Niger Governor, Abubakar Bello Recovers From COVID-19

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

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has recovered from the coronavirus disease after testing negative to the infection.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje.

According to Noel-Berje, the governor has been pronounced free of the virus and confirmed fit to resume his official duties.

“I am happy to announce to you that I have been confirmed negative and declared fully recovered. I can now resume my official work. I thank you all for your prayers and good wishes,” the governor was quoted as saying.

This comes a week after Governor Bello contracted COVID-19 following series of rumour of being hit by the infection.

On November 9, he announced contracting the virus, adding that he had gone into isolation after being asymptomatic.

State has seen an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the one month.

At least 278 confirmed positive cases have been recorded in the state since its outbreak in the country in March.

12 deaths have also been recorded in the state from COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Niger State COVID-19 Committee and Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane had told Channels Television in an interview last week that the committee was considering putting in place stricter measure in enforcing the safety protocols in place.

According to him, “We are beginning to witness a spike.”

Niger has been a gateway state to travellers from North to South and vice-versa, forcing the state government to force the ban on inter-state travels due to constant influx of transporters.

Primary and secondary schools reopened in September. But, with the spike, it is not clear if the government might call for another lockdown.

Niger Governor, Bello Tests Positive For COVID-19

File photo of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello has tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

Governor Bello disclosed this on Monday via his Twitter handle.

The Niger State leader explained that he is asymptomatic and has gone into isolation.

 

His tweet comes a week after rumours that he contracted the virus.

Niger State has seen an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the one month.

At least 278 confirmed positive cases have been recorded in the state since its outbreak in the country in March.

12 deaths have also been recorded in the state from COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Niger State COVID-19 Committee and Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane had told Channels Television in an interview last week that the committee was considering putting in place stricter measure in enforcing the safety protocols in place.

According to him, “We are beginning to witness a spike.”

Niger has been a gateway state to travellers from North to South and vice-versa, forcing the state government to force the ban on inter-state travels due to constant influx of transporters.

Primary and secondary schools reopened in September. But, with the spike, it is not clear if the government might call for another lockdown.

 

Police Arrest 17 For Inciting Fresh Protest In Niger

File photo of a Police patrol van.

 

The police authorities in Niger State have arrested 17 persons for allegedly inciting youths in the state to hold a protest.

This followed the suspected plan by some persons to embark on a protest despite the ban on public demonstrations by the state government in the wake of the violence that has trailed the #EndSARS protest across Nigeria.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Adamu Usman on Tuesday disclosed the arrests in a statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Wasiu Abiodun.

Usman said most of those arrested were not from the state.

The suspects “are currently under investigation while they will be charged to court for prosecution after investigation,” the police boss said.

Usman asked parents and guardians to prevail on their wards and subjects to remain peaceful and shun any act of lawlessness.

According to him, “the Command is prepared to provide adequate security and peaceful coexistence in the State.”

The commissioner commended youths in the state “for displaying high level of responsibility, calmness, perseverance and restraint in the face of threats and calls from different quarters with deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in the face of unwarranted provocation from other divisive elements, hiding under the umbrella of #EndSARS protest in the country.”

Others praised by the police chief included the state government, traditional institutions, communities and religious leaders, youth leaders and members of the press “for their support and cooperation with the police and other security agencies in the state.”

Six Killed As Two Tankers Collide, Explode In Niger

The scene of a Niger tanker explosion that claimed six lives in Lapai area of the state on October 20, 2020.

 

Six persons have been killed in a tanker explosion at Lapai in Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State.

The incident happened in the early hours of Tuesday when two tankers collided before exploding in the state.

This was confirmed to Channels Television by the Director-General of the State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga via the telephone.

Mr Inga said at the time of filing the report he and his men were on their way to Lapai.

READ ALSO: Police Confirms Burning Of Stations In Benin, Ask Parents To Prevail On Children, Wards

Those injured in the explosion are said to have been taken to various hospitals in the local government area.

Six tankers and yet-to-be-identified number of smaller vehicles have also been razed by fire.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abubakar Bello, Mary Noel-Berje confirmed the incident via the telephone.

Noel-Berje said all relevant agencies, including NEMA, the state Fire Service, Federal Road Safety and the Vehicle Inspection Office have been at the scene of the incident since it happened.

While describing the incident as unfortunate, she said Governor Bello has commiserated with the victims of the explosion.

For over three weeks, the Lambata-Lapai-Bida road has witnessed heavy traffic, with over a thousand tankers and trailers caught in gridlock.

Mr Mahmud Abdullahi, a former spokesman to the Late former Governor Abdullahi Kure, also told Channels Television that the bad condition of the road which is a federal government road has caused the gridlock.

He said heavy vehicles are stuck on the road stretching over 50 kilometres.

Suspected Bandits Kill Three In Niger

 

Suspected bandits have killed three persons at Tashar Kare in Rafi local government area of Niger State.

The gunmen attacked the community in the early hours of Monday.

Among those killed are the son and younger brother of the village head of Tashan Kare and a local vigilante member who works in the community.

According to eyewitnesses, the bandits had attacked Tashan Kare on Saturday where they rustled some herds of cattle, but the members of the community reinforced themselves and gave a chase to the attackers to rescue the cattle.

They however returned today during the time members of the village were observing their early hour Muslim prayers.

Tashan Kare came under attack in August this year, where at least eight persons were killed including some military personnel.

