Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Friday 26th February 2021

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Friday 26th February 2021

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 26/02/21

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Zakoa, Son Of Dreaded Bandits’ Kingpin, Buhari, Two Others Surrender Arms In Zamfara

Three notorious bandits, including Zakoa Buhari, the son of dreaded bandits kingpin, Tsoho Buhari, notoriously known as ‘Buharin Daji’ have repented and surrendered their weapons to the Zamfara State Government.
The weapons including AK-47 rifles, General Multipurpose Machine Gun (GPMG), Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) and several ammunition were surrendered at the Government House in Gusau, the state capital.

After taking an oath with the Holy Quran in the presence of top government officials, security operatives and traditional rulers, the bandits laid down their arms, vowing not to return to banditry anymore.
Buhari, notorious and dreaded armed bandit in the state, was killed at Nakango village in Dansadau Emirate, Maru Local Government Area in 2018 following his refusal to lay down his arms after peace talks with the state government.
Nakango is a border town between Dansadau Emirate in Zamfara and Birnin Gwari Local Government Area in Kaduna State.
The state witnessed several ‎attacks by the late Buhari and his gang members, leading to scores of deaths.
Zamfara, like other North-West states, has in the last 10 years faced devastating attacks from armed bandits.
In 2019, the state government entered a peace agreement with the gunmen.
About 15 brand new Hilux vehicles and cash gifts were also given to leaders of different ‘repentant’ banditry groups by the governor in 2020.
But despite all these, communities in the state are still being attacked and residents kidnapped and/or killed.

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E2%80%94bandits target=_blank rel=noopener>Security Problem In Nigeria Bigger Than Buhari, Governors, Lawmakers Pay Us For Protection —Bandits

Some killer herdsmen have stated that the President, Muhammadu Buhari cannot completely tackle the insecurity situation in the country except he seeks international intervention.
The bandits, who spoke with Daily Trust, lamented neglect by the government, stating that their inability to access quality education is responsible for their atrocities.

One of them, who seemed to be the leader of the group, said the bandits desire quality education, employment opportunities in government parastatals, and to enjoy the ‘wealth’ of the country.
He said the bandits have also been victims of insecurity in the past with no jobs nor families. 
According to him, the bandits who have now taken up arms will constitute a menace as long as they have no other engagements.
He said, “This issue is beyond any governor; even the president himself, if he knows the true situation in the forest and the condition people find themselves, there’s no way he would have left this responsibility to the governors or any individual. “The problem cannot be surmounted by a governor; even the president would have to seek help from other countries to tackle the problem. Just look around, these are people bearing arms and they have nothing to do. Many have lost their loved ones. The parents of some of them have been killed.”
He further added, “What we want is that our pastoralists should be employed just like the way their own children are employed. Our children should be enrolled in schools so that we can also become knowledgeable. In this country, there is oil, there are gold and many other natural resources but we don’t know how any of those things are being managed.”
He alleged that members of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad and officers of the Nigerian Army have taken their cattle from them, leaving them poorer. 
“We know nothing other than spending time under trees. There is no difference between us and the animals we herd. We are also deprived of keeping cattle because of the lack of grazing areas. They’ve taken over the grazing areas; even the grazing routes are no longer there. Soldiers will take over our cattle, vigilantes will confiscate and gunmen would rustle. We have been rendered poor.
“What more cattle do we have now? Soldiers and SARS personnel have carted away all the cattle.”
When asked if any of them is qualified to take government jobs peradventure they are given one, he said, “This whole agitation is caused by lack of education. None of us here is educated. Only in isolated cases do you have someone who would go and settle in another place and go to school, they are very few.
“Anyone you see that has gone to school, it is possible it was because a minister or someone important is married to his sister and brought him close. The rest of us herders in the bushes are not educated but there is also adult education and other training for traders. The law says they should empower the citizens and protect them and their property, none of that happens. We are not being protected. We don’t have anything we depend on; it’s only us and the trees that are here and the gun we are wielding.”Speaking on the survival tactics employed by the bandits in the forest, he said the bandits feed on the proceeds from selling the few cows they have left. He also alleged that they get money from some governors and lawmakers who pay off the bandits after they must have raided such person’s domain.
“The way we survive is, some of us with two or three cows, sell one and bring the money here which we share and buy some food items. 
“Sometimes, some governors or lawmakers, if our people are disturbing their domain, they would send N100, 000 or N200, 000. That’s how it’s been,” he said. 

