Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Friday 19th February 2021

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Friday 19th February 2021

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 19/02/21

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E2%80%94-defence-minister-defends-comment-amid target=_blank rel=noopener>I Only Asked Nigerians To Be More Courageous — Defence Minister Defends Comment Amid Backlash

Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd)

The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, has defended his earlier comment that Nigerians should stop being cowards and fight against bandits’ attack.
Magashi had while addressing newsmen on Wednesday said Nigerians should be courageous enough when bandits fire “minor” shots.

Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd)

He had said: “At times, the bandits will only come with about three rounds of ammunition, when they fire shots everybody runs. In our younger days, we stand to fight any aggression coming for us…
“I don’t know why people are running from minor things like that. They should stand and let these people know that even the villagers have the competency and capability to defend themselves.”
His comment had generated public criticism with many Nigerians accusing him of being insensitive to the plights of citizens amid rising insecurity in the country.

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But reacting on Thursday, Magashi said he didn’t ask Nigerians to kill one another, but that those who are being attacked should learn to make sacrifices and resist running and protect themselves in the little way they can.
“I didn’t say they should go and kill themselves, but they should watch and see what will happen before they take the step of abandoning their house simply because somebody has made a shot or two. That’s what I was trying to say, I didn’t say Nigerians should defend themselves.

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Nigerians React To Minister Of Defence’s Statement That Nigerians Are Cowards

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“I only said that every attack should not be seen as ‘if I don’t run away there’s nothing else I can do’. There are so many ways you can defend yourself, you can hide and watch what he is doing and as soon as he exhausts his strength, then you can run over him that’s what I mean.”
Speaking further, he advised Nigerians to be more courageous and “If there are one or two people shooting in the air just to scare them, steal their things or kidnap some people”.
According to him, the villagers can resist attacks by understanding simple techniques of protecting themselves.
“How many houses can they enter before they finish their ammunition?” Magashi quipped.
Asked how those attacked can defend themselves against bandits, the minister reiterated that they should not exhibit cowardice and “see the first attempt as a wakeup call, find yourself in a good position, if they want to overrun you, then you run away.”
He said: “There is no need to allow small people on two motorcycles to come and destroy a whole village, that’s what I mean and they should know that the people there will resist them. If they (bandits) know that they can be resisted, then they probably can need more firepower to come there, before they have that power, the military or police should have that information which they will come and protect them in more strength and commitment that’s what I mean (sic).”
On if Nigerians should bear arms, the minister maintained that the time is not auspicious enough as the Nigerian government needs to be more prepared.
“I don’t think it is an appropriate time for Nigerians to be armed. I think we need more time to think about it, more enlightenment. The country should be well prepared to understand the sacrifices that one does, everyone should know their limitations, there are law and order and there is respect for human rights. If all these are achieved, probably we can allow some people to hold arms.”

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Council Polls: Delta PDP Chairman Sacks Campaign Chairman, DG Over Inauguration Venue

Barely three days after the inauguration of the Isoko South campaign council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Delta State for the March 6, 2021 council polls, the campaign council chairman Ferguson Onwo, and Director General, Orezi Esievo, have been sacked.
The sacking, SaharaReporters learnt, followed a disagreement over the venue for the inauguration of sub-committee members and supremacy tussle involving the council chairman, DG, and the local government chairman of the party, Godspower Obaro.

