Niger Govt. Sets Up Committee To Investigate Military Invasion

Sani Bello, Niger State, MilitaryA three-man committee has been constituted by the Security Council headed by the Secretary to the Niger State Government (SSG) to look into the military invasion of some communities in Bosso Local Government Area of the state.

This comes after the military in Niger State invaded Lunko, Kopa and environ villages in Bosso Local Government Area of the state at about 1:00am local time on Thursday.

The Government has requested for feedback on the incident within 24 hours.

According to a statement by the State Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, the government, after an emergency State Security Council meeting on Friday, directed an extensive investigation into the remote and immediate cause(s) of the unfortunate incident, with the aim of having a permanent solution and forestalling future occurrence of such act.

The council also directed that residents of the affected villages, community leaders, party chieftains, religious leaders and political office holders in the area should embrace peace and assist the committee by proffering suggestions that would bring lasting solution and guarantee an enduring peace in the area and the state at large.

The council, while commiserating with the families of those who lost their lives, appealed to the military to ensure strict adherence to rules of engagement while assuring them of government’s resolve to recover the missing arms during the unfortunate incident.

As normalcy returns to the affected area, the council appealed to members of the public to go after their lawful duties, avoid engaging in any act capable of breaching peace of the state and report any suspicious person or movement to appropriate authorities.

The armed soldiers drawn from the 31 Artillery Brigade in Minna and the Air Force base in Bosso, allegedly stormed the villages in a brutal commando style, waking the sleeping villagers, causing distress and inflicting pains on them.

Russia Says U.S. Planes Bombed Syria’s Aleppo On Wednesday

aleppoRussia’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday that two U.S. aircraft had bombed the Syrian city of Aleppo on Feb. 10, and that Russian planes had not been operating in the area.

A Pentagon spokesman had accused Russian and Syria government forces on Wednesday of destroying Aleppo’s two main hospitals with air strikes, though he did not specify when the strikes were alleged to have taken place.

The Syrian army has made rapid advances near Aleppo in recent weeks with the help of Russian air strikes.

But Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement that “only aviation of the anti-ISIS coalition flew over the city yesterday”, referring to the U.S.-led alliance of countries fighting the Islamic State militant group.

“At 1355 Moscow time, two U.S. Air Force A-10 attack aircraft entered Syrian airspace from Turkish territory. Reaching Aleppo by the most direct path, they made strikes against objects in the city.”

He said the Russian targets on that day had been at least 20 km (12 miles) from the city.

When asked on Wednesday whether the U.S.-led coalition could do more to help rebels in Aleppo or improve access for humanitarian aid to the city, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said that the coalition’s focus remained on fighting Islamic State, which was “virtually non-existent in that part of Syria”.

Capturing Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the war but now divided between rebel- and government-held sectors, would represent a major military victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a symbolic prize for his ally, Russia, to help justify its bombing campaign in Syria.

Members of the United Nations Security Council pressed Russia on Wednesday to stop bombing Aleppo in support of the Syrian military offensive and allow humanitarian access ahead of a meeting of major powers in Germany on the conflict.

UN Security Council Condemns North Korea’s Rocket Launch

RocketThe UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket, with members considering new sanctions.

After an urgent meeting in New York, the council said it would soon adopt a new sanctions resolution in response.

The long-rang rocket launch had drawn criticisms from different countries, with North Korea describing the act as a test of ‘Banned Missile Technology’.

Pyongyang said it fired the rocket to place a satellite in orbit – but critics believe the real purpose was to test a ballistic missile.

Sunday’s launch comes weeks after North Korea held a fourth nuclear test – both acts violate UN resolutions.

Speaking after the closed-door talks, Venezuela’s UN envoy Rafael Ramirez, the current council president, said: “The members of the Security Council strongly condemn this launch.”

He called it “a serious violation of the Security Council resolution”.

The BBC quotes US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, as saying that Washington would now “ensure that the Security Council imposes serious consequences” on Pyongyang.

“There can be no business as usual. We’ll come up with something tough,” she said.

Her words were reiterated by Japanese envoy Motohide Yoshikawa, who said sanctions must be strengthened.

“The existing sanctions have not stopped North Korea from developing nuclear weapons,” he said.

The council meeting was requested by South Korea, Japan and the US.

Kaduna Bans All Social Gatherings Ahead Of Sallah Celebrations

KadunaAhead of the Sallah celebrations, the Kaduna state government has banned all forms of social gatherings at public places like recreation centres and amusement parks during the period.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Spokesman for the state governor, Samuel Aruwan, at the end of the state Security Council meeting.

