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Insecurity: Ooni charges NASS on constitutional roles for traditional rulers

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By Jeleel Olawale

Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has charged the National Assembly (NASS) to carry out legislation that will provide for the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) with constitutional roles to enable them make more positive impacts in the security architecture of the Country.

Ooni in a statement by the Director, Media and Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, Otunba Moses Olafare, warned that failure to do so, the Country may not effectively tackle emerging and contemporary security challenges bedeviling the Country.

Ooni who doubles as Co-chairman of NCTRN which is the umbrella body of all the traditional rulers in Country, stated this in Kaduna as Guest Speaker/Royal Father during the 2023 Exercise Haski Hiyu Lecture organised by the Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State, attended by senior military officers drawn from various units and formations across the Country.

The lecture with the theme: “Combating Internal Security Challenges Through Effective Utilisation Of Traditional Institution,” Ooni attributed the high rate of crimes and unending security challenges to the failure of government to assign specific constitutional roles to traditional rulers in the Country.

“Any Nation pushing traditional rulers aside may not prosper. We are the closest to the people and we must be constitutionally empowered to work together with government so as to take our country to another level especially on security matters.

“We were more relevant during pre-independence struggle and post-independence constitutional democracy up till the end of the first Republic in 1966.

“When the colonial people came, they practiced indirect rule in some parts of this country and they could only rule over the citizens through their traditional rulers. In fact, the First Governor of African origin was Ooni Adesoji Aderemi who simultaneously reigned as the King of Ile-Ife and same time governed the old Western Region alongside Late Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier. This was when traditional rulers had constitutional powers.

“Palace is the focal point. Whenever there is a breakdown of law and order in town, people rush to the palace. To you the Nigerian gatekeepers, how do you want to do your jobs successfully without traditional instructions? Impossible,”  Ooni said.

Ooni returned to the Country few days ago from a two week Pan-African trip to Brazil where he met with President Luiz Inácio LULA da Silva in Brasilia Brazil on Tuesday 21st before flying to Kenya where he was hosted by President William Ruto at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday 25th March.

Ooni insisted that the traditional institution has a vital role to play in the fight against insurgency, banditry and other related crimes in the society due to their closeness to the people, and therefore expresses the need to enshrine roles of traditional rulers in the constitution.

In his speech, Commandant of the Armed Forces Command And Staff College, JAJI Kaduna state, Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Wunoh thanked the monarch for honouring their invitation and expressed satisfaction with the Ooni’s speech to the officers of the Nigerian military who were present at the lecture which is an annual exercise organised by the military training institution to cross-fertilise ideas and strengthen inter-agency collaboration between civil-military and paramilitary organisations to tackle emerging and contemporary security threats within their domains.

The Commandant said, he was in total agreement with the request of constitutional roles for Nigerian Traditional Rulers to effectively complement efforts of the security agencies made by the Ife monarch.

The Ooni alongside his queen, Olori Tobiloba Ogunwusi had on his arrival at the Kaduna International Airport proceeded to the ancient city of Zaria on a courtesy visit to the Emir of Zauzau HRH Mallam Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, CFR as a mark of territorial honour. He was also joined by Yoruba indigenes residing in Zaria who had trooped out to welcome the number one king in Yorubaland.

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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