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Plateau State Records Lassa Fever Cases

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 16:47

Lassa Fever

Lassa Fever


Five persons have been discovered to have contracted the deadly Lassa Fever virus in Plateau State, News Agency of Nigeria, reports.

This was confirmed by Commissioner for Health in the state, Nimkong Ndam.

He said three were undergoing treatment, one was discharged and the fifth person had just completed treatment.

He said, “Health personnel are on ground to handle the situation and they have the required protective kits to wear while treating such cases.

“We are in contact with the hospitals in the state to address such cases promptly to curtail the spread of the disease.”

Ondo, Nasarawa, and Kano states are some of the places that have been hit by Lassa Fever in recent times.


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Group Demands Investigation Into Killing Of Journalist By Police In Abuja

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 16:47


The Socialist Workers and Youth League has called on the Nigerian Government to immediately begin an investigation into the killing of Alex Ogbu, a journalist, who was felled by police bullet.

Ogbu was shot on the head by a police personnel on Tuesday during a demonstration by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in Abuja.

The police were firing live bullets at the protesters when Ogbu was shot on the head and died instantly while some IMN members sustained injuries.

Reacting to the killing of Ogbu, National Secretary of SWL, Lai Brown, vowed that they would not allow the matter to be swept under the carpet by the authorities.

Brown said, “Nigerians have now become endangered species in their own country.

“The death of Alex Ogbu is one that will not be allowed to go the ways of others slain by officers of the Nigeria Police Force.

“It is important to reiterate that section 20 of the Nigerian constitution as amended mandates the government to protect the lives and properties of every citizen.

“It is, therefore, a gross act of irresponsibility for the police to use live bullets against unarmed citizens who are only expressing their constitutional rights through protest.

“Security operatives should maintain law and order at all times and not kill innocent citizens.

“We demand justice for Alex, we demand thorough investigations into the incident that led to his death.

“Nigerians need to know why the police continue to use live ammunition against unarmed citizens to the point of taking their lives.”


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The Real Amotekun Is Yet Ahead By Bunmi Makinwa

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 16:44


The sound of “Amotekun” has drowned out all other issues in the Nigerian public space for many days, and there is a great likelihood that the Yoruba word will have meanings and connotations beyond the original meaning of leopard. Soon enough, Wikipedia will include Amotekun. Maybe the word will also enter into the Oxford English Dictionary as was recently the case for several words of domestic Nigerian uses.

Listening to and reading about the loud pronouncements that have accompanied the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, one has to be deaf not to conclude that Nigeria is “not at ease” – to borrow a line from the title of the famous book by Chinua Achebe.

From its outing, there were whispers, gasps, exclamations of relief and contentment by many people who found the Amotekun security outfit a very appropriate step taken by five governors of South-Western states. At last, the security situation might improve, and life might become normal, many people concluded.

But there were also hisses, jeers, facial contortions, by many other people on how unnecessary Amotekun was. Nothing could be farther from establishing better security than Amotekun because it would be manipulated to foster violence, the others contended.

Whilst the murmurs were still germinating and mounting gradually, Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, threw fuel into the low fires and the explosion started. He said that Amotekun was illegal and unconstitutional. Those who support Amotekun or similar policies would have none of Malami’s points. They found that his statement was not only wrong, but it confirmed the status quo. In simple terms, it showed how the Northern ruling class wanted to perpetuate their hold on the rest of the country’s security architecture and other important spheres.

Who is right and who is wrong? This is the debate that is going on. It is loud and angry.

And the leadership of the country is silent. President Buhari has not made any pronouncement. Nor any of his proxies. Characteristically. The highest Federal Government official who has spoken on the issue remains the Attorney-General. From a communication point of view, his statement is the official position of the Federal Government. This is the interpretation of the current silence in communication.

Silence has been used frequently as an instrument of governance by the current government, and it is a strong communication tool. Whether the government has used silence strategically, or merely by accident is less important than what effects the use has created.

After a heated political campaign and delicate elections in May 2015, President Buhari emerged as winner on the platform of the All Progressives Congress. The manifesto of his party which was used as the preaching instrument across the country by APC had promised to change the country. The new APC government was going to repair the economy, forge a secure nation, and reduce if not eliminate corruption.

More than 15 million voters, constituting 54 per cent of total votes cast, who favoured Buhari waited for the beginning of a new Nigeria to emerge as soon as Buhari came into office.  Silence. There was no team or energetic principals to run the affairs of state. President Buhari took about six months before he broke the long silence to appoint his cabinet.

The president’s frequent travels abroad for medical treatment were usually accompanied also by silence. His health was poor, a situation that was beyond him and anyone for that matter. But the silence, not informing the country, not appointing an acting president often, or not handing over to a designated official publicly, made his silence seriously problematic.

The herdsmen phenomenon generated national furore for a long time. Silence reigned on the matter from the number one political head of the country until it became uncomfortable to be silent.

Silence at critical times when serious issues are at stake seem to have become the norm. You may remember the following:

- The tense relationship between two principal security agencies, namely DSS and EFCC, which at times became public stand-offs.

- Closer to home, the President’s wife and First Lady Aisha Buhari has become a megaphone of how the domestic life in Aso Rock resembles an interesting soap opera of Nollywood. But Aso Rock is not meant to be a Nollywood stage. Silence is being used as the instrument of managing the crisis.

- The agitation by several groups from the South-Eastern part of the country for a re-establishment of Biafra which started as little noises and has become a storm.

- The power-play at the presidency that appeared to place the Vice-President under siege.

Operation Amotekun will mother many children. The ferocity of future Amotekuns will be determined by competent handling of the babies from birth. Security of people and assets cannot be compromised.

