Sahara Reporters Latest News Sunday 6th January 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Sunday 6th January 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 06/01/19

Read also Leadership Newspapers News Today Sunday 6th January 2019

E2%80%94-amina-zakari-speaks-relationship-buhari target=_blank>‘He’s Not My Cousin; He’s Not My Uncle’ — Amina Zakari Speaks On Relationship With Buhari

Amina Zakari, a commissioner with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said she is not a niece or cousin to President Muhammadu Buhari.
There had been speculations that she is a “blood relation” of the president, with calls for her removal as head of the collection centre committee.
The presidency, however, denied the claims in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, on Friday.

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Garba Shehu: Buhari And Amina Zakari Not Related… Just An Inter-Marriage In Their Extended Families

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Zakari also denied the claim in an interview aired by BBC on Friday.

Video of VIDEO: Amina Zakari Speaks On Relationship With Buhari

VIDEO: Amina Zakari Speaks On Relationship With Buhari

VIDEO: Amina Zakari Speaks On Relationship With Buhari

Her words: “I’m not his niece. I’m not his cousin. And on this job, I’ve been appointed since 2010 by President Jonathan and prior to that, I was appointed an SA to President Obasanjo and I’ve done my work conscientiously over the years as a patriotic citizen of Nigeria, and I don’t think I should be distracted now that elections are coming forward.
“I’ll continue doing my work. I’ll continue serving my country to the best of my ability with the best of intentions.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is my president as everybody else’s president. He’s not my cousin; he’s not my uncle as is being claimed. That’s all I can say. But I know him as my leader, as a leader of the nation.”

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target=_blank>Melaye Denies Booing Buhari During Budget Presentation

Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West district in the National Assembly, has denied booing President Muhammadu Buhari during his budget presentation.
On December 19, 2018, Buhari was given a rough welcome by a section of the joint session of the National Assembly as he gave the speech that was expected to culminate in the presentation of the 2019 appropriation bill.
Buhari entered the National Assembly and immediately set about the business of the day. However, he was soon shouted down with screams of “nooooo”, “nooooo”, “lieessss” when he started talking about the strides of his administration.

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‘Nooooo’, ‘Liessssss’ — Buhari Booed By Lawmakers While Presenting Appropriation Bill

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However, a press statement signed by his media adviser, Gideon Ayodele, in Abuja on Saturday, debunked the claim that Melaye was one of the lawmakers who booed the president.
The statement read: “The attention of Senator Dino Melaye has been drawn to a malicious reference to his person on the social media as one of the lawmakers who booed President Muhammadu Buhari during his 2019 budget presentation before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, December 19, 2018.
“Before now, he had refused to refute the mischievious social media fabrication for what it is — a cheap lie. Senator Dino Melaye was not in the National Assembly that day.
For the avoidance of doubt, Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye was absent at the televised 2019 budget presentation session and hereby challenges anyone with contrary proof to come forward with such.”

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target=_blank>PDP, Where Is The Restructuring Debate? By Obajeun Jonah

