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Over 2,000 killed in Zamfara

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Gov Yari: Attacks a daily affair

It’s a national emergency –Marafa

Trader: Families pay millions of naira every week to kidnappers

Resident: Whistle blowers are hunted and killed by gunmen

Armed robbery, cattle rustling and killings prevalent in nine LGs

 

 

There are indications that some militia groups may have killed over 2,000 people and destroyed property running into several billions of naira in some towns and villages across nine out of the 14 local governments in Zamfara State in the last seven years.

Sunday Telegraph learnt this, following investigations into disclosure by the Senator representing Zamfara Central in the National Assembly, Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, who raised the alarm, that some militia have taken over some parts of the state, handling cases and usurping functions of judicial officers and the police.

Speaking in the Senate penultimate week, Senator Marafa said the state governor and his deputy, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari and Ibrahim Wakkala, respectively, as well as the Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson, were aware of these, but have failed to bring them to justice.

Marafa, who is the Senate Chairman, Petroleum Committee (Down Stream), told the Senate: “Early in the morning yesterday, (penultimate week), I received a call from my hometown that some people were kidnapped in broad day light, just to buttress the point that Zamfara State is now under the control of militia, especially where I come from.

“The most saddening part of it is that the governor of the state knows these people; the deputy governor knows these people. I want to say again and again that the governor of the state knows the perpetrators of these crimes; the deputy governor knows these people; the commissioner of police knows these people. They move around freely with their arms. “I said it yesterday. I was at home during the fuel crisis and I saw them and today, they are the ones that judge between people in more than 60 per cent of where I represent. If there is any dispute between people, they are the ones that adjudicate. “People no longer go to the local authorities – the emirs, the chiefs, the village heads and so on.

They don’t go to any police. If there is a problem, they go into the bush (to meet these militia) and say ‘I have this problem with these people’, and these militia will come to town and ask that the people (the accused) be released to them. Sir, this is a national emergency, and I am saying this before every Nigeria, this is the situation in Zamfara State today,” he said.

Sunday Telegraph’s investigations showed that from 2011 to date, such attacks, which come in the forms of armed robbery, cattle rustling and killings, have ravaged dozens of villages. In Maru Local Government, villages affected are Lingyado, Tungar Baush, Yar Galadima, Dansadau, Bindin, Sangeku, Daqaga and Dankurmi. Others are Kizara, Yanwaren Daji, Keta and Kwarin Ganuwa in Tsafe Local Government, the birthplace of Ibrahim Chafe, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police.

 

In Maradun Local Government, villages and towns like Gora Namaye, Magami, Tubali and Kayawere were attacked, while in Shinkafi Local Government, villages and towns like Tubali, Shanawa, Dolen Moriki, Jangeru and Katuru were affected. In Anka Local Government, villages attacked include Agega, Tungar Kudaku, Dareta and Yargalma, and during each attack, people were killed and the bandits also rustled hundreds of thousands of cattle. In Bukuyum Local Government, people were attacked in towns like Kyaram and Adafka, while there were pockets of attacks in Wanke, Magami, Gidan Dogo and Tungar Jaki -all in Gusau Local Government. In Birnin Magaji Local Government, there were killings and cattle rustling in Kauyen Dan’ali and Nasarawa Mailayi. Rukudawa village in Zurmi Local Government also recorded some attacks.

 

One of the victims of recent attacks, Muhammad Lawali Kokiya, from Birmin Magaji Local Government Area, who narrowly escaped when more than 30 people were killed recently by gunmen in Kokiya village, said the gunmen invaded his village with more than 70 motorcycles.

They killed two people on the first day of attack, set some houses ablaze and carted away animals. He said he saw hell the night they arrived at the village.

In his words: “The gunmen returned the next day and also invaded my village and the neighbouring village of Chigama and have killed more than 30 persons most of whose bodies were recovered from the bush.” Kokiya noted that the Chigama attack took place shortly after three police trucks left the village when they noticed that peace had returned to the area. The armed bandits also set several houses on fire on their second attack on Chigama village.