Those who use silence as a strategy for results state that “actions speak louder than words”. There are certainly uses for silence as a veritable instrument of management, leadership and communication. Silence is powerful when silence will bring solutions, healing, unity and contentment. Silence cannot stop disaffection that is obvious. A deep sense of insecurity and distrust permeates the country. Timely interventions and clear statement of positions forestall eruption of latent anger and mis-interpretation of situations.

If there were any doubts in anyone’s mind, Amotekun has confirmed that Nigeria’s security situation is broken and needs mending.

In a country where the president is all-powerful and his voice can direct and influence thoughts and conclusions, the perpetual withdrawal and silence of Buhari leaves serious issues unresolved. There is too much dust in the air, and when the dust settles, we shall have yet another crisis swept under a bulging carpet covering dirt. Silence has become a liability, and it will spawn more Amotekuns.

Bunmi Makinwa is the CEO of AUNIQUEI Communication for Leadership

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Another Nigerian Lady Trafficked To Oman Cries Out For Help

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 16:44


Barely a week after 12 ladies trafficked from Nigeria to Lebanon cried out for help, another lady trafficked to Oman for slavery has begged to be returned home.

The lady identified as Adedeji Oluwatobi but known more as ‘Mariam’ in a video obtained by SaharaReporters said she had been locked up for days with her master demanding the equivalent of N563,372 before she can be released.

She said, “Please Nigerians, please help me out, I am trapped here.

“I was deceived by my agent and now she has blocked me, please help me. I really need your help, I am in Oman.

“I have worked for 10 months and my boss has refused to leave me, she asked me to pay 600 rial (N563,372) which I don’t have.

“Don’t let me die here, I was locked up in a room for days. I really need help.” 

#PressPlay: Another Nigerian Lady Trafficked To Oman Cries Out For Help@NigeriaGov pic.twitter.com/UVPxvtpBvb

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) January 24, 2020

Founder of SayNo2Slavery, an organisation that helps in returning trafficked ladies, Damilola Falodun, while speaking with our correspondent about Mariam, said her master had collected her phone and also refused to feed her regularly.

Falodun said, “She is really suffering. Aside from being locked up for three weeks, her master does not give her food regularly.

“Her phone has been collected from her and currently there is no way we reach her.

“We want the Nigerian Government to help facilitate her return to Nigeria as well as many others stranded in Oman and Lebanon.”


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United Kingdom To Leave European Union On January 31

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 15:27

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on January 31. 

This follows the ratification of the Brexit bill approved by both the Houses of Commons and Lords by Queen Elizabeth on Thursday.

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will mark the cut-off from the EU with the issuance of commemorative coins and the chairing of a special cabinet meeting in England’s pro-Brexit North.

“At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it,” Johnson said after he had gotten both houses of the British parliament to ratify the withdrawal bill on Wednesday.

“Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future.”

Analysts say Johnson is sacrificing the short term reality of a weaker UK economy to deliver on his promise of midwifing Brexit. 

The UK will now face the task of negotiating trade deals with countries individually, a journey it already started with the UK-Africa summit attended by Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari.

Getting favourable trade deals from ex-colonies like Nigeria might not pose a serious problem, thanks to the UK export finance Scheme, which gives loans to importers in states like Nigeria to buy UK made products.

Britain is expected to find it hard to deal with the EU however, as it enters an unscripted economic relationship. 

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For Our Departed Revolutionary Idealists By Edwin Madunagu

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 14:26

Edwin Madunagu

Edwin Madunagu

Let me begin by saying that the term “idealist” is not used in this article in the philosophical sense. Were this the case, departed comrades to whom the piece is dedicated would not be considered as Marxists at all. But they were all revolutionary Marxists. I employ the term “idealist” here in the ordinary sense of a person that “cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes or goals” but without giving sufficient consideration to objective, historically-determined reality. When this description is applied to departed Nigerian revolutionary Marxists, you begin to have a picture of the type of persons I have in mind and the type of revolutionary tendency they partly reflected. We shall return to this and conclude with it.

An indication was given in the closing paragraph of my last published article, “For Jeyifo (BJ) and Komolafe (KK)” which appeared early this month that the narrative was incomplete, or rather, that it required a proper conclusion which answers at least these two questions: What does the Revolutionary Directorate (RD) do now and what is the narrator’s tentative assessment of RD’s 45-year history? I shall, in this concluding segment, slightly expand the narrative and try to answer the two questions. Although names of areas, places, periods and dates of key events will be indicated, names of personages will be given only when this is absolutely necessary for authenticity and as critical assistance to possible research. In concrete terms, only the names of a few personages will be added to the five or six names that were given in the previous piece to which the present one is anchored.

The meeting of Anti-Poverty Movement of Nigeria (APMON) in Lagos on Christmas Day of 1975 formally ended the “civil war” in the organization. This was in the early months of Murtala Mohammed-Olusegun Obasanjo-Theophilus Danjuma military regime and a couple of months after the last batch of APMON activists were released from detention. The meeting (a revolutionary congress, in retrospect) declared the dominant faction it represented as victor in the internal struggle (on how to proceed after detention) and the authentic progression of the revolutionary tradition of APMON. From Ibadan came Biodun Jeyifo (BJ) with a number of comrades. Tony Engurube, Bene Madunagu and I, together with some other comrades came from Lagos. Comrades from Kaduna/Zaria who were meeting most of the key participants for the first time—outside the newspapers—and who, on arrival, noticed the tense atmosphere, cautiously and justifiably declared themselves “observers” and were so admitted.