More than ever, the compelling need of a national leadership that understands the language of crises and colours of development makes the forthcoming election a detour from the norm. It is left for the vote-weary electorates to decide.
While the macro socio-political space has subjected the same electorates to voting haemorrhage, the political fighters that hinged the survival of the nation state on restructuring have raised the hope of an issue-based campaign season. In a twist of fate, the restructuring debate flight came crashing even before taking off. This is another validation of Prof Williams Adebayo’s social construct of hope that hoping against hope is not the cure for hopelessness. It is the marijuana of the hopeless. Our hope of an issue-based electoral run has been decimated.
So we are back to yesterday!
After the lettered spar between the perceptive Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the dogged perennial presidential aspirant Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, one would have thought that the debate on restructuring would be with us throughout the 2019 election cycle, more so given that Nigeria is bleeding from a million cuts, like a great blue whale plagued on all fronts.
In our situation of insecurity, joblessness, hunger, rational debate becomes the first casualty. Logic does not flow with lack. The kingdom of the belly is not at material par with the paradise of the brain. During the Northcentral rally of the PDP, party leaders repeatedly told the people that they would put food on people’s table since APC has taken food away from their table. Unfortunately for the leading opposition party PDP that has been mouthing restructuring, it appears that the restructuring debate has lost its central purpose in its campaign run. The ruling party APC has counted this as a win.
The abandonment is a no surprise. None of the political parties has a clear understanding of what it means, how to do it and the expected outcome. But in the post party primary convention, they quickly rev up their foot soldiers on the debate with PDP thinking that it was offering a fresh alternative while APC was wobbling to explain its lazy and naïve approach to the restructuring debate.
Nonetheless, the limited understanding of the restructuring process and the expected outcome has made the debate to take the back seat in this campaign run.
Till now, none of the parties has been able to put a meaning to the buzzword but there are countless subjective interpretations which are laced with fault-lines, depending on which divide the holders belong. The debate is now more political than problem-solving as being touted by politicians. The subjectivity in the restructuring debate was made more evident in an open letter written by Prof Osinbajo to Alhaji Atiku. The response from Alhaji Atiku to that lecture note showed a more constricted subjectivity.
The opposition party has been forced to abandon its campaign theme on restructuring and has since been distracted by simplistic issues that offer zero electoral advantage and prosperity for the country. PDP has suddenly lost the steam that propelled the convention which produced their presidential candidate. Unfortunately, the party’s house of clay is riddled with half-hearted members and non-committal financiers. Such house of clay needs just an electoral defeat for its undergo internal re-engineering. It is a sobering reality of our evolutionary democratic journey.
However, for the ruling party APC that is full of confusionists – from Ogun State to Imo, from Zamfara to Kwara and from Rivers to Enugu; it is a game it has anchored on anti-corruption and has successfully maintained the discourse around corruption. For the ruling party, restructuring has never been part of the deal. APC’s house of clay is standing on a pillar, pray the pillar stands firm for some more years. Otherwise, it takes President Buhari to quit politics for the house of clay to come crashing and then undergo retooling.
There will be no definitions of restructuring from the people, and there will be no expatiation on what system of government the people want. If Nigerian leaders cannot see into the future nor perceive the revolutionary changes needed to stabilise the country and unleash the people’s energies and creative potentials, then let them continue to ossify in their conservative and reactionary politics.
Obajeun Jonah writes from Lagos. He blogs on www.obajeun.com and tweets via @Obajeun

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target=_blank>Delta APC Leader, Children, Driver Escape Assassination

Lucky Okperi

Lucky Okperi, the former Delta State House of Assembly member representing Isoko South constituency 1 and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Isoko South Local Government Area of the state, his children and driver narrowly escaped assassination along Asaba-Kwale road.
SaharaReporters reliably learnt that on Friday, the lawmaker’s driver, simply identified as Rex, conveyed the lawmaker’s children from Oleh, Isoko South LGA where they went for Christmas celebration, to Asaba. On his way back to Oleh at about 5pm, he noticed that a Corolla car was trailing him.
Speaking with our correspondent via telephone, the lawmaker’s driver said: “My boss asked me to carry his children from Oleh back to Asaba since the Christmas celebration was over. On my way back, I noticed that a Corolla car with two unidentified hefty men was trailing me from Ogwashu-Uku.
“At this point, I had to accelerate. However, the car that was following ours doubled-crossed us at Ossisa town and one of the men jumped out from the car, and entered the passenger’s seat of the car I was driving. He brought out a pistol and asked me questions such as ‘where is your boss?’; ‘where are his children?’ All this time, a gun was pointed at my head. I was then ordered to drive straight to Kwale and from there, I was ordered to face Ogume road.
“I had no option than to obey and I drove into Ogume road. When we got to a very lonely forest, I was again ordered to drive inside the forest. Before I could say Jack Robinson, I was shot. As I was shot, I found a way to escape into the forest. As I was inside the forest, they started shooting sporadically and telling me to come out from the forest or they would burn my car. Before the Police arrived the scene, they had set the car ablaze.”

