The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Saturday expressed outrage at the latest reports of killings in four villages of Zamfara State by bandits, who have now been designated as terrorists.
This was as the two emirs in the affected communities pleaded for deployment of more troops to the region.
Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, vowed that his regime would “smoke out and destroy these outlaws who have no regard for the sanctity of life.”
The terrorists, who were reportedly fleeing Zamfara State in their large numbers following heavy military onslaught, had descended on Rafin Danya, Barayar Zaki, Rafin Gero and Kurfa villages in the Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of state.
Residents said the terrorists descended on the villages, killing and burning houses after vigilantes engaged them in a gun battle, as they were trying to flee the state with no fewer than 3,000 cattle.
Residents had put the casualty figure at over 200, but the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, said only 58 persons were killed.
Shehu’s statement on Saturday, titled, ‘President Buhari condemns the reported massacre of villagers by escaping bandits in Zamfara, vows no letup in military operations,’ quoted the President as describing the attacks as an act of desperation by the terrorists.
He said, “The latest attacks on innocent people by the bandits is an act of desperation by mass murderers, now under relentless pressure from our military forces who are well-equipped to confront these enemies of humanity effectively.
“In keeping with my commitment to tackling the monster of terrorism head-on, let me reassure these besieged communities and other Nigerians that this government will not abandon them to their fate because we are more than ever determined to get rid of these outlaws.
“These criminals will be history because we are not going to relent in our current military operations to get rid of these thugs who have been terrorising innocent people.”
Buhari appealed to the affected communities for patience, saying, “we are fiercely determined to smoke out and destroy these outlaws who have no regard for the sanctity of life.”
While extending his sympathy to the survivors and families of those killed, the President said that the army and air force were working together to get rid of “these callous criminals” as they acquire more equipment to track down and eliminate criminal gangs that are subjecting innocent Nigerians to the reign of terror, including the illegal imposition of taxes on the communities under siege.
But the Emir of Anka, Alhaji Attahir Ahmad, and the Emir of Bukkuyun, Alhaji Muhammad Usman, who spoke during the visit of Zamfara State Governor, Matawalle, to the attacked communities, appealed for deployment of more security agents in the area in order to checkmate reoccurrence of terrorists’ attacks in the area.
The Emir of Anka said, “The record we have indicated that 22 persons lost their lives in the attack, while four villages were burnt down by the bandits.
“We are in need of additional security personnel to this area; as such, we are appealing to the Federal Government to consider the deployment of more military personnel to the area.”
Similarly speaking, the Emir of Bukkuyum, who gave the number of people killed by the terrorists in his domain as 36, said, “We are appealing to the Federal Government to look into the possibility of deploying additional security personnel to this area.
“The number of the security personnel we have here is grossly inadequate and cannot effectively control the banditry activities in the area considering the influx of armed bandits in the area.”
Addressing newsmen after his visit to the attacked communities alongside the Commissioner of Police and the General Officer Commanding, the Nigerian Army in the state, Matawalle expressed his condolences to the families whose members were killed by the rampaging terrorists.
He said, “We were shocked on hearing about these killings and we will work tirelessly with the Federal Government for more serious actions to end this ugly act.
“The state government will provide necessary support for the rebuilding of the destroyed villages. The state government has completed arrangements to provide funds for the reconstruction of the villages destroyed by bandits.”
A statement by the governor’s Special Adviser on Media, Zailani Bappa, also quoted him as decrying “the noticeable slide in factual reportage by the media who have variously quoted scary figures of deaths arising from the recent attacks by feeing bandits.”
He said, “The correct figure stood at 58 lives lost. The Emir of Anka gave a list of 22 deaths while the Emir of Bukkuyum gave a list of 36 victims.
“This is against the various figures ranging from 200 to 500 deaths and 11 villages attacked in the media.
“Both the governor and the two Emirs called on online media and the social media to always verify the facts instead of scaring the public for whatever reason.
“It is also obvious that my administration is not only threatened by bandits in the bush but also political bandits in our towns and villages.
“These are those politicians who manipulate the crisis for political gains and the informants who aid the bandits in their nefarious activities.
“But we shall conquer all by the strength of the Almighty Allah.
