We are Under Siege by Bandits, Niger Commissioner Cries Out

Niger state Commissioner for Information Alhaji Mohammed Sani Idris, has cried out that the state is now under the siege of bandits which has paralysed economic and social activities in the affected areas.

Idris, however, declined to confirm or deny the killing of five mobile policemen, burning down of two vehicles and a Primary Health Care centre in the Pangu community of Rafi Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday evening just few days after two soldiers and some civilians were killed in Zungeru town. The Zungeru town incident was confirmed by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello during his visit to IBB Specialist Hospital Minna to commiserate with 12 injured soldiers in the same incident.

Idris, who fielded questions from newsmen after he and some of his colleagues addressed the press after the State Executive Council meeting, however, confirmed that “ there have been attacks here and there” without being specific.

The commissioner declared: “ There is a rise in bandits’ attacks, nobody is safe anymore. We are already in a full-fledged war and there would certainly be casualties but we have taken measures to reduce the number of casualties on our side. The attacks are emanating from within communities not from bushes.”

The commissioner stated that despite the precarious situation the government has found itself as a result of the activities of bandits, government would not be overwhelmed by the insecurity situation in the state and would not allow bandits to dictate to it its policies and programmes.

Idris, however, said: ”Government is doing everything possible” to bring the bandits menace to a halt pointing out that the administration has been engaging heads of security agencies in the last two weeks on how to end banditry in parts of the state.”

He denied that the government is not adequately funding the security agencies which has resulted in their refusal to be proactive in the war against the bandits saying “ we are doing the needful to the security agencies”.

On the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Dr Ibrahim Garba Musa and his son who were abducted from their homes in Zungeru town over a week ago, Idris disclosed that government was doing whatever it takes to rescue them unhurt without compromising the policy of the government.

“Niger state government would not do selective treatment especially one that would compromise its stand. We can assure you that the Permanent Secretary would be rescued unharmed and soon,” he said.

Idris said the fight against banditry and other criminal elements has been intensified as government has deployed security agents into the forests and communities to stem the tide insisting that “We have taken the fight to the bushes and towns, very soon, we will give you the number of casualties. We will continue to manage the problem and situation and we will not be overwhelmed with this situation”



FG threatens to declare state of emergency in Anambra

The  Federal Government, yesterday, threatened to invoke a state of emergency in Anambra State to ensure the sanctity of the November 6 governorship election.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, dropped the hint when he briefed correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the presidential villa, Abuja.

The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

Stakeholders in the Anambra election, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have raised the alarm over the upsurge in violent attacks on individuals and government facilities in Anambra as the governorship election in the state draws closer.

Meanehile, angry reactions have trailed the state of emergency threat of the Federal Government.

Malami, however, said the Federal Government had the responsibility to sustain democratic order and would not hesitate to declare a state of emergency if the security situation in the state did not improve to allow peaceful conduct of election.

      “When our national security is attacked, and the sanctity of our constitutionally guaranteed democracy is threatened, no possibility is ruled out. As a government, we have a responsibility to ensure the sustenance of our democratic order, we have a responsibility to provide security to life and properties. So, within the context of these constitutional obligations of the government or the desire to establish democratic norms and order, there is no possibility that is out ruled.

     “And you cannot rule out possibilities, inclusive of possibility of declaration of state of emergency where it is established that there is a failure on the part of the state government to ensure the sanctity of security of lives, properties and democratic order. So, our position as a government is that this elections are going to hold. And necessary security in terms of democratic order must certainly prevail for the purpose of this election,” he said.

       The AGF assured that the government would do the needful in providing security for lives and properties in Anambra.

     When asked whether the positions his office expressed on both the open grazing laws by states and on the Value Added Tax (VAT) would not influence the course of justice since the matters were in court.

He replied: “Well, on the issue of farmers/ herders clashes, no position was taken by the Office of the Attorney General outside the scope of the constitutional provisions.

“The position of the Office of the Attorney General is about freedom and liberty of movement among others…And what the Office of the Attorney General has simply succeeded in doing is making a reference to relevant constitutional provisions and established a position that each and every Nigerian is entitled to freedom of movement. Simpliciter.  So, the issue is whether that freedom of movement is constitutionally guaranteed or not. And my answer to it is the freedom of movement is indeed, constitutionally guaranteed.”

On governors push for states to collect VAT, he said the Federal Government was contemplating heading straight to the Supreme Court, which according to him, has jurisdiction over such matters.

“The Court of Appeal has granted an order of stay of execution, directing these state governments (Rivers and Lagos) to maintain status quo pending the determination of the main appeal and these matters are being considered for determination.

