The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has confirmed the death of 54 Nigerians in the deadly stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during this year’s Hajj.
The Chairman of NAHCON, Mr. Abdullahi Mohammed, said that 42 out of the 54 that died were from states pilgrims welfare board including two NAHCON officials, while others were among those on the pilgrimage by private tour operators.
He made the confirmation in Makkah on Monday.
He also listed 15 states of Bauchi, Borno, Zamfara, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe, as those that lost pilgrims to the stampede.
The incident is said to have claimed at least 720 lives.
The governors of the 19 northern states in Nigeria on Friday considered practical and integrated regional approach to combat the Boko Haram insurgency and other challenges facing the region.
At a meeting in Kaduna the governors resolved to deal decisively with the problems to ensure the development of the region that had faced over five years of terror attacks.
The meeting held behind closed doors at the General Hassan Usman Katsina State House. It had in attendance governors of Kaduna, Jigawa, Kano, Borno, Zamfara, Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Bauchi and deputy governors of Kogi and Kwara among others.
Addressing reporters before the closed door meeting started, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Borno State, Mr Kassim Shettima, expressed the urgent need for the northern leaders to adopt far-reaching strategies in tackling the menace of poverty, illiteracy, Boko Haram insurgency and other criminal elements in the region.
He urged the governors to come up with a common agenda for the speedy transformation of the north and the country in general.
While lamenting the failure of the present crop of leaders to sustain the legacies of the founding fathers of the northern region, Governor Shettima said the leaders must act fast to reverse the negative fortunes of the people of the region.
According to him, “no amount of lamentation will solve the devastation in the region”, except for the leaders to rise up and live up to the expectations of the people through good governance.
Some other governors at the meeting gave an assurance of their commitment to ensuring an end to insurgency and pledged to redevelop the region that has been devastated by acts of terrorism.
Apart from the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, some other states are battling to contain the activities of cattle rustlers, who have had several clashes with farmers.
This is the first meeting since Governor Shettima was elected to chair the forum.
Beyond the assurances made by the governors, what is expected now is for them to hit the ground running and bring about the needed change to their respective states.
Troops of One Division of the Nigerian Army have killed no fewer than 10 bandits and suspected terrorists in various joint operations tagged “Operation Restore Peace II” in the Northwest zone of the country.
During the operation, 64 suspected terrorists and bandits were arrested and handed over to the Police and the Department of State Security (DSS) for further investigations and prosecution, while 119 cattle, sheep and goats were also recovered from rustlers and bandits who have been terrorising people from the zone.
The zone comprises of Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, and Kano, while the operation has extended to Niger and Kogi states in the north-central.
According to a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of the One Division Headquarters in Kaduna, Colonel Usman Abdul, the operation was carried out by a combined team of Nigerian Army, Nigeria Air Force, Police, DSS and Customs Personnel among others.
Colonel Abdul said: ” In Kaduna State and its immediate environs, the expanded security outfit involved in the operation have made recovery of 2081 animals like cattle, sheep and goats. 27 suspects were arrested and lots of weapons were recovered from the bandits.
“In the axis of Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kebbi States over 3027 animals which included cattle, goats and sheep were recovered. 33 suspected bandits were arrested with 11 weapons seized in the course of the operation.
All the suspects were handed over to Zamfara DSS and the Police Command while the animals were handed over to Zamfara State government officials.
“Similarly in another joint operation, covering Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States, the troops recovered a total of 2011 animals ,4 suspects arrested and 10 bandits were killed during encounters and 8 assorted weapons recovered.
“Arrested suspects were handed over to Katsina Police Command, while animals recovered were handed over to Katsina state government officials.”
Colonel Abdul noted in a statement that since the commencement of the operation calm has been restored to the area, farming and commercial activities has commenced.
He said the Army and other security agencies in Kaduna have through various operations been able to reduce and subdue activities of bandits and insurgents, warning supporters and sympathizers of bandits to desist in their activities as the Division is poised to uproot them from the zone.
Six governors from the north-west and north-central geo-political zones on Saturday met with the heads of security agencies of the affected states to appraise the ongoing war against cattle rustling and cross border crimes.
The meeting was held behind closed door at the Kaduna State Government House and had in attendance the governors of Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger States.
Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, Governor Abdulaziz Yari, of Zamfara State, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said the States were in close collaboration with the Federal Government towards finding a lasting solution to the problem.
He said that the security operations would be expanded to focus on the forest areas where the notorious rustlers and bandits operated from.
Governor Yari, however, gave the assurance that the affected state governments were ready to provide logistic support to enhance the operations of security operatives in their effort to dislodge the rustlers that have been terrorising herdsmen and farmers over the years.
Besides the plans to enhance the security in the region, the governors have also come up with a plan on youth empowerment and job creation that will be implemented by various states to train the youth on skills acquisition in order for them not to get involved in criminal acts.
The menace of cattle rustling in most states in the north has become a nightmare for residents of the region, with over 30,000 cows and other livestock stolen by armed bandits in the past one year.
It is expected that regular meetings of this kind would go a long way in stemming the recurring cases of cattle rustling and other associated crimes in the region.
Some aggrieved residents of Lokoja, Gwari and Muri roads in Kaduna metropolis have held a peaceful protest against plan by the Kaduna State Government to demolish their buildings.
The residents, mostly artisans, said they were served notice of eviction through the Chairman of Kaduna North Local Government Council, to vacate their shops and residential buildings within two weeks, after which they will be demolished.
Spokesman for the aggrieved residents, Mr Abiola Eneja, said the two-weeks ultimatum given to them to vacate their shops was too short, and more-so they had all valid papers for their shops.
He appealed to the State government to provide them with an alternative land where they could build new shops, or at least give them sufficient time to relocate.
Reports says the area is home to majority of the commercial printing houses in the state capital, with over 300 shops being marked for demolition.
Carrying placards and singing protest songs, the shop owners marched along the roads to show their anger over the proposed demolition.
In the copy of the eviction notice obtained by Channels Television’s correspondent, dated August 5, 2015, the council based its action on the state’s 1958 township building rules and Environmental Protection Law of 2010.
The notice, however, warned that any violator of the eviction order would be dealt with.
In reaction to this, the printers said their opinions were not sought on the planned demolition and they were only presented with a fait accompli.
They also explained that the land was allocated to them by the government to build their shops more than 25 years ago, wondering why the government wants to evict them from the same land.
The Senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, described the ongoing demolition exercise by the State government as harsh and anti-people.
Mr Sani advised the government to trade with caution, in order not to plunge the citizens into severe hardship.
While addressing a coalition of youth groups and Civil Society Organisations, who marched to his office to support the ongoing demolition exercise, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said his administration would continue to resist any attempt by land grabbers to take over schools and hospital lands in the state.
He added that those with genuine papers and had obtained valid building permits would be adequately compensated.
A combined team of Security operatives in Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria, have recovered over 1,000 cows and other livestock from cattle rustlers in Birnin, Gwari Local Government Area of the state.
The combined team of military, Police and State Security Service operatives recovered the stolen animals and also arrested some of the armed rustlers during a raid inside the deadly Kamuku and Kuyanbana forests in the Local Government.
The forests are located within the borders of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto States.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the spokesman for the Kaduna State Governor, Samuel Aruwan, a total number of 295 sheep and 14 donkeys were also recovered inside the two forests during the raid.
The statement further said that most of the recovered animals had been released to their owners after satisfying the necessary conditions.
A combined team of security operatives have recovered at least 2,000 cattles from rustlers in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria.
On Tuesday, the security operatives killed three and arrested eight suspected cattle rustlers during a routine operation at a forest, which served as their hideout in the area.
Speaking to reporters after visiting sites of the assembled rescued cows in Birnin Gwari, the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, commended the security operatives for the successful operation that led to the arrest of the hoodlums and rescue of the stolen cows.
While stating that the problem of cattle rustling and other criminal vices had lingered in the area for too long, Governor El-Rufai said that similar joint security operations were ongoing in neighbouring states like Niger, Katsina, Zamfara and Kebbi.
He, however, called on the people of Kaduna State to assist and pray for the security agencies towards ending the activities of bandits in the state.
Parading the arrested hoodlums at the operational base in Damari, a town in Birnin Gwari, the leader of the Joint Task Force, Captain Ujah, gave an assurance that the days of the remaining criminals terrorising the area were numbered.