Lucky Okperi

According to Rex, the target was his boss, who was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
“Who knows if his children would have also been assassinated by the gunmen if they were still in the vehicle. The incident is politically motivated; that I can tell. But I thank God that their plans failed,” he added.
When contacted, Okperi, a lawyer, confirmed the incident and accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, the House of Representatives minority leader and member representing Isoko federal constituency, Leo Ogor of being behind the attack.
Meanwhile, the matter has been reported at the Abbi Police Station for further investigation.

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target=_blank>We Didn’t Collect N150million From Buhari, Says NANS

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has denied receiving N150million from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Executive Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) visited President Muhammadu Buhari on January 3, 2019 and the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was one of the issues that came up during the visit.
Buhari had told NANS that his government was “working hard towards a resolution, and will continue to ask for ASUU’s understanding”.
However, reports had emerged that the association allegedly collected the said amount during the visit.
A statement made available to NAN on Saturday and signed by Adeyemi Amoo, its National Public Relations Officer (PRO), urged Nigerian students to ignore the allegations by ASUU.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to the purported and sponsored allegation, that NANS had been bribed by President Muhammadu Buhari with a whooping sum of N150million to protest against ASUU.
“We commend the well meaning, intellectual and genuine civil society groups for not falling cheap for this blackmail, as we’ve gotten informed and reliably that they’ve also been lobbied by ASUU to join them in pushing such blackmail. We are not surprised that this blackmail isn’t flying beyond the pseudo groups they’ve been able to arrange and mobilise with cash.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a known person in character and style to virtually all Nigerians. Even the opposition knows that Buhari will never give out such amount of money for any reason(s) that is not of national benefits or developments. No doubt this propaganda might have seen the acceptance of the masses if it wasn’t targeted towards Buhari himself.”
According to Amoo, NANS had earlier declared November 17, 2018 as a nationwide day of mass action tagged: ‘Save Education Rally’ held simultaneously across the states of the federation, to protest the incessant strikes across universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. He added that in October 2018, NANS national leadership met with the Minister for Education, to fine-tune ways of putting a long term end to the regular carnival of strikes in the educational sector.
The statement continued: “We thereby demanded as the major stakeholders in the sectors, to always have representatives at the meeting of ASUU with Federal Government, as this was targeted towards adding to the strength and voice of ASUU, so as to make government yield to their demands in time. The Federal Government on her own side sees the request of being an observer at the negotiation table with ASUU as a welcome development.
“NANS was invited twice to the meeting of Federal Government with ASUU, ably represented by the NANS national president, Danielson Akpan, but was walked out twice by the ASUU leadership, insisting that such negotiations must not be done in the presence of younger ones.
“NANS leadership begins to wonder what reasons might be behind the blind insistence of ASUU that NANS must not observe the meeting, when the Federal Government has wholeheartedly approved our attendance at such meetings.”
He added that NANS after exhausting all means, resolved to issue an ultimatum to the Nigerian Government and ASUU to return to the negotiation table. He also said NANS sought audience with the president which led to the meeting at the presidential villa on Thursday.
“At the meeting, NANS appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, resolve the ASUU strike, for him not to lose the support of over 20 million Nigerian students. This was the statement of the NANS president at the meeting, as against the cheap blackmail that NANS has assured Buhari of mobilising 20 million votes for him.
“NANS, therefore, uses this medium to inform Nigerian students and Nigerians at large, that its leadership will not, has not and will not for any reason sell the interest and integrity of our dear organisation.
“Conclusively, we want to tell ASUU that NANS is not for sale. We have not, and will not turn our struggles to sources of empowerment.”

