Niger Flags Off Fertilizer Sales At N8,000 Per NPK Bag

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.

The Niger state government on Tuesday commenced the official sales and distribution of fertilizer for 2021 wet season at the cost of N8,000 per bag of NPK.

The Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ketso at the flag off ceremony in Minna, disclosed that the state has procured 27 and half of trucks making 15,000 metric tons of fertilizers for distribution to the 25 local councils of Niger state

He explained that government is doing everything possible to mitigating the security challenges facing the state and assured small scale farmers of subsidized production inputs.

He emphasized that the middlemen activities will be curtailed through the measures put in place for effective and efficient monitoring of the sales of the products.

In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Haliru Jikantoro said the the current administration was determined to ensure food sufficiency and cash crops production to generate employment and wealth for the citizens to reduced youth restiveness.

He reassured farmers of access to high quality inputs for farming activities and will implored all options possible to leverage on the vast opportunities abound in the state while the ministry will continued to implement government agricultural policy.

On his part, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria AFAN, Niger state chapter, Shehu Galadima, decried the state of insecurity experienced by the farmers due to attacks by the bandits, alarming scarcity of food in 2021/22 if solutions are not quickly found.

He charged on the federal government to reconsidered its stand by subsidizing agricultural inputs if food security most be attain in Nigeria.

Bala Tuta and Shitu Abdullahi are some of the beneficiaries; they expressed their delight on the early commencement of the sales of the fertilizer as this was what the farmers all wants.

The beneficiaries said that as long as they can get the product the price was good for them.

Niger Govt Bans Commercial Motorcycles In Minna After Students’ Abduction

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

 

The Niger State Government has banned commercial motorcycles from operating in Minna, adding that the ban was proactive steps to protect the city and government seat from bandits.

Ahmed Ketso, the Deputy Governor disclosed on Wednesday while briefing Journalists, a week after gunmen abducted 136 pupils from an Islamic school in Tegina.

“The ban on commercial motorcyclists is a step to avoid an attack. However private motorcyclists are free to operate from 6 am to 9 pm every day,” he said.

“There is the need to protect Minna as the seat of government because as we all can see, the bandits are leaving around us.”

He also reiterated the state government’s commitment to rescuing the schoolchildren, noting that negotiations with the abductors were ongoing.

According to Ketso, the negotiation was not about the payment of ransom but on how to secure the release of the pupils unhurt.

“I want to assure you that we have intensified efforts towards the safe release of the abducted children. We are being careful to ensure that there is no collateral damage on the part of the pupil we are rescuing,” he added.

He said the government is also aware that the bandits are demanding ransom from parents of the pupils, adding that government is however not involved in such negotiation.

Kelso said that the state government has provided lots of logistics to security agencies in the state towards enhancing their performance in the fight against the bandits.

Abductors Of Niger Islamic Students Demand ₦110m Ransom, Threaten To Kill Victims

 

Abductors of the over 136 students and staff of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, in the Rafi local government area of Niger State are demanding the sum of ₦110 million as a ransom for the safe release of the victims.

They threatened to kill the victims should the school or their parents fail to meet their demands by midnight of Tuesday this week.

The Head Teacher of the school, Abubakar Alhassan disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday, adding that the bandits’ call came in about 4:00 pm on Monday.

Alhassan said contrary to their expectation, the bandits claimed they have a total of 156 people with them made up of pupils and staff.

He said the management of the school has contacted the state government on the latest development but that the government is insisting on not paying ransom to the bandits.

READ ALSO: At Least 200 Islamiyya Students Kidnapped In Niger

This comes two days after bandits invaded Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school, a conventional Islamic school, and abducted many students including staff, killing one person and injuring one other person.

Although the number of those abducted were yet to be ascertained, but the proprietor of the school, Idris Umar told journalists on Monday that information gathered from parents indicated 136 students were kidnapped.

This is apart from the 11 pupils reported to have been freed immediately after the abduction because of their inability to keep pace with the abductors.

According to reports, parents and relations of the abductees have begun to raise money to take to the bandits.

But, on Monday, the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Ahmed Ketso had in a briefing at the government house in Minna explained the position of the state government that random would not be paid to kidnappers.

Lapai Emirate Removes Village Head In Niger

A map of Lapai, a local government area in Niger State.

