El-Zakzaky, Wife Expected In Nigeria Today

Court To Rule On El-Zakzaky's Bail Application August 5
A file photo of Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

 

 

The embattled leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife,  Zeenat are expected back to  Nigeria from India where they had gone for medical treatment three days ago.

Their hasty return to the country, according to the spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, followed their inability to resolve the impasse that ensued in their treatment with doctors at Medanta hospital, New Delhi, India.

Musa, in a short statement sent to Channels Television on Friday, said El-Zakzaky and his wife left  India at about 4:30am local time via Emirates Airline.

READ ALSO: El-Zakzaky Is On His Way Back To Nigeria – IMN Spokesman

According to him, the airline is likely to make a stopover in Dubai before proceeding to Nigeria where they are expected to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at about mid-day.

The IMN spokesman claimed that the Nigerian Government’s interference and scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision, as ordered by the Kaduna State High Court, was the direct cause of the impasse between the Shiite leader and the Indian medical doctors.

El-Zakzaky and his wife had both left Nigeria for New Delhi on Monday, one week after the court granted them permission to travel to India for medical treatment.

Barely one day after their arrival at the hospital, the trip turned controversial as the IMN leader and the Shiite group accused the Nigerian government of denying him access to the doctor with whom they had an arrangement.

In its reacting, the government accused the Shiite leader of becoming unruly at the hospital in New Delhi and apologised to the Indian authorities.

It said the allegations were “foul cry”, adding that claims El-Zakzaky was held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.

Rohr Invites Musa, Other Players For Ukraine Friendly

 

Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr has called up 23 Super Eagles players for the international friendly with the Senior National Team of Ukraine scheduled for Dnipro Arena on Tuesday, September 10 with Saudi Arabia-based Skipper Ahmed Musa leading the call.

Tyronne Ebuehi, who missed the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals where Nigeria won bronze due to injury, has been recalled after recovering from injury, and Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and Kelechi Iheanacho who couldn’t make the AFCON team are back in the mix.

READ ALSO: FIFA, UEFA, Others Shower Praises As Okocha And Siasia Celebrate Birthdays

England –based duo Alex Iwobi and Iheanacho have been listed in midfield roles. Germany –based goalkeeper Emil Maduka Okoye has been invited for the first time, as Scotland –based midfielder Joe Aribo, but there is no place for South Africa –based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun and Jamilu Collins, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo and forwards Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Henry Onyekuru and Samuel Chukwueze have also been called.

Ukraine is rated number 25 on the FIFA ranking while Nigeria is 33rd.

Nigeria Will Comply With OPEC, Non-OPEC Output Cut Deal, Says NNPC Boss

A file photo of NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari.

 

 

The Nigerian government says it is committed to the production adjustments agreed on under the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) between member countries of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Non-OPEC Countries.

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigeria’s Representatives on the OPEC Economic Commission Board, Mr Mele Kyari, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, the country is totally committed to full compliance with the agreement reached by the parties to the DoC at the last Ministerial Meeting of what is known as OPEC Plus, held on July 2 in Vienna, Austria.

READ ALSO: FIFA, UEFA, Others Shower Praises As Okocha And Siasia Celebrate Birthdays

“Right now, we are not only committed to the agreement but we have elevated our attitude towards it to the point of complete devotion to the adjustments and we urge other parties to follow suit,” the OPEC Rep said.

He was optimistic that the momentary and artificially induced bearish trends would naturally correct itself based on the strong market fundamentals which have remained steadfast despite the price slid.

Kyari noted that with a visible steady decline in commercial stock overhang propelled by healthy demand, it is only logical for all advocates of oil price stability like the OPEC Plus allies to comply strictly with the agreed production adjustments.

He explained that with the increasing volatility of the oil market, it has become commonsensical for Nigeria and all other parties to the agreement to entrench an attitude of unwavering devotion to the deal anchored on full and timely conformity to their obligations.

Nobody Can Succeed In Undermining Nigeria’s Territorial Integrity, Says NAF Boss

NAF Releases List Of Shortlisted Candidates For Recruitment Interview
A file photo of Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar/ [email protected]

 

 

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, says there is a need for citizens to join the efforts of the military and other security agencies in the country.

According to him, no individual or group of people can succeed in undermining the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

Abubakar made the comments while celebrating the Eid-El -Kabir with officers, airmen, and women of the Air Task Force Command in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.

He insisted that despite the recent attacks in parts of the county, substantial progress has been achieved in the fight against insurgency and banditry.