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E2%80%99-%E2%80%98anti-union%E2%80%99-threat-against-asuuasup target=_blank>Student Group Slams NANS’ ‘Anti-Union’ Threat Against ASUU/ASUP

The Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neo-liberal Attacks (ANSA) has condemned the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) over its threat to commence a nationwide protest against the ongoing strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
In a statement released on Friday, the students’ group noted that the NANS threat is “anti-union/anti-poor” and the stance violates the charter upon which NANS was created.
The statement read: “It is appalling to say the least that the ideological degeneracy of the current NANS executives has been allowed to bring forth its hydra-headed stance once again. Lovely were the days when we had the NANS that fought SAP; introduction of tuition in 1985, the military government and the June 12 revolts among other great historical battles.
“It is no wonder even the new executives of this anti-student NANS lack the basic understanding of the fraternal relations built on ideological conviction between the Nigerian Student Movement and their working class counterparts, especially when we all know that these bodies are representatives of the oppressed layer of our society. It is students today that become workers tomorrow.”
ANSA claimed that NANS’ threat is in support of the Nigerian Government’s demand to have the unions call off the strike.
On Monday, December 31, 2018, NANS had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the striking unions and the Nigerian government to sort out the underlying issues. NANS stated that none of the demands of ASUU and ASUP aimed to improve the lot of students, and wondered why Nigerian students have to suffer, while the lecturers demand their allowances.
ANSA, however, opposed this position, stating instead that the striking unions are fighting for the collective challenges in the federal universities.
The statement continued: “Let us try to point out to the Nigerian public that the struggles being waged by the striking lecturers are the struggles the Nigerian students should be leading by now. In fact we should have shut down the campuses by ourselves considering the animalistic living and learning conditions students are subjected to.
“This then brings to question the real demands of the striking lecturers, as against the trivial and highly treacherous generalization of the agitation by the executives of NANS, elements who have never called any protest on any issues bordering on students welfare; arbitrary fee increment on our campuses; attacks on students unions and activists.
“As it stands now; schools like UNILAG, YABATECH, UI, OAU, RUGIPO, UNIOSUN amongst others — schools that have a union have very pliant unions such as YABATECH, UI, UNILAG College of Medicine, UNIBEN, FUTO, UNILORIN amongst others — have increased fees and are planning to increase again. Others who like OAU who haven’t increased have announced an increment. Where are the executives of NANS in all of these vicious attacks on students and their unions?”
ANSA further stated that NANS siding with the government would inadvertently affect the students.
“In summary, the statement issued by the NANS leadership, joining government in demanding that ASUU calls off its strike without government acceding to the demands of the Union is a call for mass expulsion of students who would be confronted with the menace of outrageous fee increment.
“Let us even assume without conceding that all the Union demands is all about its wages; doesn’t even the Bible say that the labourer deserves his/her wage? And the Holy Quran went further to assert that the sweat of a labourer must not go dry without his/her wages. Why will a government continue to pay non-working and ‘certificateless’ Senators N14million as allowances and would not be able to afford 30,000 naira minimum wage and earned academic allowance for our Professors who obviously add more value to the society than our sleeping Senators?”

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E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98relative%E2%80%99-influence-2019-election-results target=_blank>QUESTION: Can Amina Zakari, Buhari’s ‘Relative’, Influence 2019 Election Results?