SaharaReporters gathered that the party chairman, Obaro, had directed that the local government council hall be used for the sub-committee inauguration but the campaign council chairman, Onwo, who is also the member representing Isoko South constituency 2 in the state House of Assembly and the DG, Esievo, who is executive assistant to the state governor, kicked against such a move because the hall in question is government property and not the party’s property.
The council chairman and the DG, it was gathered, to avoid any backlash from the general public, decided to move the event to Onwo’s constituency office in Olomoro town which has a larger space like the council hall. 
However, this infuriated the party chairman as he perceived their action as insubordination and therefore sacked the two campaign council officials with a summons to appear before a disciplinary committee.
A letter of invitation titled, “Invitation To Appear Before Disciplinary Committee,” signed by the Isoko South PDP chairman, Godspower Obaro, obtained by our correspondent, directed the campaign council chairman, Ferguson Onwo, and Director General, Orezi Esievo, to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee and “explain your role in sabotaging the efforts of our party, PDP, towards our victory at the forthcoming LGA polls.”
As at the time of filing in this report, controversy continued to trail the sacking of the two campaign council officials and the recent composition of the Isoko South PDP campaign council for the March 6, 2021 council polls in the state as youths of the party condemned in its entirety the composition of the council mainly dominated by what they called “old cargo politicians”.
The youths and members of the party described the sacking of the two officials as an action brought about by an ‘inferiority complex’ on the part of the party chairman. 
They described the composition of the campaign council as the “gathering of old political cargoes”.
SaharaReporters also gathered that the chairman of the party in the local government council, Godspower Obaro, working under instructions of some party leaders who installed him, had on Monday constituted the campaign council for the March council polls with old politicians currently holding political offices and others who had headed various positions decades ago.
Lamenting the development, an immediate past councillor in the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “It is a big shame that the list released by my party, the PDP in Isoko South, for the campaign council for the March 6 local government election contained only old politicians while leaving out the vibrant youths and young party men and women with fresh blood to do the work. These old politicians are supposed to be advisers and we report to them.”
Meanwhile, a former vice-chairman of Isoko South Local Government Area and PDP chieftain, Dickson Ebegbare, has rejected his appointment as a member of the protocol sub-committee for the March council polls.
Ebegbare in an open letter of rejection to the Isoko South PDP chairman, said, “You are by this notice informed that I have rejected your offer of appointment as a member of your so-called protocol sub-committee member. Be inform that the PDP as a party is not anybody’s personal heritage but a political party where consultations and respect for members hierarchy are observed. Others can take your selfish and nepotistic style of leadership, certainly not me.”

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target=_blank rel=noopener>EFCC Busts Another Internet Fraud Training Centre In Abuja, Arrests 27, Including Apprentices

Operatives of the Abuja zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have uncovered another training centre allegedly set up for the grooming of internet fraudsters.
The ‘academy’ located in the Arab Contractors Area of Mpape Hills, a suburb of Abuja, was discovered when operatives, acting on intelligence, stormed the base on Thursday and arrested 27 internet fraud suspects.

This development comes few weeks after the anti-graft agency discovered an internet fraud academy in the Bwari axis of Abuja, where 10 suspects said to be learning the trade of cyber trickery were nabbed.
A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said the coordinator of the Mpape centre is one 30-year-old Emmanuel Clement.
It added that Clement’s students are mostly young school leavers, including ladies between the ages of 18 and 25.
The statement titled, ‘EFCC uncovers another internet fraud training centre in Abuja,’ said, “Items recovered from the suspects include a Toyota Venza car, 30 mobile phones and one laptop.
“They will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.”

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Ex-Customs CG, Dikko, To Be Buried Tomorrow, Friday

Abdullahi Dikko Inde

The immediate past Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko, will be buried tomorrow (Friday).
A family member of the deceased confirmed this to SaharaReporters on Thursday night.

Abdullahi Dikko Inde

“Innalilahi wahi inna ilahi. Former CG customs Inde Dikko succumbed to death. We planned the Janazah prayer at National Mosque tomorrow after Jumah prayer Insha Allahu,” he said.
SaharaReporters had reported how Dikko died of cancer complicated by COVID-19. 
He was 61 years old and a native of Musawa, Katsina State.

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BREAKING: Ex-Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko Is Dead

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The former Customs boss is survived by one wife and three children –two sons and a daughter.
He attended Government College, Kaduna in 1974 where he obtained the West African Senior School Certificate Examination in 1980.
He had a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Finance from the University of Dimitrov Apostle Tshenov, Svishtov, Bulgaria.
He joined the Nigeria Customs Service in 1988 and was the CG of Customs from 2009 to 2015.

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E2%80%99s-cousin-over-n220million-contract-scam target=_blank rel=noopener>EFCC Continues Trial Of Saraki’s Cousin Over N220million Contract Scam

A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin on Thursday continued the trial of a former Special Adviser to the Kwara State Governor on Millennium Development Goals, Alhaji Ope Saraki, over N220 million contract fraud.
The trial continued in Ilorin with the cross-examination of the second prosecution witness, Ijaya Adedeji, by the defence counsel.