“And some other governors have filed in an application for joinder, seeking to be joined in the matter as interested parties. But again, there is pending, equally, an application and preliminary objection for that matter, challenging the competence of the action and indeed the judgement that was obtained. But the Federal Government is still looking at other possibilities, all options open in terms of challenging the action, the action of the state government.


Ethnic Crisis

Sit-at-home: Seal any shop closed in solidarity with IPOB, Arewa Group tells Northern Governors

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum has rejected the recent call by the Indigenous People Of Biafra on the Middle Belt people to join its sit-at-home campaign, warning that no section of the north should be a party to “a deliberate, politically-motivated plan to undermine or worsen the nation’s current security challenges.”

In a statement by the group’s National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, in Kaduna on Monday, the AYCF said, “The North has come a long way in understanding the use of constitutional and democratic means of channelling legitimate grievances, and cannot, therefore, be a party to any undemocratic move”.

The AYCF further noted that it appears that the governors of the South-East are satisfied with the activities of IPOB.

The group stated, “We hope they will continue with the sit-at-home for another ten years and we wish them the very best of luck. We know the southeast is IPOB’s home but exporting their activities to the north will be faced with massive resistance from all lovers of peace in the north.”

“We call on Northern Governors to step up action in order to ensure this outlawed terror gang called IPOB does not infiltrate the region. We also expect the governors to ensure that any northerner who shuts down his shop in solidarity with IPOB, that shop should be sealed forever.

“And for the avoidance of doubt, we will not fold our arms and watch the north get further destabilized by a violent strategy, whether in Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Niger or any state in northern Nigeria because our hands are already full with challenges of insecurity and we are praying fervently day and night to find lasting peace”.

AYCF, in the statement, took a swipe at what it described as the use of killings and arson to press home a demand that the democratic process in existence would have taken care of.

“We call on northerners of good conscience to avoid any undemocratic means, including the burning of government-owned structures, where fellow Nigerians legitimately work to feed their families,” the statement added.



Anti-open grazing law: FG backs herders’ planned suit against South govs, police differ on enforcement

The Federal Government on Sunday threw its weight behind moves by herdsmen to sue southern governors over the anti-open grazing bill they recently signed into law.

The Special Assistant (Media) to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr Umar Gwandu, who disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH, said Nigerians whose rights had been violated could go to court to seek protection.

Gwandu stated this as state police commands on Sunday differed on the enforcement of the law.

While Ebonyi and Osun state police commands told our correspondents that they would enforce the law, a source in the Lagos State Police Command stated that the police would only provide protection to the enforcement team of the state.

The Rivers State Police Commissioner, Friday Eboka, on his part said he had not seen a copy of the state anti-open grazing law.

But a top police officer told one of our correspondents that it would be difficult for state commands to enforce the law without the support of force headquarters.

Most southern states, including Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Abia, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, and just recently, Delta and Ogun states,  signed the anti-open grazing bill into law.

The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore group, while reacting to the passage of the law in the southern states, described it as ‘satanic’ and ‘politically motivated,’ adding that it would sue the governors over the law.

The National Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore group, Selah Alhassan, told Sunday PUNCH, threatened that the group would sue the southern governors.

Gwandu, in an interview with one of our correspondents, stated, “The rights trampled upon are individual rights of Nigerians as constitutionally guaranteed.

“The Nigerians whose rights are violated reserve the right to approach the court for the protection of such rights within the context of freedom of movement among others. It will be viewed with that consideration in mind.”

Details later



VIPs, National Assembly member funding Igboho, Kanu, says Buhari

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said ongoing investigations have revealed a serving member of the National Assembly as one of the high-profile financiers of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu; and the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho.

He said his regime was vigorously pursuing the financiers whom he refused to name.

Buhari disclosed this in his nationwide broadcast to Nigerians to mark the nation’s 61st independence on Friday.

He said while his regime would continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances, it would take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors.

The President insisted that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.

He said, “Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.

“We shall continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.

Details later



The Insecurity in Afghanistan and its implications on Nigeria

To begin with, the search for national security has long been the chief duties and obligations of the State. The attacks by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS) and on Kabul, Afghanistan and many other attacks around the world is a serious threat to the world peace. Insecurity can be defined as the feeling of uncertainty, a lack of confidence or anxiety about one’s safety or the environment

According to Jean-Marie Guehenno, the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations at the 8157th United Nations Meeting said that insecurity comes from terrorist attacks, factionalized government and weakening of the political compact that supports the provisional government of Afghanistan.