 

The Lapai Emirate Council in Niger State has removed the village head of Muye, Abdulqadir Maigari, for breaching the law of the traditional council despite several warnings.

In a statement on Monday, the Secretary of the emirate, Ibrahim Sheikh, noted that the dismissal took effect from May 25, 2021.

He explained that the emirate had written to the Niger State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs on May 28, seeking the approval of Governor Abubakar Bello, to remove Maigari as the village head of Muye.

According to Sheikh, the dismissal of the village head was conveyed to him in a letter dated May 29 and signed by the Etsu Lapai, Umar Bago Tafida III.

“I write on the directive of his Royal Highness, Etsu Lapai and Chairman Lapai Emirate Council to inform you that in exercising the powers conferred on the Emirate Council under Section 80 Sub- Section 2 of Niger State Local Government Law, 2001 (as amended), and on the approval of the Executive Governor of Niger State that you are dismissed and removed as the Village Head of Muye,” the letter read.

Elsewhere in Mariga Local Government Area of the state, Bandits have attacked Beri town in Bobi district.

During the incident, no fewer than 13 people including a security operative were killed while a police station was set ablaze.

The Director-General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Ahmed Inga, confirmed the attack in a memo sent to Channels Television on Monday.

Those who lost their lives to the incident included Idris Ahmed Kwata, Hadiza Umaru Tunga, Momi Dalladi, Ibrahim Dalkadi, Yau Dalladi, and Saadiya Garba.

Others were Garba Umar Tashanjirgi, Garba Umar Tjirgi, Hussaini Shuaib, Ayuba Garba, Abdullahi Jodi, Alhaji Isah Kasakohi and Fatima Nasiru Kwata.

Inga noted that the bandits also attacked Unguwan Malam Bako in Kotonkoro district and abducted an unspecified number of residents.

Bandits Burn Police Station, Kill 13 In Niger Community

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.

 

Abdullahi Egba, Minna

Bandits have attacked Beri town in Bobi district of Niger state, burning down a police station and killing more than 13 people, including a police officer.

The attack was reported by the Niger State Emergency Management Agency in a memo on Monday and comes barely a day after about 200 students were kidnapped from a school in the state.

According to the emergency agency, the attack left several people injured.

The bandits also attacked Unguwan Malam Bako in Kotonkoro district and abducted an unconfirmed number of people, the agency added.

Niger state, the largest in the country, is one of the worst affected states by banditry across the country.

In a statement on Sunday, Niger state Governor Abubakar Bello described the state of insecurity as a “war situation.”

“The situation has reached crisis level, in fact it’s a war situation that we have to confront without further delay,” he said.

Bandits Kill 15 People In Niger Community

 

No fewer than 15 villagers are reported to have been killed in Beri town in the Bobi district of Mariga Local Government of Niger State on Monday.

A mobile policeman was also reportedly killed on Monday by the bandits in the town.

Channels Television was told that the men of the local vigilante were able to kill five of the bandits.

It was gathered that the Beri Police Station was burnt by the bandits with several people reported to have been injured during the stampede that accompanied the arson on the police station.

READ ALSO: Gulak’s Death: A Clear Case Of Political Assassination – Gov Uzodinma

Another set of bandits stormed the Garin- Gabas on the same day during which they faced stiff opposition from the youths of the town,

The number of casualties on both sides could not be immediately ascertained.

Also today, some bandits raided Ungwan Bako in the Kotonkoro district of Mariga Local Government Area abducting many people mostly women and children.

The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) confirmed the incidents but did not give details.

Police Public Relations Officer Niger State Police Command Public Relations Officer DSP Wasiu Abiodun did not respond to calls made to his cell phones for comments on the developments.

Meanwhile, the Niger State Government says it is taking measures to ensure the release of Islamic School children abducted by bandits in Tegina, Rafi Local Government.

Giving an update on the abduction to journalists at the Government House, the State Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ketso disclosed that the government was on pursuit of the bandits and efforts are being put in place to identify the bandits.

Ketso said that though the numbers of the kidnapped school children is not fully ascertained, efforts by security agencies to secure their release have been intensified.

Noting that there are many government schools in Tegina, he said the government was proactive to have deboarded the boarding schools and made sure every primary and secondary school has a semblance of the security team that can be able to respond immediately.

