…112 killed, 160 abducted in Kaduna, Plateau – Report
By Blessing Wika, Abuja
The Nigerian Army on Tuesday said at least 1,000 Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) members have laid down their arms and surrendered to its troops in Borno State.
The Army spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, responding to report that it freed two senior Boko Haram bomb experts after rehabilitation said, the army does not want to be distracted from its main focus of dealing decisively with the threat against peace loving Nigerians.
In Tuesday’s statement, the army stated that it would continue to operate according to the Nigeria’s constitution.
The statement also said all the surrendered terrorists would be received, processed and passed on to the relevant agencies of government for further assessment in line with extant provisions.
The Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General , Onyema Nwachukwu said, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication by some online news medium released in which the authors deliberately misrepresented the facts contained in that report and twisted it to suit whatever purpose they seek to achieve.
“While the Nigerian Army (NA) does not want to be distracted from its main focus of dealing decisively with the threats against peace loving Nigerians, it has become necessary to put issues in their right perspectives.
“It is a known fact that in the recent past, over 1,000 members of Boko Haram and their families have surrendered to the troops due to the intense pressure from troops’ sustained offensive actions. Among those were key leaders of the terrorist group who have renounced their membership and have turned themselves in.
“The NA being a professional military organisation will continue to act in accordance with the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as international best practices. It must be known that the NA will never encourage any act of lawlessness or extra judicial killings.
“Accordingly, all surrendered terrorists will be received, processed and passed on to the relevant agencies of Government for further assessment in line with extant provisions.
“The ongoing Operation Safe Corridor is an outfit established by the Federal Government and not the NA. As such, it is absolutely wrong to say that the NA will free repentant terrorists.
“The NA therefore appeals to the public to disregard the deliberate distortion of facts by these online mediums and continue to support the NA in order to rid the country of terrorism and other forms of insecurity.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya has reiterated his admonition to all terrorist groups operating in the country to abandon their illegitimate cause and surrender to troops.”
Nwachukwu in a statement had disclosed that Boko Haram terrorists / ISWAP senior commanders, chief bomb expert and families surrender with followers to the troops in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
According to his statement, “While distributing new cloths and assorted food items, groceries and toiletries to the surrendered terrorists and their families totalling 335 fighters, 746 adult women and children including one of the abducted Chibok girls, it was observed that the reasons for such massive turn was basically due to the intensified Nigerian military campaign on their enclaves and environs and also with the overwhelming famine, discontent, internal skirmishes, health challenges as well as untold hardship.”
In another development, Global human rights’ body, Amnesty International, has said that no fewer than 112 persons were killed by ravaging murderous Fulani herdsmen and armed gunmen in Kaduna and Plateau states in one month.
In the month under review, 160 persons were also abducted while many communities had been dislodged or reduced to rubbles.
The AI Media Manager in a release on Tuesday, said “At least 112 people were killed, 160 abducted and thousands displaced in communities in Kaduna and Plateau states from July to 5 August 2021,” the statement reads partly.
In the statement, the Director of Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho was quoted as saying, “Our
findings show that despite clear signs that there will be retaliatory attacks, enough is not being done to prevent the bloodshed, thereby fuelling the ongoing circle of violence. Beyond issuing statements and condemning attacks after they happen; government needs to rein in on attackers and bring suspects to justice.”
The statement further reveals, “Amnesty International’s investigation shows at least 78 people were killed and 160 abducted by bandits between 3 July and 5 August 2021 in Kaduna state including 121 school children of Bethel Baptist Church High School.
“At least 34 people have been killed in Plateau state, including 7 herders who were attacked on 1 July at Dogon Gaba, 2 others were lynched at Fusa Village while trying to locate their missing cow.
“Villagers from farming communities, informed Amnesty International that, innocent people and communities that know nothing about the attacks are sometimes targeted for reprisal.
“A retaliatory attack on 31 July and 1 August 2021, led to the killing of at least 17 people, and displacements of hundreds in farming communities in Bassa and Riyom LGAs, Plateau state.”
A 39-year-old farmer informed Amnesty International that, “We have been hearing gunshots in our village since Monday after the attack. We don’t know why we were attacked, I had to relocate to the IDP camp with my family.”
Also leaders of some Fulani herders’ communities in Plateau state told Amnesty International that the inaction of the security operatives have contributed to the recent retaliatory attacks in the state.
“The slow and ineffective response by security officials is contributing to the attacks and reprisal in the state, people are getting away with crimes,” a source told the human rights organisation.
“The Nigerian authorities must act swiftly to prevent such attacks from happening. The slow response from security forces is clearly causing increased in casualties, how much longer must people be forced to live in fear as such brutal attacks continue?” said Ojigho added in the statement.