He goes further to state that the primary source of insecurity remains terrorist attacks and continued sizable cross-border infiltration by suspected Taliban, al-Qaida and Hizb-Islam insurgents. And these attacks desperately jeopardize the safety of personnel and limit the ability to conduct reconstruction and political activities.

The aforementioned causes are also the cases in the Northern part of the country (Nigeria) as the country has been experiencing unprecedented increase of attacks on a daily basis by bandits, herdsmen and Boko Haram sets. For instance, the attack on the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) situated at Kaduna. The infiltration of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, fortress, killing of two middle-level officers and abduction of another by yet another group of armed hoodlums in fake military uniforms on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, brought to a new low the parlous security situation in the country. Such attack is a slap and a major blow on the Nigerian Government and the Nigerian Military Forces, yet not a single bandit was arrested nor killed. Many questions are begging for answers.  It’s the people’s hope that the government can provide credible answers to these questions.

Furthermore, a country is not just a place, it is the people that resides within such country that make it what it is. It is the people of Nigeria that make this country Nigeria. If there are no people, then there is no Nigeria. Therefore, the government must do everything possible to protect the citizens and prevent the insecurity in the nation from escalating into a war situation. God forbid a war in Nigeria. One wonders where Nigerians will run to.  The question is how many countries can accommodate Nigerians? As the population of the country according to the National Population Commission and the National Bureau of Statistics is estimated to be well over one hundred and ninety million (190,000,000) people. How many it these people will these countries accommodate, especially the African Countries? The security of any nation is a greatest asset to fostering growth and development in such nation.

    In conclusion, section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that:

  “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”

 It is therefore the responsibility of the Government to provide for security of lives and properties of the people through it agencies such as the Police, the Military Forces and other security agencies. The present situation must not be allowed to continue. The destruction to lives and properties and the general insecurity that are been perpetrated by the Herdsmen, Bandits and Boko Haram sets must be stopped in other to prevent it from spreading into other parts of the country. By so doing, we shall be preventing the catastrophic happenings in Afghanistan from been repeated in our dear nation.

Adesina Adedeji writes from Lagos State


Insecurity: Makinde backs unveiling of NSCDC female squad in Oyo

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde in his efforts to rid the state of all forms of criminality has welcomed the decision of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to unveil the female squad in the state.

He promised continuous support to the NSCDC in carrying out its security duties and obligations to the citizens of Oyo State and Nigerians in general.

Governor Makinde made the commitment while on a courtesy visit to the Commandant General, NSCDC, Ahmed Audi, at the Corps National Headquarters, Abuja, where he congratulated the CG on his new appointment and expressed satisfaction on his performance so far as a pragmatic leader who has given the Corps a facelift within a very short period.

CG Audi had informed the governor of plans to unveil the female squad in Oyo State to tackle specialised crimes and protect the vulnerable in the state, most especially women and school children, who are mostly soft targets with high ransom values for bandits and kidnappers.

Makinde commended the CG for putting the Corps back on track and assured of his readiness to support the flag-off of the NSCDC Female Squad with donation of operational vehicles, which have already been procured for the Corps and other security agencies in the state.

Makinde maintained that his government would support and motivate the Corps in order to contribute more to the maintenance of peace and order in the state.

He appreciated the CG for the deployment of Commandant David Adaralewa to Oyo State Command and described him as a thoroughbred officer who has been working assiduously to fight crime in the state with renewed zeal and commitment, reiterating that his government enjoys enormous cooperation from all service commanders including the Civil Defence Corps.

He assured the CG that he will would try to give strategic support to encourage, motivate and boost the morale of corps personnel, to give their best and function effectively to fulfil his desire of making Oyo State one of the most peaceful states in the country.

In his remarks, the Corps helmsman, Dr Audi, appreciated the governor for the visit to the Corps, noting that provided an opportunity to deliberate on germaine security and policy issues critical to the development and sustenance of strategies to enhance the state security architecture.

Speaking through DCC Olusola Odumosu, Director Press and Public Relations, NSCDC NHQ, Abuja, yesterday, Audi stated that the NSCDC would continue to support the governor in his efforts to guarantee law and order, peace and tranquillity in the state by effectively delivering on its mandate and ensuring that all criminal elements within the state, including vandals of the nation’s collective wealth and assets are prevented from carrying out their nefarious activities.

He further stated that the new state Commandant has his full backing to deal decisively with lawbreakers and flush out all criminal elements in the state from their hideouts.