Describing the situation as unfortunate, the deputy governor said that the Islamiyya school has three components comprising of the nursery, primary and junior secondary school.

He assured that strategies are in place to secure the release of the abductees the same way those of Kagara boys were released ruling out the option of paying the ransom.

“We don’t pay ransom to abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely,” he said.

He said that the government has made contact with some of the identified parents of the kidnapped children, assuring them of their safe return.

Niger Abduction: 11 Students Released By Gunmen

 

Eleven students who were part of scores kidnapped earlier from an Islamiyya school located at Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have been released.

This is according to a communique by Mary Noel-Berje, Chief Press Secretary to the state governor.

In the statement late on Sunday, Ms. Noel-Berje noted that the released children were deemed too small and couldn’t walk, and this prompted the kidnappers to release them.

The state’s chief scribe stated that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello expressed shock and is saddened by the recent reports of abduction of innocent people by armed bandits in several communities across three Local Government Areas of Rafi, Wushishi, and Bida.

READ ALSO: At Least 200 Islamiyya Students Kidnapped In Niger

Gunmen invaded Tegina community in Rafi Local Government Area, shot one person dead, and left one seriously injured as well as kidnapped an unconfirmed number of Islamiyya Students and Teachers from Salihu Tanko Islamic School alongside some passengers of a Sharon Bus travelling to Minna.

Speaking further regarding the ugly event, Governor Bello said it is outrageous that banditry in the state is escalating. He reiterated his emergency call on the Federal Government for prompt intervention.

“The situation has reached crisis level, in fact, it’s a war situation that we have to confront without further delay,” the governor fumed while also stating that the state government is still searching and conducting a house-to-house headcount to ascertain the exact number of children abducted at Tegina.

Niger State has had a bad run in recent times, with bandits constantly threatening the peace of the state. Only yesterday, there were reports that gunmen, on about 70 motorcycles, attacked 17 communities in Wushishi Local Government Area where they shot several people.

In a bid to escape the bullets of the marauders, some women and children drowned as they tried to get across River Kaduna.

Sources say more than ten people are still receiving treatment at the Wushishi General Hospital even as searches are still ongoing to ascertain how many persons are missing from Babako, Tashan Girgi, Kwakwagi, Fakara, Ndiga, Buzu, Akare, Kala Kala, Agwa, Anguwan Gizo, Tsamiya and other neighbouring villages which were attacked by the bandits.

The governor described the current situation as unfortunate and unbecoming and assured that the Joint Military Taskforce has been mobilized and are already tracing the tracks of the criminals for possible isolation and ambush.

Governor Bello appealed for calm and restated the “strong resolve” of the state government to continue to protect the lives and property of the citizens as a matter of utmost importance and priority.

France Threatens To Pull Troops Out Of Mali

France To Extend Lockdown As Virus Deaths Soar In Europe, US
File: Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP

 

President Emmanuel Macron warned in comments published Sunday that France will pull its troops out of Mali if it lurches towards radical Islamism following the second coup in nine months.

France has around 5,100 troops in the region under its so-called Barkhane operation which spans five countries in the Sahel — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The mission, headquartered in Chad, was launched after France intervened to fend off a jihadist advance in Mali in 2013.

On Tuesday France and the European Union denounced an “unacceptable coup d’etat” after Mali’s interim president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane were detained and stripped of their powers in what is being seen as the country’s second coup in less than a year.

Macron said he had told Ndaw that France will withdraw its troops if Mali turns towards radical Islamism.

“Radical Islamism in Mali with our soldiers there? Never,” he told the weekly newspaper The Journal du Dimanche.

“There is this temptation today in Mali. But if it goes in that direction, I will withdraw,” he warned in comments made during a trip to Rwanda and South Africa. Macron flew home to Paris on Saturday.

The French president added that he had given a message to West African leaders that they could not back a country “where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition.”

READ ALSO: Nearly 300 Rescued In Indonesia Ferry Accident

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has invited Mali’s junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita to Ghana’s capital Accra for “consultations” ahead of an extraordinary summit on Sunday devoted to Mali.

Goita flew to Accra on Saturday, military and airport sources said.

