Farmers, Herdsmen Clash In Abia Leaves Scores Hospitalised

herdsmen, kaduna killings, Godogodo villageA clash between farmers and  herdsmen in Ozuitem community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State has left many residents hospitalised, with large amount of crops destroyed. 

The attack came after the Ndiokereke Abam clash of November 8 and is the third in less than one month in different parts of Abia State within Abia North senatorial zone.

Security operatives in the state appear overwhelmed, as no herdsman has ever been paraded or arraigned in the state despite their increasing attacks on communities.

Those that sustained machete cuts in the Ozuitem community attack are receiving medical attention at Tochi Hospital in Uzuakoli.

One of the victims, Mr Sunday Oru, a 40- year old father of seven currently receiving treatment at Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia,  told Channels Television that the rampaging herdsmen, with over 3,000 cows, have been marauding in the community, destroying farm lands and crops with impunity.

“They arrogantly uprooted farmers’ cassava, okro and cut down plantains to feed their cows while the farmers pleaded that they should to leave the community.

“The pleas fell on deaf ears, as the nomads vowed to rather fight to occupy our land if we attempt to evict them, boasting that they will defeat us and take over our land.

“I went to my rice farm only to discover that cows were openly grazing on it and the herdsmen chased me away when I told them that the cows are causing havoc.

“I ran back to the village to alert other members of the community ,and together in group we went back to the farm

“On getting there, we saw one herdsman and we asked him why they allowed the cows to destroy crops and immediately he blew a whistle and other herdsmen who had been laying ambush surrounded us, hitting us with guns, assault us with rifles and machetes.

“One of them cut off my fingers and started cutting my body with machete. I lost consciousness and only woke up to see myself here at the hospital,” he narrated.

The spokesman for the State Police Command Mr Ogbonnaya Nta, who confirmed the incident, said the police were on top of the situation while the Secretary to the State Government ( SSG), Dr. Eme Okoro who is a resident of the community expressed sadness over the attack.

herdsmen-farmers-clash
One of the victims said he was surrounded by herdsmen the moment one of them whistled

Dr. Okoro said that the herdsmen had threatened to feed on his three hectares of cassava farm with various varieties of cassava.

“I warned the herdsmen never to invade my farm but they told me that the farm is in a forest area and I am surprised, wondering at the nomads audacity to challenge me, a land owner,” he said.

The government official told Channels Television that he got wind of the possible attack on his community about three days before it occurred and that he alerted the Assistant Inspector General of Police ( AIG) in charge of Zone 9, but it was disheartening that no action was taken to prevent the attack.

“We are humane and interested in the unity of this country but not to the detriment of our people,” he stated.

Although the Commissioner of Police in the state is trying to tie the loose ends to unravel the reason the herdsmen were allowed to carry out their threat, the people are lamenting the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government over the incessant attacks by herdsmen on the communities in Abia State

Meanwhile, the Ozuitem women who depend mainly on okro as their mainstay had been thrown into hardship as a result of the destruction of their crops which the herdsmen uproot to feed their cows.

Police Seek Community Collaboration To Fight Crime In Rivers State

Police in River State are calling on other security agencies, community leaders and other stakeholders in Port-Harcourt, to seek practical solutions to fighting criminal activities within the state.

During an interactive session with the community, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Francis Odesanya, said that the era of unknown suspects would soon be a thing of the past.

The Commissioner of Police said intelligence gathering and information sharing were imperative in dealing with security challenges in the state as well as Nigeria.

He also urged the stakeholders to come up with urgent and practical ways of dealing with the security situation in the state, which he said required genuine collaboration.

In his words: “Everyone is encouraged to say it as it is”.

Furthermore, the commissioner advocated for the record keeping of the crime history of arrested suspects, as the police paraded suspected criminals with recovered arms and ammunition.

Also at the meeting was the State’s Commissioner of Information, Austin Tam-George, who said the state government had come up with creative ways of checking criminality.

On what they feel about the meeting, residents said that, though it was not the first time such meetings and activities were carried out by the police, they could only expect more to be done to protect their lives and property.

