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#EndSARS: Ooni presents suggestions to President Buhari

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Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Co-Chairmen of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) on Thursday led Nigerian monarchs to President Muhammadu Buhari, towards the peace and development of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu BUHARI during the meeting begged the traditional rulers to assist his administration to be able attend to the demands recently made by the youths of the nation.

According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari told the royal fathers “we have heard the loud cries of our youth and children, and we are attending to their concerns.”

He, however, stressed that “To succeed in all of this, we would require your support and voice to help amplify the message. Your proximity to the people places you in a unique position to communicate and ensure that our response is targeted and impactful.”

Describing their “role as guardians of our traditional values and culture” as most critical, the President urged them not to compromise their neutrality “because this is what significantly confers on you, your moral authority and legitimacy.”

According to President Buhari, his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, would lead senior government officials to various parts of the country “and directly engage with you as part of this process. He will be reporting back to me on your various perspectives.

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“I want to once again thank you for the role you all have played to calm down our youth with wisdom and authority. By instilling hope and keeping the peace, you have rendered the country great service,” he added.

While warning that “we cannot allow anybody or group to threaten the peace or sabotage these efforts,” the President restated that “strong, transparent efforts are underway to address those rogue elements of the Nigerian Police Force.

“Simultaneously, the Nigerian Police Force will also undergo much-needed reform that covers welfare, working conditions, and code of conduct. That will usher in a more professional workforce,” he assured.

Recognising the primary and important role of the monarchs in helping maintain peace and security in the country, the President expressed delight at their visit “given all that has happened recently in our country.”

While receiving the recommendations of the traditional rulers from the Ooni of Ife on behalf of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) president Buhari promised to study them and take appropriate action.

The President had earlier drawn the attention of the eminent delegation to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world.

“We find ourselves in very turbulent times, with a global health pandemic that has been incredibly challenging. Economies have been crippled as the response to the pandemic has forced businesses to shut down or devise new means of transacting. For a country like ours, with a large informal economy, our citizens have been particularly hit.” he said.

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He noted, however, that his administration has “designed various schemes and taken many measures to soften the impact, despite our own revenue struggles as government,” while recognizing that “more needs to be done to cater to our fellow citizens, not just those in the urban areas but also those in rural areas.”

According to President Buhari, “I am also fully aware that our strong farming belts have been impacted by floods. While we have seen record levels of farm outputs and increased level of fertilizer utilization, government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and its agencies is working on how to help bring these farmers some relief.”

Admitting the enormity of these challenges and “our growing youth population,” the President declared.

“There is no hiding place regarding how we should address insecurity concerns, youth unemployment, job creation, boosting industrialization and preparing for a transition into a digital economy”, he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Royal fathers, Ooni Ogunwusi who doubles as the Spiritual Head of Oduduwa Race worldwide declared that Nigerian youths are very patriotic and committed to the Nigerian project, urging governments at all levels to find ways of productively engaging them for a better Nigeria.

 

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Surging violence in Nigeria drives displacement to Niger

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed at surging violence in north-west Nigeria which has fuelled displacement into neighbouring Niger’s Maradi region, where violence is also on the rise.

Fearing armed groups and communal clashes, more than 7,660 refugees have fled Nigeria into Maradi this year and another 3,500 citizens of Niger have been displaced inside the country. Most of the refugees are women and children, displaced following recent attacks in Nigeria’s Sokoto state.

The Maradi region, in southern Niger, now hosts nearly 100,000 displaced people, including 77,000 Nigerian refugees, who have fled relentless attacks in Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.

UNHCR commends the generosity of Niger as it continues to grant access to asylum, despite border restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNHCR teams in Niger have recorded a spike in deadly violence inside Maradi itself, with more casualties and serious incidents reported in January and February 2021 than in the second half 2020. Refugees describe gruesome murders, kidnappings for ransom, and looted villages. Many have also been caught up in clashes between farmers and herders as well as vigilantism, as self-defence groups are being set up in most villages.

People fleeing are in urgent need of water, food, shelter, and health services. Most have fled empty handed in the rush to save their lives.

UNHCR is providing life-saving assistance and protection and has scaled up border monitoring activities. Our teams are also registering new arrivals to identify people with vulnerabilities and other specific needs.

We are working closely with Nigerien authorities to relocate refugees away from the border and into safer localities where basic assistance and services are available. Since October 2019, some 11,320 refugees have been relocated to other villages where UNHCR and its partners have strengthened water, health, sanitation, and education infrastructure for the displaced and their hosts, helping to ease pressure on communities who have shown incredible generosity but have limited means.

Armed groups in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions have been fuelling one of the world’s fastest growing displacement and protection crises. To date, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced by violence in the Lake Chad Basin.

