Tension and pandemonium took over different parts of Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State yesterday, as soldiers with the Operation Python Dance 2 team clashed with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The clash left an unconfirmed number of people dead and injured. In Rivers State, at least two persons have been feared dead and several others injured following a clash between men of the Nigerian Army and IPOB members in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The pro-Biafra group also seized three rifles from policemen and burnt a Police van at the junction of Obigbo in the oil-rich state. In Abia, trouble started when some members of IPOB, who left Aba in the morning for Umuahia in solidarity for their leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, over the invasion of his house at Afaraukwu, Umuahia, were alleged to have been stopped by soldiers at Isiala Ngwa junction along the Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway.
The IPOB members were allegedly manhandled with some of them being forced to roll inside muddy waters. Many IPOB members, who escaped the soldiers’ wrath at Isiala Ngwa junction, were said to have met another set of soldiers at the Osisioma junction at the outskirts of the city, as they were heading towards Umuahia, leading to a faceoff. The army were said to have shot sporadically as the IPOB members, who were moving towards Ariaria International Market, caused serious uproar as people scampered for safety.
The chaotic state, which enveloped the Osisioma axis, stretched beyond Ariaria Market, to the Flyover Junction, a distance of over eight kilometres, leading to the destruction of some vehicles and death of unconfirmed number of people.
Major markets, trading centres and relaxation places in the city of Aba closed down before 4p.m., creating tension among the residents of the city.
Within the Aba city centre, there was also serious unrest as soldiers cordoned off all roads leading to the Central Mosque on Mosque Street to prevent hoodlums from taking advantage of the situation in the city to vandalise the mosque or cause any inter-ethnic crisis. Soldiers, who condoned off the area, shot sporadically to ward off intruders, and people ran for their dear lives, forcing traders to close business for the day and rush home.
The situation was still very tense as at the time of filing the report, but to ease tension, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu declared dusk-to-dawn curfew in the city. Ikpeazu announced the measure following the tension building up over the Operation Python Dance II declared by the army for the South-East. The curfew, according to the governor, would be operational from 6p.m. to 6a.m. for the three days.
The governor, while announcing the curfew at the Government House, Umuahia, yesterday noted that, “Abia State has, for the past few days, been the focus of security searchlight occasioned by the reported skirmish between some groups in the state, especially IPOB with men of the Nigerian Army.
Ikpeazu cautioned that while the government “recognises the right of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, to perform their statutory duty of protection of lives and properties of Nigerian citizens, such duties must be carried out within acclaimed Nigerian and international standards of engagement with the civil populace, with due respect to the human rights of citizens and sanctity of human lives.”
The governor observed that the September 10 confrontation of the army with IPOB members could presumably be attributed to the commencement of the said Operation Python Dance II, saying that Abia, as a component of Nigeria, subscribes to the supremacy of the constitution.
There has been unconfirmed report of clashes from Ubakala junction in Umuahia South Council area to Isialangwa and Aba even as IPOB’s Secretary of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, alleged that the army has laid siege to the home of its leader, Kanu, with the purpose of assassinating him.
The tension around Kanu’s home in Afaraukwu has forced shop owners to lock their shops, thereby crippling business activities and free movement of people there. Meanwhile, trouble was said to have started at Obigbo Express when news reached IPOB members who had gathered there that soldiers allegedly ambushed and killed eight of their members at 44 Battalion Asa, Abia State.
The IPOB members were said to have responded to the call made by the group’s second in command, Uche Mefor, who was said to have called in from London, ordering IPOB members to move down to the residence of Kanu in Umuahia. In reaction to Mefor’s call, sources said that IPOB members mobilised and started protesting, with some of them attacking people from Northern extraction they saw on the road.
Some IPOB members also seized three rifles from policemen and burnt a police van at Obigbo junction, forcing business and shop owners to lock up as motorists and commuters ran for dear lives. Some weeks ago, Kanu held a rally at a Catholic church in Timber, which was attended by thousands of IPOB members, causing a total lockdown of businesses in the area and neighbouring communities in the area.
At the Obigbo Express, a Hilux van belonging to the police was burnt, while traders from Northern parts of the country closed their shops and ran for safety, with some of them running to the Obigbo Police Station.
At the popular Nkwo Obigbo Market and Adam Road, people ran helter skelter as gunshots boomed from the Obigbo Express junction, while soldiers mounted at the railway and near Abriba Quarters to provide safety to people of Northern extraction.
Spokesman for 6 Brigade, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, when contacted, said that no soldier was deployed to Obigbo to stop IPOB members from moving to Umuahia, noting that they can only shoot if they are attacked.
Iliyasu said: “I am in Bayelsa now, but people have been calling, telling me that there is a situation in the Obigbo area. But I don’t know exactly where this is happening. But one thing is certain; no soldier was deployed to Obigbo and asked to stop IPOB members from travelling to Umuahia.”