He had served as vice president since leading a coup last August that ousted the democratically elected president, with the roles of president and prime minister held by civilians after pressure from ECOWAS, which has served as a mediator.

However, the transitional leaders were detained Monday before being released on Thursday, with the military saying they had resigned.

The twin arrests triggered a diplomatic uproar and marked the second apparent coup within a year in the Sahel country.

Mali’s constitutional court completed Goita’s rise to full power on Friday by naming him transitional president.

With the junta going back on its previous commitment to civilian political leaders, doubts have been raised about its other pledges.

Macron, in his comments published Sunday, warned that if Africa’s development fails then Europe “will pay dearly in terms of migration”.

He stressed the need to “invest massively” adding that the international community must also erase some of the continent’s debt burden “to help Africans build their future.”

AFP

Police Rescue 14 Abducted Persons In Niger

A photo of a police truck

 

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS) and local hunters has rescued 14 abducted persons in the Gauraka area of Niger State.

Niger State police spokesman Yusuf Mariam said the rescue was carried out during a joint operation at the Byhazin-Bwari axis.

“The Joint Operation led by the Command’s Anti-Kidnapping Squad combed the forest, engaged in a fierce gun duel with suspected kidnappers, dislodged them, and arrested two kidnap suspects while others escaped with bullet wounds,” she said in a statement issued on Friday.

Exhibits recovered from the kidnappers included two AK-47 magazines and cooking utensils.

The victims who appeared frail after several days in captivity are receiving medical attention at the police medical facility.

Mariam quoted the Commissioner of Police Bala Ciroma as reassuring FCT residents of the Command’s undeterred resolve towards the protection of lives and property within the area through a continuous partnership with sister security agencies and key community stakeholders.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: UniJos Orders Immediate Closure Of Hostels

A Region Battling Banditry

Banditry and kidnapping have become widespread in the northcentral state, raising concerns over the security of lives and properties.

In February, gunmen abducted scores of students from the Government Science College, Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of the state but were released some days later.

Other northcentral states have had their fair share of assaults by kidnappers, leading to condemnations.

Residents block Gonin Gora end of the Abuja-Kaduna Highway in protest against incessant abductions on Saturday, April 1, 2021.

 

Residents, irked by incessant abductions and bandit attacks, recently blocked the Gonin Gora end of the Abuja-Kaduna Highway in Chikun council area of Kaduna State.

The protest followed the abduction of four people in Ungwan Auta in Gonin Gora by bandits.

The protesters, in their numbers, barricaded the busy road with stones and wood and vowed that nobody will pass until the state Governor Nasir El-Rufai addresses them.

 

Kebbi Boat Mishap: 36 Bodies Recovered, Many More Still Missing

Men carry the body of a man out of the water in Ngaski, Nigeria, on May 26, 2021 after an overloaded boat sank in the Niger River.
AFP

 

 Rescue workers have pulled three dozen bodies from the water after an overcrowded riverboat capsized in the Ingaski Local Government Area of Kebbion Wednesday.

Survivors and officials said only 20 people were rescued on Wednesday when the wooden boat ferrying passengers to a market broke apart and sank between Niger state and Wara in Kebbi state.

“Five bodies were recovered yesterday and 31 bodies today, and the recovery operation is ongoing. More bodies are expected to be found,” Abubakar Shehu, a local official supervising the rescue operation said.

“The bodies are bloated and now coming to the surface which makes it easy to spot them.”

Riverboat tragedies have become commonplace in Nigeria,  mostly due to overcrowding, weather and lack of maintenance, but Wednesday’s toll is one of the deadliest yet in recent years.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday called the mishap “devastating” after the inland waterways authority had said only 20 people had been rescued and another 156 were still missing.

“When the boat broke into two, I wondered if people were sinking into the water,” survivor Usman Umar said, standing by the riverbank in Ngaski area in Kebbi.

“The boat capacity was something up to 150 people, us survivors can’t be even 20.”

Ali Ibrahim Garba, wearing an orange life jacket standing near wooden boats on the river bank, said they were still searching for missing people after saving as many as they could.

“Right now we are in search of three people, one male and two females,” he said.

NIW’s local manager, Yusuf Birma told reporters on Wednesday the boat was overcrowded with around 180 people and went down an hour into its journey.