In 2013, armed robbers attacked Birnin Gwari, killing 13 people, including two soldiers and some vigilante members.
As a result of the spate of killings and cattle rustling by gunmen in the community and environs, a combined team of soldiers and other security operatives were deployed to the forest bordering the community to flush out the bandits.
The meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the 36 state governors on how to offset over 100 billion Naira salaries of Nigerian workers ended without an offer of a bailout plan by the Federal Government to the States.
At the end of the meeting held on Tuesday, the Governors were only able to reach an agreement that the Federal Government should pay debts it owed the states over jobs they executed.
Zamfara State Governor and chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdullaziz Yari, who briefed reporters after the meeting, said that instead of a bailout, the state governments were told to look inwards and generate needed funds to clear their debts.
Poor Management Of The Economy
The State Governors also requested that the Nigerian Liquefied Gas Company’s tax should be paid into the Federation Account and be shared.
They also asked the Federal Government to ensure that monies accruing from the Federation Account should be shared, as stipulated by the constitution.
It is the first time the President will be meeting with the Governors to find a solution to the financial crisis that has made no fewer than 22 of the states owe salaries to their workers to the tune of 100 billion Naira (about $5,000,000).
The Nigerian Governors, whose lot has always been to come to Abuja to share in the Federation Account, through their chairman said they were pleased to meet with the President but that it was beyond a bailout as reported.
Vice President Namadi Sambo has met with leaders of various Islamic organizations in the North West Zone, desirous to ensure a peaceful free and fair elections in Nigeria.
The meeting which took place in Kaduna on Sunday was organized by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Islamic Matters in collaboration with coalition of Islamic Organizations in Nigeria.
The meeting was aimed at sensitizing Muslims in the zone on how to ensure that peace reigns before, during and after the elections.
Addressing the gathering, Vice President Namadi Sambo appealed to religious leaders and the entire citizenry to desist from making inciting statements capable of disrupting the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming elections and also to ensure that peace reigns supreme in their respective domains, before, during and after the elections.
He also urged the Muslim leaders to lead their followers on the path of peace by preaching peace to them in their sermons always.
The seminar which had the theme,”Towards A Violent Free 2015 General Election in Nigeria; the Role of Religious Leaders and Parents”, attracted the presence of prominent Islamic preachers and scholars from Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kano states.
One by one, they made their presentations where they emphasised the need for all to embrace peace and shun acts capable of disrupting the forthcoming poll.
Vice President Sambo on his part urged youths not to take laws into their hands during the elections no matter the height of provocation.
Healso assured of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration bringing a positive development in the country> He also said the administration is working very hard to end Boko Haram insurgency in the north eastern region of Nigeria.
The 2011 post election violence affected many States in the North where many lives and property were lost.
Kano residents, friends and relatives and traditional rulers across Nigeria and beyond converged on Kano Government House on Saturday for the official coronation of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
Emir Sanusi was selected the 14th Emir of Kano following the death of his predecessor Alhaji Ado Bayero in June 2014.
At the coronation ceremony, the Emir promised to serve the emirate with the fear of God and in accordance with Islamic Teachings.
The occasion was to officially turban Muhammadu Sanusi II and hand over a staff of office to him.
The Emir was sworn in by the Chief Imam of the Kano Central, Professor Sani Zaharadden, witnessed by the former Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Muhammadu Buhari, Governors of Niger, Zamfara, Yobe, among others.
The occasion was also attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Oba of Lagos and the Emir of Damagaram in Niger Republic among other Traditional Rulers.
Receiving the staff of office from the governor, the Emir promised to rule in accordance with the tradition.
“I thank everyone for attending this occasion, especially the governor for selecting me. I assure you that i will lead you in accordance with Islamic teachings and with the fear of God irrespective of your tribe or religion.”
The Kano State Governor, Rabi’u Kwankwaso, who described the Emir as a man of humility and justice also says that his selection followed a series of consultation with kingmakers and other concerned authorities who authenticated that the Emir was a kind and generous man.
After the Emir was kitted, he was shown to the people of Kano Kingdom.
It is a major activity that follows the coronation and it gives the District Head and other Traditional Rulers the opportunity to pay homage to the Emir.