The Federal Government has said it did not, and will not, pay ransom for the freedom of the students and teachers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, abducted by bandits.
Read Vanguard’s report on the abduction HERE.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this on Channels TV’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Saturday in reaction to rumours that the abductees had been released after the Federal Government paid N800 million.
Asked about the ransom payment, he said a categorical “no”, noting “we employ kinetic and non-kinetic measures. You don’t throwaway invitation to engage, but the overall strategy you keep to your chest.”
On what the Federal Government was doing about the matter, Lai Mohammed said: “I was in Minna with my colleagues, the Ministers of Interior and Police Affairs, the IG, and the National Security Adviser, on Wednesday, to get firsthand information on the abduction of these Kagara schoolboys.
“I can tell you that as at today that the government is on top of the matter.”
On how the bandits operate, he said: “Bandits all over the world work with the psychology of the people.
“Deliberately, they target women and children because this is what will attract a lot of global outcries. That is exactly what bandits do all over the world.
“The government has put in place, all along, various strategies to contain banditry, to fight insurgency, to fight kidnapping.
“Some of these measures are kinetic, some are not kinetic. We didn’t get here overnight and that is why it is difficult to get out one day.
“Criminality in any form will not be tolerated by the government. At the same time, the government has a duty to look at the underlining causes of some of these criminalities in other to address them.”
The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has dismissed media report that it issued a three-month ultimatum to the Federal Government to end insecurity or face mass protest.
A popular online medium, name withheld, had reported that CNG gave the ultimatum in the light of the security situation in the North.
However, the group in a statement by its spokesman, Abdul-azeez Suleiman, described the report as unfounded.
The statement reads:”The Coalition of Northern Groups CNG is worried about unfounded and concocted report by an online newsportal that we gave an ultimatum to the Federal Government over insecury.
The report published on February 15 2021, quoted the CNG has in a statement signed by its spokesperson Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and made available to newsmen in Kaduna placed the government on a three-month ultimatum to halt Insecurity or risk a mass action.
“The CNG categorically disown the report saying it is mischievous, unfounded, unprofessional and unethical for a newsportal to concoct such lies and attribute it to it.
The only press release made by the CNG on Monday February 15 2021 was the one announcing the death of the mother of one of its leaders, Shettima Yerima following which most officials including the spokesperson remained throughout in a state of mourning and receiving condolences.
“The CNG categorically repudiates such fringe journalism practice which is not only unethical and unwarranted but repugnant to its sensibilities and ordinary decency aimed at achieving some sinister motive.
We call on the public to discountenance the report in its entirety as a continuation of the known traditional bias associated with hostile sections of the media whenever matters concerning the North are reported or commented on.”
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has dismissed reports that Zeenat El-Zakzaky, wife of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, never contracted the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
Naija News had reported that the son of the IMN leader, Mohammed said his mother, Zeenat, tested positive for COVID-19 at the Kaduna correctional centre after the family lawyer visited her parents at the facility.
It prompted groups to call for the release of the couple amidst concern about possible flare-up of infection among inmates.
However, the national public relations officer for NCoS, Francis Enobore, said the result of a test on Zeenat showed she tested negative for COVID-19.
According to him, the test was conducted in collaboration with Kaduna state government, her personal physician and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He said: “Happily, the test result has been released and the inmate, including her contacts have no trace of COVID-19 virus.
“It is important to state with emphasis that Zeenat El-Zakzaky never contracted COVID-19 infection as was alleged.”
A court order to move her to a government hospital within the state capital was overturned before a second test.
Recall that El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since 2015 after his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna.
The IMN leader is standing trial for alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of public peace.
The National Association of University Students on Tuesday protested alleged illegal detention of Nigerians in Bangladesh.
But two Federal Government’s agencies said they were not aware of the maltreatment.
The student, who stormed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, accused the government of failing to stand up for the hapless citizens incarcerated in various Bangladeshi detention centres.
The protesters, while chanting solidarity songs, displayed placards with such inscriptions as, ‘Stop dehumanising Nigerians in Bangladesh,’ ‘Dehumanisation of Nigerians in Bangladesh must stop,’ ‘Nigerians in Bangladesh must enjoy the same privileged Bangladeshis enjoy in Nigeria,’ among others.
The youths had earlier protested at the Bangladeshi High Commission in Asokoro.
Addressing ministry officials, the NAUS President, Ijeh Felix, said he had written to the Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, on the plight of Nigerians in the Asian country but lamented that no action was taken on the issue.
Felix alleged that many Nigerians were being detained without trial by the Bangladeshi authorities.
“Many Bangladeshis are living in Nigeria and nobody has stopped them from staying here. I know many of them farming rice in Kano and doing business in Lagos and Abuja; no one is intimidating them.
“But Nigerians are being intimidated all over the world. In Ghana, Nigerian traders are being harassed and their shops locked; we can’t forget the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa,” he stated.
