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Convoke National Dialogue Now, Southern Governors Demand

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The Southern Governors Forum on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to urgently convoke a national dialogue to address the wide spread agitations in the country.

The call was contained in a 12-point communique read by the forum’s Chairman and Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu at a meeting held in Asaba, Delta.

“In view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency,” it stated.

The meeting which lasted for about four hours and had 15 members in attendance also called for restructuring of the country leading to the evolution of state police.

It expressed grave concern on the nation’s current security challenges and urged President Mohammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the challenges and restore the confidence of the people.

The forum affirmed that the peoples of Southern Nigeria remained committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity and oneness and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples.

It said the unity was with a focus to the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.

The forum observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the southern part of the country had presented a severe security challenge to it.

It said that as a result, the citizens were no longer able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities.

“This is leading to a threat to food supply and general security. Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria.

“Development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the south.

“Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the south (including cattle movement to the south by foot),” it stated.

The body of governors recommended that the federal government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.

It also called for the review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance the country’s commitment to the practice of true federalism.

The forum stressed the need for the review of appointments into federal government agencies, including security agencies, to reflect federal character.

The governors’ forum also expressed concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi -Apapa Expressway and the chokehold it had exerted on the nation’s economy, being the sole outlet from Apapa Wharf.

It therefore recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.

The forum further expressed concern on the economic implications of another COVID-19 lockdown on the country.

It suggested greater coordination and cooperation between the federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 13 governors and two deputy governors were in attendance while two were absent.

In attendance were Govs. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Willi Obiano of Anambra, Douye Diri of Beyelsa, Godwin Obaseki of Edo and David Umehi of Ebonyi.

Others were Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Nyesom Wike of Rivers.

Hope Uzodimma of Imo and Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom were represented by their deputies, Prof. Placcid Njoku and Mr Moses Ekpo respectively.

Govs. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun and Ben Ayade of Cross River were absent.

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Suspected herdsmen kill 27 in Agatu

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No fewer than 27 people have been reportedly killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen on Sunday in the Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.

The attackers were reported to have invaded the Odugbeho community in the local government between 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm.

A native who mentioned his name to be Dan told Tribune Online that the attackers stormed the community even when some people were burying their dead.

Dan also hinted that the attackers came in their numbers and unleashed terror on the community.

Dan said: “The herdsmen were believed to have come from Nasarawa State and attacked in a guerrilla-style.

“Unfortunately, on Sunday was a market day and some people in the community were burying their dead when they observed that herdsmen had invaded.

The State Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), John Ngbede, also told our correspondent on the phone that 25 corpses have been recovered and buried.

Ngbede who is a political leader in the local government said: “A leader in the village told me this morning that 25 corpses have been found and buried and people are in the bush searching for missing persons.

“The local government chairman with security operatives have gone to the affected community this morning, when they are back, we will be able to know the actual number of people that died.

While confirming the attack, the council chairman, Adohi Sule, said that the militia herders stormed the community between 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm where they killed 27 people.

Sule explained that the attackers invaded the community when some people were burying their dead and others were in the market.

Sule added: “We are just coming back from the community, 27 people were found killed and the herdsmen attacked and fled.

When contacted, the State Command spokesperson, DSP Catherine Anene, did not pick her phone and did not respond to text messages sent to her cellphone.

(Source: Tribune)

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IPOB ORDER: Open Your Shops or Lose Them, Umahi Threatens Ebonyi Traders

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Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has warned that traders who comply with the Monday’s sit-at-home order should be ready to forfeit their shops.

Umahi issued the warning in a state-wide broadcast on Saturday in Abakaliki to mark the sixth anniversary of his administration.

He was reacting to the order by the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to the people of South-East zone.

He directed that all markets in the state should open for business on Monday.

The governor said: “There should be free movement of people in the state on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and other days of the year.

“People should go to church on Sunday to pray for the nation’s fallen security agents, civilians and peace and unity of the state and country.

“I challenge the youths, local government area chairmen, security agents, Ebebeagu security outfit, among others, to ensure that no one is molested in the state.

“Anyone who has nothing to protect himself should do so with cutlass, which should be for protection and not for attack.”

He said that all forms of procession had been banned in the state except those by youths organised by council chairmen.

“I have been notified about such processions and they are being used to profile our people for empowerment.

“I charge the Ebubeagu security outfit, which is backed by the state laws, to ensure that the people are protected,” Umahi said.

He said the state could not go into “second slavery under any guise”, pointing out that “the secession the people need is massive economic development.

“There will be movement in other parts of the country, if there is none in the South-East so people should therefore ignore such order.

“Ebonyi people are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for all his assistance and if people do not see his goodness, he has been good to us,” he said.

He urged parents and relevant stakeholders to advise youths to toe the path of peaceful co-existence and not depend on the illusionary influences of hard drugs and fetish powers.

In a related development, the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mr Mohammed Aliyu, also advised residents to disregard the IPOB order.

Aliyu gave the advice in a statement issued in Enugu by the command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, on Saturday.

According to Ndukwe, the commissioner appeals to residents to discountence the order and go about their legitimate businesses without fear of intimidation.

“We are reassuring everybody about the command’s commitment to collaborate with other security agencies to sustain adequate public security and safety in the state, in line with the mandate of “Operation Restore Peace.”

“The command warns anybody or group harbouring any sinister intentions to disrupt the relative peace and security enjoyed in the state to desist forthwith, as such attempt will be resisted.

“The command entreats parents, guardians as well as religious, traditional and town union leaders to caution their subjects against allowing themselves to be incited by mischief-makers to foment trouble,’’ Ndukwe stated.

The statement further urged residents to “remain law-abiding and vigilant as they go about their legitimate businesses”.

It appealed to the people to report criminal elements and persons found fomenting trouble to the nearest police station.

It implored the people to alternatively call the following emergency command’s hotlines: 08032003702, 08075390883, 08086671202 or 08098880172.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IPOB had issued a sit-at-home order in the southeast on May 31 to commemorate the death of many people during the civil war that ended about 51 years ago. (NAN)

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Buhari Appoints Maj. Gen. Yahaya as New Army Chief

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Maj. Gen. Farouk Yahaya as the new chief of army staff.

The appointment came barely one week after Attahiru, along with 10 other military officers, died in a plane crash at the Kaduna International Airport.

The appointment is contained in a statement signed and released on Thursday by military spokesman Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu.

Prior to his appointment Yahaya was the General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and the incumbent Theatre Commander of the Counter terrorism Counter Insurgency military outfit in the North East code named Operation HADIN KAI, the statement said

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