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NATIONAL NEWS

Insecurity in Nigeria: Buhari replies critics, lists “milestones”

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Provide evidence that you defeated me in presidential election - Buhari challenges Atiku

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President Muhammad Buhari on Sunday responded to criticisms over his handling of security in Nigeria.

His reaction was contained in a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina.

Noting that the current times have witnessed great security challenges, it said Buhari-led government is not leaving any stone unturned to restore sanity and calm.

“For the records, below are some of the security initiatives taken between January and now, for the safety and security of Nigerians:

“Operation Puff Adder (Nigeria Police), Operation HARBIN KUNAMA 3 (Nigerian Army) and Exercise Egwu Eke 3 (Nigerian Army) have all been launched in 2019, to complement the existing Operations Sharan Daji (launched in 2016 by the Nigerian Army) and Diran Mikiya (launched 2018 by the Nigerian Air Force). All of these operations are focused on tackling banditry and criminality in the North West of Nigeria.

“Operation HARBIN KUNAMA 3 was launched on 1 April 2019 to ensure the complete defeat of the bandits fleeing military operations in Zamfara and escaping into Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Niger and Sokoto States.

“Hundreds of kidnappers and bandits have been arrested or killed since January, several camps/hideouts destroyed; and hundreds of hostages rescued. In a two-week operation in February (lasting from Feb 4 to Feb 14), 80 hostages were freed by the Nigerian Army, with 37 bandits killed.

“Aerial bombardments of bandits’ camps have been intensified in recent months. A new Air Force Base – the 271 Nigerian Air Force Detachment (271 NAF Det) – was commissioned at Birinin Gwari in Kaduna State in May 2019, to complement the 207 Quick Response Group (QRG) established in Gusau, Zamfara State, in 2017.

“NIGERIA POLICE:

Between January 2019 and the 1st week of May, 2019, a total of 270 suspected kidnappers, 275 suspected armed robbers, were arrested and 105 assorted weapons plus a large cache of ammunition recovered by the Nigerian Police within the states of the North West and North Central Nigeria.

“April 5- The Nigerian Police launched ‘Operation Puff Adder’, a multi-agency strategy, in collaboration with the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Department of State Services (DSS), tailored towards ridding the Kaduna – Abuja Expressway, Kogi, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states of all forms of crimes and criminality- kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, amongst others.

“April 9- Police operatives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’ arrested three notorious criminals involved in the kidnap of Channels Television’s staff, Mr. Friday Okeregbe- Hanniel Patrick, Abdulwahab Isah and Salisu Mohammed.

“April 10- Officers of the ‘Operation Puff Adder’ killed nine notorious criminals on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway. 6 Ak47 Rifles, 1 Pump Action Gun, 1,206 Rounds of Ak47 Ammunition, 7 Magazines, 28 Cartridges And 158 Expended Shells were recovered from the criminals.

“April 16- Operatives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’ arrested one Mallam Salisu Abubakar, 48yrs old, a native of Dutsinma LGA, Katsina State. The Mallam, is a self-confessed spiritual father of kidnappers terrorizing Abuja-Kaduna expressway and parts of other North-West/North-Central states.

“Following the arrest of the kidnappers’ ‘spiritual father’, Police detectives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’, arrested 18 notorious kidnappers and armed robbers at different times and places across the country. A total of twenty- two (22) AK 47 rifles, five (5) locally fabricated pistols and a cache of live ammunition were recovered from the bandits.

“May 5- Operatives from ‘Operation Puff Adder’ rescued unhurt 27 kidnap victims including 5 Chinese nationals. The Chinese citizens who were earlier kidnapped on 15th April, 2019 in Bobi, Niger State, were safely and successfully rescued from a forest in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, following painstaking investigative efforts, including both air and ground surveillance. Two of the kidnappers died from injuries sustained during exchange of gun fire with the Police in the course of the rescue mission. Twenty-two other kidnap victims were rescued in Zamfara State and other parts of the country.

“NIGERIAN ARMY:

8 January – The Army flagged off ‘Exercise EGWU EKE III’ in 8 Division Nigerian Army’s area of responsibility at 1 Battalion, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.

“2 February- Troops of 8 Division of the Nigerian Army on ‘Exercise EGWU EKE III’, in conjunction with other security agencies recovered dangerous weapons from criminals and political thugs in Sokoto State. This has really contributed immensely to a peaceful security situation in the state.

“15 March- Troops of 72 Special Forces Makurdi, deployed at Yelwata, in Guma LGA, which is a border town between Benue and Nasarawa states, while on patrol along Yelwata-Kadarko road engaged armed robbers in a gun battle, which resulted in the elimination of one of the armed robbers, while others took to their heels. The suspects were dressed in military desert camouflage and robbing motorists along the road.