The meeting/congress issued a communique which, among other things—national and international—condemned the promotions being carried out by the new regime in the Nigerian armed forces and the regime’s harassment of students of the University of Ibadan for earlier voicing the same condemnation. In the international scene, we condemned the military intervention of Indonesia in East Timor. Tony Engurube emerged as National Chair (a new position); I was confirmed as National Secretary and Bene was named member of the Working Committee. BJ emerged as Editor-in-Chief of People’s Cause, the journal of APMON, and given full powers to constitute the Editorial Board—and he came out with a revolutionary and truly national working group. As indicated in the preceding piece (“For Jeyifo (BJ) and Komolafe (KK”)), the Revolutionary Directorate (RD) also emerged on that day—December 25, 1975—with BJ and I as the only members. It was completely underground. As also indicated: with time, RD acquired three levels of membership: full-membership, alternate-full-membership and associate-membership.

To recap and proceed: Revolutionary Directorate (RD) has been introduced as the revolutionary core (vanguard) of a revolutionary tendency (RT) in the Nigerian Socialist Movement (NSM) and the Nigerian Left (NL). It came into existence in Lagos on December 25, 1975 at a revolutionary congress of Anti-Poverty Movement of Nigeria (APMON). The congress, together with the emergence of RD, was a revolutionary leap. But within six months of this leap, RD made another revolutionary leap: It combined with another group in what I have called “extraordinary engagement” and “revolutionary rural conscientisation” in an area covering parts of the present Osun, Oyo and Ondo States. That combination was called the Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Nigeria (REMLON). In making this second revolutionary leap, RD almost liquidated, through temporary abandonment, the Anti-Poverty Movement of Nigeria (APMON) whose revolutionary heritage it had shortly before then fought a bitter “civil war” to sustain and continue!

Now, what was the basic character of RD—not at formation, but in maturity? What, in other words, distinguished it from other tendencies, groups and formations in the Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Nigerian Left? The earlier article implicitly answered this question and went on to aggregate and summarize the programme of RD over the 45-year period. But at least three points should here be emphasized. The first point is that RD was committed, irrevocably, to the unity of the Nigerian Left and the emergence of a substantial, nationally-based revolutionary formation. It believed that it is not the present ruling class that will unite Nigeria – for it cannot. Rather, it is the Nigerian Left, having been united on revolutionary foundations, that will champion and lead the struggle for national unity under popular democracy and socialism. 

If you respond that some groups can also stand up and insist on being counted for this commitment, I will respond that RD pursues this commitment while remaining Marxist and revolutionary. The second point is that all those questions which used to appear as appendixes to socialist programmes in Nigeria—including the national question and the women’s liberation question—must now be in the mainstream of the agenda of struggle. The third point is that in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism and for popular democracy and socialism the working class remains the most strategic segment of the fighting population.

RD’s experience over the years is dominated by a number of attributes which can be summarized under the following headings: Minimum continuity in the execution of its programme; regular discontinuity in the development and adoption of organizational forms through which it executes this programme; and revolutionary idealism in the execution of the programme. These attributes will be listed and described in the remaining part of this piece. Their historical and ideological roots go beyond RD: they are national, even international. They constitute another subject entirely.

To explain what I mean by “Minimum Continuity” in the execution of RD’s general programme we may refer to three items in the programme. These are: “Strengthening the vanguard’s capacity to ensure the continuity of popular-democratic struggles (that is, struggles in promotion and defence of democratic, human, existential and civil rights) across the country at all times and in all conditions of bourgeois or even popular-democratic rule”; “expanding popular-democratic and socialist education among the toiling and working masses and all strata and segments of the population that suffer specific or general oppression under capitalist rule”; and “engaging in systematic research, information and documentation and building institutions and centres for this engagement”. 

RD has not halted any element of these engagements, as well as ideological/intellectual engagements in the media and in academic institutions, since its birth in December 1975 and for the six subperiods of its history: (1975-1977), (1977-1985), (1985-1995), (1995-2005), (2005-2015), (2015-the present). This is what I mean by “minimum continuity”. So, the questions whether RD is in existence and what it now does—if in existence—are answered.

To understand what I mean by “regular discontinuity” in organizational forms, the following background will have to be appreciated. RD had no “organizational structure” in the ordinary sense this term is used. It was a collective in which every member knew and was conscious not only of her/his areas of special responsibility but those of others. RD acted through its individual members and through civil-society, sociopolitical and popular-democratic formations in which its members participate or in which they have influence. The bottom-line rule was that RD members in any organizational form must not only be selfless but must uphold the highest forms of democratic principle and practice. Having said this, the point I am making by “regular discontinuity” is that the organizational forms through which RD acted had been unstable—to put the matter mildly. Or, put differently, RD has experienced a massive “turnover” of organizational forms through which it acted.

We conclude where we began: Revolutionary Idealism. This has been the most enduring, the dominant of the dominant RD attributes. Revolutionary idealism, in the context of RD experience, is the heroic and selfless pursuit, by revolutionary Marxists, of “high or noble principles, purposes or goals” – but without giving sufficient consideration to “objective, historically-determined reality”. In its extreme forms this attribute can move from mere revolutionary impatience to what Leninists call “voluntarism” or “adventurism”. But an irony of history is that although revolutionary idealism frequently leads to defeats and drawbacks, no successful revolution has so far taken place without the vanguardism of revolutionary idealism.

For a peep into the history of RD’s revolutionary idealism, consider the following trajectory of its first six years of existence. Within six months of winning the “civil war” in Anti-Poverty Movement of Nigeria (APMON), RD united with a revolutionary formation and began a 12-month period of “extraordinary engagement” and “rural conscientisation” in western part of Nigeria. It withdrew in the middle of 1977. And shortly after this, by the end of the All-Nigeria Socialist Conference in Zaria in July-August 1977, RD had re-established itself in two centres: Calabar and Ife. 

In Calabar, which became its new headquarters, RD tried to recreate the “rural conscientisation” in what is now the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State. Comrade Assim Oto Assim-Ita, a revolutionary socialist, as well as a royalty, was a pillar of this new engagement. But RD embarked on this new engagement without adequate study of the new terrain or even a thorough analysis of its 1976/1977 experience in Western Nigeria. Simultaneously RD initiated the formation of the Movement for Progressive Nigeria (MPN) in the University of Calabar in the hope that with the existence of a similarly-named organization in Kaduna/Zaria the revolutionary national movement of Nigerian students headquartered in Ibadan would expand faster and grow stronger.

