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Soot: Arrest, prosecute illegal refiners, Wike tells Rivers CP, others

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RIVERS State State Governor, Nyesom Wike has charged the state Commissioner of Police to collaborate with other security agencies, council chairmen and traditional rulers to fish out all those involved in illegal bunkering and artisanal refining for prosecution.

The governor accused those engaged in the illicit acts of being responsible for the environmental pollution endangering the health of residents of the state.

He gave the directive Rivers State Police Command dinner and award night which was held at the Police Officers Mess in Port Harcourt on Friday.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Kelvin Ebiri and made available to newsmen.

The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Emeka Woke, declared that the state government had resolved to tackle those involved in crude oil theft and refining once and for all.

Wike stated that the government was willing to provide the police and other security agencies all that was required to dislodge and end the activities of artisanal refiners in Rivers State.

According to him, “The state is prepared to fight them more than ever before.”

The governor said since the Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka assumed duty last year, Rivers State has witnessed peace and improved policing.

“Little wonder the crime index in the state has reduced drastically. We thought we are the only people witnessing it, but with the award you got from the wife of the Inspector General of Police, it is an eloquent testimony that what we are seeing as a state is also being observed from all the nation,” Wike stated.

The governor said policing in Rivers State has improved remarkably because the management of the Nigeria Police Force at the Force Headquarters and the state command, respectively, distanced themselves from politics.

“As a state, we will continue to support the security agencies in the State. Our support for security agencies is not only centered on the police force. We are also extending similar gesture to the  Navy, Air force and others.  For us, we believe the primary function of any responsible government is to protect life and property. So, we have no option  than to continue to support in providing logistics and everything that can make the security agencies in the state function very well.

“Because we believe that if our people are safe and life here is peaceful, there will be an increase in economic activities and the Internally Generated Revenue will also go up,” the governor added.

He commended Eboka, the 42nd CP in Rivers State for discharging his duty professionally and not joining the league of some of his predecessors, ‘’who were posted to the state to cause turmoil and instability.’’

The governor announced a N1 million reward for each of the recipients of the Rivers State Police Command award and N10mn for the command for organizing the event.

Eboka explained that  2021 was a remarkable year because Rivers State emerged as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.

According to the statement, the award recipients include: Godstime Nwuju, (best traffic officer); Insp Winfrey Akpan, (best controller); CSP Bako Aghashim, (best Divisional Police Officer); CSP Grace Wonwu, (best female DPO) while CSP Adamu was awarded the best visiting tactical team leader.

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2 killed, houses burnt as suspected herdsmen attack Benue

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

At least two persons have been reportedly killed after gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked Igama community in Ojugo wards, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.

Sources from the affected community disclosed that the gunmen invaded the community last Tuesday afternoon and burnt many houses. The invaders were said to have stormed the community in broad day light and shot sporadically in all directions while the locals scampered for safety.

When contacted on telephone, the Chairman of the council, Mrs Amina Audu, confirmed the report, saying it was the third time in the last two weeks that the attackers invaded her council. She told newsmen that the attack was perpetrated by herdsmen without any form of provocation.

“Fulani herdsmen came and attacked the community and burnt houses, and a woman was found dead after several days,” she said.

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Mrs Audu, who noted that the incident was reported to the police, said some security personnel were detailed to the area to forestall any breakdown of law and order, adding that men of the Livestock Guards were also sent to the area but the herders quickly ran away before the security men arrived.

“They have attacked the community for three consecutive times since January 13, 2022. They will just come into the community and attack them. They normally come in the afternoon. It is because the security people have been stationed on ground that we did not record many casualties.”

Audu, however, disclosed that those who were killed were immediately buried because their bodies were already decaying by the time they were found. The council boss appealed to the Federal Government to urgently rise to the occasion and stop the marauding herders from taking innocent lives.

When contacted, the Benue Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), SP Catherine Anene, said she was yet to receive any information about the incident.

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Anti-open Grazing Law: Bayelsa govt goes tough on violators,

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State government has clamped down on violators of the Anti-open Grazing Law in the state.

To this end, it arrested 44 cows found grazing along Imiringi road, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Douye Diri had on March 10, 2021 signed into law the Anti-open Grazing Law known as Livestock Breeding Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law.

He also set up the Livestock Management Committee headed by the Commissioner for Agricultural Resources, Mr David Alagoa, with members drawn from the security agencies.

However, many farmers in Imiringi, Elebele and Emeyal in Ogbia Local Government Area, Tombia and Okutukutu in Yenagoa Local Government Area have been complaining of the destructive activities of cows despite the law.

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The farmers had lodged their complaint to Alagoa and the state task force to help arrest the situation before things got out of hand.

Alagoa had during a patrol at the weekend arrested the cows, while the herders escaped into the bush to evade arrest.

The arrest followed a complaint to the task force by farmers along Imiringi road near Megastar camp where the cows were said to have destroyed crops.

Alagoa said the task force would continue to take action to demonstrate that the state government would not condone flouting of its laws.

Meanwhile one of the farmers, Mr Tempo, explained that his farm at Elebele where he planted maize and cassava was destroyed by cows.

He urged the state government to take more action because any farmer that tries to confront the herders is usually threatened with attack.

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Boko Haram, ISWAP recruiting child soldiers – Army

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The Nigerian Army said it was studying the video of the Islamic State West Africa Province children fighters executing its personnel.

The video released by the ISWAP, according to the , was published on Tuesday by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi activities.

In the video, a man in the Nigerian Army uniform, who claimed that he was with the army special forces, was shot twice in the head by a boy of about 12.

Shortly after, another soldier, who said he was captured in April 2021, was shot in the head by one of the three masked fighters behind him.

Speaking with our correspondent on Friday, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, stated that the action of the terrorists had been a long time practice in terrorism across the world.

He said the terrorists were trying to embark on recruitment drive with the video as many of their fighters had surrendered to troops.

Nwachukwu stated, “We are studying the video. However, the action of the terrorists has been a long time practice in terrorism across the globe.

“They have always taken advantage of the vulnerable in society, particularly women and children, to advance their evil cause.

“Recall that the terrorist groups, ISWAP/Boko Haram, have in the past used women and children as suicide bombers. They have also conscripted children and minors, who they engage as child soldiers, and women, who they use as sex slaves.

“Having been depleted by our troops, the imbroglio in their ranks and the massive surrendering of Boko Haram, the terrorists in a desperate move are embarking on a recruitment drive to shore up their strength with child soldiers, who they can easily indoctrinate, manipulate and cheaply manage financially.

“We have raised this alarm before now and have since commenced sensitisation in the North-East to guard against and block their recruitment drive.”

Nwachukwu urged residents of the North-East not to be deceived by the gimmicks of ISWAP terrorists into releasing their children and wards for their evil cause.

He assured them that troops would remain resolute in decisively countering the terrorists.

AP had quoted the Executive Director, SITE Intelligence Group, Rita Katz, as saying that ISIS “is now more desperate than ever to keep its name in the global discussion…given the fact that it no longer has a physical ‘caliphate’ outside of relatively small bases in different countries.”

The video, she said, “demonstrates the immense focus ISIS is placing on Africa” and puts a “spotlight on Nigeria as one of its strongholds and projecting itself as an adaptive, enduring force to the world.”

The UN children’s agency estimates that globally, more than 93,000 children were recruited and used in conflicts between 2005 and 2020.

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