu Babangida,” the statement said.

The Niger State Government, through a statement issued on Tuesday by the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane, had announced the setting up of a Task Force to look into the movement of trailers crossing nooks and crannies of the state.

Gunmen Attack: Niger Governor Condoles Lebanese Government, Nigerian Army

File photo of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.

 

The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani-Bello has commiserated with the Lebanese Government, Nigerian Army, and FERMA, over the loss of their national, staff, and personnel to the activities of criminal elements in the state on Monday.

The abducted and killed workers were engaged in the repair work on the Minna-Zungeru-Tegina road when the incident occurred on Monday.

In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mary Noel-Berje, the Governor said he is saddened over the continuous loss of lives to society’s undesirable elements at a time the government is doing everything to address the problem of infrastructural decay in most parts of the state.

“It is more grieving, when workers, who are dutifully carrying out their legitimate duty of maintaining roads have to suffer this fatality,” Bello said.

“We are at work presently and fast-tracking other measures, which we cannot disclose for now, to check the dubious activities of these criminals portraying the state in bad light both at home and internationally.

“Our condolences are with the Lebanese Embassy in Nigeria, the Nigerian Army and FERMA over the loss, especially to the families of the deceased who have lost their bread winners. Our resolve is that these heroes will not die in vain.

“It is more worrisome that most of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are young people, who are supposed to be leaders of tomorrow.

The Governor called for a holistic approach to dealing with the high rate of crimes through a strong family system and revealed that his government will intensify its collaboration with the relevant security agencies and President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the issue of insecurity is permanently laid to rest.

Nine Killed In Niger Community After Attack By Gunmen

A map showing Niger state.
A map showing Niger state.

 

At least 9 persons, including 3 personnel of the Nigerian Military were reportedly killed following an attack by gunmen in Tashan Kare and Yakila communities in Rafi local government area of Niger State.

Efforts to speak with the Police in the state proved abortive as the Police Public Relations Officer, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Wasiu Abiodun did not respond to his calls and text messages.

But, a statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major General John Enenche published on the website of the Defense Headquarters, said troops of Operation Whirl Punch engaged the bandits in a gun duel in which an unspecified number of the bandits were killed; however, three soldiers were killed, and two others wounded.

According to Major General Enenche, “In continuation of the aggressive clearance operation to rid criminal elements out of the North-Central region of the country, troops of Operation WHIRL PUNCH, has recorded tremendous success against armed bandits. Following credible intelligence on the activities of armed bandits attack at Tashan Kare, in Niger State.

“Troops swiftly mobilized to the scene and made contact with the bandits. The gallant troops engaged the armed bandits with superior fire power killing unspecified number while others fled in disarray into the bushes.

“Sadly own troops suffered 3 casualties while 2 others were wounded in action. Exploitation is on going. Details to follow.”

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Niger State, Adamu Usman only confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria the abduction of a Chinese expatriate and a Nigerian, at Yakila but refused to speak on those killed.

Channels Television further gathered that the attackers first stormed Yakila community at about 12:00noon on Monday and opened fire on expatriates and some Nigerian citizens who were working on the rehabilitation of Minna Zungeru road.

On hearing the gunshots, a team of security operatives mainly mobile policemen engaged the bandits in a gun shootout which lasted for more than three hours.

A resident in the area and staff of the National Orientation Agency Iliyasu Mohammed also confirmed the incident to Channels Television via telephone conversation.

According to him, when the bandits arrived Yakila, they started shooting, and then went after the expatriates and construction workers that were working on the road.

Mohammed said the security operatives that were stationed at a signal office around the area responded to the attack which resulted in exchange of gunfire between the bandits and the security personnel.

He said the security personnel sent the bandits on their heels up to a river around Pandogari before returning back, but that 5 of the bandits were reportedly killed, while the security operatives suffered some casualties.

Also, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abubakar Bello on Security matters, Colonel MK Maikundi (retired) confirmed the attack to newsmen.

The latest attack comes barely a week after gunmen attacked Ukuru community in Mariga local government area of the state killing at least fifteen persons, including four vigilante members.

Governor Abubakar Bello, reacting to the attack at the time through a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary Mary Noel-Berje said his administration and the federal government would fine-tune the security strategy in the state to dislodge the armed men.

The Governor who commiserated with families of the victims of the attack had also enjoined them to be vigilant and report activities of anybody they considered alien to them.

According to the statement, Governor Abubakar Bello had also visited a special military camp in Katsina alongside his colleague, the Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai to inspect the camp and also seek ways to strengthen the issue of border patrol as the state shares border with neighbouring states in the northwest.

Niger State has come under serious security threats in the last one year due to activities of bandits, with hundreds of persons killed, and thousands of others displaced.

Three Soldiers Killed In Shootout With Bandits

A file photo of some ammunition recovered from suspects on July 29, 2020.

 

Three soldiers have paid the supreme price when a team of security operatives engaged armed bandits in Niger State.

The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, confirmed this a state statement on Monday.

He explained that the incident occurred as troops of Operation Whirl Punch continued the aggressive clearance operation to rid criminal elements out of the north-central region of the country.

Enenche insisted that the soldiers have recorded tremendous success against armed bandits in the region.

He stated that following credible intelligence on the activities of bandits at Tashan Kare in Niger, troops swiftly mobilised to the scene and made contact with the criminals.

According to him, the armed bandits were engaged with superior firepower by troops, leading to the death of an unspecified number of bandits while others fled in disarray into the bushes.

Apart from the three soldiers who were killed during the gunfight, two others were wounded in action.

“Exploitation is ongoing. The Military High Command congratulates the gallant troops for their professionalism and encourages them to intensify the onslaught against the enemies of our country,” the statement said.

Bodies Of Aid Workers Killed In Niger Arrive France

File photo of Niger Republic map.

 

 

The bodies of six French aid workers killed by suspected jihadists in Niger arrived in Paris Friday, with Prime Minister Jean Castex due to lead a national tribute later in the day.

The four women and two men were killed on Sunday along with their Nigerien guide and driver in a wildlife haven about an hour’s drive southeast from the capital Niamey.

The victims worked for French NGO Acted and were aged between 25 and 30.

The national tribute in the VIP section of Paris’s Orly airport will be closed to the media. Castex will be joined by several senior ministers.

“It’s important that the nation pays homage to them,” said Jerome Bertin, the head of France Victimes federation.

“Their families want their commitment to be really cited… they were not tourists killed in Niger but young people engaged in helping the people of this country.”

The country, one of the poorest in the world, is struggling with incursions by Islamists from both Nigeria to the south and Mali to the west.

In Paris, French anti-terror prosecutors said they would investigate charges of “murders with links to a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association”.

There have been no claims of responsibility so far.

A judicial source in Paris told AFP the attack was “premeditated” and “targeting Westerners”.

French President Emmanuel Macron described it as “manifestly a terrorist attack” and said there would be repercussions.

“We’re pursuing action to eradicate the terrorist groups, with the strengthened support of our partners,” Macron said.

 

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a Defense Council video-conference on Niger at the Fort de Bregancon, southern France on August 11, 2020.  Daniel Cole / POOL / AFP

 

The president did not elaborate on the exact nature of the measures envisaged but Castex said the “odious crime” would not go unpunished.

Acted has decided temporarily to suspend work in Niger but has stressed it will not pull out of the country.

AFP