The next step was the establishment of Action Centre Information and Documentation (ACID) in the Ibadan/Ife axis and the formation of Calabar Group of Socialists (GCS) and Democratic Action Committee (DACOM) in Calabar. By the end of the first five years of its existence, the “Ali Must Go” national students’ protest and its bloody aftermath had come and gone; a radical Leftist tendency had assumed the national leadership of the newly-formed Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC); the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had emerged, and had been radicalized; the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the successor to the proscribed National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) had also emerged, radical at birth. 

By the middle of its sixth year of existence, RD, as RD, had suffered its first known casualty: the murder, at the University of Calabar, on April 21, 1981, of Ingrid Essien-Obot, a radical lecturer in Medical Psychology (then taught as part of Sociology), a Leftist feminist, socialist humanist, German by birth, Nigerian by marriage and mother of five (one female, four males). While Assim Ita (late) was a full member of RD, Ingrid Essien-Obot and Tony Engurube (both late) were, at different times, associate members. By the middle of its seventh year, RD had embarked on “foreign expeditions.” This, in summary, is a sample of RD’s dominant experiences and attributes over the years. Some of these were positive, some were contradictory, others were deserving of severe criticism, but all were revolutionary, selfless and offer deep lessons for generations of the Nigerian Left. 

I wish to end this piece and the entire narrative, which began with “For Jeyifo (BJ) and Komolafe (KK)” early this month, with the following categorical statement: RD’s discontinuation of its revolutionary “rural conscientisation” projects, as initiated, was a critique of RD’s revolutionary idealism and not the result of “unpreparedness” on the part of peasants and rural populations who received us in the two regions with maximum enthusiasm, faith and expectations. 

More concretely: Rural conscientisation, like education in general, can be conceived as an end in itself. But for revolutionaries, it must be conceived, in addition, as a means to a political end. Unfortunately, and almost tragically, the nature and manner of this “end,” and how to advance to it, could not, in the given historical and material circumstances, be adequately conceived by the revolutionary agency, RD.

Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State


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God’s Own People And Some Dirty Little Secrets By Osmund Agbo

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 14:23

In March 2018 while at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee event held in Washington, the Isreali Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, received what was described as a hero’s welcome. It was so inspiring hearing him speak glowingly about the progress made by the Jewish State. For a country surrounded by very belligerent neighbours and only came into existence since 1948, the progress recorded is nothing short of phenomenal. He stated and rightly so that Israel is a nation punching way above her weight.

The speech was vintage Bibi, strong in delivery, compellingly persuasive and laced with a generous dose of arrogance. But who can blame a nation that was born to fail but has not only survived but grew to become the most advanced economy in the Middle East. A nation of about eight million people that turned an arid desert into an arable land practicing the most technologically innovative system of agriculture that is being copied around the world. Am sure you are not unaware of the Isreali military might with the impregnable iron dome and how she has maintained a comfortable lead in the area of cyber security amongst world powers. Isreali has produced more Nobel laureates than the whole continent of Africa and Latin America combined and her footprints could be seen in almost every scientific innovation in the twenty first century. And so Bibi is absolutely right.

If you a Christian faithful, you would argue that nothing less is expected. After all the Jews are God’s chosen people. It doesn’t matter that Judaism is a little different from Christianity and that the Jews haven’t always followed the footsteps of Christ.

Recently an Isreali company was in the news following the now infamous hacking of the phone of the world’s richest man by no less a person than the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, allegedly. The hack was made possible through the help of a technology developed by an Isreali cyber-security firm, NSO called Pegasus. Pegasus sends people what is referred to as “exploit link” which the malware uses surreptitiously to penetrate a phone’s security features and gets installed without the victim knowing.

Even when you ignore that as just one Israeli company gone rogue and working hard to line the pocket of her shareholders, you probably didn’t know half the history of the Israel nuclear program. Isreali is the only nuclear power in the Middle East, a charge that it has neither confirmed nor denied and yet she declined to sign the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapon. Her reactors tucked between the sand dunes of the Negev desert remains one of the most closely guarded piece of real estate in the world.

The processed Uranium Ore referred to as yellowcake that helped give the Israeli nuclear effort a boost was obtained through an infamous covert operation by Mossad agents in 1968. And yes, Operation Plumbat involved all kinds of criminal activities ranging from stealing to forgery and impersonation.

And so whether it’s counterfeiting multiple foreign passports or carrying out the most audacious dare-devil espionage activities around the world, Israel traffics in sophisticated thuggery. Mossad the elite intelligent agency takes no prisoners. The world has gotten familiar with those pretty faces in the Israeli Defence Force elite unit slinging the lethal Uzi on their shoulders like fashion-forward Louis Vuitton bags. Totally bad ass!

As eye popping as those action are, they are not unique to the Jewish State. Covert measures are routinely employed by sovereign nations to stay a little ahead of both friends and foes. In fact almost all nation states have done same or will do so if the capabilities are available. The Jews just happen to be way ahead of the game.

The problem is this is hardly the virtuous path you expected from God’s own people.

Osmund Agbo MD, FCCP writes from Houston, Texas, United States

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Why Is Buhari Still Keeping Failed Service Chiefs? By Fredrick Nwabufo

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 14:20

Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

In December 2018, Boko Haram insurgents pulled a blitzkrieg on military formations in Baga, Borno State, sacking the headquarters of the multinational joint task force and taking over the place (briefly). The group steadied its onslaughts on military formations, killing many soldiers, weeks after. 

