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Dapchi Grils: Army, police trade blame over abduction of 110 girls

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Dapchi Grils: Army, police trade blame over abduction of 110 girls

The Nigerian Army and the Police yesterday traded blame over the abduction of 110 girls from the Government Technical and Science School, Dapchi in Yobe State on Monday, February 19. In confirming the redeployment of its troops from Dapchi a week before the abduction, the Army insisted that the security of the community was handed over to the Police, upon certifying that relative peace had been restored. But the Police faulted the claim of the army, stating that at no time did the military formally hand over the security of Dapchi town to the force.

 

The Federal Government had, on Sunday, confirmed the abduction of 110 girls from the school by Boko Haram terrorists. The abduction is reminiscent of the April 14, 2014 kidnap of over 200 students of Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. While justifying the withdrawal of troops from Dapchi, the army refuted claim by Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Geidam, that the withdrawal of troops facilitated the abduction of the schoolgirls.

 

Spokesman for Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement issued in Maiduguri yesterday, said the allegation against the military “is not only unfortunate, but also very far from the truth.” His words: “Contrary to the comments being circulated, troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama following attacks on troops’ location at the Nigerian-Nigerien border.

 

“This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town.” But, Sumonu A. Abdulmaliki, Commissioner of Police, Yobe State Command, stated that at no time did the military handover the security of the area to the Force.

 

The Police Commissioner stated that at the time the attack was carried out, the military was in charge of maintaining security in the area.

 

Abdulmaliki said: “The attention of the Yobe State Police Command has been drawn to press statement from Headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole subscribing that “Dapchi has  been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town”.

 

“The statement by the military of formal handing over of Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police Division in Dapchi is not correct .

 

There was no time that the military informed the Police of their withdrawal, consulted or handed over their locations in Dapchi town to the Police. “The whole of Yobe State is still under security emergency which the Police, the military and other security agencies are battling to ensure lasting peace.”

 

The police called on the public to discountenance the position of the military on the handing over. “Members of the public in Yobe State are implored to disregard and discountenance this claim that the military formally handed the security of Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police as untrue, unfounded and misleading.

 

“The Yobe State Police Command will continue to cooperate with other security agencies in ensuring safety and protection of lives and property of people of Yobe State,” the Commissioner of Police stated.

 

Governor Geidam had, on Friday and Sunday, during separate sympathy visits by Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and Kashim Shettima (Borno) blamed the February 19 incident on troops’ withdrawal from Dapchi. The governor had argued that had the withdrawal not happened, the suspected terrorists would not have succeeded in executing the abduction.

 

The governor had said: “I blame the whole attack on Dapchi on the military and the defence headquarters, who withdrew troops from Dapchi. The attack occurred barely a week after the military withdrew the soldiers from there.

 

“Before then, Dapchi had been peaceful. There was never such incident. But just a week after they withdrew the troops, Boko Haram came to attack the town. “The military must take blame for the attack on Dapchi. The same thing happened in 2013 when the military suddenly removed troops guarding the town and a week later, Boko Haram went there to attack Buni-Yadi and the secondary school there, killing 29 students.”

 

While describing Geidam’s claim as “unfortunate” and “misleading”, Nwachukwu further hinged the redeployment on the compelling need for reinforcement at Kanama, following attacks on troops’ location at the Nigerian-Nigerien border.

 

“The attention of Headquarters Theatre Command Operations Lafiya Dole has been drawn to a statement credited to  Governor of Yobe State, currently circulating in the media, in which he reportedly alleged that the withdrawal of the military was responsible for the recent suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ attack and abduction of female students from Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi.

 

This allegation is not only unfortunate, but also very far from the truth. “Although this headquarters will not attempt to join in any blame game, it is very expedient to set the record straight for the benefit of posterity. In carrying out its mandate to counter terrorism and insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria, Operation Lafiya Dole has been alive to its responsibilities vis-a-vis the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.

 

 

“Several communities and local governments that were hitherto under siege of the insurgents have been liberated and the insurgents pushed out. While troops continue to trail and decimate the remnants of the insurgents in the hinterlands, the security of the liberated communities and towns fall in the hands of the sister security agencies.

 

 

“The recent dislodgement and further decimation of the insurgents from their enclaves in the Sambisa and the Lake Chad Islands are testimonials to the effective operations of troops against the insurgents.

 

“Additionally, troops are regularly conducting long-range patrols, raids and ambushes to canalise and take out fleeing insurgents.

 

Given all these efforts, it is very astonishing and shocking that such unfortunate comment and allegation is being touted against the loyal and dedicated troops of Operation Lafiya Dole,” Nwachukwu said. He maintained that the redeployment of troops from Dapchi was occasioned by exigencies of operation.