Mike Ejiofor Sees Need For Report On Chibok Girls To Be Made Public

Mike-EjioforA former Director with the State Security Service (SSS), Mike Ejiofor, says it is necessary for the Nigerian government to make the report on the abducted Chibok girls public.

The former SSS boss, who was part of the team that investigated the girls’ abduction, said the girls were taken from their dormitory as claimed.

“We looked at the register of people writing the exams and WAEC enrolment and the people who were not available to write the exams,” he told Channels Television on Friday while giving his opinion on Nigeria’s security situation and the efforts to rescue the over 200 girls abducted two years ago.

Mr Ejiofor, however, declined to speak further on the findings since the report had not been released.

He also said he had expected that the government would have released the report, but expressed optimism that the government, being a continuum, would do so soon.

Mr Ejiofor pointed out that the issue of the abducted Chibok girls taken by members of the Boko Haram sect on April 14, 2014 from their school’s dormitory was a puzzle that the government must solve.

On why it has become so difficult to rescue the girls, he said: “We do not have sufficient intelligence on the whereabouts of the girls and this necessitated the Senate to invite the Security Chiefs”.

The former SSS official also said he was never against negotiations with the terrorists on the release of the girls.

“The problem we are actually facing is the issue of getting credible leadership from within the Boko Haram to negotiate with the Federal Government.

“I am not opposed to negotiation especially in the release of the girls because it is one issue that the government must solve.

“The worrisome aspect of it is that since these girls were taken two years ago, several rescues have been made but we have not found one of the girls among those rescued,” Mr Ejiofor pointed out.

The UN had few days ago said in a report that the number of young girls being used as suicide bombers by Boko Haram had increased.

But Mr Ejiofor believes that the girls being used for the suicide bombing were not the Chibok girls.

“The age range of the girls being used are between nine and 12. The girls that were taken, none of them will be less than 19, going by the fact that they were taking their final exams in secondary school,” he stressed.

The former SSS boss also urged the Nigerian government to re-introduce the National Information Centre for coordination of information given to the media on security issues facing the nation.

“The previous administration established the National Information Centre where all services were represented and information is co-ordinated.

“The establishment should be reintroduced to ensure that the government speaks with one voice,” the former SSS Director stated.

 

 

 

FG To Reconstruct Security Formations Destroyed By Boko Haram

troops tackling Boko Haram in Nigeria's northeastThe Nigerian government will soon commence the reconstruction of security formations in the northeast destroyed by Boko Haram militants, a government official has said.

The plan is part of the reconstruction process of the northeast region that has seen over six years of insurgency that left over two million persons displaced.

After a tour of the region to get the extent of the damage by the insurgents, the Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), told reporters that the reconstruction would create a conducive atmosphere for the officers and men of the services.

Lieutenant General Dambazau had, during his one day visit to the state, inspected the destroyed Damaturu Satellite Prison where 41 inmates were freed by the insurgents in 2013 as well as self-established camp at Kukareta which is currently housing displaced persons from Yobe and neighbouring Borno state.

The visit, according to the Minister, “is in response to request by the Minister of Defence to deploy paramilitary security force so as to establish civil authority in the areas liberated by security forces in the ongoing war against insurgency.

The Minister said that after his team’s report had been looked into, a better decision would be taken on the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) under a well thought out security arrangement that would give the civil population the needed protection.

He lauded the state government’s massive support to the IDPs and security operatives in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency and hoped it would continue up to the full restoration of peace in the area.

The Minister was accompanied by the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase, the Controller General of Prisons and immigration as well as the Commander General of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps among other top officials of the ministry of interior.

BBOG To Walk For Nigeria’s Fallen Heroes

Chibok-girls-BringBackOurGirlsMembers of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group have announced plans to stage a walk in honour of the Nigeria’s fallen heroes ahead of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

Briefing reporters at a sit-out session of the group in Abuja on Friday, Sesugh Akume, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to grant presidential pardon to soldiers who were sentenced to death.

The BBOG members are also calling for a special honour to be conferred on soldiers fighting the insurgents in the oil-rich nation’s northeast.

