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Insecurity: Umahi seeks reconciliation, negotiations with bandits in Ebonyi

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Governor of Ebonyi State David Umahi

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi has declared his intention to negotiate with bandits to ascertain their grievances and the way forward.

Umahi made the declaration on Friday in Abakaliki at the presentation of 40 Toyota Sienna vehicles and 20 Hilux vans to security agencies for enhanced operations in the state.

The governor directed local government chairmen and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to identify the bandits and present them for debriefing.

“I want to talk to the bandits and empower them as we cannot continue to kill ourselves and destroy public infrastructure.

“The bandits are our children and I am pained when they or the security agencies are killed.

“I want to ascertain their grievances against the Ebonyi or federal government, collate the facts for discussions to commence,” he said.

He expressed disappointment over the announcement of guidelines for the 2023 elections, noting that the nation was at a crossroads for such engagement.

“Let us forget about the 2023 elections with the leaders taking responsibility for the situation and discussing a way forward.

“No one takes money to the grave and when we hear a gunshot, we will run and abandon the money we amassed.

“This is not a period to discuss political parties but ensure that the resources of this nation are judiciously utilised,” he said.

Umahi debunked the insinuation that members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) or Eastern Security Network (ESN) were after him, insisting that he has discharged his duties to the people.

Dr Kenneth Ugbala, Secretary to the State Government said that the presentation was the first batch of the 100 sienna vehicles and 40 utility vehicles to be procured for security agencies.

“The governor has fully paid for the 40 sienna vehicles and 20 Hilux vans being presented as the recipients are charged to judiciously utilise the vehicles.

“I want to thank the governor for this feat despite the prevailing economic challenges as he had earlier distributed 70 utility vehicles to security agencies in 2019,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the heads of various security agencies, top government officials, youth groups among other stakeholders, witnessed the presentation ceremony. (NAN)

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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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