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E2%80%99t-have-any-farm-sambisa-forest%E2%80%99-%E2%80%94-shekau-mocks-military-new target=_blank rel=noopener>‘We Bombed Maiduguri, I Don’t Have Any Farm In Sambisa Forest’ — Shekau Mocks Military In New Audio

Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad faction of Boko Haram, has spoken in a fresh audio released by the sect.
In a video in which only a voice believed to be his could be heard with his picture and scenes from the North forming the background, which was released on Thursday, Shekau who spoke in Hausa, boasted that the military had not been able to put his group in check.

The militant leader also claimed responsibility for the bomb explosions that rocked Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State on Tuesday, February 23.
The explosions led to the death of over 16 persons and injured more than 60 across the town.
According to Shekau, an infiltration team carried out the attack.
He also dissociated himself from a farm reportedly belonging to him that was recently burnt by the Nigerian military. 
Troops of the Nigerian Army recently took over a farmland situated inside Sambisa forest which they alleged was owned by Shekau.
In a trending video on social media, the soldiers were also seen taunting the Boko Haram leader, asking him to come out to face them.
“Shekau where are you? See us on Shekau’s farm inside Sambisa. Shekau king of noise-making where are you? Come out now and see if we will not waste you.
“This is Shekau’s farm inside Sambisa. Villagers take as much of the products as you can after all it is yours.
“Shekau, see us on your farm, we are going to have our Juma’at prayers on your farm,” one of the troops said.
But in a five-minute and thirty-two seconds-long video released on Thursday, Shekau said he has no farm in Sambisa forest.
On many occasions, the militant leader has embarrassed the Nigerian government and military for claiming victory over his group.
The army had on several occasions claimed that it had killed Shekau, but each time it pronounces him dead, the militant resurfaces in an audio or video messages to not only debunk such claims but taunt the military.
In 2014, the Nigerian Army claimed he was killed by the Cameroonian military during a Boko Haram attempt to capture Kodunga, a small village north of Maiduguri.
The Cameroonian military backed this claim by releasing a photo of Shekau’s supposed corpse on social media.
But shortly after, he appeared in a video, mocking those who claimed responsibility for his death.
In the video he released in October 2014, Shekau taunted the military, saying he has “one soul”.
“Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath. I am running our… Islamic caliphate and administering sharia punishments,” he had said.
“Nothing will kill me until my days are over… I’m still alive. Some people asked you if Shekau has two souls. No, I have one soul, by Allah. It is propaganda that is prevalent. I have one soul. I’m an Islamic student.
I’m the Islamic student whose seminary you burnt… I’m not dead.”
Also Chadian President, Idriss Deby, in 2015 claimed Shekau had been replaced with one Mahamat Daoud.
But five months later, Shekau resurfaced in a video in which he described Deby as a “hypocrite”.

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E2%80%99s-economy-moving-right-direction-%E2%80%94-un-envoy-amina-mohammed target=_blank rel=noopener>Nigeria’s Economy Moving In Right Direction — UN Envoy, Amina Mohammed

The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, has said that Nigeria’s economy is moving in the right direction.
Mohammed, who was speaking during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja, said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.
“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”
She claimed that after travelling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.
Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction both economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said the Nigerian government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.
He stated that before the end of the first quarter of 2021, there should be a document on the government’s investment policies, as efforts were ongoing to take Nigeria out of its mono-economy.

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target=_blank rel=noopener>How Nigerian Army Attempted To Assassinate Biafran Lawyer, Nnamdi Kanu Cries Out

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has accused the Nigerian Army of attempting to assassinate one Barrister Chukwuemeka Okoroafor. 
Kanu disclosed that Okoroafor was ambushed by men who came out of a white Hilux truck on Suleja-Bida highway on Thursday and opened fire on his car. 