Saraki, a cousin of the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is being prosecuted by the EFCC Ilorin Zonal Office for allegedly procuring a contract to the tune of N220 million through a company of interest.
The contract involved the purchase of 13 units of ambulances for general/specialist hospitals in Kwara State, and was allegedly acquired through Chemiroy Nigeria Limited.
The offence is contrary to Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences, ICPC, Act, 2000.
According to the EFCC in a release, Ijaya at the last sitting on February 8, while being led in evidence by counsel for the EFCC, Sesan Ola, tendered five different statements of accounts in relation to the procurement of 13 ambulances and 13KVA generators for general/specialist hospitals.
However, Saraki’s counsel, Sulaiman Abaya, asked the court for short adjournment to cross-examine the witness, saying he just took brief of the case and needed time to peruse the documents tendered.
The court graciously granted his prayers and adjourned till today.
“At the resumed sitting, Ijaya, a Business Development Manager in a new generation bank explained how a formal request from the EFCC with respect to the former SA MDGs and Chemiroy statements of accounts led to the supply of the documents.  
“The documents include Ope Saraki’s statement of account; Kwara State Government MDGs account; Chemiroy Nigeria Ltd; Cogent Integrated Service Nigeria Ltd and McDrive Logistics & Institute Limited. 
“Under cross-examination, Ijaya told the court that all the contractors who supplied the 13 ambulances and 13KVA Generators procured in the year 2012 were paid by the Kwara State Government through their bank accounts. 
“When asked whether he was aware that his statement with the EFCC led to the filing of another charge against the defendant at the Federal High Court, the witness said he would make himself available to testify in the case if invited,” the EFCC release said.
The case was adjourned till April 24, 2021.

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E2%80%94-hisbah target=_blank rel=noopener>We’re Still Investigating Our Officer Alleged To Be Sleeping With Married Woman In Kano Hotel— Hisbah

The Kano State Hisbah Board has said the body is investigating allegations of infidelity levelled against its officer, Sani Rimo, who was allegedly caught with a married woman in a hotel in the Sabon Gari area of the state. 
SaharaReporters had on Tuesday reported how a commander of the Islamic police was arrested in a hotel.

Rimo is said to be in charge of arresting beggars and prostitutes in the Kano metro area.
He was taken into custody after the husband of the woman with whom he allegedly had an affair filed complaints.
SaharaReporters gathered that he has, however, been released.
Speaking with SaharaReporters on Thursday, the Communications Officer for Hisbah, Nabahani Usman, said the Commander-General of the agency had set up a committee to investigate the allegation against the officer.

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EXPOSED: Identity Of Kano Hisbah Commander Caught In Hotel With Married Woman

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Usman said the committee was working to get the truth and that Hisbah would ensure a fair hearing before any decision would be taken.
He said, “The committee is working tirelessly and I’m sure as soon as the report is ready, they will make it available to the office of the Commander-General. We believe that in the next two to three days, the outcome and findings of the committee will be ready.
“We don’t know yet if he did it or not, put yourself in the position of the Commander-General, if there is an allegation against your staff member, do you just sack him without proper investigation? Whenever an allegation is made, it’s good for any institution to investigate if it’s true or not true. If it is true, we will think of the next line of action.
“We cannot act on information that we are not sure of and punish someone just like that; there should be a fair hearing. It means we have to hear him, hear the people who are making the allegation, and know the truth.”
Hisbah officers regularly arrest unmarried people caught in hotels, presumably for sexual activities, as part of their enforcement of the Sharia. 
They have also made the headlines on numerous occasions for destroying truckloads of alcoholic drinks.
Established to enforce Sharia, Hisbah recently banned stylish haircuts, sagging of trousers, playing of music at social events by disk jockeys, and seized tricycles from riders for adorning them with pictures considered to be obscene and against the tenents of Islam in some states.

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target=_blank rel=noopener>BREAKING: Ex-Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko Is Dead

A former Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Abdullahi Inde Dikko, is dead.
Dikko died in Abuja after a long illness.

SaharaReporters learnt that he died of cancer complicated by COVID-19. 
He was 61 years old and a native of Musawa, Katsina State.
The former Customs boss is survived by one wife and three children –two sons and a daughter.
He attended Government College, Kaduna in 1974 where he obtained the West African Senior School Certificate Examination in 1980.
He had a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Finance from the University of Dimitrov Apostle Tshenov, Svishtov, Bulgaria.
He joined the Nigerian Customs Service in 1988 and was the CG of Customs from 2009 to 2015.

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Banditry: Over Ten Villages Deserted Completely In Katsina

Governor Masari of Katsina State with bandits

More than ten villages in the Sabuwa Local Government Area of Katsina State have been completely deserted due to the activities of bandits.
According to Katsina Post, recent attacks by the gunmen on some of the communities during the week worsened the situation.

