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Plateau killings: We will destroy the cancer of terrorism — DHQ

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…Insists military not backing any group

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has vowed to destroy terrorism describihg it as a cancer.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday on the operations of the armed forces.

According to the Director, he stated that the military has deployed its special forces to conduct targeted operations across the country as part of a renewed response to tackle the menace of insurgency, kidnapping, and other security threats.

Buba said the military was conscious of the apprehension occasioned by kidnappings, particularly with recent events recorded in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other areas.

The ‘Middle Belt,’ a region in Nigeria known for its ethnic and religious diversity, has long been plagued by conflicts between farmers and herders, breeding violence that has claimed countless lives.

The recent violence in Plateau state occurred just days after a Christmas Day attack that left at least 140 people dead. In response, a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on January 23. Residents in the North-central region, where Plateau is located, point to armed herders as the main culprits behind the attacks on farmers.

The DHQ further assured Nigerians that it is redoubling efforts to ensure that citizens live in a peaceful environment and have a prosperous life.

“This is achievable, and we are focused on achieving it,” the Director emphasised.

“The armed forces would destroy the cancer of terrorism that is ravaging our country, thereby creating situations such as is ongoing in Plateau State.

“The situation of insecurity that we are confronted with is self-inflicted by our own citizens upon one another.

“Nevertheless, it is our duty to protect citizens and create a safe environment for them to have a prosperous future,” the Defence spokesman said.

Buba added that the military has constantly rejigged its operational strategies to adopt the best course of action that would guarantee success.

According to him, the military has deployed Special Forces to some of the hotspots to conduct targeted operations.

“We have also deployed several battlefield enablers to enhance intelligence and strike capability against these terrorists.

“We are encouraging the warring factions to sheath their swords.”

Commenting on ongoing security operations in the FCT, he said, “As for the FCT and environs, offensive operations are ongoing at the following locations: Cashew Forest, Kwaku, Gwombe, Gadoro, and Tukuba, all in Kuje Area Council.

“Other areas covered were Kawu, Igu, Tokulo, Gaba, Zuma 1 and Zuma 2, Shere, Mpape, Jikoko, Berger Quarry, and Nukuchi Villages, all in Bwari Area Council of FCT.

“In neighbouring states to the FCT, such as Niger State, troops are conducting operations in Gauraka, Apo Forest, Gyedna/Sabon Wuse, and Garam in Tafa LGA of Niger State.

“Additionally, troops covered Numan and Basa in Akwanga and Nasarawa LGAs of Nasarawa State, respectively,” he said.

On the Mangu crisis in Plateau, Buba said it was being handled by troops deployed to the area to restore normalcy.

Tukur Gusau, Brigadier General and Acting Director Defence Information also said the military remains neutral following allegations of partisanship in the conflict, adding that troops responded professionally and by the rules of engagement.

In a statement responding to a viral video by the Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Mangu Chapter, Reverend Timothy Daluk, the Gusau argued that the video is aimed at maligning military personnel deployed to address the security challenges in the Mangu general area.

“The video made baseless and untrue accusations, claiming that the military is biased and supports a particular group against others. We categorically state that these accusations hold no truth, are malicious and lack any reasonable foundation.

“It is important to recall that on 23 January 2024, there was a breach of security in the Mangu municipal area, resulting in the Government of Plateau state declaring a 24-hour curfew. Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN were reinforced in Mangu to enforce the curfew and bring the situation under control, thereby preventing its spread to other areas.

“The troops have carried out their duties professionally and in accordance with the rules of engagement. They have successfully arrested criminals involved in looting and burning of properties, as well as recovered weapons.

“It is deeply disturbing that a religious leader, who is expected to demonstrate high levels of moral judgement and truthfulness, has resorted to spreading falsehoods about the military and its personnel.

“We want to reiterate that the military remains neutral, focused, professional and committed to its constitutional role of protecting the lives and property of law-abiding citizens. We will deal with anybody found disobeying the law, without bias or prejudice.

“We therefore call upon the public to support the ongoing military operations aimed at decimating non-state actors operating in these troubled areas of the State. We will not be distracted by baseless accusations and remain steadfast in our commitment to restoring peace and security.

“We strongly caution individuals involved in making malicious comments against the military to cease from such acts. Henceforth, any person found spreading falsehoods will face constitutional redress, regardless of their status in society.”

“We sincerely appreciate the law-abiding citizens for their support and cooperation and assure the public of our unwavering dedication to preserving peace and security in the country. Thank you,” the statement read.

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Senate tasks stakeholders on strengthening commodities exchange

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The Senate has tasked relevant stakeholders in the Capital Market to strive hard to strengthen the commodities exchange toward actualising its full potential.

Sen. Osita Izunaso, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, said this at a workshop for members of the committee, with the theme “On Infrastructure Financing Development of the Commodities Ecosystem through Commodities Exchanges” in Abuja on Sunday.