READ ALSO: DSS Not Empowered By Law To Arrest, Says Babalola

The military, according to him, will continue to work round the clock until the people of Nigeria and their properties are secured.

He also called on the troops fighting Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east and others deployed elsewhere to remain focused on their task of securing the country.

The air chief, however, commended the contributions of officers and men of the Command and cautioned them not to be distracted by what they get from social media.

The event was organised for personnel deployed in the Task Force Command involved in the fight against insurgency, as well as to interact with and encourage the troops.

Air Marshall Abubakar was received on his arrival in Yola by the Commander of Air Services Group, Air Commodore Mohammed Yusuf, and other senior officers.

But he welcomed Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri, who attended the event as the special guest

In his address, the governor applauded the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies for the good job they are doing for the country.

Earlier in his welcome address, Air Commodore Yusuf gave assurance that the NAF base in Yola would continue in its role in the fight against insurgency.

The highlight of the event was a cultural dance from the Adamawa State Cultural Team.

We Are Fast Heading Towards The Threshold Of A State Collapse – Ezekwesili

Dr Obiageli Ezekwsili wants “people in government to accept that the country is certainly not in a good place at all”.

 

A former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has warned that Nigeria is edging closer to collapse and the leaders must act to prevent that from happening.

“Initially, I kept saying that we were a fragile country. Now, we are fast-heading towards the threshold where you have a state collapse and we can’t stand watching while that happens,” she warned during an appearance on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics.

For her, the signs captured in the definition of state collapse are now present in the country. This, she explained, involves looking at the security situation, the economy, social cohesion and political stability.

“When these four things are in the negative then you are fast-heading towards what is known as state collapse,” she said.

READ ALSO: ‘Nothing Is Collapsing’: Garba Shehu Insists Nigeria ‘Is Strong, Moving On’

‘Not In A Good Place’

Dr Ezekwesili, who is also a former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, added, “Everything seems to have fallen apart. We practically have no institutions that are standing in their credibility at this time.”

She believes a first step towards reversing the situation in the country is for those in government to accept the signs.

“I think it is critical for people in government to accept that the country is certainly not in a good place at all,” she said.

“That ownership of your situation is an important and critical step towards solving a problem. If the government pretends that all is well with Nigeria, then it shows how absolutely isolated from the issues and challenges of the people that they lead.”

Should that critical step be taken by those in power, she then expects the President and the leadership at the National Assembly to come together to convene “a state of the union conversation”.

That conversation would have to be a very honest one about “what we do with Nigeria”, she said, stressing that “Nigeria is not in a good place at all”.

There’s No Targeting Of Any Group Of Africans In South Africa – S.A. Foreign Minister

 

South Africa’s Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, has described as false, the reports of targeted killings of Nigerians in their country.

Dr. Pandor who was accompanied by the Minister of Police Bheki Cele, at a press conference on Sunday, said this in response to a planned protest by the National Association of Nigerian Students following the recent killing of Nigerians in South Africa.

President of the association, Daniel Akpan had last week, issued a week-long ultimatum to South African businesses to leave Nigeria.

He also called on all Nigerians living in South Africa to return home to prevent further attacks.


[READ ALSO] Xenophobic Attacks: We Need To Know The Outcome Of Investigations – Dabiri-Erewa

But Dr Pandor has described the development as unfortunate, adding that they don’t reflect the strong relations that exist between the people and the government of South Africa and Nigeria.

‘No Targeting of Africans’

She, however, insisted that everything is being done to protect and improve the long-standing relationship both countries have.

“The protests are said to be in response to alleged killing of Nigerians by South Africans, as you are aware, these allegations are devoid of truth, they are reckless and unwarranted.

“We find these statements most unfortunate and they don’t reflect the strong relations that exist between the people and the government of South Africa and Nigeria.

“Firstly, there is no targeting of any group of Africans in South Africa, secondly, our law enforcement agencies are making every effort to fight crime and arrest criminals.”

Read Also: FG Petitions South Africa Police Authorities Over Attack On EX-BBA Star Tayo Faniran

While investigations are ongoing, at least eight police officers have been arrested in connection with the attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

The Chairman, National Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed this last week during a meeting with officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students in Abuja.

