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Governor weeps over Boko Haram attacks

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Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and wept profusely over unrelenting devastation of his state by Boko Haram terrorists, asking the president to do more to save the people from destruction by the terror gang.

The governor led a delegation of Borno elders to the president a week after he met, in Maiduguri, the state capital, with stakeholders in the state, telling them that the insecurity situation was dire and required extra commitment on their part to ward off the terrorists’ offensive.

Relating the devastation in the state, to Buhari yesterday, Shettima could not fight back the tears as he chronicled the deadly activities of Boko Haram since 2013 and noted that the recent destructive acts of the terrorists were only comparable with what he described as the worst times of 2013, 2014.

According to him, the state’s recent experience is a major setback in the fight against insurgency in the North-east.

Shettima, however, said the delegation had not lost hope in Buhari’s ability to win the war against terror and restore normalcy to Borno State.

Amid tears, like a child, who was deprived of his beans cake, he told the president that the delegation came to present 10 requests, which he appealed to journalists not to make public.

A statement later by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari reasserted his administration’s unwavering support to equip the military to overcome the insurgency in the North-east.

He said the president also told the delegation that the collective safety and security of civilians would continue to remain paramount in the administration’s strategy to restore peace and stability in the region.

‘‘Having been a former Governor in the North-east, a GOC in the region and very familiar with the terrain, I assure you that as Commander-in-Chief, I’ll raise the standard of the Nigerian Armed Forces and get the resources to encourage them to do better than what they are doing,’’ he said.

The president told the delegation comprising political, traditional, religious, women and media leaders in the state that he was impressed by their leadership roles and participation in helping the government deal with the insurgency in the North-east.

The statement added that the president commended the contributions of the stakeholders from Borno State particularly the need for more air support for troops on the ground and coordination among different security agencies.

“I am getting at least a weekly situation report from the services and of course from other sources. I encourage the commanders to remain committed,’’ he said.

It also said Buhari thanked Shettima for demonstrating leadership in the state during these difficult times.

‘‘I have an idea how much you are doing and I very much appreciate it. I’m sure that has earned you more respect from the people,’’ he said.

Adesina said earlier in his remarks, Shettima recalled that before 2015, Boko Haram had almost completely overrun the state, occupying many local government areas because the state government did not receive the necessary support and succour from the then federal government.

The governor was quoted to have said, ‘‘We are here as a people who worked, prayed and waited for your presidency in the firm belief that with you as Commander-in-Chief, Boko Haram will become history.

‘‘We are here because you have demonstrated empathy for Borno people and the overriding commitment to end Boko Haram.

‘‘We are here because we knew you would welcome us without any suspicion or contempt.’’

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SECURITY

Security – Kano state police detains over 1800 political thugs

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The Police Command in Kano State said on Thursday that no fewer than 1,800 political thugs were currently in prison across the state, awaiting trial.

Nigerian Prison

The state Police Commissioner, Mr Wakili Muhammad, disclosed this in Kano at a one-day meeting with stakeholders for the promotion of peaceful conduct of the governorship re-run in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the town hall meeting was organised by the National Peace Committee in collaboration with the Kano Peace Committee.

It was geared towards ensuring peaceful conduct of the governorship re-run on Saturday.

The commissioner, represented by ACP Abubakar Zubairu, said the suspects were apprehended during the Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as the Governorship election.

He said Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and Area Commanders in Kano state had already been directed to arrest all those who tried to cause violence before, during and after the re-run.

Muhammad said the police command had put in place adequate security measures to ensure that the election was peaceful and devoid of violence.

“We want to inform people who may want to cause trouble to know that we are ready for them and anybody who wants to test our will, let him or her come out,” he said.

According to him, the Force Headquarters had deployed additional security personnel to the state to enhance security during the election.

He, therefore, advised the youths to shun politicians who were bent on using them to cause violence, adding no politicians worth their salt should resort to use of violence.

In his remarks, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof Riskuwa Arab-Shehu, said the commission had received all the necessary election materials for the conduct of the re-run.

The REC, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Alhaji Lawal Mohammed Garba, commended the committee for organising the meeting.

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Nigeria joins other countries in grounding Boeing 737 Max

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The federal government has banned Boeing 737 Max airplanes from flying into Nigeria’s airspace until further notice.

Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

This is a direct reaction to the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crash on March 10 morning enroute from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew on board. Subsequently, the European Union, UK, China and India banned the Boeing 737 Max from flying over their airspace due to concerns over passenger safety. Also Ethiopia, Singapore, China, France, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia have all temporarily suspended the 737 Max.

The aviation minister yesterday reiterated that no operator in Nigeria was using that type of airplane. He said: “Regarding Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 that have been in the news recently, there is no cause for alarm as there is no operator in Nigeria that is using that type of airplane.

“The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), whose mandate it is to issue advisory, has already issued advisory that nobody should fly into Nigeria or out of Nigeria using Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia and also pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturer, which is Messers Boeing.”

He remarked that “regardless of the enormous safety records of this plane, Boeing 737, it has caused concern in the world of aviation and you know aviation is universal – whatever affects one affects the other, because aircraft will be flying in and out.

“So, we have issued directive that no operator with Boeing 737 Max 8 or Max 9 should operate into and outside our airports and this is being carried out.”

Speaking on the orders placed by Air Peace and Arik for the supply of that brand of airplanes, the minister noted that they would not be delivered in the country until the next two years “and this is enough period to sort out whatever problem it is with that plane.

“The world of aviation will not be sleeping just as we in Nigeria will not be sleeping. And it is normal standard practice that once a particular aircraft type is involved in accident back to back, it is withdrawn from the market to see if there is something they are doing wrong. And if it is confirmed that a particular problem, say for instance, landing gear, they will issue an instruction to ground such plane worldwide until the problem is fixed. So, this case is not different,” he said.

Sirika gave assurance that authorities would be alive to their responsibility, which is to secure life and property.

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Collapsed Building: 25 bodies rescued, Ambode visit site

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Dozens of children are believed trapped inside a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, where massive rescue attempt are ongoing.

The building is on the Ita-faji area of Lagos island, the oldest part of the city.

It is unclear how many people are inside the ruins of the three-story building that collapsed about 10 a.m. local time Wednesday.

It is reported that a school with about 100 students was located on the building’s top floor.

Several children are believed to have been rescued from the debris. Ambulances, fire trucks, and heavy building equipment were standing by to help with the search-and-rescue effort.

Meanwhile, the governor of Lagos State, Akinwumnu Ambode has has visited the scene where he got briefing from the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency boss that 25 bodies have been rescued so far.

He said, “I’ve been briefed that the building is a residential building accommodating an illegal school on the second floor.

“The rescue team are fully in charge and they will continue with the rescue operation. But I appeal to people to give the rescue workers a chance to save more lives.”

He, however, said the state government will carry out an integrity test on buildings around the area and demolish and any that fails the test.

“This area and building here will be undergoing an integrity test. As you can see some of the buildings have been marked for demolition

“We have been receiving pleas from house owners from the area. Notwithstanding, we will go ahead with the integrity test and any building that fails the integrity test will be demolished.

“But the most important thing now is to save more lives before we talk about dealing with the culprit.

“The deputy governor is at the hospital to take care of those who have been rescued and are at the hospital. The hospital bills will be taken care of by the state government,” Ambode said

Building collapses are not uncommon in Nigeria. In 2016, more than 100 people died when a church collapsed in southeastern Nigeria. A five-story building in Lagos collapsed that year as well, killing at least 30 people.

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Celebration turns bloody in Taraba state

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Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State has extended the dusk to dawn curfew he imposed on Jalingo to 24 hours as a celebration to mark his reelection turns bloody.

Ishaku had imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on Jalingo on Monday to avert a breakdown of law and order in the town as there were credible intelligence reports that there were plans in certain quarters to sponsor violence.

However, the peace in the town was shattered Tuesday morning as youths and women groups who trooped out in their thousands to celebrate Ishaku’s victory at the polls were attacked by some armed youths who inflicted injuries on them.

The incident led to serious pandemonium across the town as people ran helter-skelter to avoid being caught in a crossfire thereby necessitating the extension of the curfew.

In a statement released on Tuesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Dan Abu, the governor said the curfew would remain in force till further notice.

The statement directed all security agencies in the state to ensure strict compliance and enforcement of the curfew.

Meanwhile, a community leader in the town, Alhaji Bello Yero, has urged youths in the town to eschew violence and refrain from being used to breach the security of the state.

Speaking to Journalists against the backdrop of violence that led to the imposition of the curfew, Alhaji Yero also warned opposition politicians in the state to join hands with Ishaku to bring peace and development to the state.

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