The year 2019, as nascent as it is, is already bristling with all manner of emotions. From anticipation to hope; from fear to even despair. The chaos of emotions is not unfounded. It is an election year; and if the history of elections is anything to go by, Nigerians have every reason to let their emotions run chaotic.
These emotions, especially fear, heightened on Thursday when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Amina Zakari, supposed niece of President Muhammadu Buhari, as Head of Collation Centre for the 2019 elections. While some, led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have described the appointment of Zakari as a ploy to rig the 2019 elections, others see the brouhaha surrounding her appointment as making a mountain out of a molehill. But indeed, how powerful and influential is Zakari’s office.
What Is Collation?
Collation is the tabulation or summation of the votes cast during an election. It is a graphic reflection of the decision taken by the electorate who have exercised their franchise at the poll. There are various levels of collation depending on the type of elections. However, for the sake of credibility, at each level there is always an announcement of votes scored by each party participating in the election.
Levels of Collation
There are various levels. Results are collated and/or declared at a number of levels depending on the type of election. These include:
Registration Area (RA) Ward 
Local Government Area (LGA)
State Assembly Constituency 
Federal (House of Representatives) Constituency
Senatorial District
State
Collation and declaration of presidential election result at national level
How Significant Is Collation?
For an election to be successful and credible, it demands proper planning and efficient conduct. The outcome of an election is a culmination of five processes: accreditation, voting, counting, collation and results declaration. Though the first three processes are important, the last two are the critical stages. They can make or mar the whole electoral exercise. If either of these two processes stalls the essence of the exercise might be jeopardized. It is during collation that the results of an election can be doctored to satisfy selfish end and defeat the purpose of election. 
It will be recalled that it was at this stage that the military Junta led by General (rtd.) Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida scuttled the 1993 election, aborting what would have been the Third Republic. Fresh in recent memory is the drama enacted by Godsday Orubebe, a former minister and loyalist of former President Goodluck Jonathan, at the International Conference Centre (ICC), which served as the National Collation Centre for the 2015 presidential election. The purpose of Orubebe’s momentary disruption and outburst was to render the election inconclusive, having realised that the results were unfavourable to his master’s reelection ambition. That should tell us the significance of collation.
Functions of the Head of Collation Centre
While the fuss about the appointment of Amina Zakari as Head of Collation Centre may not be misplaced or unjustified, the office may not be as powerful as thought. 
Findings by SaharaReporters showed that there are 12 members in the aad hoc committee for the National Collation Centre. The committee will ensure that facilities such as power, access to the internet, live transmission for national and international observers as well as security of the venue are put in place. 
This is what Zakari, as the chair of the committee, will lead other members in doing. In other words, Zakari is not the Returning Officer at the national level; the INEC Chairman has that onus but inalienable responsibility. Zakari’s brief is to provide logistics and administrative support to the collation centre. The roles spelt out by the INEC make her incapable of influencing the results of the elections. 
The Presidency explained on Friday that there is no blood relationship betweeen Buhari and Zakari, but even in that same press statement it admitted that “an inter-marriage occurred in their extended families”. That is implicating enough for the public to fault or question the ethical soundness of the appointment of Buhari’s supposed niece into that kind of office. Nepotism is one thing, the opportunity to use it to one’s advantage is another. Zakari’s presence in INEC will always draw suspicion, but can she single-handedly rig the election in Buhari’s favour? Absolutely not!

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target=_blank>SPECIAL REPORT: No Security Strategy Despite Mass Killings In Zamfara