The statement explains that the decision was taken as measures to safeguard the lives and property of the citizens of the state and to forestall any form of attack as had been witnessed in past celebrations. The statement while wishing the Muslims in the state a successful and hitch-free Sallah celebrations, also appealed to citizens for increased vigilance and to report any suspicious persons or groups engaging in unusual activity to the nearest Police Station.

Meanwhile, there were increased security check at motor parks within the state capital aimed at forestalling any form of bomb attack as many residents travel out of the state for the Sallah.

At the Television Garage Motor Park, members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) screened all passengers and luggage going into the park, as well as other parks visited by our crew.

Although there was no increment of transport fare as had been the usual practice during such festivities, the parks witnessed low influx of passengers.

Some of the passengers attributed the low turnout of passengers to lack of money as some civil servants complained of not receiving their salaries and therefore have no cause to celebrate.

However, In spite of the current economic down turn in the country, some privileged residents stormed the markets to shop.

Nigeria Assumes UN Security Council Presidency

Security CouncilNigeria will by midnight on Friday, July 31, assume the one month rotational presidency of the United Nations Security Council.

Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary to the United Nations takes over from Ambassador Gerald Bohemen, the Permanent Representative of New Zealand, who held the presidency for the month of July, 2015.

This would be the first time in the history of the United Nations, that an elected member of the Security Council would assume presidency for the fourth time in two separate tenures.

Nigeria was elected a non permanent member of the security council on October 17, 2013.

With this feat, Nigeria would be serving for the fifth time since independence of the most powerful decision making organ of the United Nations.

A statement signed by Dr. Tope Elias-Fatile says that Nigeria’s return to the council, after having left in December 2012, represents one of the shortest periods in the anals of the United Nations, that a member state has served two terms in the council.

According to him, “This is even more remarkable, as it is occurring under institutional memory of the same Permanent Representative, Joy Ogwu, who chairs the two security council committees, the first, Security Council Committee, and Iraq Sanctions Committee.”

Nigeria is also one of the three vice chairs of the Security Council Committee, established on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and also one of the vice chairs of the Security Council Committee on Sudan.

Security Council Warns Against Registration Of Nigerians

The Security Council has warned states that engage in the registration of non-indigenes of their states  to desist forthwith or face the consequences.

The warning was handed down by the Director-General of the State Security Service, Mr Ekpenyong Ita, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abukabakar, who addressed reporters at the end of the Security Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Security Council meeting had in attendance, all the service chiefs, the Ministers of Defence, Police Affairs, Interior, the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the SSS.

The meeting started about 10.00 in the morning and lasted till 1.00pm when they addressed the press. Other issues discussed include the war against insurgency in the northern part of the country.

According to the Federal Government, the location of the Chibok girls has been well known but the security agencies were being careful in their approach to avoid having casualties among the abducted girls.


Plateau gets new curfew from 7pm to 6am

Following a review of the security situation in troubled Plateau State, by the state’s Security Council, Governor Jonah Jang has reviewed the 24 hour curfew imposed in four local government areas of the state.

According to a statement by Commissioner for Information and Communication, Abraham Yiljap, the stay at home order has now been reviewed from 7pm to 6am with effect from Tuesday and will remain so till further notice.

AU to take Mali to UN Security Council

The African Union plans to refer the situation in Mali to the United Nations Security Council so that it can create a framework for tackling the worsening crisis there, a diplomatic source close to the AU president said on Wednesday.

Mali, once regarded as a fine example of African democracy, collapsed into chaos after soldiers toppled the president in March, leaving a power vacuum in the north that enabled rebels to take control of nearly two-thirds of the country.

A regionally backed transitional government has been set up in Bamako to organise new presidential elections within a year, though supporters of the ruling military junta oppose the plan.

“The African Union will go to the Security Council and then it will be up to it to find the right format for a resolution and if it deems military support necessary,” said the source close to Thomas Boni Yayi, the Benin president and head of the African Union.

He said it was not clear when the issue would be taken to the United Nations.

An agreement between northern Mali’s MNLA Tuareg rebels and the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group Ansar Dine to create an Islamic state in northern Mali’s Azawad desert has hit trouble over how strictly to impose sharia, Islamic law.

The separatist MNLA wants a moderate form of sharia, while Ansar Dine would like to impose a more hardline version, using punishments such as the amputation of hands and heads for certain crimes.

The West African group ECOWAS said it rejected the idea of a separate Islamic state in northern Mali, and new French President Francois Hollande urged African leaders on Tuesday to ask the U.N. Security Council to help restore stability in the region.