The IPOB leader revealed this in a press release he signed and made available to SaharaReporters through the group’s media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful. 
According to him, Okoroafor, a legal counsel for IPOB, was leaving Alpha Military Commando Base in Suleja where he had gone to confirm an intelligence report regarding some Biafran agitators detained by the Nigerian Army, when he was attacked. 
“Following the assassination attempt made in Abuja today, February 25, 2021, by Nigerian Army sponsored by the likes of Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on the life of Barrister Chukwuemeka Richard Okoroafor, the IPOB lawyer who has been at the forefront of efforts to secure the release of Biafran women abducted from the ruins of destroyed synagogues at Obigbo in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest and taken to military execution facilities in Fulani controlled Sharia North as s** slaves, I, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), wish to put the world on notice that Nigeria  Government is waging an undeclared but brutal war on the law-abiding citizens of Biafra.
“This cowardly assassination attempt by the Nigerian Army is evidence of their desperation to frustrate IPOB from securing freedom for kidnapped and dehumanised women bound and chained in military barracks in the North for the amorous pleasure of those elements in the security agencies that specialise and derive pleasure in raping Biafran women. 
“These women unfortunately are still being subjected to the most horrific sexual violence till today. They are being gang-raped every night by Fulani Islamic soldiers in the Nigerian Army. It’s a shame and a stain on the conscience of humanity that in this 21st century, women are still being forcibly abducted, caged, and used as s** slaves in a country that has no regard for their own laws.
“Barrister Okoroafor went to the Alpha Military Commando Base in Suleja to confirm intelligence reports from credible sources that civilians being held at this military detention camp are all missing Biafrans, including Elvis Ngozi and 109 others. Upon exiting this facility and into Suleja-Bida Road, an unmarked white Hilux truck pulled up by the side of his vehicle and opened fire on him in an effort to kill him. The same thing they did to Barrister Ejiofor about two years ago when they invaded his country home in a similar state-sponsored attempt to assassinate him.
“Barrister Okoroafor told me that before leaving the base, he discovered that the left rear wheel of his SUV was marked with black paint. He drove into Suleja Area Command and made a report. Shortly afterwards he was attacked on the road. This testimony convinced me that the attackers were members of Nigeria’s security agents.”
Kanu alerted that the Nigerian government and its Army in their attempt to kill Okoroafor were trying to frighten other lawyers working for the liberation of IPOB members. 
“This attempt to assassinate Barrister Okoroafor by Nigerian security agents is a deliberate ploy by the government to frighten and intimidate other lawyers away from providing legal representation to hundreds of kidnapped members of IPOB languishing in military concentration camps in the North. 
“The whole world must take note of this barbaric attack against innocent Barrister Chukwuemeka Richard Okoroafor in Abuja today being the 25th day of February, 2021, a lawyer who is doing his professional job.
“Since the Nigerian Army and police have taken it upon themselves to assassinate IPOB lawyers and to stop IPOB from challenging them with self-evident truth in their own law courts, they will soon reap the fruit of their evil deed. We, therefore, demand the immediate release of all s** slaves in the custody of the Nigerian Army.”

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Boko Haram Terrorists Abduct Dozens On Damaturu-Maiduguri Road, Burn Two Vehicles

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A yet-to-be ascertained number of travellers were on Thursday abducted by Boko Haram insurgents along Damaturu-Maiduguri Road.
Military sources who disclosed the incident to SaharaReporters said the insurgents attacked a large convoy of commuters at Garin-Kuturu near Auno in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State at about 1:30 pm.

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The insurgents, who were in military uniforms, were said to have placed a roadblock on the highway with five Hilux vans before taking away the passengers.
The gunmen also set ablaze two vehicles, a Volkswagen Golf and a Peugeot car.
“Some of the passengers fled into the bush but most of them were abducted. Two vehicles were also set ablaze. Other passenger vehicles belonging to the abducted travellers were also abandoned at the scene while their properties were looted,” one of the sources told SaharaReporters.
“As soon as we were alerted, we mobilised to the area and engaged them (Boko Haram terrorists) for about an hour. The road was then cleared for other travellers to pass.”
SaharaReporters gathered that the abduction is the latest in a series of attacks on travellers on the highway.
In 2020, the insurgents kidnapped two aid workers travelling from Damaturu to Maiduguri, and later used the Facebook page of one of the aid workers to announce that they had killed them and “their corpses would never be found.”
Travelling the 135km stretch of road between the state capitals is considered extremely dangerous if such a journey is done before 9 am or after 2 pm when the route is busy. 