Governor Masari of Katsina State with bandits

Gunmen had on Monday night attacked Sayau and Tashar Bawa communities, both in Sabuwa LGA with reported killings and kidnappings.
The incident forced the villagers to flee their homes.
Other villages deserted completely include Unguwar Tunau, Unguwar Ladan, Gulange, Dungun Kadarko, Limbs, Dankure.
The rest are Gwammaja, Unguwar Madugu, Albasun Alhaji Bako and Unguwar Nakaba.
Katsina is one of the states most affected by terrorism and banditry in Nigeria’s North-West region.
On December 11, 2020, some bandits kidnapped 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara. They were released about a week later. 
However, on December 19, 84 Islamiyya students of Hizburrahim Islamiyya in Mahuta village, Dandume Local Government Area of the state were also kidnapped but rescued shortly after. 

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target=_blank rel=noopener>PDP Seeks Defence Minister’s Sacking For Calling Nigerians Cowards, Asking Them To Fight Bandits, Terrorists

The Peoples Democratic Party has described the statement credited to the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), as reckless and pessimistic for calling Nigerians ‘cowards’ and asking them to defend themselves against armed bandits and terrorists. The PDP said this in a statement issued on Thursday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

Ologbondiyan lambasted Magashi in the press release and demanded his sacking for “abdicating his statutory duties in asking unarmed Nigerians to defend themselves against armed aggression by bandits and terrorists.” The party said the minister’s statement, which it described also as irresponsible, is an endorsement that the administration of the President Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has “surrendered to outlaws and has no determination to fight them.” The party said, “It is unthinkable that a government would describe unarmed victims of armed aggression of terrorists and bandits as ‘cowards’ while those who were elected and given the necessary resources to defend them recede in the comfort and safety of their offices in Abuja. “Such disposition to security; a statutory responsibility of government goes to validate apprehensions that our nation is indeed descending to a failed state under the Buhari Presidency, where the government can no longer perform its duties while unarmed citizens are left to confront bandits and warlords. “Given the silence by the Buhari Presidency, our party holds that the defeatist comment by the minister represents the disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari and his security architecture, and explains why the administration has remained complacent in the fight against terrorism and banditry in our country.

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FFK Knocks Defence Minister, Says He Has Failed To Protect Nigerians He Labelled As Cowards

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 “Such a statement by the Buhari administration, at the time it ought to be scaling up its security strategies to guarantee the safety of all Nigerians, has been emboldening bandits, terrorists and kidnappers to escalate their acts, atrocities against our compatriots. “Moreover, with such disposition, the Buhari administration is creating a lucrative job for bandits, terrorists and kidnappers who are settled with huge ransom instead of being faced with firepower. “Our party however urges Nigerians not to despair at this moment but brace up as it has become obvious that we are now in a despondent situation where the government has shown that it can no longer defend the citizens.”

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E2%80%93-bandits%E2%80%99 target=_blank rel=noopener>We Kidnapped Over 300 Kankara Schoolboys Because Katsina Governor Dared Us – Bandits’ Leader

Auwalun Daudawa (middle)

The suspected mastermind of the abduction of over 300 schoolboys from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State last December, Auwal Daudawa, who has now surrendered his weapons, said he led the operation because the state governor, Aminu Masari, dared his men.
Daudawa stated that his men carried out the abduction because the governor had vowed never to dialogue with them and they wanted to prove to him that they were capable of causing violence and embarrassing his government.

Auwalun Daudawa (middle)

In an interview with Daily Trust, the bandits’ leader, who was based in Dumburum forest in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, said, “I have never done that kind of mass abduction in Zamfara. I did that in Katsina because the governor came out to say he will not dialogue again with our people. So, we said since they said they were not interested in a peace deal and they were sending military jets to torment our people and destroy what we had, we should take the battle to those who are not interested in peace.
“I did that to demonstrate that I had the capacity to do it and I was not afraid of anybody other than Allah. It was for the government, and the whole world to know that we could do it but were hitherto not interested in something like that.”
Daudawa also denied that his group collected ransom before releasing the over 300 abducted students, challenging anyone who has contrary evidence to speak up.

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Getting A Gun Is Like Buying Bread, Says ‘Repentant’ Bandits’ Leader Behind Kankara Schoolboys Abduction, Daudawa

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“After the abduction, you could see that I was not difficult to come around during talks because I did not do it because of money. If it were for money, I would not have released them even for N2 trillion. The whole world knows, if I was given money, it would be known. If I was not given it is also known. It cannot be hidden,” he added.
His gang, which carried out the kidnap during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to his home state, terrorised residents and road users at Zurmi-Gidan Jaja and Jibia axes of the state.
Gun-wielding bandits had in the second week of December 2020 attacked the school during President Buhari’s four-day visit to his home state, carting over 300 schoolboys.
The schoolboys were released six days later. 

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