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Nigeria: Sowing seeds of hope in Wuro Dadi

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The sleepy, quiet and slow pace of Wuro Dadi village situated on the banks of the Benue river, north-eastern Nigeria, belies its recent history; one of violence and destruction, when gunfire rent the air and residents fled in panic.

Wuro Dadi lies on the outskirts of Yola, the capital city of Adamawa state, firmly within the region that has been grappling with the decade-long Lake Chad conflict. In recent times, the village has been adversely affected by communal violence. When it was attacked in 2018, the violence left 5 people dead and most of its homes and farm produce destroyed.

Safiratu, a mother of three, recalls the morning she fled into the vast farmlands surrounding her village.

“We escaped with nothing but the children we have.” She said.

Her husband was killed that day, her home set ablaze and all their farm produce destroyed. In all, over 75 homes in Wuro Dadi were destroyed. Since then, the village has struggled to recover and Safiratu lived in the open with her children for seven months under a lean-to which also served as an outdoor sitting area, in front of her destroyed home.

The residents of the village are predominantly farmers and fishermen. They grow grains and vegetables and fish from a nearby fresh water pond which is fed by the annual flood waters of the Benue river. Since the attack, no one has been able to return to their farms.

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“Without our seeds, there is nothing to plant” said Dishong, a 60-year old resident of the village. “We survive by fishing the pond and whatever odd jobs we can find but it is not enough. Since we cannot farm, feeding our families has become very difficult.”

For Boyomoso Eli, a father of two, fishing has become the mainstay.

“This is how we survive. Whatever we catch per day we have to sell so that we can earn some money to buy food for that day.”

Despite the intense pressure to overfish the pond, the people of Wuro Dadi practice a simple form of sustainable fishing. The pond is only fished for a few months after the rains and then it is left to fallow for the rest of the year so that it can be replenished by the Benue river. During the fallow period, those who can afford the tools needed, proceed to fish in the river. Those who cannot, have to rely on their farm produce alone.

“We were very self-sufficient here but the fighting changed it all,” said Bitrus Alvadi, a shop owner and the secretary of the village co-operative society. Bitrus’ shop was burned and looted. He was able to repair and re-stock it with support from the village co-operative society.

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“Although the co-operative is of great help to us, it has also been affected by this crisis. Loans have not been repaid due to the losses suffered and so there is not enough money for loans this year.”

In April, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped to rebuild Safiratu’s home. The first of 77 destroyed shelters scheduled for construction. Local workers and material from the village were used for the project. Safiratu was also involved, she helped the construction team draw water for the project from the village stream.

In addition, over 200 families received maize and rice seeds for planting. Along with cash for the purchase of fertilizer and farming or fishing tools.

The seeds and cash that were distributed to the families in Wuro Dadi is part of the ICRC’s wider agricultural assistance to victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence in Nigeria.

The distribution targeted over 80,000 families in nine states: Borno, Adamawa and Yobe all in the North-East, Plateau, Bauchi, Benue, Nassarawa, Kaduna in the north-central region and Cross River located in the south.

Now that the planting season is well underway in Nigeria, the people of Wuro Dadi can return to farming their lands as they work towards being self-sufficient again.

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Lagos govt. approves full reopening of churches, mosques

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The Lagos state government on Saturday approved the full reopening of worship centres in the state.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this during a briefing in the state said churches are now allowed to observe their mid-week services, while the mosques are also allowed to carry out their five times a day prayer routine, with strict compliance to COVID-19 safety protocols.

“We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must, therefore, strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society,” the governor said.

Before now, the state had allowed for a gradual re-opening of places of worship as lockdowns eased.

With the full re-opening now, the governor has urged Lagosians to continue to act responsibly and maintain the required levels of hygiene.

Some other parts of the world have witnessed a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and rising possibilities of “hard lockdowns”, which according to Governor Sanwo-Olu may become inevitable for Nigerians if caution is not applied.

“Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable,” he warned.

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“The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times”.

The total infections in the country have now risen to 56,956, with 48,305 patients recovered and 1,094 deaths recorded.

At the onset of the virus in Nigeria, Lagos became the epicenter, gapping other states with its case load despite frantic efforts to curb the spread.

However, in recent times, other states such as Plateau have started to witness a surge with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stating that it might become the new epicenter in the country.

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Photos: Oyo deputy gov. donates patrol motorcycles to security operatives

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The deputy governor of Oyo state, Engr. Raufu Olaniyan on Friday made a personal donation of patrol motorcycles to security operatives in Oke Ogun area of the state to boost their role of ensuring the safety of lives and properties.

Speaking at the event, Olaniyan noted  that Security is one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration headed by Governor Seyi Makinde, adding that the government has invested massively to provide facilities and equipment for security operatives in the state to perform their roles.

Speaking further, the deputy governor remarked that ” In the light of the security challenges in the country, it is imperative that we support the government in tackling this malady. It was therefore a delight for me to donate patrol motorcycles, from my purse, to the various security outfits operating in the Oke Ogun area of our state.”

He stressed that security matters should be the responsibility of all and not the government alone.

Olaniyan, however , urged well meaning individuals and lovers of peace to support the government in creating a safe and conducive environment for growth.

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Yorubas will resist arrest of proponents of Oodua Republic – Group

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Groups under the aegis  of Yoruba Frontier Movement (YFM) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resist from using security agencies to harass, intimidate or arrest proponents of Oodua Republic.

YFM in a statement made available to journalists by its National Coordinator, Comrade Abdulkabir Adesina and National Secretary, Aderemi Adisa condemned the plan by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic, saying that such action will only lead to breakdown of law and order.

The statement read, “We have received reports that there are plans by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic headed by Chief Sunday Igboho. We are using this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order security agencies to desist from such attempts because proponents of Oodua Republic are operating within the ambit of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The group wondered why proponents of Oodua Republic have become the target of security agencies while Fulani herdsmen and bandits have remained untouchable.

“We should even go down memory lane. President Muhammadu Buhari while desperately seeking to become Nigeria’s president made many inciting statements capable of bringing anachy into the country but ex- President Jonathan never ordered for his arrest. On many occasions northern youths and elders have made similar inciting statements and heaven didn’t come down. As a matter of fact we have been calling for restructuring of Nigeria for a very long time.The failure of government to restructure Nigeria is the reason why we are calling for Oodua Republic. Yorubas have suffered greatly since the amalgamation of the country in 1914 owing to injustice against Yoruba race in Nigeria. As a race we have every right to demand for our right to either stay with Nigeria or go our separate ways”, the statement added.

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It further lauded  Chief Sunday Igboho for taking the bull by the horn, saying that Yorubas are fully in his support.

“We are using this medium to call on traditional rulers, Obas , leaders and all Yoruba sons and daughters to support the proponents of Oodua Republic”, the statement concluded.

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