Humanitarian efforts to respond to the emergency are dangerously overstretched –UNHCR’s Lake Chad Basin operation requires US$128.6 million and is only 10 per cent funded. UNHCR is urging the international community to boost support for the region and to help governments root out the causes of this forced displacement and to boost strategic and sustainable development.

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Akeredolu intensifies effort to address insecurity, directs LG chiefs to set up local vigilantes

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As part of his efforts to tackle insecurity and rid the state of criminal elements, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has charged the elected chairmen across the 18 local government areas of the state to set up local vigilante.

Governor Akeredolu urged the council chairmen to engage local hunters who will work effectively with the state security network codenamed “Amotekun”.

The governor gave the directive on Tuesday during a meeting with the local government chairmen at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s office, Alagbaka, Akure.

Akeredolu assured that, at least, two vehicles will be provided for the Amotekun Corps in each of 18 local government areas of the state, as operational vehicles to aid their fight against criminality.

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Security: Makinde hosts Kwara gov, as states plan joint committee

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Governments of Oyo and Kwara States have agreed to set up a joint committee to address the challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 13 villages of Kwara State, following skirmishes in Ibarapa axis of Oyo State recently.

The joint team is to work out modalities on how the two states could mutually address the situation and surmount security challenges within their territories and to also seek alignments and collaboration on economic and security fronts.

A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, indicated that the governors announced the position while briefing newsmen at the end of a closed-door security meeting held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan.

The meeting had in attendance Governor Makinde and his Kwara State counterpart, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, as well as service commanders from the two states, including the General Officer Commanding, 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General A.B. Omozoje, the Commissioners of Police of Oyo and Kwara states commands, among others.

Also in attendance at the meeting were major traditional rulers from Kwara as well as some members of the cabinet of both states.

Speaking shortly after the closed-door session, Makinde, who spoke on behalf of the two governors, appreciated the efforts of the security agencies in the two states, charging them to deepen their intelligence-gathering efforts with a view to dealing more decisively with the security challenges facing the country.

According to Governor Makinde, the meeting was necessitated by the urgent need to work together and to look at the security challenges in the states and come up with solutions, especially as it regarded movement of some residents of Oyo State into Kwara, following threats in parts of Ibarapa.

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According to Makinde, the actions of non-state actors who tried to spread hatred, had led to a number of residents of the state moving into Kwara and constituting a challenge to the state, a situation which he said would be jointly addressed by the two states.

He explained that leaders in the country, most especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, must speak with one voice and be firm in dealing with the security challenges that the country is facing currently.
He said: “We had a joint security meeting. We appreciated the efforts of our security agencies and thanked them for the work they are doing in our country and we encouraged them to do more.

“We also acknowledged the fact that non-state actors are getting the upper hand in communicating and spreading hatred within our country. So, we asked that our leaders must speak with one voice, especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. We have to be firm and decisive in dealing with the security challenges we are currently faced with.

“We have also taken notice of the fact that our intelligence-gathering efforts have to be deepened. Considering some of the situations we have been faced with recently, we have had to react instead of being able to act before those things occur, due to some intelligence failure.”
Governor Makinde equally called on the traditional rulers in Oyo and Kwara States to come together and exchange information and ideas on how to surmount the security challenges.

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He said: “Also, traditional rulers on both sides of the boundaries, between Oyo and Kwara States, will be encouraged to come together in unity and exchange information.

“In that manner, our intelligence agencies will be able to proactively deal with the situation rather than being reactive.”

The governor added that the meeting agreed that there was the need for a working relationship between the two states and that the states will announce the members of the joint team in a matter of days.

He stated: “We agreed that a more detailed working team is to be set up between Oyo and Kwara states. We know that the issues to be addressed have wider national ramifications.

“Yes, they asked somebody to leave Igangan and that has created issues in Kwara State, where Internally Displaced Persons are now spread over 13 villages and seven local government areas in the state, with its attendant challenges of maintenance of those individuals.

“We believe that the working team to be set up should be able to dispassionately look at those challenges and come up with solutions, which my brother-governor and I will be able to look at and solve.”
He also assured that Oyo State would take advantage of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which, according to him, is already being implemented in Kwara State, with a view to further collaborating on the economic and security levels.

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“Also, the National Livestock Transformation plan is currently not implemented in Oyo State but Kwara State has started its implementation over a year ago. So, we believe that there is lateral learning that Oyo State will be able to take advantage of and this should lead to further collaboration on the economic and security levels. So, that is what we have discussed so far.

“I believe in the days ahead, probably within the next couple of days, we should be able to disclose to the public the members of this working team between Oyo and Kwara States. And in the weeks ahead, we will also be taking recommendations from them for implementation.”

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