“13 April- Troops conducting ‘Operation Sharan Daji’ in Zamfara State killed 23 bandits and arrested 18 suspected informants, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and logistics suppliers to armed criminals in the state.

“20 April- Troops on Operation ‘HABIN KUNAMA III’, based on credible intelligence about bandits’ movements in Kirsa and Sunke in Anka LGA, Zamfara State, continued with the clearance operation into the hinterland to clear the brigands, arresting 18 informants and recovering arms and motorcycles.

“22 April- Troops of 72 Special Forces (SF) Battalion Makurdi deployed for internal security operation in Katsina-Ala LGA, Benue State, averted a terrible clash between two Tiv clans-Shitile and Ikyora in the early hours of that day. They exterminated 5 mercenaries, recovered arms and ammunition.

“May 8- A patrol team of 1 Division of the Nigerian Army raided a bandits’ den at Gonan Bature East of Rijana and Kasarami farm house in Chikun LGA, Kaduna State. The abandoned Kasarami farm house was reportedly forcefully occupied by criminals and had been used as a shelter and a place where victims of kidnapping were kept.

“May 8- Troops on Exercise ‘HARBIN KUNAMA III’ arrested a notorious logistics supplier for bandits crouching between Jibia-Batsari axis -one Marwana Abubakar was arrested at Kwashabawa village in Jibia LGA, Katsina State.

“May 8- Troops of 311 Artillery Regiment successfully conducted a raid operation on a suspected facility in Kontagora township, Niger State. During the raid, some weapons were discovered and recovered.

“NIGERIAN AIR FORCE:

19 January- The Nigerian Air Force deployed a fighter aircraft, along with support equipment, and a detachment of Special Forces (SF) personnel to Sokoto to further boost anti-banditry operations in Northwest Nigeria under ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’. The deployment is aimed at adding value to the efforts to deal with the spate of insecurity in some parts of Sokoto State and the border areas between Zamfara and Sokoto States.

“7 February- The Air Task Force (ATF) of ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ intensified the bombardment of armed bandits’ hideouts in Zamfara State and environs, after several camps being used by the bandits to launch attacks against innocent civilians were identified.

“21 February- The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) provided a mobile Jet A-1 fuelling facility to enable the refuelling of NAF Helicopters that would operate out of the 23 Quick Response Wing (23 QRW) Nguroje. This will further enhance security on the Mambilla Plateau.

“12 March- In continuation of efforts to enhance security in Kaduna State and its environs, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), working with other security agencies, intensified aerial surveillance over identified hotspots and flashpoints in the state while sustaining its air patrol along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway. Some of the areas covered in the surveillance missions include Gonin Gora, Kajuru, Kujama, Kasuwar Maganin and surrounding settlements.

“31 March- A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Special Forces (SF) Team operating in Zamfara State successfully repelled attacks by armed bandits who attempted to invade Hayin Mahe and Hayin Kanawa Villages in Gusau Local Government Area.

“8 April- The Air Task Force (ATF) for ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ renewed air offensive against armed bandits in Zamfara State and its environs. The air strikes are aimed at flushing out the bandits from their hideouts in Sububu, Rugu and Kagara Forests, amongst others, whilst ensuring the protection of the lives and properties of citizens in Northwest Nigeria.

“9 April- The Air Task Force (ATF), ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ neutralized dozens of armed bandits in Sector 2 Area of Operation in Zamfara State and also supported surface forces to move into the attacked areas to mop-up the fleeing survivors and recover their weapons. Some of the bandits fled across the border into Niger Republic.

“13 April- The Air Task Force (ATF) for ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ destroyed some logistics stores belonging to bandits at a location within Kagara Forest, Zamfara State. Some of the armed bandits who had fled their camps as a result of NAF’s earlier air strikes had relocated some logistics items, including fuel, motorcycles and local arms-making equipment, to another location within Kagara Forest.

“16 April- In response to reports that high profile armed bandits were gathering around Rafi and Doka villages of Mada District in Gusau Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara State, which is under the Area of Responsibility (AOR) of the 207 Quick Response Group (207 QRG), a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Special Forces (SF) Team was dispatched to the area to secure the 2 settlements.

“22 April- The Air Task Force (ATF) for ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ neutralized about 10 armed bandits at Sububu Forest area in Zamfara State. This was achieved while the ATF was responding to a request for close air support by ground troops of Sector 7 Area of Responsibility of Operation SHARAN DAJI, who had come into contact with armed bandits in Shinkafi Local Government Area (LGA).

“4 May- NAF commissioned the 271 Nigerian Air Force Detachment (271 NAF Det) at Birinin Gwari in Kaduna State. The Detachment was established to serve as support Base and a blocking force for troops in Operations DIRAN MIKIYA and SHARAN DAJI”.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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