He said that executive and the legislature must work in harmony to ensure that commodities exchange was strengthened in line with the global best practices.

Izunaso said that the workshop was aimed at positioning the community exchange toward ensuring food security in the country as well as enhance foreign exchange earnings.

“We discover that people are talking about money market, capital market. Nobody is dwelling on commodity. So that is why we have to partner with Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to bring the story nearer home.

“There must be need for us to ensure that all the export commodities in Nigeria should pass through the commodity exchange as a way of getting revenue for the country.

“Commodities exchanges are game-changers. They enable investment diversification, manage risk, ensure fair pricing and streamline transactions.

“To boost Nigeria’s competitiveness, we need a thriving commodities trading ecosystem,” he said.
Izunaso added:“Recent global events highlight the urgent need to diversify our economy. Prioritising and accelerating the development of non-oil commodities is crucial, especially to diversify foreign exchange sources.”

He said that the Lagos Commodities Exchange had recorded some major achievements lately.
recorded an upswing

“This demonstrates the potential of the sector. Commodities Exchanges are a path to progress.There is a clear consensus,” he said.

He also said that for Nigeria to overcome its challenges, economic diversification was essential adding that commodities exchanges could play a vital role in achieving the goals of job creation and economic growth.

The lawmaker said that the Senate through legislation, would ensure that there were adequate legal frameworks for commodity exchanges, warehouses and financing.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi said the ministry had been working to reverse food inflation and stem food crisis in the country.

He said that Nigeria had about 73 million hectares of arable land out of which only about 33 hectares were being cultivated.

“With this, our productivity is still low. I believe there is a lot to be done to raise the productivity of farmers.”

He said that to increase productivity, there was the need to improve on irrigation capabilities through dry season farming.

“Our findings show that farmers are finding it difficult to fuel irrigation facilities.

“We are suggesting that there are solar-powered irrigation pumps that members of the national assembly can use as part of their constituency programmes.

“So as to empower their farmers who are involved in dry season farming so that together, we can increase our production and improve the volume of food available, thereby reducing the impact of food inflation and of course, guaranteeing food security for our citizens,” he said.

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Low turnout of voters recorded in APC primary rerun in Okitipupa LGA

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The rerun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State on Sunday recorded a low turnout in some wards.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Gov. Usman Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee had declared the exercise held on Saturday in the 203 wards in 18 local government area of the state inconclusive .

In a statement issued in the early hours of Sunday in Akure, Ododo said that reports reaching the committee indicated that the electoral process in 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA suffered some hitches.

Accordingly, the governor declared the governorship primary inconclusive and directed that a rerun be held in the 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA, having a total validated registered members of 9,515.

A NAN correspondent who monitored the rerun in some wards in Okitipupa reports low turnout of voters and security agents, compared to the large voter turnout on Saturday.

The wards visited are: Okitipupa Ward 1 at Stellamaris College, Okitipupa, Ward 2 at St. John Primary School, Ayeka/Igbodigo ward and Ikoya/Igbinsin/Oloto ward in Ikoya, all in Okitipupa LGA.

NAN reports that no officials, APC committee members or election materials were seen in sight at the wards as at the time of filling this report.

The low turnout of voters might also be unconnected with the violence recorded in some wards on Saturday.

Chief Adebayo Ogunedowo, an APC chieftain, who spoke with NAN, said that the APC primary was a big fraud to the people and democracy.

He said that voters are scared of being lynched or injured because of the breakout of violence at some wards in the state.

“Supporters of some aspirants refused to come here with directives from their principal.

“The primary election is a big fraud. A slap to residents of Ondo State and a shame to democracy.

“This is an indictment on Gov. Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee except the whole election is cancelled in the state,” he said.

Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State and 15 other aspirants are jostling to pick the party’s ticket ahead of the Nov. 16, governorship election in the state.

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Nigerian Aviation workers threaten to shut down sector over 50% revenue deduction

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The Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, has threatened to ground aviation operations in Nigeria over the Federal government’s 50 per cent internal revenue deduction policy for Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, and government-owned enterprises.

ATSSSAN’s National Executive Council disclosed this in a recent communique after NEC in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Recall that the Federal Government, in a letter through the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, mandated all MDAs to remit 50 per cent of all their internally generated revenue to the government’s confers.

However, ATSSSAN asked for exempting aviation agencies from the deduction of 50 per cent of their IGR under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

The association said the agencies were not established for profit, adding that stifling them of the required funds would jeopardise the effective performance of their safety and security mandates.

ATSSAN warned that if the federal government insisted on the deduction, thereby compounding the current financial state of the agencies, “we may be forced to direct all aviation workers to down tools until the government reverses itself.”

Last year, through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the government commenced the 50 per cent internally generated revenue deduction from federal government-owned enterprises.

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