On December 29, the group urged the Federal Government to reinstate the soldiers jailed for cowardice against the Boko Haram Insurgency.

The group made the appeal in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital during a meeting with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.

Led by BBOG’s Co-convener, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, they presented several issues before the Attorney General, including an immediate recall of the military men who were jailed for cowardice at the war front without arms.

The group campaigning for the rescue of the over 200 girls abducted by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group on April 14, 2014, had also asked the Nigerian government to set up a special search and rescue team to find the missing Chibok schoolgirls.

At the daily sit-out session to mark ‘Day 627’ since the girls were taken from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, the co-convener of the group, Aisha Yesufu, said the group was disappointed that President Muhammadu Buhari did not say anything about the missing girls in his New Year message to Nigeria.

Military Confirms Death Of Nine In Borno Suicide Bombing

Bomb-blastThe military in Nigeria has confirmed the death of nine persons in a suicide bombing in Benisheikh, Borno State, carried out by three minors between ages 10 and 15.

In a statement, a military spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, said that the three suspected suicide bombers went into Benisheikh, Borno State at about 8.30pm.

“They were spotted by ever vigilant Borno State Youth Empowerment Scheme (Civilian JTF) who suspected something fishy about them,” the statement read.

Colonel Usman said that one of the suicide bomber was laden with Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

“While the Civilian JTF was in the process of screening the suspect following the necessary drills and precautions, the carrier detonated the IED that led to the death of nine people while 24 others sustained various degrees of injuries.

“The bodies have been evacuated and all those injured are receiving medical attention.

“The security agencies have intensified patrols and security checks in the area,” the statement further read.

While condemning the act, the military commiserated with the families of those that lost their lives and the injured.

It further reiterated the need for more security consciousness and vigilance by all especially during the yuletide and New Year holidays.

The military confirmation of the attack came just as another suicide bomb attack was reported in Maiduguri.

Earlier report said at least 37 persons were injured in the attack in Benisheikh, a village barely 75 kilometers to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.

Authorities of the General Hospital in Maiduguri on Monday said that all casualties were currently receiving treatment.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Boko Haram sect is largely suspected, as the terrorist group has carried out similar attack in the past.

The Borno State Government recently commenced rebuilding of Benisheikh town ravaged by Boko Haram even as villagers initially displaced are beginning to return home.

Buhari Meets With Service Chiefs, Gets Assurance Of Peace In North-east

service chiefs
L-R: The CDS, Gen AG Olonisakin, COAS, Maj Gen Gen TY Buratai, CNS, R Adm IE Ibas and CAS, AVM SB Abubakar

President Muhammadu Buhari has received an assurance from Service Chiefs that the December deadline to end the activities of the Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria would be met.

The assurance came at a meeting with the Service Chiefs held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday.

At the meeting, which was held behind closed-doors, the President and the Service Chiefs assessed the war against terror, the success and the challenges facing the military.

While briefing reporters after the meeting, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, said the meeting had become necessary to review the operations of the military after 60 days into the new order.

General Olonisakin said the mandate would be delivered, in spite of the challenges of weather and logistics.

Recently, Boko Haram terrorists have inflicted serious damage on residents of Borno State as suicide bombers, through their activities in the north-east, have left about a hundred dead in the last three months.

The meeting is coming days after the president reiterated his commitment to bringing an end to the activities of the Boko Haram in the north-east.

 

Buhari Orders Tighter Security At IDP Camps After Bomb Blast

IDPs-Camp-BombNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has directed authorities to tighten security measures in all camps harbouring Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to guard against the sort of incident that occurred in Yola, Adamawa State on Friday.

At least three persons were killed by a bomb explosion at the Malkohi Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Nigeria’s north-east region.

It is supposed to be a place of refuge for the IDPs, but the bomb blast that also left at least nine persons injured has created a feeling of uncertainty for them.

‘Heinous And Cowardly’

The President described the bombing as ‘heinous and cowardly’.

He said that the terrorists were bent on causing fear and panic among the populace by detonating bombs within soft spots where hapless citizens reside.

President Buhari, who has given the military an ultimatum to end the spate of attacks in the north-east region by December 2015, urged the public not to be deterred but “rise in unison to root out whatever was left of the terrorists in our midst”.