Why Nigeria Assisted Zimbabwe After Cyclone Devastation – Buhari

 

The devastation that accompanied Cyclone Idai, which ravaged Zimbabwe earlier this year, was so enormous that Nigeria could not afford to look the other way, and had to offer a helping hand, says President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari disclosed this Thursday at State House, Abuja, while receiving in farewell audience the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Nigeria, His Excellency, Lovemore Mazemo.

“It was a major disaster, and it caused damage in billions of dollars. Nigeria, despite our own challenges, had to provide aid to ameliorate the situation,” the President said, adding that he was glad that the outgoing Ambassador and his country appreciated the hand of fellowship.

Cyclone Idai ravaged Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi, and is believed to be the costliest natural disaster in South-West Indian Ocean basin. Goods and properties estimated at two billion dollars were lost.

READ ALSO: Lightning Kills Six Children In Guinea

President Buhari also recalled the role Nigeria played to secure the Independence of Zimbabwe from apartheid minority rule, noting: “We remain proud of what Nigeria did in those days.”

Ambassador Mazemo, who spent four-and-a-half years in Nigeria, said he found a home here, “and a family among your wonderful people.”

Saying that assistance given by Nigeria after the cyclone “went a long way to relieve our people,” he added that relationship between the two countries had improved tremendously in recent years.

The Ambassador congratulated President Buhari on the confidence reposed in him by his people, making them to elect him twice, and equally lauded him for the leadership he has provided for Africa in the war against corruption.

10 Years Into Jihadist Rebellion, No Reprieve For Nigeria’s Displaced

 

Maiduguri resident Ahmed Muhammed wanders through the rubble left behind as he recalls the outbreak of fighting in his city a decade ago that launched the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

“We heard shooting — badadadadadada — here, there, everywhere around us,” the 44-year-old railway worker told AFP.

“We thought the end of the universe had come.”

In late July 2009, tensions between the hardline Islamist sect and authorities in northeast Nigeria boiled over as the group launched a wave of attacks and security forces fought back ruthlessly.

The epicentre of the violence was the compound of the group’s founder Muhammad Yusuf.

After several days of fighting, Yusuf and hundreds of Boko Haram members were dead and a conflict had been unleashed that would devastate the region.

The mosque and the homes that once stood there are now just a pile of debris — an unmarked monument to the suffering of the past 10 years.

In the decade since the uprising began, some two million people have been uprooted from their homes and 27,000 killed as the bloodshed has spilt into neighbouring countries.

Boko Haram has turned vast swathes of territory into a no man’s land and forced its way into international headlines by abducting hundreds of schoolgirls.

While the Nigerian army has pushed the fighters from major towns, the jihadists have splintered into factions and spawned an offshoot aligned to the Islamic State group that has unleashed its own campaign of violence.

‘No option’

Waves of the conflict crashed over Hadiza Bukar’s village near Baga close to the shores of Lake Chad in 2015 when Boko Haram fighters stormed through the area.

Bukar fled with her newborn twin sons, leaving behind her husband and two other children.

She has not heard from them since.

What remains of the family is now among the roughly quarter-of-a-million people displaced and struggling to survive in and around Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Studded across the city are government-approved camps and informal settlements of corrugated iron, sticks and shreds of tarpaulin.

READ ALSO: 65 Killed In Boko Haram Funeral Attack

The only place Bukar found to live is at the ground zero of the insurgency that tore her life apart. Her makeshift home stands on the edge of the ruins of Yusuf’s former compound.

When the downpours come in the rainy season the place turns into a quagmire.

“Many people told us stories about what happened here. They warned us there was a history,” she said, of the bloodshed in 2009. “But we had no option. We have nowhere to go. We decided to stay.”

Across town in another district Idrissa Isah, 45, scrapes by as best he can.

Isah used to send cows to Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos, but now all he has is a small patch of earth near his shack that a local landowner lets him till.

The little he grows helps supplement sporadic handouts from international aid groups and feed his family. He says he has had no government support.

Isah is desperate to return to his village of Makulbe about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Maiduguri, but the risk is too high.

“If I could go back I would — I would have a big, big farm,” he said.

“There is no way I can.”

Attempted return

Finding a way home for the displaced is seen as key to solving the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria.

After forcing the jihadists back to remote hideouts, the government insists the security situation is stabilising.

But attacks persist outside heavily fortified towns.

Over just a few days in July, five soldiers were killed and six aid workers kidnapped.

On Thursday, a Boko Haram raid killed at least two people in a displaced camp near Maiduguri.

So far this year, 130,000 people have been displaced in northeast Nigeria, the International Organization for Migration says.