Local district administrator Abdullahi Buhari Wara said the boat was also loaded with bags of sand from a gold mine.

NIWA has also banned night-time sailing on the rivers to stop accidents and says overloading ships is a criminal offense, but skippers and crews often ignore the regulations.

Early in May, 30 people drowned when an overloaded boat capsized in Niger state.

The boat carrying 100 local traders also split into two after hitting a trunk during a storm as they were returning from a local market.

AFP

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Buhari Mourns Victims Of Boat Mishap

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress on January 30, 2021.
File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the victims boat which capsized at Corner Libata in Ingaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State

Buhari in a statement issued on Wednesday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, commiserated with the families of the victims.

More than 150 people were missing and feared drowned in northwest Nigeria after an overloaded boat ferrying passengers to a market sank in the Niger River, local officials said.

The boat was travelling between central Niger state and Wara in northwest Kebbi state when it went down, National Inland Waterways Authority local manager Yusuf Birma told reporters.

Reacting, President Buhari described the news of the capsizing as devastating, offering his heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected by this tragedy.

READ ALSO: At Least 100 Missing As Boat Capsizes In Niger

According to the President’s spokesman, there are indications that the boat was overloaded and there is no official confirmation on the number of casualties.

“While efforts are ongoing to recover more survivors, the President extends his gratitude to all those involved in the rescue efforts and wishes those injured from the accident quick recovery,” the statement partly read.

The passengers were said to be heading to a market in Malele in Borgu local government area of Niger state when the boat sank an hour into the journey.

Local district administrator Abdullahi Buhari Wara earlier blamed the accident on overloading as the boat was meant to ferry no more than 80 passengers.

Boat tragedies are common on Nigerian waterways mostly due to overcrowding, bad weather and lack of maintenance, but Wednesday’s toll would be one of the deadliest recent accidents.

“The vessel was also loaded with bags of sand from a gold mine,” he said.

Early this month 30 people drowned when an overloaded boat capsized in Niger state.

The boat ferrying 100 local traders split into two after hitting a stump during a storm as they were returning from a local market, according to emergency officials.

The Niger is West Africa’s main river running in a crescent through Guinea to Nigeria’s Niger Delta and is a key local trade route for some of the countries.

 

Police Station Burnt Amid Protest In Niger

A photo taken on May 24, 2021, shows the scene of the protest by residents of Gauraka community in Niger State. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

A police station has been burnt amid a protest by residents of Gauraka in Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State.

This followed an attack by gunmen on Angwan-Wazobia community on Monday where six locals were abducted by the assailants.

Wasiu Abiodun, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, confirmed the attack on the community and the station in a statement.

Channels Television had reported the demonstration by residents of Gauraka who blocked the Abuja – Kaduna highway to protest the incessant cases of kidnapping in the community.

During the protests, the protesters burned tyres as they called for improved security in the area, as well as an end to incessant attacks on their community.

They lamented that no fewer than 15 locals have been abducted between Saturday and Sunday, and three others have lost their lives.

On his part, Abiodun noted that the command had deployed operatives in the area, but he blamed the protesters for the attack on the police outpost.

“Niger State Police Command wishes to confirm that today being 24th May 2021 at about 0300hrs, unknown gunmen attacked the residents of Angwan-Wazobia in Gauraka area of Tafa LGA where about six persons were abducted.

“Teams of policemen were mobilised to the scene and efforts to rescue the victims are being intensified,” he said.

The command’s spokesman alleged, “However, at about 0635hrs of the same date, some miscreants blocked both sides of Abuja – Kaduna expressway, protesting the recent cases of kidnapping in the community.

“The miscreants later extended the protest to Gauraka Police outpost, vandalised and set it ablaze.”

According to him, efforts are ongoing to disperse the protesters from the highway to ease the flow of traffic on the road.

Abiodun noted that the command has dispatched reinforcement from Minna, the state capital to the Area Police Command in Suleja, as well as a joint task force from the Minna – Suleja highway to restore normalcy on the Abuja – Kaduna expressway.

He called on parents, guardians, and community leaders in the area to caution their children/wards against engaging in acts of public disturbance.

The command’s spokesman gave an assurance that the police would continue the onslaught against criminal elements in the state.