At least, 18 soldiers were killed in an ambush on Maiduguri Road on December 26, 2018, in one of Boko Haram’s mortal offensives. The group also persisted in inflicting attritive damages on the civilian population in the North-East. The killings and destruction never let up; in fact, they had taken an upward trajectory since the current service chiefs were appointed. 

But what did President Muhammadu Buhari say and do in the heat of the killing of soldiers, civilians and attack on military barracks and equipment?

This is what he said in an interview on Arise TV in January, 2019 – a few days after the attacks:  “The head [him] has to be very careful on removal of the service chiefs because you don’t know [the] ambition of the ones coming up. I didn’t know them on [a] personal basis, I followed records and thought I picked the best then, of course, their performance may be disappointing but I accept responsibility for not changing them. My reason is based on my own experience.”

Now, compare Buhari’s complacent remarks to the action of President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger Republic, who sacked his security chiefs after 89 soldiers were killed by terrorists in January, 2020.

My theory is, Buhari is keeping the service chiefs, who have failed in their duty, out of self-preservation. He is prioritising loyalty over competence because he still sees the wraith of the 1985 coup in which he was deposed. Boko Haram can sack the entire north-east, but the president will still keep the security chiefs. He considers any threat to his office of far greater concern than any threat to the lives of Nigerians.

In its resolution of January 16, 2020, the European parliament, legislative branch of the European Union, affirmed what many Nigerians know. It said there has not been any progress in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents. 

Commenting on Boko Haram’s abominations, the parliament said the security situation in Nigeria has deteriorated significantly.

“Condemns in particular the recent increase in violence against ethnic and religious communities, including the targeting of religious institutions and worshippers. Deplores that progress has stalled in the fight against Boko Haram, ISWAP and the increased occurrence and severity of suicide attacks and direct attacks against military positions; recalls that Nigeria’s President Buhari was re-elected in 2019 on the promise of defeating the violent extremism promoted by Boko Haram and other terror groups, and urges the President to implement his campaign promises,’’ it said.

In these few weeks, the insurgents have executed a series of attacks on civilians and the military. 

On Christmas eve, a faction of Boko Haram affiliated to the Islamic State, killed 11 Christian captives in Borno, saying the action was taken to avenge the deaths of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the late IS leader and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir, its spokesman, who were killed in Syria in October.

On Monday, Lawan Andimi, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, was tragically dispatched by Boko Haram. Also, Daciya Dalep, a student of the University of Maiduguri, was killed in the most infernal manner.

But how did Nigeria’s army chief respond to these tragedies? He described the attacks as the ‘’last kick of a dying horse’’. But I wonder why this horse is not yet dead – even as the military claims the insurgents have been technically defeated.

Really, Boko Haram appears vitalised by every daring attack. On January 7, a driver attached to Olusegun Adeniyi, commander of operation Lafiya Dole (the war campaign), was killed in a derring-do attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the commander’s convoy. 

The insurgents attacked Adeniyi, a major-general, who was on his way back to Maiduguri after a visit to Jakana in Borno State, where they had struck earlier.

What is derisory is that two of the service chiefs and the national security adviser are from the North-East – the theatre of the war. But rather than extirpate the menaces to the peace in the zone, two of the security chiefs are fixated on establishing military universities in their hometowns. 

To me, it is clear the security chiefs have failed in the one task for which they were appointed. And I think, it is time they take a bow. In Old Japan, generals who fail in war take themselves out by hara-kiri.  Not that our own generals should, but the president must prioritise the security of Nigerians over himself and let these men go. 

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.


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Agba Jalingo: Justice Shuaibu Receives Case File, Amobeda Boasts Of Stalling Trial

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 13:47

After weeks of delay, sources in the Calabar division of the Federal High Court said the administrative judge, Justice Sule Shuaibu, has received the case file in the matter involving journalist and rights activist, Agba Jalingo.

The former trial judge in the matter, Justice Simon Amobeda, had failed to transmit the case file number FHC/CA/59C/2019 to Justice Shuaibu after he recused himself and proceeded on vacation in December 2019.

But Justice Shuaibu, who is senior of the two judges in the division, is said to have asked for time to read through the case file before issuing hearing notices to the prosecution and defense counsels.

Meanwhile Justice Amobeda, who denied admitting him to bail twice, ruling that he had not shown “exceptional circumstances” to warrant the court to exercise its discretion is said to have boasted that he had inserted a clause in his last ruling where he recused himself that will stall the trial.

Also, some colleagues of Jalingo, who attended a court session for Joseph Odok, a lawyer and critic of Governor Ben Ayade’s administration last week, said Amobeda had sent Odok with a subtle message to Jalingo that he was not in possession of his case file anymore but still had some control over his matter.

Jalingo was arrested on August 22, 2019 at his Lagos residence and ferried to Calabar for an article he wrote in July wherein he asked the Cross River State government to come clean on the whereabouts of the N500m approved and released for the floating of the Cross River Microfinance bank.

He spent 34 days in police detention before he was arraigned initially on September 25, 2019 with charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State Government preferred against him.

However, the four charges were amended to border on terrorism and cybercrime. 

He risks a death sentence if convicted.

He is currently remanded at the Medium Security Custodial Center in Afokang, Calabar, where he has spent 121 days so far after appearing before Justice Amobeda on September 25, 2019.

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Amnesty International Urges Lagos Government To End Forced Evictions In State

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 11:30

Global rights group, Amnesty International, has called on the Lagos State Government to immediately halt the violent and unlawful evictions that rendered thousands of residents of Tarkwa Bay, a waterfront community in Lagos, homeless. 

On January 21 at about 8:00am, personnel of the Nigerian Navy resorted to assault and shooting during the evictions at Tarkwa Bay. 

The authorities continued with the forced evictions the next day, in what appears to be a brazen disregard for the safety and security of the affected people, as well as their rights to housing among others. 