Ibrahim Bukar, 48, is comparatively lucky.

The local government accountant still receives his official salary of about $80 (75 euros) a month even though he has not worked in his hometown Bama, 65 km from Maiduguri, since it was devastated by fighting more than four years ago.

But the wage does not cover rent and he squats with his wife and four children in the one-room servants’ quarters of an acquaintance’s house.

Last October, after more than four years away, he decided to go home.

“There was nothing,” he said.

“No food, no potable water, no health services, no teachers — don’t even talk of electricity.”

Beyond the town, he said, you cannot travel safely for more than a kilometre. After three months, Bukar gave up and headed back to Maiduguri.

Camps still filling

The displaced camps are still filling up.

A sprawling site around the city’s main stadium opened in March and has already reached its capacity with over 12,000 people.

Fatima Mohammed, 38, moved into a tarpaulin shelter three weeks ago with her husband and two children.

She arrived from an overcrowded camp not far away, having been displaced several times since being forced from her village five years ago.

She has no idea if, or when, she will see home again.

“All depends on god — if there is peace I will go back immediately,” she said.

“But if there is no peace then there is no way I can return.”

AFP

65 Killed In Boko Haram Funeral Attack

Tragic scenes from the attack on a funeral by Boko Haram terrorists. Credit: AFP

 

An attack this weekend by Boko Haram fighters on a funeral in Maiduguri, Borno State, has left 65 people dead, almost triple the initial toll, a local official said Sunday.

Dozens more bodies were discovered following the assault Saturday by gunmen on a village close to the regional capital Maiduguri.

“It is 65 people dead and 10 injured,” local government chairman Muhammed Bulama said.

Bulama said more than 20 people died in the initial attack on a funeral gathering. Dozens more were killed as they tried to chase after the jihadists.

The leader of a local anti-Boko Haram militia confirmed the death toll, while giving a slightly different account of the attack.

Bunu Bukar Mustapha told newsmen that 23 people were killed as they returned from the funeral and “the remaining 42 were killed when they pursued the terrorists”.

READ ALSO: Two Feared Killed In Fresh Boko Haram Attack On Borno IDP Camp

At the scene houses which had been burnt in the attack could be seen. Relatives collected the bodies of those slain for burial.

Bulama said he thought the latest attack was in retaliation for the killing two weeks ago of 11 Boko Haram fighters by local residents when the jihadists approached their village. The residents also captured 10 automatic rifles.

Boko Haram fighters have repeatedly attacked the surrounding Nganzai district.

In September last year, the group killed eight people and stole livestock in two villages in the area after residents tried to stop them from taking their animals.

Boko Haram has waged a decade-long campaign of violence in northeast Nigeria that has killed around 27,000 people and displaced more than two million.

There are persistent attacks despite repeated claims from the Nigerian government that it has broken the insurgency.

The jihadists have splintered between the Boko Haram faction loyal to historic leader Abubakar Shekau and an affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Shekau’s group tends to hit softer targets including civilians, while the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has since last year ratcheted up its campaign against the Nigerian military.

In June, 30 people were killed by a triple suicide bombing targeting football fans in Konduga, 38 kilometres (24 miles) from Maiduguri. The attack had the hallmarks of Shekau’s faction.

Late Thursday, the group attacked a camp for displaced people outside the state capital, killing two residents and looting food supplies after burning a nearby military base.

Communities have increasingly turned to self-defence groups to protect themselves against the jihadist attacks.

Vigilantes and local hunters have taken up arms to safeguard local residents amid widespread complaints that the military does not do enough to defend them.

Kidnapped Aid Workers Plead For Rescue In New Video

 

Jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group released a video Thursday showing a female aid worker and five male colleagues kidnapped in an attack in northeast Nigeria.

Aid group Action Against Hunger said earlier that one of its staff members along with three health workers and two drivers were missing after their convoy was attacked last Thursday near the border with Niger.

In the three-minute video, a woman wearing a bright blue hijab says she is the abducted aid worker, while seated in front of five men she describes as her colleagues.

The footage seen by Channels Television was released through the same channels as previous videos from the IS-linked Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

An employee at another NGO confirmed the identity of the missing aid worker.

Villagers see captives

The hostages are believed to be held in the ISWAP enclave on the shores of Lake Chad.

Villagers told AFP the kidnapped aid workers were seen with their armed captors passing through the villages of Chamba and Gatafo on the day of their abduction.