 

A merchant, Musa Ammani, from Tsafe Local Government Area, expressed fear about continuing running his business down to rural areas across the 14 local government areas of the state, alleging that some places were partly ruled by armed bandits.

 

Also, a farmer who identified himself as Yakubu Shuaibu from Dansadau area of Maru Local Government Area, alleged that the state government’s claim to have addressed the security challenges in the state is untrue, as they could not harvest their large quantity of farm products due to the presence and activities of bandits bearing firearms in the axis.

 

Shuaibu said: “It is too dangerous and unsafe for innocent people to even serve as informer to either local authorities or security agencies for necessary actions against criminal activities, as he would be hunted and killed by the dangerous gunmen who often receive names of whistle blowers against them.” One Adamu Isah, a trader and an indigene of Kaura Namoda Local Government Area, alleged that commercial activities were gradually perishing in the area and even beyond, following incessant reports on kidnapping almost on daily basis, “Millions of naira were being packaged every week by affected families with a view to paying ransoms to kidnappers,” he said.

 

Also a retailer in Gusau, the state capital, who did not want his name published, claimed that he had to relocate his business to Katsina State, a more peaceful environment as merciless groups of criminals simply identified as ‘Yan Sara-Suka’ have embarked on shops-breakings, house burgling and killings of innocent people who resist them. In response to security concerns in the state, Islamic scholars have in their sermon during last Friday prayers, called for the Muslims to conduct special prayers for God’s intervention to restore peace in the state.

 

Only last week, gunmen abducted two biological children of the member Federal House of Representatives, representing Bakura/Maradun Federal Constituency, Hon. Yahaya Chado at Gora Namaye in Maradun Local Government.

 

The gunmen reported entered Gora Namaye, the hometown of the reps member around 2:30am last Monday, went directly to the residence of the reps member and abducted the two sons namely Junaidu and Nadir Yahaya respectively. A resident of Hora town who craved anonymity said that the gunmen, numbering about 100 entered the town on motorbikes, started shooting sporadically, killing six people and injuring 10 others who are presently receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Maradun.

 

Governor, Alhaji Abdul’Aziz Yari Abubakar, during his visit to Goran Namaye after the incident donated one million naira to each family of the deceased and N250,000 each to the injured persons. Yari, who was accompanied by heads of security agencies in the state lamented that despite the commitments of the state government to improve security bandits were still terrorising communities in the state. He said it was very unfortunate despite all the logistics being provided to security agencies in the state bandits are still killing the people. “Attacks of bandits to our communities become daily activities. I give you one week to bring out the attackers of the communities,” he said.

 

Recently, gunmen sacked about five villages in Maradun Local Government area of the state, where they killed several people, burnt down houses and carted away animals and other belongings. Security officials had said recently that terrorist from the Islamic States have infiltrated the country from some African countries and the fear has been further heightened by the fact that Zamfara State has border towns with Niger Republic. But the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Kenneth Ebrimson, told one of our correspondents that the criminals were bandits and cattle rustlers who operate and disappeared into the forest. “We are not ignorant of the activities of these bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers, and we arrest them from time to time.

 

Since I resumed duties here about two months ago, I have arrested over 60 of such and they are facing the full weight of law. “I don’t know what the Senator meant by invasion and that is not occurring here. That might be a figment of his imagination. I have had some interactions with him and responded to his security needs during the fuel scarcity period, but I can tell you he has blown the matter out of proportion. I was not here in 2011 and cannot comment on what happened then, but for now, I am aware of security challenges and we are curtailing them,” he said.