NewsDirect at 13: Our commitment to press freedom, accurate news relentless — ED
The Executive Director and Manager for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for Nigerian NewsDirect, Mr Mathew Ibiyemi has reiterated the commitment of the media house to advocating for increased press freedom and promotion of accurate news.
In a press statement issued on behalf of the company on the occasion of its 13th Anniversary, Mr Mathew acknowledged that the newspaper industry in Nigeria and globally is going through very challenging times.
He noted that the challenges may be enormous but they are not insurmountable.
The NewsDirect ED explained that the challenges will not make the company compromise on the truth but will instead further its resolve to continuously provide accurate and insightful news from source.
Mr Mathew also seized the occasion to thank readers and partners of the brand who have ceaselessly contributed to the newspaper’s continuous publication on news-stand.
Nigerian NewsDirect is slated to host an anniversary dinner in Lagos today to celebrate the milestone age and also interact with its partners.
Tinubu seeks N’Assembly approval for fresh $8.7bn, 100m loans
…To defend 2024 budget, borrowing plan at joint plenary session
Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has again sought the approval of the National Assembly for fresh loans to the tune of $8.7billion and €100 million.
In a letter to the House of Representatives, the President said the loans were intended to fund projects which cut across sectors, particularly infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management. among others.
The letter read, “I write with reference to above subject matter and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing rolling plan for consideration and approval of the National Assembly to ensure optimum implementation of the budget.
“The Honourable members may wish to know that the past administration approved the 2022-2024 borrowing plan at the Federal Executive Council held on 15 May, 2023.
“Following the removal of the fuel subsidy and its attendant impact on our economy, African Development Bank and the World bank group have indicated interest in assisting the country to mitigate the impact with the sum of one billion USD and 1.5 billion USD respectively; in addition to the FEC approved 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of 8,699,168,559 USD, and 100 million Euros.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive technical economic evaluation as well as the expected contribution to the socio-economic development of the country including employment generation, skills acquisition, support towards the emergence of young entrepreneurs, poverty reduction and food security to improve the livelihood in all 36 states and the FCT.
“Considering the huge infrastructure deficit in the country and the enormous financial resources required to bridge the gap in funding infrastructure in the face of dwindling financial resources, it has become imperative that we resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will be largely be applied to key infrastructure projects including power, railway, health among others.
“Given the nature of these facilities and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary to request the House of Representatives to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibilities to Nigerians through expedient disbursement and efficient project implementation.
“I hereby forward the proposed 2022-2024 external borrowing plan and trust that it would receive judicious consideration and passage of the House of Representatives,” the letter read.
The President also wrote to the Senate. The letter by the President was read by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, at the plenary on Tuesday.
The letter read, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council held on May 15, 2023.
“The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.”
It added, “Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy it has become necessary for the senate to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
The President is expected to defend the borrowing plan and the 2024 budget in a joint plenary session today which the National Assembly granted.
Rivers Guber poll: Fubara emerges victorious at Appeal court
Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara has emerged victorious in an appeal challenging his electoral victory in the 2023 General elections.
Fubara’s victory was further ascertained by a judgement of the Appeal court sitting in Lagos yesterday.
The Court, in a unanimous decision, affirmed the judgment of the election tribunal, dismissing four separate appeals filed by Tonye Cole of All Progressives Congress (APC), Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party (LP), Innocent Ekwu of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), and Lulu Briggs Dumo of the Accord Party.
The court held that all the appellants failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
Recall that the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had in October dismissed the petition of the APC Candidate challenging the election of Fubara as the governor of the state.
The APC candidate, who was present in the courtroom on Tuesday urged the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him the winner of the March governorship election in Rivers.
The election tribunal in Rivers state had dismissed the petition saying that the APC that sponsored Cole had withdrawn the petition against Fubara’s victory.
Not satisfied with the Tribunal’s victory, the APC candidate approached the appellate court. However, the court on Tuesday affirmed the Tribunal ruling which earlier upheld Fubara’s electoral victory in October.
Justice Ridwan Maiwada Abdullahi (absent), Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe and Justice Bature Isa Gafa, held that the fact that APC ceased to be a party to the case did not make Cole’s petition invalid. The judges concluded that the Tribunal was in error to have struck out that item of the petition.
“A political party cannot compel a candidate to withdraw a petition neither can a candidate compel the party to withdraw,” Justice Adegbehingbe ruled.
However, on the other grounds, the court held that the appellants’ evidence were inadequate in proving the allegations of over-voting, disenfranchisement and other alleged irregularities.
The grounds bordering on fraud and whether Fubara was qualified to have contested the election were struck out based on unconvincing evidence. Cole cited allegations of irregularities and Fubara’s continued signing of documents as the State’s Accountant-General after his PDP nomination.
In his immediate reaction, Cole said the appellate court’s judgment has given him and his legal team a greenlight, and that will determine their next line of action.
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