Kingsley Nwezeh, Michael Olugbode in Abuja, John Shiklam in Kaduna, George Okoh in Makurdi, Laleye Dipo in Minna, and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

In a show of share callousness, Bandits, who abducted 23 students of Greenfield University, Kaduna in Kaduna State, yesterday killed two more of the scholars, bringing to five the total number murdered in cold blood.

The killing occurred as news of a virtual meeting of the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Anthony Blinken, with President Muhammadu Buhari scheduled for today broke amidst rising bloodlettings in the country.

Blinken, who begins his first virtual trip to Africa, will also discuss with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Geoffrey Onyeama, on other issues of bilateral relations and shared importance between the United States and Nigeria.

Preceding the visit, however, is a rash of violence instigated by bandits and other non-state actors, who unleashed killings in Kaduna, Anambra, Benue, Niger and Borno States even as the Nigerian Army confirmed the killing of scores of terrorists in a gun duel that also claimed an army officer and six soldiers. Six others were wounded in the battle in Mainok, Borno State.

In Niger State, the Governor, Mr. Sani Bello, raised the alarm that Boko Haram fighters had hoisted their flag in Kaure village in the Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

In Anambra State, the police confirmed the killing of nine persons in Awkuzu community of the state, following an attack by unknown persons on members of the community.

Bandits also invaded the Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi, Benue State, and abducted some students.

In a statement announcing Blinken’s virtual trip to Africa, the US Embassy in Nigeria said he would also visit Kenya and engage with young people from across the continent.

It said: “During his visit, Secretary Blinken will meet with President Buhari and Foreign Minister Onyeama to reiterate the value of our bilateral relationship and discuss issues of shared importance.

“Secretary Blinken will also participate in a health partnership event to underscore our collaboration to combat the pandemic as well as long-term US investments in combating infectious diseases.

“He will meet with a beneficiary of a PEPFAR programme and a Nigerian health care worker.”

It explained that Blinken will underscore the two nation’s shared goals of strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification, adding that people-to-people connections, underpinned by the dynamic Nigerian Diaspora in the United States would amplify and strengthen the countries’ relationship.

It added: “Secretary Blinken will begin his virtual travel to Africa meeting with Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) alumni. In a ‘Ten Questions with Tony’ event, YALI alumni will have an opportunity to engage with the secretary on a range of topics, including the role of youth in the future of Africa, economic development, democracy and good governance, climate change, and health.

“Through YALI, the United States works with public, private sector, and civil society partners across the continent to develop initiatives and economic opportunities to support the creativity, innovativeness and energy of Africa’s youth.”

Source: NATION