 

Commissioner for Information in the State, Umaru Kotorkoshi, confirmed there have been some security breaches “carried out by bandits in the forests” in the state over the years, but noted that they were not any different from what is happening in Southern Kaduna, Benue and Nassarawa state. “The state is not under siege and I can tell you that Governor Yari has risen to the situation. He visited Goro Namaye recently during one of such attacks and gave heads of various security agencies in the state who were on his entourage marching orders to arrest the criminals,” he said.

 

The Organising Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state, Babangida Abubakar Anka, condemned the statement made by Senator Mafara and chided the two other senators, Ahmed Rufa’i Sani and Tijjani Yahaya Kaura, for their refusal to defend the state before the Senate. Others have also insinuated that Senator Marafa was only heating up the polity because of his frosty relationship with Governor Yari over the former’s political ambition.

 

They said the senator’s governorship campaign posters currently adorn many parts of the state. But some respondents stoutly defended Senator Marafa, stating he has the right to present any motion on the floor of the Senate, especially where such is necessary in the interest of his state. One of them, Sani Tsafe, said the senator was correct to have come out and with the truth on the security situation in the state.

 

According to him, Zamfara State, under the present administration, has experienced several tragedies, kidnappings, loss of properties and loss of lives in the hands of criminals without substantive steps by the state government to curtail the situation.

 

Similarly, Adamu Nuhu from Gusau Local Government Area, told Sunday Telegraph that Senator Marafa was in the right direction, adding that all he said were true and he did it for the sake of the entire state.

 

“When this motion was presented by the Senator, some individuals who do not want the truth of the state of insecurity bedeviling the state to be an open up one, considered it a political statement and as such, shouted ignorantly without making sense of the situation we have found ourselves,” said Nuhu.

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Malaria, a threat to world community

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Chief Executive Officer of RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Dr. Kesete Admasu has raised the alarm over the threat malaria posed to the world population, saying half of global community was still threatened by malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease which takes a child’s life every two minutes.

In a statement to mark the World Malaria Day, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, urged governments, health bodies, private sector companies and the public to accelerate progress against malaria, making the 2018 World Malaria Day even more vital.

“After a decade of success in pushing back malaria, it is on the rise again and will come back with a vengeance if we do not act decisively now,” Admasu warned.

Admasu added: “Half the world is still threatened by malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease.

 “The malaria fight is at a crossroads and we could be the generation to end the disease for

good. If we don’t seize the moment now, our hard-won gains will be lost. We’re ready to

beat malaria – are you?”

The World Malaria Day is marked every April 25 globally to raise awareness on what to do to reduce its burden. The theme of the 2018 World Malaria Day is ‘Ready to Beat Malaria’.

Dr. Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, RBM Partnership Board Chair, said, “We also need citizen and community action around the world to drive momentum towards reaching global targets.

“The malaria fight is at a crossroads and we could be the generation to end the disease for

good. If we don’t seize the moment now, our hard-won gains will be lost. We’re ready to

beat malaria – are you?”

World leaders came together this month to renew commitments to step up funding and speed up innovations against the disease, but the battle was not yet won.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said:

“World Malaria Day reminds us of the challenges that remain. The declining trend in malaria

cases and deaths has stalled and vital funding for malaria programmes has flat lined. If we

continue along this path, we will lose the gains for which we have fought so hard.

“We call on countries and the global health community to close the critical gaps in the

malaria response. Together we must ensure that no one is left behind in accessing lifesaving

services to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.”-

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Strike: FG –JOHESU meeting deadlocked

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 The meeting between the Federal Government and the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to resolve the ongoing strike by health workers in Abuja on Wednesday night was deadlocked.

The National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna told the New Telegraph that although, the meeting was deadlocked, and both parties were still working out ways to resolve the issues. “Day of another meeting will be announced next week,” he added.

Obinna said, “JOHESU and the government is already discussing on the way to resolve the matter, but there are indications that not too long from now the matter will be resolved.”