“What is happening at Tarkwa Bay, Lagos is a violation of human government rights. 

"It is unacceptable that the Nigerian Government are evicting people in the most violent manner and destroying their homes without genuine consultations, adequate notice, alternative accommodation or access to remedies,” said Osai Ojigho, Director Amnesty International Nigeria.

“The attacks on poor communities of Lagos must end. Throwing many families into endless misery is not the best way of addressing allegations of crime and urban planning failures of the authorities. We call for a halt to ongoing forced evictions,” she added. 

Spate of unlawful evictions in Lagos have surged since last. 

For example, in November 2019, nearly 1500 residents of Second Badagry community in Lagos were forcibly evicted. 

Similarly, on January 4, 2020, about 3000 residents of Okun Glass Village, Ilaase, were violently evicted by personnel of the Nigerian Navy.  

Several other informal communities in Lagos live with perpetual threats of forced evictions.

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Journalists Union Demands Investigation, Prosecution Of Cop Behind Killing Of Colleague In Abuja

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 11:21

The Nigerian Union of Journalists, Federal Capital Territory Council, Abuja, has expressed sadness over the death of Mr Alex Ogbu and demanded an in-depth investigation into the circumstances leading to his killing.

Ogbu was killed by police bullet on Tuesday during a protest by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. 

The union in a statement on Thursday said it seemed to had become a pattern for police personnel to target journalists covering protests in Abuja going by the rising tragic deaths in recent times.

The statement reads, “It is heart-rending to know that yet another journalist was felled in this seeming unending orgy of bloodletting in Abuja and other parts of the country. 

"We at the NUJ are now asking if this is a pattern where journalists become victims in the legitimate pursuit of their profession as reporters?

“It is barely seven months that Precious Owolabi of Channels TV was cut down in his prime, only for Ogbu to die in a senseless manner.

“We demand that the FCT Police Command commences investigation into this death and ensure that the officer(s) involved in his killing faces the law. 

"The police should know that any investigation without the inclusion of the union and National Human Rights Commission will amount to an exercise in futility.

“NUJ will hold the police hierarchy responsible if justice was not served in this matter. 

"We will ensure that if the Nigerian state fails, we will explore diplomatic channels to ensure that those who harass, intimidate and kill journalists under any guise are made to bear the brunt of such objectionable conduct.”

Ogbu until his death was a journalist with Regent Africa Times where he covered politics and was a critical voice in demanding for good governance.


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Nigeria: The Sad Reality By Khalifa Musa Muhammad

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 10:03


On 01 October 2020, Nigeria will mark sixty years of independence. Sixty years since our colonial masters left the leadership of Nigeria to Nigerians. Initially, a part of Nigeria wanted the independence by 1957 while the other section wanted a later date. The reason of the latter was that Nigerians needed time to bridge the gap. They deemed it necessary to gain more experience and training in order to sustain governance. As fate will have it, Nigeria became independent in 1960.

In 1962, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, published his autobiography “My Life”. Amongst others, he highlighted how they struggled for independence and set the ball rolling afterwards. Sardauna was passionate about education-for all including the girl-child and handicapped-and also optimistic on industrialization. His lamentation on exporting raw materials and importing the finished products was unequivocal.

Fast forward to 2020, have we really moved forward? On education, we have 13.2 million out of school children. Some of the schools are out of shape. Our pupils still sit on the floor. Quacks pose as teachers. We have learning environments that are not conducive. The little allocation for education is not just meager but paltry.

It is said that only ten percent of applicants gain admission into tertiary institutions yearly. Out of this ten percent how many get jobs? Tertiary institutions churn out graduates yearly. You find first class students with no jobs. Their schools do not absorb them neither do they offer them scholarships to further their studies. The system finds no space to accommodate them. So, we waste their skills and they get rotten – the sad reality. Education is crucial to development and we have actually just scratched the surface. To satisfy the wants, wishes and desires of 200 million Nigerians we have to do better and move at a quicker pace.

Today, we export raw materials and import finished products. What sense does it make to export crude oil and import petrol? In 2017, Ibe Kachikwu, the then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, announced that he will resign if Nigeria keeps importing fuel by 2019. He did not resign and we still import fuel. Also, tomatoes in our farm and market get rotten while we are busy importing tomato paste. This is what happens to our natural resources, minerals and agricultural products; we export the raw materials and import finished products – misplaced priorities. The sad reality!

On basic amenities, our politicians still use water and electricity to campaign. According to statistics by UNICEF, lack of access to clean water leads to the death of about 70,000 children annually under the age of five in Nigeria. According to USAID, only 30 percent of the population in northern Nigeria has access to clean water. In addition, lack of potable water can worsen health conditions through water borne diseases.

Works on electricity started around the 17th century but today in Nigeria power supply is incessantly erratic. The PDP once stated that they had spent $16 billion on power. Where is the power? The Mambila power project that has a capacity of 3,050 MW has been in the pipeline for about fifty years. This project is still not ready – the sad reality.

The sad reality is that we pride ourselves as the “Giant of Africa” yet supply of electricity in Nigeria is insufficient and inadequate. The distribution hover around 5,000 MW across the 923,000 sq km which 200 million Nigerians occupy. Without intensive efforts to have adequate power supply, sustainable development will be beyond our reach.

The road network in Nigeria is deplorable. The conditions of the roads lead to ghastly accidents. Man hours are wasted on traffic gridlock. The state of the roads is very poor that it hinders the efficiency of transporting goods and services. Bad roads have negative economic effects. The sad reality is that in Nigeria, road construction or rehabilitation is very expensive and it takes time.

Despite all these pressing issues, scarce resources to the tune of 37 billion naira will be used to renovate the National Assembly complex. I believe Nigerians would not mind if the legislators move to the National Stadium or Eagle Square to conduct their legislative duties. Besides, this will bring legislative activities closer to the people. The amount is too much and the priority should be on enhancing human capital development of Nigerians not some white elephant project.