ISWAP is a splinter group of Boko Haram that swore allegiance in 2016 to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It has repeatedly attacked military bases and previously targeted aid workers in northeast Nigeria.

Two female aid workers with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were murdered by ISWAP last year and an aid worker with the UN children’s agency UNICEF is still being held by the group.

Since 2009 more than 27,000 people have been killed and some two million forced from their homes by the Boko Haram conflict.

AFP

ACF Demands Release Of Aid Workers Kidnapped By Jihadists

 

Charity group Action Against Hunger on Thursday demanded the release of six aid workers kidnapped in northeast Nigeria and held by jihadists aligned to the Islamic State group.

The Paris-based charity said a staff member, two drivers and three health workers for one of its projects were in a hostage video released by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group.

The video showed the female staff member, dressed in a bright blue hijab, sitting on the floor and addressing the camera in English, her five male colleagues behind her.

The six were seized during an ambush on their convoy close to the border with Niger last Thursday in an attack that left another driver dead.

The kidnapping is the latest to target aid workers in the conflict-hit region after the abduction and killing of two female workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) last year.

READ ALSO: Police Nab Supplier Of AK 47 Rifles, Kidnappers In Taraba

Action Against Hunger said in a statement it “demands the liberation of its staff member and her colleagues”.

“These are humanitarian workers who chose to devote their lives to helping the most vulnerable communities in Nigeria and they are only motivated by the values of solidarity, humanity and neutrality,” it added.

The footage of the abductees, authenticated by AFP on Thursday, was released through the same channel as previous videos from the IS-affiliated jihadists.

The hostages are believed to be held in an ISWAP enclave on the shores of Lake Chad.

Villagers told AFP the kidnapped aid workers were seen with their armed captors passing through the villages of Chamba and Gatafo on the day of their abduction.

27,000 killed

ISWAP is a splinter group of jihadist group Boko Haram that swore allegiance in 2016 to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It has repeatedly attacked military bases and targeted aid workers in northeast Nigeria.

ICRC workers Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa were murdered by ISWAP last year and a woman working for the UN children’s agency UNICEF is still held by the group.

The jihadists are also holding 15-year-old Leah Sharibu, the last remaining captive of over 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadists in Dapchi Town, Yobe State, last February.

The only Christian among the hostages, she remains in captivity months after all the other girls were released because she refused to convert to Islam.

Boko Haram’s decade-long conflict has killed 27,000 people and displaced about two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.

The violence has spread to nearby Niger, Chad and Cameroon, with the affected countries forming a regional military coalition to fight the group.

Boko Haram fighters have abducted huge numbers of women and children across the region.

The group drew worldwide attention with the kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in Chibok in 2014.

AFP

Ministerial Screening: We Don’t Need To Depend On Only Oil, Ogah Tells Senate

Ministerial Nominee Uchechukwu Ogah (Abia state)

 

A ministerial nominee, Uchechukwu Ogah, says the nation does not need to depend on oil in creating job opportunities for the teeming population.

Ogah said this on Wednesday, while he was being screened by the Senate, a day after he and 42 others were announced as ministerial nominees.

“We don’t need to depend on only oil. Yes, oil is a cash-cow. But I believe that if we develop our agricultural sector, we can equally develop, create jobs for our teeming youths.

“For instance, if you build a farmland, when you can create over 150 youths by providing accommodation for them and you give them all the necessary amenities, I can tell you that these youths can turn over the entire piece of land to something that can create revenue for the entire country,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria has the potential of becoming a food-independent nation and even export food to other countries of the world.

“We have the capacity, we have the population, we have all the resources that is required – the human capital (which is the best that is required). So I believe that if we can do that, we can actually improve in this nation,” he said.

Speaking on industrialisation, the Abia State-ministerial nominee called for the citing of industries in rural areas rather than cities.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Ministerial List Uninspiring, Waste of Time – PDP

Explainng how agriculture can be developed, he shared from the eastern region under the leadership of then-Premier Michael Okpara.

“By 1966, the eastern region was the fastest growing economy in the whole world. What did Doctor Okpara do? He went to the University of Nigeria and picked the best and created endless orchards in all the eastern region.

“And then we started exporting agricultural products. By 1966, the eastern region had the best balance in their account.

“I believe that if we develop our agricultural sector, we can also create jobs for our teeming youths,” he said.

When asked for his contribution to developing the Petroleum sector should he be assigned Petroleum Minister, Ogah explained that once the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed, it will attract investors that will, in turn, boost the nation’s fortunes.