In February of 2018, officials of Zamfara State government took stock of losses from the festering banditry in the state. The records, by conservative official standards, suggested that a fullscale war situation was in play. Alhaji Sanusi Rikiji, Speaker of the state House of Assembly who chaired the State Relief and Damage Assessment committee, said between 2011 and early 2018, 1,321 people were killed, 1,881 persons injured and 185 cars and motorcycles lost to wide scale banditry. Within the period, over 10,000 cattle were lost to rustling and 2,688 hectares of farm lands and 10,000 houses were destroyed.
This would seemingly be the first demonstration of high level official design tied to the unrestrained killings in the state. As it seems evident, it would appear that the motive is anything but about the people. With the benefit of time it became necessary to find out what the people in Zamfara and indeed Nigerians thought of the security strategy of government in the state. The only time they took up the stage last December to vent their frustrations Police personnel swiftly deployed force in a manner not witnessed against armed bandits against the Tsafe community, calling them “miscreants.”
Men, women, youths and children took over the highway connecting Gusau, the state capital and Sokoto, in Sokoto State. They blocked the highway in protest for the degenerating insecurity. On 2nd January, 2019, the Governor Abduláziz Yari, in a move designed to give the ruling party an undeserved life line having been removed from the governorship ballot in the February general elections in the state approached President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja requesting him to declare a state of emergency in Zamfara State.
With straight forward five-item questionnaire we polled opinions of 468 Nigerians from social media platforms for about 36 hours. Reaching out to individuals on ground in Zamfara State during a reporting trip and interviews were set up with real people from different parts of Zamfara who have been directly affected by the protracted crisis. The interviews took four consecutive days. Fifteen persons in all were directly interviewed in the state. The data collated from the field work were grim and sobering. A dominant number of respondents representing 86.61% agreed that they have received information or news on many occasions concerning killings in Zamfara State.
Respondents who admit that the sequence of killings in Zamfara State does not give them any basis to be confident at all with the security of lives and property in Nigeria were 97.09% while those who expressed confidence in the security of lives and property in Nigeria are 2.91%. Strikingly, a significant number of respondents representing 61.34% express conviction that were the Armed Forces to be more professionally managed they were capable of addressing threats to national security. The respondents who believe that the Armed Forces could probably address threats to national security if managed more professionally represent 30.45%.
Two categories of the respondents seem to have lost confidence in the capacity of the Armed Forces to self-correct. While 5.83% of the respondents believe that with better professional exposure the Armed Forces would probably not effectively deal with its primary objective, the other 2.38% completely rule out the possibility of the Armed Forces turning new leaf by delivering on its mandate even with better professional handling.
The survey item in the questionnaire that seems to have mirrored the hopelessness in the situation simply asked: “have you identified any strategy from the Commander-in-Chief or the Military High Command aimed at addressing the killings in Zamfara?” Two categories of respondents were clear with 64.79% declaring that they see no strategy while 35.21% say that the strategy is not clear. Drawing from the foregoing, respondents were asked to “rate the Buhari government in the area of security of lives and property?” A dominant number of the respondents, representing 73.76% rated his government as disastrous, 22.58% of the respondents state that his government was making efforts without impact while 3.66% of the respondents state that his government was doing well in the area of security of lives and property. 
The field interviews presented similar questions with the opportunity of follow-ups. The views of Mr. Ubaidullah Yahaya Kaura, a university lecturer based in Gusau bring interesting insight. He, just as did other interviewees, point out that with increase in the deployment of security personnel in the state have come a radical surge in the cases of armed banditry in the state. He paints the picture of a state without authority and without security. He highlights how the armed bandits have taken over the daily affairs of the people in most parts of the state.
“You will see them (the armed bandits) in broad day light brandishing their AK 47 riffles. In some communities they move freely, demanding of the villagers to mind their business, while they (bandits) mind theirs. Some members of the community even approach the bandits to settle their disputes. The bandits lord it over these territories with 100% control. The only difference between them and Boko Haram is that they do not govern or administer Sharia. Some of these communities are mostly in Zamfara north. “In Birnin Magaji, there is a village like Gidan Kasso and Dumburu, close to Niger Republic that are completely subject to the bandits. But as at today, there is no part of Zamfara State that is not affected by either armed banditry or kidnap for ransom.”