“We must not let the desperate and evil-minded criminals have any respite. There’s now an urgent need for all to pay utmost attention to security issues at all levels – home, work, market, places of worship and schools among others.

“To defeat terrorism, all hands must work round the clock, with vigilance. We must provide the country’s security agents with vital information to pre-empt and prevent crimes and to forestall further insurgent activities,” the President added.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the Boko Haram terrorists group is believed to be responsible.

Security Chiefs, Northern Governors Discuss Insecurity In Region

Security in NigeriaSecurity Chiefs and eight governors from the north-west and the north-central regions of Nigeria have met to discuss the security situation in the two regions.

The Head of Service, Mr Danladi Kifasi, who chaired the meeting, said it was convened by President Muhammadu Buhari following a request by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

Mr El-Rufai had asked for a review of the security situation in the states affected by the activities of bandits in forests bothering the states.

Mr Kifasi said that the meeting was held to enable the governors give their views and first-hand information on the activities of the criminal elements in the area to the government at the centre while the Security Chiefs exchanged ideas on how to curb the menace.

In recent times, there has been an increase in attacks on villages and communities in the north-west and north-central part of Nigeria, especially in Plateau and Kaduna States.

The attacks have left many dead and scores injured.

More often than not, these attacks are said to be carried out by unknown gunmen.

Worried by the menace, the Federal Government initiated the meeting to form a collaboration with about eight states in the north-west and north-central to nip the menace in the bud.

Besides the operations planned by the government at the centre in collaboration with the states, the State governors said they would set up internal mechanism in their various states to tackle the issue.

The Federal Government is optimistic that its action would proactively end the various attacks before it escalates.

The affected states are Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Niger in the north-west and Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa in the north-central.

Military Cautious Of Civilian Casualties In Communities Reclaiming Operations

ArmySome communities in Nigeria’s north-east are yet to be re-captured from the insurgents because the military wants to reduce civilian casualties during the operations, a military official has said.

A spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Olajide Laleye, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the army was carefully planning strategies to adopt in other to reclaim the territories from the terrorists.

At the press conference, Mr Olaleye also attributed the successes the Nigerian Army had recorded in the on-going counter terrorism operations in the north-east to strict enforcement of service regulations.

He said that the regulations had resulted in the court martialing of over 200 soldiers in the last three months alone.

Some of the soldiers have been sentence to death for different offences.

In the last court martial that was held about a week ago in Abuja, the court delivered its verdict in the case of conspiracy to commit mutiny and incitement of mutiny involving five soldiers.

LCPL Sule Ochehepo was discharged and acquitted, while LCPL Bankole Taiwo, LCPL Bankole Olawale, LCPL Isaiah Olofu and PTE Adebayo Gbenga were convicted and sentenced to death.

The allegation against the soldiers was that they asked “inciting questions” from their Commanding Officer of 81 Battalion when he addressed them on September 14, 2013.

The questions pertained to the corpses of some of their colleagues brought to the camp after they were killed by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram, due to lack of weapons.

Meanwhile, a rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked a group of five United Nations human rights independent experts to individually and jointly request that the mass death sentences imposed on 54 Nigerian soldiers found guilty of mutiny should not be carried out.

The Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a petition to the rights group, said it was not right or fair to try everyone in mass proceedings, and that such unfair trial should not send someone to the gallows.

He asked the group to make the request to the Nigerian government and the military.

Mr Mumuni emphasised that imposition of mass death sentences was in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria was a party.

“This Covenant limits the circumstances in which a state can impose the death sentence,” he said.

Implementing Necessary Reforms Will Maximise Gains Of WEFA – Zainab

Zainab-UsmanThe Nigerian government has been urged to make conscious effort in reforming the system in order to maximise the gains expected from the just concluded World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA).

A communication consultant for the WEFA, Zainab Usman, on Wednesday, said that with adequate reforms and commitments by the government, the inclusive growth that the forum dwelt on would be achieved, with more jobs created for African youths.

At the 24th meeting of the WEFA held in Nigeria between May 7 and 9, several financial commitments were made capable of reducing poverty in Africa and improving Africans’ living standard.