The latest attack forced some members of the vigilante group from the village to protest to the Police station in Kagara town to express their disenchantment towards what they described as lack of efficiency on the part of the police to secure the people.

A resident of Kagara town who spoke to Channels Television said there was an exchange of gunshot in the process between the vigilante personnel and men of the police at the station which resulted in the killing of one person and three others injured.

Efforts to speak to the police on the attack proved abortive as the Public Relations Officer, ASP Abiodun Wasiu would not pick his calls.

Some members of the vigilante group from Tashan Kare, Disin have been reportedly killed by Tashar Kare by bandits, one person killed at Kagara Divisional Police Station Kagara, while three people wounded have been taken to Minna for treatment.

In the meantime, the District Head of Kagara Town, acting on behalf of the Emir of Kagara and the Local Government Chairman, has ordered the Tashar Kare community to conduct burial rites to the three persons that lost their lives in their community.

#EndSARS: Atiku Asks FG To Reform Police, Make It More Civil

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has asked the Federal Government to reform the Nigeria Police Force by making it more civil.

He made this call in Minna on Monday after meeting with former military President, Ibrahim Babangida.

“There is a need for them to reform the Police, actually to make it more civil,” Atiku said while condemning police brutality in the country.

Atiku noted that it’s wrong for police personnel to face unarmed civilians in a democratic setting with guns.

“I had issued a statement supporting the reform of Police and of course also the disbandment of the SARS.

“I was trained by the Police and I know the kind of work they doing now is not the type of work they are trained to do actually.

“You cannot face unarmed civilians in a democracy with guns in any of the world. It is only in this country. So, it is totally unacceptable,” the ex-president said.

Atiku’s comment comes a day after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the country.

Adamu’s announcement followed days of widespread protests by Nigerians demanding to scrap of the unit which had gained notoriety for brutality and human rights violations.

Over 3000 Niger Civil Servants With Forged Certificates

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

 

Over three thousand civil servants in Niger state have been discovered to have joined the service with forged certificates.

The committee set up by the state government to look into the over blotted salary bills of the state disclosed this to journalists at the government house in Minna.

Chairman of the committee and commissioner of works, Ibrahim Panti also disclosed that three hundred and forty other civil servants are either dead or retired but are still receiving salaries.

He said the head-of-service of the state forwarded the names of 26,387 civil servants to the committee, but only 25,861 of them registered on the screening portal.

Panti further said 1,789 civil servants did not complete the screening process due to credential problems among others, while 773 civil servants among those who registered absented themselves from the screening exercise.

According to him, the committee is still looking into the issues of some of the civil servants who may have a genuine reason for being absent.

“The committee wishes to categorically report that the exercise provided very salient information which has led to the generation of data as follows:

1. Unique staff records comprising identity, personal, employment, and emolument data for each screened staff;

2. Matched and unique fingerprints images of every screened staff;

3. Staff passport size-picture of every screened staff;

4. Electronic compy of employees’ credentials and emolument documents for every screened staff;

5. Data on staff with valid and invalid educational and professional certifications;

6. Data on terminated staff compromising the deceased and retirees;

7. Data about staff impersonation;

8. Authenticated and downsized payroll data from 26,387 submitted by the head of service to about 21,000 screened;

9. A total number of 169 screened staff were discovered missing from the september, 2020 payment schedule submitted by the office of the head of service;

Comprehensive ready data for possible human management development for government stakeholders’ use.

These data would henceforth serve as the fulcrum for easy identification of each employee going forward and is hereby presented for the restructuring of the state civil service,” Mr Panti said.

PDP Reconciliation Committee Meets With Babangida In Minna

(L-R) Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida and former Niger State Governor, Aliyu Babangida discuss during a PDP reconciliation committee visit to former Head of State Babangida in Minna on September 26, 2020.
(L-R) Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, and former Niger State Governor, Aliyu Babangida discuss during a PDP reconciliation committee visit to former Head of State Babangida in Minna on September 26, 2020.

 

Members of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reconciliation committee on Saturday met with former President Ibrahim Babangida.

Chairman of the Committee and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, told reporters at the Minna airport that the meeting’s purpose was to strategise on how to move the party forward.

Mohammed said the Committee was set up by the party’s National Working Committee to see how the PDP can maximise the gains it has made in recent elections, including in Bayelsa and Edo.

READ ALSO: Military Airstrikes Decimate Boko Haram Camps In Borno – Spokesman

Other members of the reconciliation committee who visited Babangida include former Governor of Jigawa State Sule Lamido and Presidential Aspirant of the PDP in the 2019 presidential election, Kabiru Turaki (SAN).

The visitors, who were led by the former governor of Niger state, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu arrived Minna airport in a charted aircraft with registration number N604WL at exactly 1:15pm on Saturday.

The meeting with Babangida lasted for over three and a half hours.

“We came on a National Working Committee assignment,” Mohammed said, “to look at the problems and challenges of PDP generally and how we can maximise our fortunes, how we can move forward, coming out of the rubbles of loss in 2019 with dignity and humility, to be able to carry ourselves and provide the necessary leadership for this country to move forward.

“PDP is the darling of the country because we have learnt our mistakes in the past and we have admitted that, and you can see what happened in Edo. And by the grace of God, we will in Ondo, not by imposition, arrogance, exclusion and what have you, but by best practice;

“And that is why the National Working Committee, under the chairmanship of Uche Secondus, set up this committee to review the causes of our loss in 2019 and to see how we can maximise our fortunes and our gains that we are making so far within the Nigeria political landscape.”

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.