Felix presented a petition to the officials while demanding a speedy intervention in the plight of the citizens in Bangladesh.
But the spokesman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abdul-Rahman Balogun, said he was not aware of the detention of Nigerians in Bangladesh.
The MFA spokesman, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, equally said he had no information on the Nigerians facing maltreatment in Bangladesh.
THE Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) says the allegations in a Dutch Television documentary that its staff were involved in pipeline vandalism for personal gains lacks evidence.
It will be recalled that a Dutch Television in a documentary produced in collaboration with an environmental rights group Milieudefensie and aired on Thursday alleged that staff of SPDC benefit from vandalism of assets.
Reacting to the alleged complicity of staff, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, SPDC’s Media Relations Manager said in a statement on Friday that there was no report of any staff involved in vandalism before it, adding that when there is any evidence the oil firm investigates it.
“SPDC does not have any formal report of named SPDC staff members or contractors involved in pipeline vandalism or crude oil theft.
“SPDC, like other Shell companies globally, investigates all credible reports it receives of misconduct or unethical behaviour and takes robust action where evidence exists.” Odugbesan said.
Odugbesan explained that SPDC has multiple ways the public can report allegations of wrongdoing by anyone working for SPDC, including a telephone helpline available round the clock and a dedicated email address.
He said the company monitored its facilities while any incident or suspected criminal activities are promptly reported to the regulators and government security agencies for investigation and possible prosecution.
He said that as part of measures adopted to discourage host communities from tampering with SPDC assets in their communities, clean up jobs were not give to community contractors if the leak was traced to sabotage.
He noted that as a policy the oil firm does not payil compensation for spills found to have resulted from sabotage activities.
“All spills are assessed by a government-led joint investigation team.
“Where sabotage is established, the clean-up contract is not awarded to contractors from the host community to ensure that possible accomplices do not benefit from such activities.
“SPDC cleans up and remediates areas impacted by spills that come from its operations, irrespective of cause of spill,” Odugbesan said.
Reports circulating on alleged plans by the federal government of Nigeria to pay N150,000 monthly as allowance to repentant Boko Haram Terrorists has been debunked by Bashir Ahmad.
Ahmad is the personal assistant on new media to the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.
Commenting on the report which went viral on social media, the presidential aide in a statement on Twitter, described the report as baseless and fake.
He also challenged those spreading the information to provide a credible source of the story.
He wrote: “FAKE NEWS ALERT: The Federal Government is NOT planning to start paying repented Boko Haram members N150,000 monthly, the story is baseless and should be regarded as the usual fake news. When you see it here or on WhatsApp, ask the poster to provide a credible source of the story.”
Meanwhile, 550 repentant Boko Haram members have been rehabilitated and will be released into society by the Nigerian Military.
Naija News learnt that the federal government promised to release the new set of repentant Boko Haram terrorists this November.
The Spokesperson for the Defence Headquarters, Major-General John Enenche, said the DRR programme under Operation Safe Corridor had recorded tremendous success judging from the feedback from previous trainees.
According to him, this new set will be opportune to travel outside the country on a scholarship to enable them to take part actively and contribute back to their immediate society.
However, the lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District, Ali Ndume, on Wednesday expressed disappointment on the decision of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to rehabilitate repentant Boko Haram members.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army stated this while speaking at the closed-door budget defense session with the Nigerian Army.
Ndume who has always spoken against the rehabilitation of Boko Haram members noted that it is wrong for Nigeria to be pampering repentant terrorists without trying them while the country is still at war.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum(AYCF) has described as “fake, malicious and injurious fabrication”, the news that it’s National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima has demanded the arrest of columnist and publisher, Dele Momodu for interviewing IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu.
In a statement issued by the group, the AYCF said that “those spreading the fake news against our National Chairman have been doing so for quite some months now and we are sure it is all politically-motivated and targeted at the good name our leader has built for decades as a fearless democrat”.
“The agenda of this shadowy group, which is bent on ridiculing the image and integrity of our National President, is to score cheap political points,” they alleged.
The statement issued to Vanguard in Kaduna, said Yerima has already consulted widely with his associates on how best to take legal action against the group, once ongoing investigations were completed.
“The AYCF’s National President, our own vocal Shettima Yerima has been one of the leading lights in the advocacy for restructuring and good governance. ”
“He has also been an advocate of peace and dialogue and we wish to warn his detractors that their campaign of calumny will never change that,'” the group said.
The Yoruba Socio-political group, Afenifere, has denied a viral video with the ‘Quit Yorubaland’ ultimatum to Igbo in the south west region area of the country.
According to the group, One grandson of Adeyinka had issued a viral video on social media for some nationals, especially the Igbo to quit Yorubaland.
However, a statement personally signed by the National leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure,Ondo state capital said the group has nothing to do with the issuance or initiator of such notice .