 

He said: “Troops’ redeployment was, therefore, done in tandem with the exigencies of operation and not as misconstrued. It is thus obligatory to state that the allegation reportedly attributed to the Governor of Yobe State is misleading and misinforming. “We reiterate our commitment and determination to carrying out our mandate to fight Boko Haram terrorists in the North- East.”

 

Nwachukwu reiterated the commitment of the military in carrying out its mandate to fight Boko Haram terrorists, restoration of peace and rescue of the abducted school girls.

 

The army spokesman called on the people to cooperate with the military and provide credible information on Boko Haram insurgents.

 

“We also implore members of the public to continue to support us with credible information on the whereabouts of the Boko Haram terrorists. “We would also like to assure the parents, government and the good people of Yobe State and, indeed, members of the public that we will not rest on our oars in the search and rescue of the abducted schoolgirls and any other persons held captive by the terrorists,” the army said.

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W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

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W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso.

The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad.

ECOWAS had decided to mobilise “the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism”, said Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.

The money, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved — and those of the joint military operations in the region.

Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December.

The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds.

The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by former colonial power France.

From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups.

But a lack of finance, training and equipment, limited their effectiveness and their numbers. For the moment, the force numbers 4,000 troops, when 5,000 were originally planned.

Niger’s Issoufou dismissed suggestions that the G5 Sahel taskforce was ineffective.

“The G5 is far from dead. The (summit’s) final communique shows the support for it within ECOWAS,” he said.

ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — brings together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are non-coastal states.

Humanitarian crisis

At the start of the summit, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, pointed to the mounting human, economic and political toll of the jihadist attacks.

“2,200 attacks in the last four years, 11,500 dead, thousands wounded… millions of displaced and economic activity has been greatly affected,” he said.

Burkino Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore argued that “threats transcend borders. No country is safe” and that “the escalation of violence has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in the Sahel.

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Burkina Faso’s north, security sources told AFP, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the landlocked West African nation.

Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara said: “MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We have to find wider and more effective means of coordination.”

Niger’s Issoufou also insisted that “the international community cannot turn a blind eye and must assume its responsibilities”.

ECOWAS would also ask the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to consider security spending as an “investment” and drum up support from Western and Arab donors in the fight against jihadism, he said.

Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly offered a grim view of the situation.

“I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened,” he said.

The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge.

According to the US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016.

Last year, the tally was 465 — more than one a day, reports France24.

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W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

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W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso.

The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad.

ECOWAS had decided to mobilise “the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism”, said Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.

The money, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved — and those of the joint military operations in the region.

Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December.

The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds.

The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by former colonial power France.

From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups.

But a lack of finance, training and equipment, limited their effectiveness and their numbers. For the moment, the force numbers 4,000 troops, when 5,000 were originally planned.

Niger’s Issoufou dismissed suggestions that the G5 Sahel taskforce was ineffective.

“The G5 is far from dead. The (summit’s) final communique shows the support for it within ECOWAS,” he said.

ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — brings together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are non-coastal states.

Humanitarian crisis

At the start of the summit, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, pointed to the mounting human, economic and political toll of the jihadist attacks.

“2,200 attacks in the last four years, 11,500 dead, thousands wounded… millions of displaced and economic activity has been greatly affected,” he said.

Burkino Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore argued that “threats transcend borders. No country is safe” and that “the escalation of violence has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in the Sahel.

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Burkina Faso’s north, security sources told AFP, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the landlocked West African nation.

Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara said: “MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We have to find wider and more effective means of coordination.”

Niger’s Issoufou also insisted that “the international community cannot turn a blind eye and must assume its responsibilities”.

ECOWAS would also ask the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to consider security spending as an “investment” and drum up support from Western and Arab donors in the fight against jihadism, he said.

Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly offered a grim view of the situation.

“I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened,” he said.

The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge.

According to the US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016.

Last year, the tally was 465 — more than one a day, reports France24.

Continue Reading

Top Stories

W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

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on

By

W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso.

The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad.

ECOWAS had decided to mobilise “the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism”, said Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.

The money, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved — and those of the joint military operations in the region.

Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December.

The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds.

The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by former colonial power France.

From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups.

But a lack of finance, training and equipment, limited their effectiveness and their numbers. For the moment, the force numbers 4,000 troops, when 5,000 were originally planned.

Niger’s Issoufou dismissed suggestions that the G5 Sahel taskforce was ineffective.

“The G5 is far from dead. The (summit’s) final communique shows the support for it within ECOWAS,” he said.

ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — brings together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are non-coastal states.

Humanitarian crisis

At the start of the summit, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, pointed to the mounting human, economic and political toll of the jihadist attacks.