Since several communities have been sacked and attempts to go to farms have become life threatening risks, many have become internally displaced but the government is reluctant to categorize these hordes of people as IDPs most likely to forestall the negative optics such characterization will foist on its claim of securing life and property. “There are lots of IDPs in Zamfara and a lot of them rely on the host communities through begging, because there are no official camps. In most cases they occupy school buildings and these have affected the education calendar in the affected schools,” revealed Mr. Kaura.
Yusuf Anka of Zam Charity, a humanitarian platform corroborates Kaura. “Even if people want to help, there are no camps in the state, government seems to be preventing the establishment of formal IDP camps across the state. Therefore, most of the displaced, look for their relatives, kinsmen or abandoned buildings, especially schools to seek refuge. There is hardly any major town that there are no less than 5,000 to 6,000 displaced persons scattered around. This figure is for July 2018, the figure is much higher today.”
One interviewee, Abdulmalik Saidu, a politician, in affirming government’s lack of strategy to dislodge the armed bandits, highlights the lack of empathy and concern by state and federal government officials towards victims and the distressed. “The governor (Abdulaziz Yari) hardly visits areas of mass murder and devastation. He lacks empathy and as we speak he is missing from the state. The governor gives security agencies in the state a lot of money.” Throwing money at a problem only complicates the problem and nowhere is this more evident than in the Zamfara killing field.
Zamfara State, with over 4 million people, has 2,000 policemen, 315 soldiers, 400 mobile policemen and less than 100 Air Force personnel, governor Yari said in February 2018. “The number of officials have increased today, so have the incidence of violent crimes and abductions across the state,” said Adul Balarabe, an advocate for youth inclusion in politics in the Northwest, who provides timely information on the crisis in Zamfara, using his Twitter handle.
Most of our interviewees trace the Zamfara armed banditry to the conflict between herdsmen and farmers. There were indiscriminate cases of cattle rustling. With such frequently occurring vice to contend with, cases of armed bandits with eyes set on controlling the economic route and trade in illicit mining of precious minerals such as gold deposits burst into the scene killing villagers in rampant orgy. Very discerning watchers to this bloodletting trace the unrestrained surge of the violence to government’s democratization of the weapons of war by its marching order to local communities to set up vigilante units.
With this, the units of the Army deployed to the state appeared determined to pick and choose friendly and enemy communities on the basis of which communities had established operational vigilante units and which had not. Sadly, this was the same error that turned Boko Haram against defenceless communities in parts of the North East zone of the country. Each community with vigilante units was automatically seen as an affiliate of the military, who, when the armed bandits invaded the villagers were hardly ever available to intervene. The villagers we spoke with believe that a de-escalation of vigilante units might lessen the viciousness deployed against villagers but both the Army and the state government would take none of such. But he who wears the shoes, as it is said, knows where it pinches.
On the 21st of October, 2018 two sisters who are twins, Hassana and Hussaina, visited their pregnant Aunt in Dauran village in Zurmi local government area in the state. All three ladies were speedily abducted alongside dozen others by gunmen. After nearly a month in captivity, a recorded frantic voice-plea by the twins was released to the family members with an ultimatum to pay ransom or have the ladies killed. The kidnappers demanded for ransom in millions of Naira. Helplessly, the family members shared their predicament on social media.
One Maryam Ado with the Centre for Information Technology and Development, CITAD, based in Kano, and Ubaidullah Yahaya among others spearheaded a campaign of crowd funding to raise the ransom money, the group made a compelling campaign to raise cash to secure the release of the two teenage twins. In a few days Nigerians, including a Federal legislator who represents that part of the state donated money. On 17th November, 2018, the two ladies regained their freedom, having had the ransom paid, and carrying the scourge of being repeatedly raped by the bandits.
The only silver lining in Zamfara so far was the recent arrest of twelve notorious bandits and the abductors of Hassana and Hussaina, by the operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), where the criminal gang admitted receiving ransom payment of 16 million Naira from the family of the twins before they released them. Does the arrest of these bandits represent a sustained effort by the security authorities to stop the carnage in Zamfara and the rest of Northwest Nigeria, or was the arrest a lucky guess of an uncertain future for the people in the region? Abdul balarabe said, “it was the best new year gift.”
However, as a metaphor, nothing, perhaps better illustrates the situation of Zamfara state in the hands of this government better than the experiences of Hassana and Hussaina, kidnapped, violated, abandoned by the authorities that should defend them, rescued only by the intervention of the power of the united voice and steps taken by members of the public.