Fasoranti said, “Most embarrassing to me as Afenifere leader was that to me the young man who made the pronouncement kicked off with a well-known Afenifere tune anthem, thus giving the impression that this is an Afenifere initiative.
“This is to say that we do not know anything about the quit order nor are we in any way connected with the issuance or the initiators.”
Pa Fasoranti however, urged people of the region and Nigeria at large to embrace peace and live in accord for the development of the nation.
Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has called on social media platforms to stop giving publicity to people who peddle fake news, especially ones targeted at creating ethnic tension.
Mr Soyinka spoke Saturday in a statement he titled ‘Identity Thieves on the Rampage.’
“It is time also, I believe, to also enter the following admonition: one cannot continue to monitor and respond to the concoctions of these addicts of falsehood, and their assiduous promoters who have yet to learn to wipe the filth off their tablets,” he said.
“The patrons of social platforms should develop the art of discrimination. Some attributions are simply so gross that, to grant them even a moment’s latitude of probability diminishes the civic intelligence of the recipient.”
The professor of comparative literature was reacting to a video circulating on the internet which urges the Igbos to leave Yoruba land.
“Undoubtedly in order to promote the video clip of an ethnic revanchist calling on Igbo to leave Yoruba land, this same lunatic fringe has exhumed, and embarked on circulating an ancient fabrication – several years mouldering in the grave – once attributed to me and vigorously denounced,” Mr Soyinka said.
“That statement impudently expounds, as my utterance, what the Hausa want, what the Yoruba want, and what the Igbo want. Such an attribution – let me once again reiterate – is the work of sick, cowardly minds that are ashamed, or lack the courage, as the saying goes, ‘to answer their fathers’ names. At least the current ethnic rabble-rouser has the courage of his convictions, not so the sick brigade of identity thieves.
“Normally, one should totally ignore the social dregs. However, in the present atmosphere where fake news is so easily swallowed and acted upon without reflection, I feel once again obliged to denounce this recurrent obscenity.
“As for our brother and sister Igbo, I hope they have learnt to ignore the toxic bilge under which some Nigerian imbeciles seek to drown the nation.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, apex Igbo socio-cultural group, has refuted the allegation that the involvement of Igbo youth in the #EndSARS protests is a plot to destroy the Yoruba economy.
The group was reacting to the allegations made by Apapo O’Odua Koya (AOKOYA), a pan Yoruba group, that there are plots to destroy critical economic assets in Yorubaland by “a combination of forces alien to the south-west people”.
“What is going on is not attacks carried out by #EndSARS protesters, but deliberate mayhem designed to turn Yorubaland into ruins,” AOKOYA had said in a statement.
“This is the handwriting of anti-Yoruba forces coordinated from Abuja and by some non-Yoruba groups in Lagos who have a myopic judgement that the destruction of Yorubaland will reduce our territories to their own primitive levels.”
But John Nwodo, president of Ohanaeze, described the allegations as “disheartening”, noting that it is “obviously being engineered and targeted at the age-long good relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba”.
In a statement, Nwodo noted that most of the businesses scattered all over the country, particularly in Lagos, knocks out the thinking of the Igbo setting out to destroy another person’s economy.
He explained that the reasons for Ndigbo youths’ involvement in the #EndSARS protests are not different from reasons of other youth in Nigeria, “which borders on aggravated neglect of Nigerian youths due to poor governance rooted in dubious political structure”.
“Ohanaeze strongly believes that the press statement is craftily drafted showing a skillful use of underhand tactics to achieve a set goal which in this case is to set Yoruba against Ndigbo,” it said.
“We are ready to vehemently resist this in our time knowing the historical affinity of these two great ethnic groups dating back to the days of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe through to the famous handshake across the Niger propagated by our iconic leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
“This spontaneous relationship built by our forefathers over the years has been strengthened in the last three years by the political emancipation movement, being propelled by the Southern And Middle Belt leadership Forum (SMBLF), made up of four ethnopolitical bodies of Ndigbo, in the South East, Afenifere in the South West, PANDEF in the South South and the Middle Belt Forum in the North Central Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze feels based on intelligence available to it that the motive of this disturbing statement is not only to overtake the mileage covered by this group in setting their people free from the hegemonic bondage but to ensure its destruction.
“Ndigbo are focused and unequivocal about what they want in a contemporary Nigeria as already articulated in the terms of engagement of this group which is to restructure Nigeria for a true federal system where justice and equity will reign.
“We, therefore, wish to refute any position being ascribed to Ndigbo, even if such position is being adduced by an Igbo that is not within the realm of the struggle to free Nigeria as encapsulated in the terms of agreement of this ethnic nationalities.”
It asked the Yorubas to disregard the position being pushed by AOKOYA, because it’s not based on facts and the reality on ground.
It also condemned the “vituperative and inciting outrage” of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) on the #EndSARS activities in Lagos, adding that it is not representative of what the group stands for.