“We cannot fold our arms and allow people to always create panic and paint gorier picture of actual happenings in the state. There is no justification for anyone to wish us deeper trouble than where our people are today.”
However, speaking through the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Shehuri, on Saturday in Kano at the National Prayer Session for Nigeria organised by the Kano State Government, Buhari said divine intervention was needed to overcome insecurity challenges confronting Nigeria.
He said his regime was not resting on its oars regarding giving the necessary support, in terms of equipment and welfare, to the nation’s security agencies.
“Despite the support, there is a need to seek divine intervention for the Almighty to bring an end to the challenges,” the President said.
“No doubt, Nigeria is facing security challenges and we are doing our best to support the security personnel. That does not mean we should not seek divine intervention. This prayer session is part of the interventions and I commend the state governor for this,” he added.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and the Christian Association of Nigeria knocked Buhari, saying his regime hadn’t lived up to the promise he made in his New Year message to pay more attention to the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.
In a condolence message by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, to the victims of the Zamfara attacks the PDP said Buhari only made promises he never intended to keep.
The opposition party said, “Between January and December 2021, about 9, 196 people were killed, 3, 857 Nigerians were kidnapped. Of these, about 70 per cent of the victims are from the North including the President’s home state of Katsina where the governor has asked citizens to buy arms to protect themselves. This is an admission of failure.
“It is sad that this is what Nigerians now face daily. We commiserate with the victims. The Buhari government lacks the capacity to do anything. There are terror apologists in the APC and the government knows them. In 2015, they imported foreign terrorists into the country for the purpose of gaining power.”
Similarly, the Vice-President of CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, “Governance has fallen in many states today in northern Nigeria and the Federal Government needs to do something urgently before the worst will happen.
“Sadly, the body language of Mr President and those surrounding him does not show they care and expecting them to declare a state of emergency is a wasted appeal because nothing about them shows they care.”
A former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, while condemning the Zamfara attacks, said there was a need to find a lasting solution.
Saraki, in his condolence message, said, “My heart goes out to the families and communities that have experienced the tragic loss and injury of loved ones, the destruction of their property, and the interruption of their livelihoods.
“It is my prayer that with lasting peace and determined leadership, a place like Anka can one day become one of the highest income per capita communities in Nigeria. However, for this to happen, we must be decisive, thorough, and relentless about securing the lives and property of all Nigerians.”
Sammie Okposo confesses to cheating on wife
Gospel artiste, Sammie Okposo, Tuesday confessed to cheating on his wife Ozioma, and tendered a public apology to her as well as his fans.
He revealed in an Instagram post that he was involved in a relationship with another woman during one of his trips to the United States in 2021.
Also Read: Lanre Gentry shades ex-wife, Mercy Aigbe, “At last the truth is out”
He wrote, “Dear Friends, I need to bring a very unfortunate incident to your attention; as I am not proud of it but know that this is the right thing to do.
“On my recent trip to the USA (Late 2021), I got intimately involved with a lady; knowing that this was not appropriate as a married man and a minister of the gospel. I am ashamed and regret my actions; as it has caused a lot of pain to my dear wife, Ozioma, my family and I.
“I want to take this moment and apologise to all fathers and mothers of the Faith; and ministers of the Gospel for my behavior and moral failure.
“I won’t be here if not for your investment and belief in what God has called me to do. I sincerely apologize for this embarrassing situation.
“To all that have been a part of my ministry; followed my ministry or know me personally, I am truly sorry for disappointing you.
“I regret any pain or disappointment that this news of my moral failure and poor judgement may cause you and I am truly sorry for disappointing you.
“I humbly ask that you continue to pray for me.”
Interestingly, American-based woman, identified as African Doll, had accused Okposo of impregnating her, barely 24 hours before his confession.
Edo to switch to e-governance February 1 – Obaseki
By Jethro Ibileke
Effective from February 1, 2022, Edo State government will switch over from analogue to e-governance, Governor Godwin Obaseki says on Tuesday.
Obaseki, gave the indication on Tuesday in Benin, at the swearing-in of 14 new permanent secretaries, which held at the Government House.
According to the Governor, switching to e-governance means that memos and mails on papers would be eliminated.