As the saying goes “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” In Nigeria today, we elect people that have no plans. They assume office confused, disorganized and disoriented. This is evident as ample time is being wasted in understanding governance. Sadly, we have lost the patriotic drive and quite a number of elected officials are more interested in embezzling and looting than serving Nigerians. This is the sad reality.

The sad reality is that: nowadays, most Nigerians or residents of Nigeria are directly or indirectly vulnerable to the pervasive insecurity in the land. The rates of crime, banditry and kidnapping have swelled. Furthermore, shortly after we were famously dubbed as fantastically corrupt by the former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, we are now the poverty capital of the world. The economic indices and statistics are not favorable to us. Yet, we seem to have not executed a feasible and viable plan, simply because we have none - the sad reality. But there is a way out.

Our leaders should be men and women that will build strong institutions. Our leaders are meant to serve us not rule over us. It is in our interest to hold them accountable for their actions and inactions. For the past sixty years we have made achievements that are far below our expectations. Achievements that are not commensurate to what we require to be a force to reckon with.

This is unfortunate and should be unacceptable for a country with promising potentials, like Nigeria. Our inability to gain grounds is surprising. Considering independence had to wait till we were more skilled to handle the affairs of state, will it have been worse if our independence came earlier?

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Traditional Medicine Practitioner, Oko Oloyun, Shot Dead In Oyo

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 02:18

Popular alternative medicine practitioner, Alhaji Fatai Yusuf, also known as Oko Oloyun, was on Thursday shot dead by gunmen on the Eruwa-Igboora Road in the Ibarapa Central area of Oyo State.

Yusuf was said to be on his way from an outing around 4:30pm when the gunmen shot at his vehicle, a report by PUNCH said.

The Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, Gbenga Fadeyi, who confirmed the incident, said the state Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, had visited the scene and ordered an investigation into the incident. 

He added that Yusuf’s corpse had been deposited in the Igbo-Ora General Hospital’s mortuary.

Fadeyi said, “Gunmen attacked his vehicle on the Eruwa-Igboora Road in Ibarapa Central; they shot at his vehicle and he was hit by a bullet.

“The man's corpse has been deposited in the Igbo-Ora General Hospital.”

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Pregnant Nigerian Women To Be Denied United States Visa Under New Policy

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 02:12


The United States Government on Thursday gave visa officers more power to block pregnant women abroad including those from Nigeria from visiting America.

Under a new rule, the US Department of State directed visa officers to stop “birth tourism” — trips designed to obtain citizenship for children of pregnant women to the country.

The President Donald Trump’s administration is using the new rule, which takes effect on Friday, to push consular officers abroad to reject women they believe are entering the United States specifically to gain citizenship for their child by giving birth.

The visas covered by the new rule are issued to those seeking to visit for pleasure, medical treatment or to see friends and family, a report by The New York Times, said. 

Conservatives have long railed against what they call “anchor babies,” born on American soil and used by their parents to bring in other family members. 

President Trump has also criticised the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to most babies born on American soil.

It is not clear whether such “birth tourism” is a significant phenomenon or that “anchor babies” do lead to substantial immigration, but many conservatives believe both issues are real and serious. 

“Birth tourism poses risks to national security,” Carl C. Risch, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs at the State Department, wrote in the final rule. “The birth tourism industry is also rife with criminal activity, including international criminal schemes.”

Consular officers were already unlikely to grant visa to women, who they believe were travelling to the United States solely to give birth. 

But with the new rule, the White House seems to be signalling to officers abroad that those close to delivering a child would be added to a growing list of immigrants unwelcome in the United States.

Nigeria is number three on birth tourism list in the United States after Russia and China.

On Tuesday the US announced plans to impose fresh visa restrictions on countries including Nigeria. 

Trump’s administration said the move was necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism, as countries on the list don’t adequately vet their travellers to America.

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After Anthony Joshua Defeat, Andy Ruiz And Trainer Part Ways

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 01:55

Andy Ruiz Jnr has parted ways with his trainer, Manny Robles, following his rematch loss to Anthony Joshua.

The Mexican was outclassed by the British heavyweight in Saudi Arabia in December as he lost via a unanimous decision, gifting his titles back to Joshua after a stunning upset last summer.

Ruiz stopped Joshua in Madison Square Garden last June to claim the IBF, IBO, WBA Super and WBO belts, but he admitted to overeating and partying in the aftermath of his historic win, and Robles said the split was inevitable. 

Speaking to ESPN, Robles said Ruiz had been out of control in the build up to the crucial rematch, with the man himself admitting he 'wished he had taken it more seriously'.

But he added that the relationship was never going to work going forward because Ruiz 'wasn't listening'.

He said, “I've seen it coming, I'll be honest with you. Andy was just doing whatever he wanted to do. The dad, obviously with him being the manager, he just had no control over his son. None of us had control of him for that matter.

“Fortunately for me, Andy took the blame on himself and didn't sit there like a majority of fighters and blame the coach.”

Speaking after his one-sided loss to Joshua, Ruiz said his emotional victory over his rival last year had put him on cloud nine and took celebrations a little too far.

He said, “I was having too much fun, I was celebrating too much. Even out of shape, even the way that I was training back and forth (between Mexico and California). I wish I had taken it more serious.”

Ruiz will now be looking for a new coach for 2020 as he looks to put himself back on the heavyweight map.


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On Volte Face Of Attorney-General On Amotekun By Femi Falana

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 00:49


My position on the Amotekun debate is not based on sentiments but on the relevant provisions of the constitution and decided cases of our courts. The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has unequivocally asserted that Amotekun is illegal and unconstitutional on the grounds that defence is an item in the exclusive legislative list. He also said that it was illegal for state governments, either singly or jointly to set up any security outfit under the current democratic dispensation.