2023 Polls: FG Pledges Full Protection for INEC, Citizens

At a meeting with heads of security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Munguni, yesterday, assured gathering that the federal government would protect the staff and properties of the commission as well as Nigerians during the 2023 general election.

The NSA, who was represented by one Sanusi Galadima, further attributed the successes recorded in the reduced destruction of INEC properties to the synergy between INEC and members of Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) as well as other stakeholders.

According to the NSA, who responded to the speech delivered by INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, “With the prevalence of security threats occasioned by different dissident separatist groups in the Southern region of the country, who are bent on scuttling efforts of govenment in achieving national cohesion and undennining the democratic processes in the country, the Federal Government of Nigeria will not tolerate any group or persons planning to impede smooth conduct of elections.”

The NSA, while acknow-ledging the constitutional rights of citizens to freely express their legitimate grievances within the ambits of the law, said, “it is also important to state that the federal government will not abdicate its constitutional responsibility of securing lives and property as well as secure environment for citizens to pursue their legitimate means of livelihood.”

The NSA said in furtherance of the coordinating mandate of his office that the Office of the National Security Adviser was poised to ensure robust deployments before, during and after the polls, with a view to countering any threats and ensuring peaceful conduct of the polls, especially, in the forthcoming Anambra State gubernatorial election.

Earlier, the INEC chairman expressed the Commission’s appreciation to the security agencies and all members of ICCES for their continued support to elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.

The INEC chairman said that this year alone, the Commission had conducted eight bye-elections made up of four federal constituencies, three state constituencies and one councillorship constituency in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He also said the last bye-election was held about four weeks ago in Kaduna State and that the next bye-election would take place in Delta State, saying, “We look forward to the support of the security agencies to ensure that we deliver yet another credible election for the Isoko South I State Assembly Constituency this weekend.”

Yakubu said the focus of yesterday meeting was the Anambra State governorship election holding on 6th November 2021.

He told the security chiefs that the Commission had successfully expanded voter access to polling units in Nigeria, explaining that in Anambra State, there were 5,720 polling units to which personnel and materials would be delivered.

Similarly, he said the number of registered voters had increased, because of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) and that all the 18 political parties were fielding candidates in the election, while campaign by parties and their candidates had commenced.

For voter accreditation during the Anambra election, Yakubu said the Commission intendedto introduce a new technology called the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS),which has the capability for both the fingerprint and facial biometric accreditation.

He also noted that over the last three days, INEC had demonstrated how the new device would work during its consultative meetings with political parties, civil society organisations and the media.

The INEC chairman added that over two million Nigerians have so far registered online.



Kaduna Shuts Down Weekly Markets in Five Council Areas over Insecurity

The Kaduna State government has suspended weekly markets in Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Giwa, Igabi and Kajuru Local Government Areas of the state, over the growing insecurity in the state.

The state government also banned the sell of petrol in jerrycans within and outside the premises of petrol stations in the five LGAs.

In a statement on Monday, Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the decision was taken following a thorough review of the security situation in the areas.

He added that security personnel have been directed to ensure compliance with the directives.

The statement stated: “After a thorough review of the security situation and recommendations put forward by the security agencies, the Kaduna State Government,wishes to announce the suspension of all weekly markets in Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Giwa, Chikun and Kajuru local government areas with immediate effect.

“The government has also banned the selling of petrol in jerrycans within and outside premises of petrol stations in the five local government areas listed, with immediate effect. Security personnel have been directed to ensure compliance with these directives.”

Aruwan, therefore, urged citizens of the areas to cooperate with the government as necessary steps were being taken against banditry and criminality across the state.

He added that the Kaduna State Security Operations Room remained open for receiving useful information on: 09034000060 and 08170189999.

The five LGAs are said to be the worst hit by bandits terrorising the state, with the hoodlums raiding communities, killing and abducting people almost on a daily basis.



BREAKING: Bandits invade NDA, kill two officers, abduct one

Nigeria’s foremost military university, the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna was on Tuesday attacked by bandits who killed two officers and abducted one other.

The bandits invaded the permanent site of the institution located along Airport Road, Afaka, in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State around 1.00am.

A source told our correspondent that the hoodlums, who were dressed in military camouflage, beat the guards and headed for the officers’ quarters of the institution.

Incidentally, the military institution is opposite the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka where 39 students were abducted by bandits on March 11, 2021. The bandits demanded N500 million few days after the abducted.

But they were finally released after spending 50 days in the bandits’ den following the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.

As of the time filing this report, information regarding the attack on NDA was still sketchy.

Details later…