China pledged to increase its credit line to Africa from $20 billion to $30 billion while Dangote group pledged to invest about $16 billion in the Nigerian economy in his petrochemical plant.

Needed Political Will

In the education sector, at least 20 million dollars was pledged for the Safe School Initiative aimed at ensuring that schools in Nigeria’s north east are safe for students.

For all these funds coming into Africa to yield needed results, Zainab said the government must have the needed political will to take needed decision that would ensure that these funds are well deployed.

“There is a link between the bureaucratic processes in Nigeria and other African countries and how they are able to access or utilise funds but reforming the government or public sector institutions is not just an easy process. It is not something that can be easily carried out just because the fund has been made available. It requires a lot of political will in making the environment conducive for business to thrive.

“Things like speedy registration of companies and ensuring that the workforce is efficient and effective and not bloated should be looked into. If we want efficiency we will have to take some hard decisions that will help transform the system,” she said.

Inclusive Growth

She, however, expressed optimism that expected results would be seen based on the level of commitment shown by local and foreign investors at the forum.

“We have seen a lot of commitment from participants at the forum, from policy makers, civil society and the private sector. We have seen commitment in terms of healthcare, power and agriculture. We have the Go Africa Initiative. We have seen commitment in education, with the Safe School Initiative, focusing on the north east.

“Yes there have been quite a lot of commitments by the private sector both local of foreign.

“The government should have the right regulatory framework and policies that would enable these investments grow. It is supposed to be a synergy between the private sector and the government,” she said, stressing that for the private sector actors to be able to redeem pledges made, they also require the government to create a conducive environment. “The government has to be an active partner in this”.

Zainab explained that the Go Africa Initiative is looking to involve small holder farmers or people at the grassroots for the inclusive growth to be achieved in high scale.

With initiatives in education, access to financing will ensure that the people at the grassroots are able to partake in the growth.

“The plan is to move away from previous approaches so they are involving more persons. The realisation is that unless you include ordinary people in the growth process the inclusive growth that we seek would not be achieved”.

Africa has grown in the past decade but the growth is only proportionate to just a few people and the need to make it inclusive was emphasised at the forum that had over 1,100 participants from over 80 countries in attendance.

The forum had emphasised that to include the mass majority of people in the growth, it is important to ensure that they have access to adequate information, education and healthcare.

World Economic Forum On Africa Closes

World Economic Forum on AfricaThe World Economic Forum on Africa holding in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has come to an end after three days of deliberations that focused on making growth recorded in Africa all-inclusive while creating jobs for Africa’s over 40 million unemployed people.

The forum started on Wednesday with the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, asking the participants to “think big” and proffer solutions to Africa’s challenges of insecurity, unemployment, power and infrastructure deficit. They were also asked to explore the potentials that Agriculture holds in creating needed jobs.

Over 1,100 delegates from over 80 different countries attended the event with the Theme, “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs”.

Heads of Governments and Statesmen, CEOs of global firms, leading financiers and policy and development technocrats, where at the forum that provided Nigeria with an immense and unique opportunity for economic and cultural diplomacy.

At different sessions, the challenges of insecurity and conflicts in some parts of Africa including Nigeria were mentioned with emphases on the need to create jobs for the youth, as a way to end the crisis.

African leaders were asked to educate Africa’s children, explore all possible energy sources and channel the funds generated from enormous resources in the continent to infrastructure improvement.

Experts in different sectors of the world economy were part of discussants at different sessions providing strategies that could be adopted to achieve the set Millennium Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Africa has seen steady rapid growth in the last two decades with the fast growing economies of the world in the continent., a development that has made the continent a destination of investment.

Nigeria, the host of the event, is Africa’s largest economy, but is facing security crisis, as insurgents in the north east has carried out series of attacks on Churches, schools and villages, with an attack on a school in Chibok on April 14, resulting in the abduction of over 200 school girls.

Efforts are ongoing to rescue the girls, with world powers providing Nigeria support in the rescue operation.

In 2015, South Africa will host the 25th edition of the World Economic Forum.