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Ebonyi: Group demands probe, end to political killings in Edda community

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A group, Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has called on the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) to intervene and quickly bring to an end cases of political violence and killings ongoing in Asaga Owutu Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.

The association also demanded that the state government should be made to “institute an independent Judicial Panel of Inquiry to probe the causes of the killings in Edda, if the government is sincere about finding a lasting solution to the problem.”

Recall that the Ebonyi State Police Command confirmed the arrest of the council chairman of Afikpo North Local Government Area, Eni Uduma and the lawmaker representing Afikpo South East Constituency, Chidi Agemu, over alleged involvement in cult clashes recently.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday and signed by the Chairman of the Association and a political activist, Ambassador Pascal Oluchukwu, condemned what he described as “the acts of banditry, terrorism and killings which have been imposed on Edda clan since the current democratic/political dispensation in the state.”

Oluchukwu lamented that “the denigration of Edda politics to this level of outright and shameless political criminality dates back to sometime around the year 2007 when people of doubtful character entered into Edda/Ebonyi political horizon as political adventurers and merchants of death. Now, we can look back and note that their outing in the field of politics has destroyed Edda and relegated her into a state of mournful and regrettable degradation with their own political careers relapsing into shameful monumental tragedy.”

While giving background to what he called political terror in the Edda area, the association chairman said findings by his group revealed that there is a group in the area allegedly working with the current Chairman of Afikpo South Local Government “terrorising and specialising in torture of innocent citizens, beating of people with Koboko horse whips imported from foreign countries, among others.”

On the recent killings in the area, the association said: “On the 27th March, 2020, a 19- year old boy, Chidi Oji Arua was killed at Nguzu Edda. It was alleged that some officials of the Afikpo South Local Government COVID-19 Task Force went to Nguzu to enforce the Government policy banning burial of corpses as part of the COVID-19 lockdown. Some villagers resisted and the Personal Assistant to the Council Chairman, Keneth Agha Okoro (aka Mukoro) was rough-handled. He was said to have gone back to base to alert his group who went to Nguzu Edda to unleash mahem and Chidi was found lying dead after sporadic gunshots.

“From Sunday, 3rd May, 2020 to Wednesday, 6th May, 2020, three young men from Owutu Edda were murdered in cold blood. The first boy, Onu Chima Ukpai, was shot dead by an alleged member of a rival cult group. Then on Tuesday, 5th May, 2020, one of the boys, Chinedu Offor Ufere, who was wounded during the Sunday attack and was hospitalized, died. Then again, on Wednesday, 6th May, 2020, one Jarun, the elder brother of the boy who was killed on Sunday, went on a revenge mission and killed one Raphael Okereke.

“The recent killings in Edda reflect the brutal and crude political culture of violence and blood-bath which has been used as an instrument of political domination of the area. It is an extension of the regime of terror, thuggery, intimidation and gangsterism. It is aimed at conquering the people by instilling fear into them for political imposition and exclusion,” the association said.

The association noted that the immediate causes of the bloody confrontations can be traced to three recent events which heightened tension in the major flash-points of the LGA. The events are the sharing of political offices in the LGA in 2019, conduct of the 2020 Chairmanship and Councillorship primaries and the composition of the COVID-19 Implementation/Enforcement Task Force in the LGA.

The Ebonyi state indigenes, however said governor Dave Umahi’s statement recently blaming the Police and SSS for their inability to have predicted the killings and to have stopped it is neither here nor there.

“The Governor should immediately institute an independent Judicial Panel of Inquiry to probe the causes of the killings in Edda, if he is sincere about finding a lasting solution to the problem.

“We will also wish to call on the Federal Government and the Human Rights Organizations in Nigeria to wade into Ebonyi state and engage the government of Umahi to forestall further bloodshed in the area.”

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Security

Agojeju-odo Massacre: Ugane Club Challenges FG, Kogi Govt, Traditional Council to Act

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The  people of Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State have challenged the Federal and Kogi state governments, as well as the Igala Traditional Council to wake up to their responsibilities of providing security for communities that have come under sustained vicious attacks by heavily armed Fulani herdsmen in recent times.

A statement signed by the National Coordinator of Ugane Club, a socio-cultural organisation of Igala people of Omala Local Government extraction, Dr James Odaudu, frowned at what it called an abdication of government responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of the people.

The full Statement;

In the wake of the human carnage that was visited on the Agojeju-odo Community in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State on Thursday by Fulani herdsmen, it has become necessary to remind the Federal Government, the government of Kogi State and the Igala Traditional Council of their responsibilities for the security of lives of the people.

It is worrisome that 48 hours after the dastardly and gruesome murder of over thirty innocent and law-abiding citizens in the sleepy farming community, even with gory pictures of the vicious and callous human tragedy in the public space, there have been no official reactions from the Federal and Kogi state governments, including the Igala Traditional Council.

As a socio-cultural organisation committed to the welfare of Igala people of Omala extraction, Ugane Club views the silence of government and the Traditional Council as not only nonchalant but a betrayal of the people’s trust for safety and security.

Ugane Club notes that Thursday’s attack on Agojeju-odo was not the first time communities in Omala Local Government have been brought under the heavy gunpowder of the marauding herdsmen. There are cases of commercial centres of Bagana and Iyade which have been completely taken over by these aliens. The case of Agbenema also comes to mind .

