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Nigeria election: Bill Clinton to meet Buhari, Atiku

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The National Peace Committee (NPC) says ex-US president Bill Clinton will attend the signing of a peace accord between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a statement on Sunday, Atta Barkindo, head, NPC secretariat (Kukah Centre), said the event would take place on Wednesday at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja.

Barkindo said Baroness Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, is also billed to attend the event.

He said apart from giving a goodwill message at the accord signing, Clinton would hold meetings with Buhari and Atiku.

“As we move into Nigeria’s national elections, the threat of unrest has to be taken seriously,” Barkindo said in the statement.

“The National Peace Committee, mindful of the importance of peaceful elections and non-violent transfer of power, has engaged various stakeholders in preparation for the 2019 general elections.

“To this end, it is pleased to announce that it has invited Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America; and Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, to visit Nigeria from 12 to 13 February, 2019, ahead of the Nigerian presidential elections.

“Both ex-President Clinton and Baroness Scotland will deliver goodwill messages at the signing ceremony of the National Peace Accord, which will hold at Abuja International Conference Centre on February 13.”

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Boko Haram conflict causing misery to millions 10 years on

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Ten years since the beginning of a violent insurgency in northeast Nigeria, the living conditions for displaced people are continuing to deteriorate at an alarming rate due to inadequate and overcrowded facilities. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) calls for increased efforts to improve their living conditions and prevent an imminent cholera outbreak.

Ten years after the first attack launched by the armed group Boko Haram, more than two million people remain displaced from homes in northeast Nigeria, the highest number of any time over the last decade.

“Every week, people continue to flee violence and insecurity in northeast Nigeria. Many settle along the roadside or on empty strips of land, devoid of proper sanitation and water points,” says Eric Batonon, Country Director at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Nigeria.

Hundreds of thousands of people are living in overcrowded displacement sites far below international minimum standards and without proper access to latrines and clean water. Some have put up shelters made of wooden sticks and pieces of ripped fabric. These improvised shelters provide no protection against wind or rain and offer almost no privacy or security. Many don’t even have a door – leaving women, men and children highly vulnerable to intrusions and attacks.

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More than 180,000 people are currently in need of shelter in Borno State with many sleeping in the open or in deplorable makeshift homes. As the rainy seasons gets underway, fears of another deadly outbreak of cholera are looming. Last year, 10,000 cholera cases were confirmed along with 175 recorded deaths, although the real figure is likely to have been much higher.

“People in Nigeria need safe pathways back to their homes and much better living conditions in the meantime. Displacement sites are dangerous, chaotic and entirely unsuitable for children. It is critical to decongest these overcrowded sites, provide people that have been forced to flee with safe, dignified facilities and prevent another deadly cholera outbreak,” Batonon adds.

The NRC is calling on donor countries to increase their financial support for relief to families trying desperately to survive in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

“Ten years on, it is harrowing to see families still crowding into make-shift shelters with inadequate drainage systems to remove rain water. The global humanitarian community, local and national authorities have to do much more and much better to improve the lives of these people,” says Batonon before concluding: “The world needs to scale up the relief work and send a message of hope to the more than seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria. After a decade of conflict, we need to show them that they have not been forgotten.”

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Over 200 Kidnap Victims Regain Freedom In Zamfara – Police

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The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Mr Usman Nagogo says over 200 victims of kidnap have been received from their abductors in the last three weeks in the state.

Nagogo made this known at a news conference in Gusau on Monday.

The police chief  said  the bandits willingly returned and handover the victims to him as the leader of a peace and reconciliation initiative recently set up by Governor Bello Matawalle.

He explained: “Since the beginning of the peace and reconciliation initiative team assignment about three weeks ago now, we have received over 200 kidnap victims from Fulanis and Yansakai.

“We have sat with all the warring factions and they have understood that peace is the most important aspect of growth and development which is why they willingly return the victims,
“and await the promise made by the governor to re-establish grazing reserves, build hospitals and veterinary clinics, provide good drinking water and other amenities at Fulani settlements.

“At the moment, all the factions go to the markets that were closed due to the armed bandit activities while farmers go to the farms without any hindrance or threats,”.

The commissioner of police who urged residents to continue to pray for the success of the peace process and sustenance of peace in the state, cautioned politicians against politicising the effort so as to allow security agencies carry out their operations without diversion.

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Some of the rescued victims told newsmen at the police command that they were tied like animals and without any shelter against rain or sun.

Some of the victims spent more than seven months in the hands of their abductors.
After their rescue, the victims were camped at the Government House, Gusau, where they received medical and psycho-social support services before they were reunited with their families.

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Corps Member Serving With Channels TV Dies In Shiite, Police Clash

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Unfortunately, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving with Channels Television, Precious Owolabi, is dead.

The 23-year-old died of a gunshot wound he sustained while covering the clash between the police and the Shiite protesters on Monday in Abuja.

The management and staff of Channels Television are greatly saddened by the untimely and unfortunate death of such a promising journalist.

They pray that God will grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and avail his soul eternal rest.

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