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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

Buhari, Governors battling insecurity

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The Presidency on Sunday night said that President Muhammadu Buhari and governors in the North West were working out strategic plan to end insurgency in the zone and the Northern region. This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

President Buhari in France

According to him, President Buhari’s administration and the Northwestern state governments were pursuing an urgent revamp of the national security apparatus in the subregion following the infiltration of bandits into areas.

The renewed effort to secure the zone, he said, came on the heels of the recent killing of 34 persons in an attack on Tungar Kafau and Gidan Wawa communities in Shinkafi Local Government Areas of Zamfara
President Buhari, who expressed sorrow over the renewed attacks extended his sympathies to the governments and people of Sokoto and Zamfara states and charged all stakeholders, made up of the federal security agencies and the states involved in drawing up the long-term strategic defense plan to begin its immediate implementation.

He said “Under the plan, states are joining the federal government in supporting the security and military operations by providing logistical support.
“States are providing additional vehicles in addition to those provided from the center. The federal government is establishing new forward operation bases and when all of these come together, the ongoing operations will be scaled up.

“The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and the various State Emergency Management Agencies, SEMA are expected to streamline their operations to provide succor to displaced persons, thousands of whom are taking refuge in the neighboring Niger Republic.

“The full implementation of the plan is expected to provide security for residents to return to deserted communities,” he added

President Buhari, he said, assured once again that his administration was fully conscious of its responsibility of protecting the life and property of citizens and will not fail in that regard.

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Akeredolu decries state of insecurity

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Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has lamented that only very important personalities attached with security men are safe on the roads. Akeredolu decried the spate of kidnapping on highways, assuring his people that the menace would soon become a thing of the past.

He spoke Sunday evening during the maiden participatory Radio/Television program tagged: “An evening with Mr. Governor” in Akure, the state capital.

Akeredolu said the Akure-Ibadan road is notorious for kidnapping, stressing that his convoy ran into suspected kidnappers on the road recently.
Akeredolu said the assailants ran into the bush when his security men opened fire.

According to him, his convoy was almost attacked, but the security details shot into the air to scare the kidnappers, who ran into the bush.

“It is a serious problem on Akure-Ibadan road. We as governors will do something about the issue with the Federal Government,” the governor said.

The governor said the situation was affecting only the masses as the big men enjoy themselves when they drive in convoys.

He admitted that travelers are not safe on the road, but jokingly said: “I have passed the level where somebody can kidnap me again.”

On the increase in the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR), Akeredolu said: “It has not placed an undue burden on the good people of Ondo State. We have not increased tax.

“The only difference is that we have trained personnel, who have ensured accountability and proper collection of these funds in all local governments across the state.

“When we came on board, Ondo State generated N700 million as IGR and with this, it can’t get us to anywhere and that is why we have to put all hands on the deck to generate N1.5 billion. We are still working hard on how to generate more.”

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SECURITY

Mattawale suspends emir over insecurity

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Zamfara State Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle has approved the suspension of Emir of Maru, Alhaji Abubakar Cika Ibrahim and District Head of Kanoma Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed. The suspension was announced yesterday in a statement signed by the Director General, Press Affairs to the Government House, Yusuf Idris.

Their suspension, according to Idris, followed complaints from residents over their alleged involvement with bandits attacking communities in the area.

Idris noted that the duo would remain suspended pending the outcome of an investigation panel, which will soon be set up by the state government.
The Emir has, however, been directed to hand over his official vehicles and other government properties in his possession to the Senior District Head. The Kanoma district head is to hand over the same to the most senior village head.

The suspension confirmed the allegation of former Minister of Defence Lt.-Gen. Mansur Dan Ali over the involvement of some monarchs in banditry. Sixteen people were confirmed killed and 14 injured by suspected bandits in attacks in Kanoma community on Sallah day.

Director General, Press Affairs to the Zamfara State Government House, confirmed the incident. However, the governor has paid a condolence visit to the community, saying he was aggrieved by the news of the attack. Matawalle assured the people of adequate security measures to end the armed banditry and other criminal activities.

He said his administration would collaborate with well-meaning citizens to end the security challenges facing the state.

He called on the locals to provide the government with accurate intelligence reports that would assist the security agencies in apprehending the criminals.

The governor also prayed to God to reward the souls of those who lost their lives with Jannatul Firdaus and give their families the fortitude to bear the loss.

Matawalle also called on the bandits to surrender their arms and embrace peace before it is too late.

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Falana wants end to incessant killings

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Pro-democracy group and rights activists have urged the Federal Government to tackle insecurity and rising youth unemployment in the country. They spoke yesterday at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, Lagos, during a protest to reawaken government to its responsibilities to the people.

Activist lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) said kidnapping, armed banditry, police harassment, and other vices were increasing daily.

He said there was an urgent need to arrest the trend.
The eminent lawyer said yesterday’s transition of power from one government to the other was meaningless because the people’s development was not paramount in the blueprint of the elected officials.

“Enough is enough of kidnapping, enough of killings, enough of widening the gap of youth unemployment, enough of police arresting people for wandering,” he said.

Falana said democracy is not only about the sinking of boreholes and dancing on the streets in a country that used to have good roads that have become death traps.
According to him, the arrest and detention of innocent people for wandering by the police are vestiges of military dictatorship.

The eminent lawyer noted that the anathema had crept into the civilian administration.

He said the police must be adequately catered for to enable them to perform maximally.

Falana said: “If the police are properly empowered to provide internal security, they should be able to perform their job. Soldiers should not be seen on the street as they are meant to provide security against external aggression.

“No soldier should be seen in a civilian clime intimidating the people with his uniform. It is only the police the Constitution gives such powers. It is even wrong for the police to parade suspects as common criminals. All these affronts have continued to work against civil society.”

“Youth unemployment is a sore episode in the Nigerian state. There is information at our disposal about money recovered through whistleblowers, the ones recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC): the money should be put to use to create jobs for youths.”

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