It will be recalled that the national body of JOHESU declared the strike on midnight of Tuesday, April 17, after its efforts to get the Federal Government meet its demand failed, hence, prompting about 90 per cent of the health workforce, all of whom are members of JOHESU to proceed on the strike actions, which have left many patients unable to access medical care.

The health workers are demanding   the implementation of the adjusted CONHESS, the payment of specialist allowances to deserving health professionals, payment of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10, increase of age of health workers from 60 to 65 and the review of the composition of the Boards of Federal Health Institutions (FHIs).

JOHESU members include five registered associations including the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutes (SSAUTHRIA), Nigerian Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), the Non Academic Staff Unions (NASU), Medical and Health Workers Union (NHWU) and the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Workers (NUAHP), the five of which have formed JOHESU,  a pressure group.

In effect, JOHESU members include nurses, medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists, record officers, physiotherapist, among others.

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PDP sponsoring herdsmen attacks- Reps member, Kazaure

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As armed bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen continue to kill innocent citizens and sack communities, a member of the House of Representatives, Muhammad Kazaure, has alleged that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), were behind the killings.

Kazaure made this known on Thursday in Abuja, at the inauguration of the board of trustees, Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) as well as the launching of the book, ‘Amazing Testimonies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Integrity.’

He noted that members of the PDP were making use of the funds looted during its 16 years in power to sponsor the ongoing killings by suspected herdsmen, in an effort to discredit the good works of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“PDP messed up for 16 years and destroyed the economic and social life of the people. We are the ones that allowed them to talk, they should have been in the prison by now. I don’t know what this government is waiting for.

“They want to fight the progress and I am surprised some Nigerians are supporting them the people that looted our money.

“Majority of these kilings, there are people behind it. If we start arresting those looters, these killings will stop because they are the ones financing the killings,” he said.

On Senators call for Buhari’s impeachment, Kazaure noted that nobody could impeach Buhari saying, “they can do nothing, they are just wasting their time.

“We are the ones representing the people, we are the ones with them and they still want Buhari because of his integrity and honesty. All these propaganda will come and pass, President Buhari will be reelected to Presidency come 2019. Even if an election is tomorrow, Buhari will win the election,” he added.

Also speaking, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, alleged that members of the PDP have politicised the ongoing killings in some parts of the county to score cheap political points and enrich their pockets.

He stressed that the PDP was trying to maximise damage to the APC government as well as fight the APC’s stand on corruption, by trying to undermine its good works.

Adamu who maintained that the killings was an act of terrorism which has become an unfortunate phenomenon of our time, however, added that the PDP was using it as an avenue to make money out of innocent Nigerians

“This is an unfortunate phenomenon and because it pleases the opposition, they are being so inhuman, so unfair to try to bring the president on live. All the killings going on they are making politics out of it, theyvare making money out of other peoples misfortune.

“Yes the president has a duty as the commander in chief and we accept this, but to use this as a campaign issue against the government is most unfair and it is most ungodly

“We must stand up, every town, every village, every street and defend this government. Come out and be counted we have more people than they have.

“We are not asking you to break the law but we are saying stand up defend and promote the cause of this government within the armbit of the law, we must take this government down there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), a non governmental organisation, has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for another term in office.

Making the endorsement, the Chairman Board of Tustees of the BCO, Markus Gundiri, argued that Buhari has substantially delivered on his campaign promises in the areas of education, insecurity, health and the economy, but needs another four years to effectively bring about a total change in the country.

According to him, Buhari deserves another chance to rule Nigeria and complete the good works he has started, as he remains the only person capable of reviving the economy and ensuring peace and security.

“The continuity of President Muhammadu Buhari will usher a highly sophisticated economy that each and every one of us will be proud of. He has continued to fight illiteracy and disease in education and health, and he has brought about improvement in our security especially in the North East.

“They may be other areas where there are insecurities today but given another opportunity, he will tackle the issues of insecurity. No other person knows or have the skills to tackle the insecurity in the is country,” he said.

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