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Forgotten Hero: Shehu Sani Laments How No Condolence Message Was Sent To Family Of Airforce Officer Killed By Bandits

Former senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani had decried the neglect of the family of one of seven Nigerian Air Force officers killed by bandits. 
Sani, who is also the President of the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, said the officer died defending Nigeria. 

He alleged that the family of the deceased had received no condolence visit from any government official and that no condolence message had been sent by the force to the family.
On his Twitter handle, Sani said, “Abubakar was one of the seven airforce officers ambushed by bandits and killed along Kaduna Birnin Gwari road. No condolence visit by any elected or appointed government official, no delegation sent, no message of condolence to his family and he died defending us.”
Meanwhile, the funeral of the seven Nigerian Air Force officers who died in the Sunday air crash was held at the National Cemetery, Lugbe, Airport Road, Abuja on Thursday.
The men died in the Beechcraft King Air B350i which crashed a short distance from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after reporting engine failure.
The deceased include the Captain, Fl Lt. Haruna Gadzama; Fl. Lt. Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot); Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System Specialist); Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist); Fl. Sgt. Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist); Sgt. Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist) and Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Court Strikes Out EFCC Suit Against Six Persons, Company For Alleged N148.3million Fraud

File photo used to illustrate story.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out the corruption charges brought against six person and a company before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for lack of diligent prosecution.
The court, presided over by Justice M. A. Onyetenu also discharged and acquitted the six for the fraud allegations.

File photo used to illustrate story.

The EFCC had in 2018 arraigned Alimi Haruna, Momouda Mohammed, Shittu Muideen, Akpojaro Amos, Joga Yusuf, Duru Patrick and a company over charges of conspiracy, money laundering and unlawfully retaining proceeds of illicit act, among others.
However, the prosecuting counsel has failed to show up after several adjournments, his last appearance in court was on November 6, 2018. 
Onyetenu had on several occasions given the prosecuting counsel opportunity to appear before the court and even directed that Hearing Notice be served on the prosecution but he failed to show up.
Counsel for the first defendant, Oviemuno Obobolo, said his client, Haruna, in his capacity as the Managing Director of Mowa BDC Ltd, a licensed Bureau De Change (BDC) operator, made a transaction through his company in which he sold dollars to another BDC operator, BOK BDC Ltd headed by Okey Onyeneke to help provide enough funds for a client. 
“He sold to this BOK BDC Ltd by bank transfer and cash. Interestingly, Mr. Okey confirmed in writing to both the police and EFCC that he received the money from Haruna and duly received value for the transaction.
“That should have been enough. But we understand that somewhere along the line, the actual owner of the money didn’t get the money from the other dealers in the chain of the transaction and so reported to the police and EFCC,” he said.
Obobolo also stated that the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) were initially involved in the matter. They invited his client for a chat, and after a review of the facts, he was cleared. 
“The Xsquad Unit under the Lagos Commissioner of Police also invited him and he was again cleared. He was subsequently invited to the EFCC and also cleared in August, 2017 following a confirmation by the other BDC colleague who bought dollars from his company that they actually received value for the exchange.
“The Investigating team at that time was led by one Mr. Kaltungo, but subsequently there was a change of leadership of the team and Mrs Deborah Oni became the Team Leader. He was invited again by the EFCC under the new team lead and a curious demand was placed on him to surrender the naira paid to his company in exchange for the dollars without a reciprocal refund of the dollars.
“The implications of this demand would mean that his company which legitimately sold dollars as BDC operator to a fellow operator would lose its funds, the money received in exchange for the dollars sold. 
“The actual people who perpetuated the fraud, that is, those who ran away with the actual owners’ monies were never arraigned in court. But the BDC operators who sold the dollars were the ones arraigned because the EFCC said they should return the money they sold for a legitimate transaction which they refused. My client was detained for over two months, he and other BDC operators were charged to court for fraud without any evidence to back it up.” 
Speaking further he said, “Expectedly, after filing the charge, EFCC practically abandoned it. They were arraigned and granted bail in November 2018. And from that time till when the case was eventually struck out on February 16, 2021, more than two years later, the agency never showed up in court for once. Even when the court bent over backwards to serve them hearing notice, they did not show up. 
“It was clear that the EFCC took the case to court just to abandon it. For two years, my client and others who were charged suffered unjustly.
“Eventually, as God would have it, the court had enough and the case was struck out, my client and other defendants were accordingly discharged. This is because the allegations of fraud against them had no basis in the first place which was why they abandoned the case in court.”