Ugane Club condemns the unconscionable and callous murder of defenceless inhabitants, including women and children in Agojeju-odo and other communities before it, in the strongest possible terms, and calls on governments at all levels to rise up to their responsibilities of protecting law-abiding citizens, especially in Omala Local Government Area in order to avoid a loss of confidence and resort to sself-help.

We also wish to remind the authorities of an earlier request for the establishment of security outposts at the boundaries of Kogi State with the Benue and Nasarawa States through which the herdsmen terrorists come in to carry out their attacks on Omala Local Government Area and other parts of Igala Kingdom.

Ugane Club further urges the Igala Traditional Council led by His Majesty, the Attah Igala, to take all possible measures to protect his Kingdom from being overrun by these alien herdsmen who bear no sociocultural similarities with the peaceful nomadic Fulanis that have co-habited with the Igala people for decades.

Ugane Club commiserates with the people of Omala Local Government Area, especially the traumatised Agojeju-odo Community over the loss of their loved ones and displacement from their ancestral lands and hopes that those whose responsibility it is to bring succur to them will rise up to the challenge.

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Education

BREAKING! 287 Abducted Kuriga School Children Released

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About 287 Schoolchildren abducted by terrorists in Kaduna State on March 7, have regained their freedom.

This was revealed in the early hours of Sunday, March 24, by the Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani.

Terrorists had early on Thursday morning March 7, stormed LGEA Primary School, Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State and kidnapped scores of pupils and teachers at about 8:20 am immediately after the morning assembly.

However, in a statement obtained  by SunriseNigeria, Sani specially thanked President Bola Tinubu, NSA Nuhu Ribadu and the Nigeria Army for the release of the Kuriga pupils and students.

 

The statement reads:

“In the name of Allah the Beneficient, the Most Merciful, I wish to announce that our Kuriga school children have been released.

“Our special appreciation goes to our dear President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for prioritizing the safety and security of Nigerians and particularly ensuring that the abducted Kuriga school children are released unharmed.

“While the school children were in captivity, I spoke with Mr. President several times. He shared our pains, comforted us and worked round the clock with us to ensure the safe return of the children.

“Special mention must also be made of our dear brother, the National Security Adviser, Mal. Nuhu Ribadu for his exemplary leadership. I spent sleepless nights with Mal. Ribadu finetuning strategies and coordinating the operations of the security agencies, which eventually resulted in this successful outcome.

“The Nigerian Army also deserves special commendation for showing that with courage, determination and commitment, criminal elements can be degraded and security restored in our communities.

“We also thank all Nigerians who prayed fervently for the safe return of the school children. This is indeed a day of joy. We give Almighty Allah all the glory.”

Governor Sani is expected to receive the students shortly in Kaduna.

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Security

Boko Haram Sponsors Have Links With Nigerian Military, Army General Forcibly Retired After 64 Days’ Detention Reveals In Letter To President Tinubu

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Former General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj Gen Danjuma Ali-Keffi, has revealed that terrorism financing, procurement, and movement of arms and ammunition for Boko Haram and other criminal elements have links to the military.

General Ali-Keffi, who was forced out of the army for exposing his colleagues’ involvement with terror financing, disclosed this in a letter to President Bola Tinubu, which also detailed his arrest, detention, and compulsory retirement.

“The most worrisome aspect was that some of the individuals involved in the financing of Boko Haram terrorists and who were also involved in the procurement and movement of arms and ammunition for Boko Haram and other criminal organisations had links with the military,” he stated.

Ali-Keffi, who headed Operation Service Wide (OPS), set up by former President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate those involved in terrorism financing, said his arrest, detention, and compulsory retirement followed the report of his team, which exposed the involvement of senior government officials, a top banker, and top military brass in terrorism financing.

Ali-Keffi revealed in the letter published by ThisDay that he headed a presidential investigative taskforce, the Board of Inquiry (BOI), convened by Major General BM Monguno (rtd), the former National Security Adviser (NSA), which sat in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) for five weeks from early January to late February 2020.

“I was the President of the BOI, with members and secretaries drawn from the NCS, NIS, DSS, NIA, ONSA, and NFIU, as well as from the Board of Inquiry, which largely conducted its work as an investigative body tasked with investigating circumstances surrounding the illegal smuggling of petroleum products contained in 168 oil tankers into the Benin Republic through a single smuggling route in Ilesa Barbara, Kwara State,” he said.

He said the BoI went further “to uncover 295 oil tankers that conveyed Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and the major smugglers identified.”.

He lamented that the most painful part of his experience was that President Buhari, who approved his headship of the task force, did not come to his rescue.

Begging President Tinubu for his intervention on the matter, he said, “Please cause an investigation into the circumstances surrounding my arrest, detention, maltreatment, and compulsory retirement from the Nigerian Army.”

He also sought a review of his compulsory retirement from the army and that it should be commuted to voluntary retirement as well as approved compensation for the expenditure incurred by the task force in hiring vehicles and quarters. This should include compensation for the pains and injuries suffered while incarcerated and approval of personal security, he said.

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