Health benefits of cucumber (3)
Cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trailing or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. Face Mask: For oily skin – grate 1/2 cucumber into a bowl and add one tablespoon of honey.
Apply to the T-Zone, which is the forehead, nose and chin. To reduce pores and tighten skin – apply the mixture all over the face including under the eyes and eyelids. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water, Pat dry with a clean towel.
Fighting cancers: Cucumber is known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol which are linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer. Controlling blood pressure: Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium, fiber, and phytonutrients that work effectively for regulating blood pressure.
Aiding digestion: Their high water and dietary fiber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation. Relieving gout and arthritis pain: Cucumbers are rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.
When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering uric acid levels. Cucumbers also contain a substance needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin. Researchers have found that sterols in cucumbers help reduce cholesterol levels. It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.
Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut. It is a very good source of potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte.
Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte that helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium. Cucumbers contain unique antioxidants in moderate ratios such as ß-carotene and a- carotene, Vitamin- C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein.
These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Cucumbers have mild diuretic property, which perhaps attributed to their free-water, and potassium and low sodium content.
This helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure. Ongoing research indicates that Cucumbers play a key role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
We will not condone Cattle Rustling in Kogi – Government
The Kogi State Government has warned cattle rustlers that their nefarious activities will not be condoned in the State.
Speaking through his Director of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, in Lokoja, Governor Yahaya Bello said the state’s hospitality should not be taken as gateway for criminal elements, assuring the people that government will protect them from the hands of criminals.
“The reports of cattle rustling in Mopa is regrettable. Security agencies will investigate the matter and bring perpetrators to justice. The State Security Adviser, Commander Jerry Omodara, is working with security agencies to ensure that criminal elements do not have a place in our society.
“Our open arms is no invitation to criminals. Our first responsibility as a government is to ensure the security of lives and property in the state.”
The Governor assured the Management of Daniyan Farms that thorough investigations will be done to get to the root of the matter, appealing to the people of the area not to take the laws into their hands.
“Daniyan Farms has existed for decades, providing food for our people and empowering our youth and women. Government will not allow criminals to destroy those legacies.
“Government has also directed security agents to strengthen surveillance and intelligence gathering as rustlers are not known to reside in a particular place. They move from place to place to perpetrate their crimes.
“The good thing is that the leadership of the Fulanis in the State are working with security agents to ensure peace and harmony. We shall spare no criminal who is fomenting trouble in the State.”
Fanwo said the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence corps (NSCDC) in Mopamuro has been strengthened to support other security agencies to ensure peace in the area, saying the administration of Governor Bello will not tolerate acts capable of endangering the lives of the people. He also said the State Government has invested heavily in training men of the Kogi State Vigilante Service to ensure security at the grassroots.
Farmers get N1.4bn fertilizer subsidy in Sokoto
Sokoto State Government yesterday expressed its readiness to spend N1.4 billion to subsidise cost of fertilizer for farmers in the state in the 2018 farming season.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal stated this in Sabon Birni Local Government Area during flagoff of fertilizer sales for dry season farming and distribution of improved seedlings to farmers across the state.
“We have bought 500,000 bags of fertilizer at the cost of N6,800 per 50kg bag, but we have decided to sell the product to our farmers at the subsidized cost of N4,000 per bag. In all, we are spending the sum of N1.4 billion to subsidise the product.
“This intervention had become necessary in view of our determination to boost agriculture in the state and to encourage new entrants into the sector. We will continuously explore other avenues to grow and improve the agriculture sector bearing in mind that it is the largest employer of labour for majority of our citizens.”
However, Tambuwal said the government would buy 25,000 metric tons of fertilizer at the cost of N3.4 billion for the dry season farming alone in the state, saying the government would construct 1,000 tube wells to assist dry season farmers as a result of shortage of water being experienced at the Goronyo Dam.
On the seedlings, the governor said the Ministry of Agriculture had already procured faro-brand rice seedlings at the cost of N281 million for distribution to dry season farmers free of charge, while another N9.5 million worth of carrot, onion, water melon and garlic seedlings had been bought for the farmers to improve their yields.
He added: “This is in addition to the payment of N20 million counterpart funding to the State Agricultural Development Project (SADP) for the provision of tube wells to farmers as well as motorcycles to monitoring officers in 2017.
“The government has paid the sum of N40 million as counterpart funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and N56 million for the World Bank funded-Fadama III Project, which are all aimed at improving farming activities in the state.”
In his remarks, Commissioner for Agriculture, Umar Nagwari said the ministry achieved 80 per cent of its target in 2017, and vowed to do more this year for the benefit of the farmers.
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