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Poor Healthcare: Angry Youths Shut Down Nigerian Governors Forum Headquarters In Abuja

Hundreds of youths on Thursday morning protested at the headquarters of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, shutting down the complex to workers and guests.
SaharaReporters learnt that the youths were protesting the poor state of healthcare in the country, while submitting a petition, addressed to the NGF Chairman.

The youths in their large numbers barricaded the NGF office located at Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama, Abuja, as early as 9am, denying staff and guests the opportunity to access the office.
The protest caused some traffic snarl in the area, as commuters were forced to take alternative routes.
A spokesperson for the youths, Chinonso Obasi, said the decision to stage the protest was to drive home their message to the governors after the expiration of their ultimatum to them to rise and improve the “quality of primary healthcare services to Nigerians.”
The youths were at the gate of the NGF office for several hours, insisting that the Director General of the NGF or any other senior member of the Forum should attend to them.
After few hours of protest, their letter of request was received by the Secretariat of NGF with a promise to expedite the process of delivering it to the appropriate authorities and reviving the primary health care system. 

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target=_blank rel=noopener>Nigerian Government Plans 30 Grazing Reserves To Solve Farmers/Herders Crisis

President Buhari Inspectig His Herds Of Cattle In Daura

The Nigerian Government has planned 30 grazing reserves to implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan, as a lasting remedy to address the farmers/herders crisis in the country. 
This was contained in a statement made during a press briefing by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari on Wednesday in Abuja. 

President Buhari Inspectig His Herds Of Cattle In Daura

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He said the project was aimed at putting to rest the enduring conflict between farmers and herders bordering on competition on land, water and pasture. 
Kwasari said, “The National Livestock Transformation Plan is a sure way in solving permanently the issue of the farmer/herder conflict, the real farmers and herders that have conflict, and mark my words, real farmers and real herders that are in crisis today is triggered from resources of land, water and pasture. 
“The 19 Northern States have grazing reserves. So far we have mapped out over 30 grazing reserves and on paper we have over 400 grazing reserves.
“So the northern governors have to be committed in working with the federal government, federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, supervision with the NEC, to make sure that wherever those grazing reserves are found, we are able to convert them into lush green models specifically for pastoralists and the pastoralists will not migrate anymore. The land is there, we don’t need to look for land anywhere.
“The traditional rulers we consulted, like the Gbom-Gbom Jos, clearly advised, and said the low hanging fruit for federal and state governments is to make sure we settle pastoralists in gazette grazing reserves.
“This takes away any notion of land grabbing or taking land from communities and giving to pastoralists because we are in volatile situation, hate speech and all of that.”
He further said that Nigerians need to be aware so as to embrace the NLTP by following modalities of the plan.
“If we are going to achieve this first of all Nigerians have to follow the signs that is clear to the NLTP, methodology of NLTP as clearly pointed in the NLTP. 
“And every state that adopts NLTP, it is to its own reality; it is not conscription but if they do it this way it will modernise livestock production, modernise crop production, remove conflict, create dialogue, and create cohesion in communities.” 
He also explained that, “One of the targets we are working on here in the National Livestock Transformation Plan, and we know that working at the National Economic Council; the governors working with technical experts crafted this policy.
“The NLTP starts by training and arm-holding the pastoralists in the northern livestock production system, teaching them how to grow the pasture, settling them in a systematic way and environmentally friendly pattern. Our pastoralists are willing to learn.”
Kwasari also expressed optimism that with the collaboration between the Nigerian and state governments following the recent announcement of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Nanono, would bring an end to the crisis.
“I hope with the move being made by both state and federal governments, particularly by the recent announcement made by the Minister of Agriculture, the NLTP will take off fully so that we can demonstrate that there is a new way to find a solution between the pastoralists and farmers in the NLTP,” he said.
Speaking on other nation’s current woes such as banditry, insurgency, kidnapping and other criminal activities, Kwasari said NLTP is not designed to address them. 
He said, “On kidnapping and banditry, I don’t think NLTP is the answer because there is sheer criminality in that aspect, and I am sure that the security agencies are working on that.
“But the conflict between real herders and farmers over competition on land, water and pasture can be resolve the issue of land, water and pasture of true herders and that will help livestock production according to global best practices.”

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