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E2%80%99s-current-woes-%E2%80%93-amaechi target=_blank>PDP Responsible For Nigeria’s Current Woes – Amaechi

Mr Chibuke Ameachi, Minister for Transportation and Director General (DG) of Buhari Campaign Organisatuon, said the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) was responsible for the current challenges Nigerians were passing through.
Ameachi said this at the flag-off of Gov. Simon Lalong’s re-election bid on Friday in Jos.
According to him, the hunger, poverty and under-development being faced in the country was because PDP diverted huge monies meant for the public into private use in its 16-year rule.
“If today Nigerians are hungry, it is because in its 16-year rule, the PDP stole monies meant for development of critical sectors of the economy.
“For 16 years, they gave us 3, 000 mega watts of electricity, today the current administration produces 7,000 mega watts.
“Because they diverted huge public funds, we were importing rice, but today the story is different and our local farmers are smiling to the banks.
“So, PDP is full of dishonest people and that is why they stole all our money,” he said. Ameachi, the immediate past governor of Rivers State, noted that to address poverty, hunger and under-development, the present government is working in that regard.
He urged Plateau residents to vote President Mohammadu Buhari, and Lalong for a second term, adding that the forthcoming polls would be a tussle between the “greedy rich versus the poor masses”.
”So, I am urging you the good people of Plateau to again vote APC at all levels, we mean well for this country, ” he said. (NAN).

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Sermon On The Plateau: ‘I Will Die For Buhari,’ Lalong Vows As Oshiomhole Urges Atiku Rejection

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has urged Nigerians to reject the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar saying that he would sell Nigeria if he is elected president.
He noted that PDP is the architect of the present economic hardship Nigerians were passing through and urged the masses to reject him during the February 16, presidential election.
Oshiomhole disclosed this on Friday during the official flag-off of Governor Simon Lalong’s re-election campaign, held at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium Jos, Plateau.
The chairman also received defectors from the PDP, led by ex-factional Chairman of National Football Association (NFA), Chris Giwa, while chairmen of 45 political parties in the state endorsed Buhari and Lalong for the 2019 elections.
He urged the defectors to join the re-enforcement of the power of the broom in providing quality and purposeful leadership in the country.
“The PDP has business men as presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate. Atiku said he will sell Nigeria. He has said that he will sell the NNPC if elected president.
“I urged Nigerians not to support the sale of Nigeria by the PDP. You must say no to Atiku. His running mate, Peter Obi, does not have respect for the truth.”
Governor Simon Lalong, who was presented with APC flag to contest the governorship election in the state said he could die for President Buhari because of his commitment towards tackling insecurity in Plateau and the bail-out he supported him to clear workers salary.
“People asked why was I dying for Buhari and I told them that I will die for Buhari because he is my helper. He has help in addressing insecurity in Plateau and gave us bail-out to clear worker’s salaries, there is nothing more than that; he will win Plateau far better than 2015.”
Director General, Buhari Campaign Organisation and Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Ameachi, described Lalong as a humble person who is living on his campaign promises.
He blamed the PDP for dwelling their campaign on the fact that Nigerians were hungry and said if they had left the N2 billion they stole, Nigeria wouldn’t have been importing rice today.
Ameachi said PDP was not honest that was why they emptied the country’s treasury and urged Nigerians to  vote out PDP even in hunger.
“The next election is not about Buhari and Atiku; it should be about what PDP has done in 16 years and what APC has done in three years. Buhari is addressing the problem of Nigeria and very soon we will overcome the present challenges.”
Wife of the president,  Aisha Buhari, who was represented by former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Dame Pauline Tallen, said a vote for Buhari and Lalong is a vote for the development of Nigeria and Plateau State.
She admonished women and youths in Plateau State to mobilise massive votes for the president and all APC candidates during the 2019 general elections.
Northern Vice Chairman, of the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, Sen. Gorge Akume, described Buhari as a professor of infrastructure in Nigeria
He, Buhari, worked tirelessly to frustrate the third-term agenda champion by the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and said the president had the masses as his business partners.
He noted that there was no one that was contesting against President Muhammadu Buhari, saying Atiku Abubakar would fail the election.

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