Of course, Mr Malami knows that I do not agree with him that Amotekun is illegal simply because the enabling law has not been enacted. The fact that the office of the special assistant to the Attorney-General on media is not a creation of the constitution does not make it illegal.

On a more serious note, I was not surprised that the Federal Government was initially opposed to Amotekun. Like Amotekun, the Sharia Police called 'Hisbah' was ferociously attacked by the Federal Government. Even though Hisbah was established by the Kano State Hisbah Law No 4 of 2003, the Federal Government said it was illegal. In fact, in a letter addressed to the Kano State Government, President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed concern over the constitutionality of Hisbah. Thereafter, the President sent a fact-finding delegation to Kano on the matter. Based on the antagonistic posture of the Federal Government, the Nigeria Police Force took steps to outlaw Hisbah. Apart from declaring Hisbah illegal and unconstitutional, the police arrested the Commander-General of Hisbah and his deputy in Kano and took them to Abuja where they were detained.

When the harassment of the Hisbah by the police continued unabated, the Kano State Government approached the Supreme Court to test the constitutional validity of the Hisbah Law. Curiously, the Supreme Court struck out the suit for want of jurisdiction on the grounds that there was no dispute between the Federal Government and Kano State Government on the existence and operation of Hisbah (See Attorney- General of Kano State v. Attorney-General of the Federation (2007) 6 NWLR (Pt 1029) 164).

Even though the suit was struck out on technical grounds, the police stopped further harassment of Hisbah. Since then, other state governments have set up similar security outfits to enforce Sharia Law or protect the general public from kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes.

I have called on the South-West governments to enact the necessary laws to back the establishment of Amotekun in order to institutionalise it as I believe that it has come to stay. It is indisputable that the six states in the South-West zone has no joint parliament. Hence, I have called on each state House of Assembly to enact a law for the establishment of Amotekun. However, since the six states have been grouped together and recognised as the "South-West zone" by the Federal Character Commission Act (Cap F7) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, they are not precluded from collaborating in securing the life and property of every person living or visiting the region. After all, the Federal Government has never challenged the legality of Odua Investment Company Limited, the economic union of the six states in the South-West zone.

Finally, instead of apologising for misleading the nation on the legal status of the security outfit, the Attorney-General has decided to attack me without any justification. Notwithstanding such unwarranted attack, I am of the view that the belated volte face of the Attorney-General on Amotekun is a welcomed development.

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CAN To Stage Nationwide Protest On February 2, Accuses Government Of Complicity

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 00:46


The Christian Association of Nigeria has called on all Christians across the country to embark on a prayer walk to protest the gruesome killing of the CAN Chairman in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi, by Boko Haram terrorists.

CAN President, Dr Samson Ayokunle, disclosed this during a briefing with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

He noted that the walk was aimed at rendering prayers for the country to overcome the criminals troubling Nigeria.

He said that it would be difficult to believe that the government under the present administration was not colluding with insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to overhaul the security apparatus in the country with a view to improving the safety of Nigerians.

Ayokunle asked government to label Miyetti Allah a terrorist organisation.

He said, “Government should order the arrest of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah for sponsoring and perpetuating crime of Nigeria and prosecute them for all the killings in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states, among others.

“Also, government should publish names of all kingpins of the terrorists in detention and those who are being prosecuted.”


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Mob Burns Two Suspected Thieves In Bayelsa

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 00:46


Two suspected thieves were on Thursday lynched and set blazed by angry residents of Biogbolo area of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State after robbing a cash point outlet.

An eyewitness said that the robbers’ Sports Utility Vehicle was also burnt by the furious residents. 

Meanwhile the police in the state have condemned the mob action leading to the deaths of the two suspects. 

Commissioner of Police in the state, Uche Anozia, has ordered an investigation and said that those responsible for the act will be arrested and prosecuted.


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Corona Virus: NCAA Warns Airlines On Importing Human Remains

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 00:32

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has warned airlines on regional and international operations to be wary of importing human remains into Nigeria following the continued spread of Corona Virus from China.

NCAA said that before any airline could bring in dead bodies into Nigeria, such a carrier must first contact the Port Health Services at all international gateways for clearance.

A statement signed by Public Affairs Manager of NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, made the announcement, adding that high level of vigilance must be maintained by airlines at all the points of entries into the country.

Airlines are ordered to report to NCAA in writing any suspected case of communicable disease observed in flight or at any point of entry especially the international airports.

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Amotekun: Vulnerable Women, Children Can Now Heave Sigh Of Relief, Group Says

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2020-01-24 00:30

A group of women in Ondo State on Thursday described the establishment of ‘Operation Amotekun’ as solace for vulnerable women and children, who had been targets of attack in the hands of marauders.

The women under the aegis of the Association for Human Development, a non-governmental organisation, said the people of the South-West can now heave a sigh of relief and enjoy some peace.

According to them, ‘Operation Amotekun’ initiative came at a right time when it was needed and would help curb incessant attacks and destruction that had long ravaged the South-West. 

The women group stated this after submitting a protest letter jointly signed by their President, Esan Folake, Vice President, Uche Daudu and Secretary, Bola Fajuyi, to raise support for the initiative.  See Also PHOTONEWS: Ondo Women Group Say "Operation Amotekun" A Solace To Vulnerable Women And Children 2 Days Ago

Speaking with SaharaReporters, Esan said, “Operation Amotekun has come at the right time as solace for vulnerable women and children in the South-West who have been dealt with mercilessly in the hands of so many evildoer.

“In recent times, it well known that the South-West states of Nigeria had witness the highest attacks without adequate measures to put an end to such menace.

“We are rising and lending our voice to say that women and children in the South-West can now have a huge sigh of relief because ‘Operation Amotekun’ is a timely solace to us.”


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