He said: “Effective February 1, 2022, I, the governor, would switch over to e-governance platform, which effectively means I will now approve memos and send mails to you via the e-platform.
“We have introduced the Edo State Civil/Public Service Transformation and Enhancement Programme (EdoSTEP), through which we are pursuing a deliberate programme to identify weak points in the civil service and strengthen them.
“That explains why we have had to bring people from outside to come in to help us strengthen the areas of weaknesses that we have seen in the civil and public service; we will continue to do so because we have seen that the civil service as it is today needs a lot of strengthening.
“So far, we are very glad with the accomplishments that we have made today in the EdoSTEP programme. Under this programme, we have found out that the number of vacancies in the civil service is quite enormous.
“First, we started with the hiring of 1,600 graduates into the service at the bottom level, but they don’t have the experience and skill to take us to where we want. We will now continue hiring from the top and also see how we can train the middle corps that we have in the civil service and give them the tools for effective delivery.”
Addressing the 14 newly-sworn-in permanent secretaries, Obaseki charged them on the delivery of efficient and quality services to Edo people, even as he admonished them not to seek popularity.
He said: “We are working extremely hard to bring back the civil and public service to those days when it was respected. To the new permanent secretaries, I will like to admonish you, you all have been appointed based on merit, not by any godfather.”
“Do not seek popularity; you are not politicians, leave that to us. Ensure you do things the way it ought to be done,” he charged.
Obaseki also warned the appointees to be weary of their conduct in service, noting that government officials are liable and culpable for their activities in service, even after retirement.
In his words, “You are the chief accounting officers of your ministries. The fact that you are in government for a while does not mean that your activities while in government will not be looked at; you have to be very cautious of the decisions you make.
“Most Nigerians don’t know that even after you retire, you are still liable and culpable for your activities during your time in office. I am pleased to inform you that you will be inheriting a vastly improved system of governance; we will continue to work on our systems so that you can deliver effectively to our people.
“We will continue to build human capacity, and train and retrain our civil and public servants. We are equipping and investing in the John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy to make it second to none in this part of the world.”
The newly sworn-in permanent secretaries are: Mr. Anelu Osemen, Mrs. Felicia Edwards, Mrs. Grace Aihie, Mr. Egwakhide Gilbert, Mr. Iserhienrhien Efe and Mr. Aikhuomobhogbe Uidia.
Others are Mr. Asibor Lucky, Mrs. Igbinobaro Joy, Mr. Washington Abbe, Mr. Asemota Uyi, Mr. Toritseju Onaiwu, Mrs. Ifueko Alufokhai, Mr. Osikhena Ojior and Mrs. Barbara Osobajo.
Mr. Anslem Osemen who responded on behalf of the new permanent secretaries, pledged to reciprocate the confidence reposed on them, contributing effectively to the progress and development of the state.
Ondo: Police vow to prosecute man for allegedly killing Lagos-based girlfriend
The Ondo State Police Command has said that it would prosecute one Olasunkami Oluwole for allegedly killing his lover in the Oke-Igbo community in the Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo Local Government Area.
Biola Soyinka, the deceased, reportedly travelled from Lagos to see her boyfriend before she was murdered.
Funmilayo Odunlami, the Police Public Relations Officer of the command, said the matter is being investigated at the command’s Criminal Investigation Department.
According to the PPRO, the suspect would be charged to court immediately after the completion of the investigation.
“The case is still at the state CID for further investigation, and after the investigation is completed, he will be charged in court,” Odunlami said.
Meanwhile, the elder brother to the deceased, Akeem Jinadu, said Oluwole had on January 16 called them in Lagos that Biola had died after he claimed that she became unconscious when she slumped at around 4:00 am .
“Oluwole said by the time he rushed her to the hospital, the doctors declared her dead. When we asked him to bring her corpse back to Lagos, he demanded that we send money for transportation.
“Contrary to what Oluwole said when the police arrested him, there were marks sustained from beating on her body when we went to identify the remains at the morgue.
“Her neck, face, and body had dark patches because she was a fair person,” Jinadu said.
“From the state of her corpse it is very obvious she didn’t die from falling, rather the marks on her body shows she was beaten and strangled to death.”
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