“2,200 attacks in the last four years, 11,500 dead, thousands wounded… millions of displaced and economic activity has been greatly affected,” he said.

Burkino Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore argued that “threats transcend borders. No country is safe” and that “the escalation of violence has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in the Sahel.

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Burkina Faso’s north, security sources told AFP, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the landlocked West African nation.

Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara said: “MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We have to find wider and more effective means of coordination.”

Niger’s Issoufou also insisted that “the international community cannot turn a blind eye and must assume its responsibilities”.

ECOWAS would also ask the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to consider security spending as an “investment” and drum up support from Western and Arab donors in the fight against jihadism, he said.

Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly offered a grim view of the situation.

“I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened,” he said.

The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge.

According to the US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016.

Last year, the tally was 465 — more than one a day, reports France24.

Continue Reading

Top Stories

W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

Published

on

By

W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso.

The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad.

ECOWAS had decided to mobilise “the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism”, said Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.

The money, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved — and those of the joint military operations in the region.

Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December.

The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds.

The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by former colonial power France.

From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups.

But a lack of finance, training and equipment, limited their effectiveness and their numbers. For the moment, the force numbers 4,000 troops, when 5,000 were originally planned.

Niger’s Issoufou dismissed suggestions that the G5 Sahel taskforce was ineffective.

“The G5 is far from dead. The (summit’s) final communique shows the support for it within ECOWAS,” he said.

ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — brings together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are non-coastal states.

Humanitarian crisis

At the start of the summit, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, pointed to the mounting human, economic and political toll of the jihadist attacks.

“2,200 attacks in the last four years, 11,500 dead, thousands wounded… millions of displaced and economic activity has been greatly affected,” he said.

Burkino Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore argued that “threats transcend borders. No country is safe” and that “the escalation of violence has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in the Sahel.

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Burkina Faso’s north, security sources told AFP, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the landlocked West African nation.

Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara said: “MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We have to find wider and more effective means of coordination.”

Niger’s Issoufou also insisted that “the international community cannot turn a blind eye and must assume its responsibilities”.

ECOWAS would also ask the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to consider security spending as an “investment” and drum up support from Western and Arab donors in the fight against jihadism, he said.

Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly offered a grim view of the situation.

“I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened,” he said.

The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge.

According to the US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016.

Last year, the tally was 465 — more than one a day, reports France24.

Continue Reading

Top Stories

W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

Published

on

By

W’African leaders pledge $1bn to fight terrorism

West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso.

The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad.

ECOWAS had decided to mobilise “the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism”, said Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.

The money, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved — and those of the joint military operations in the region.

Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December.

The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds.

The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by former colonial power France.

From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups.

But a lack of finance, training and equipment, limited their effectiveness and their numbers. For the moment, the force numbers 4,000 troops, when 5,000 were originally planned.

Niger’s Issoufou dismissed suggestions that the G5 Sahel taskforce was ineffective.

“The G5 is far from dead. The (summit’s) final communique shows the support for it within ECOWAS,” he said.

ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — brings together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are non-coastal states.

Humanitarian crisis

At the start of the summit, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, pointed to the mounting human, economic and political toll of the jihadist attacks.

“2,200 attacks in the last four years, 11,500 dead, thousands wounded… millions of displaced and economic activity has been greatly affected,” he said.

Burkino Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore argued that “threats transcend borders. No country is safe” and that “the escalation of violence has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in the Sahel.

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Burkina Faso’s north, security sources told AFP, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the landlocked West African nation.

Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara said: “MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We have to find wider and more effective means of coordination.”

Niger’s Issoufou also insisted that “the international community cannot turn a blind eye and must assume its responsibilities”.

ECOWAS would also ask the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to consider security spending as an “investment” and drum up support from Western and Arab donors in the fight against jihadism, he said.

Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly offered a grim view of the situation.

“I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened,” he said.

The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge.

According to the US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016.

Last year, the tally was 465 — more than one a day, reports France24.

Continue Reading

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Tears, tributes as leaders, supporters bid farewell to Mugabe

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Tears, tributes as leaders, supporters bid farewell to Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe was honoured as an icon, principled leader and African intellectual giant at a state funeral on Saturday, after a week of disputes over his burial threatened to embarrass President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

 

 

 

Mugabe led Zimbabwe for 37 years, from independence until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, by which time he was viewed by many at home and abroad as a power-obsessed autocrat who unleashed death squads, rigged elections and ruined the economy to keep control.

 

 

He died in a Singapore hospital on September 6 aged 95, far away from a country he left polarised by a raging political rivalry between its two largest political parties, ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC.

His remains will be interred in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre in the capital Harare in about 30 days, his nephew said on Friday, contradicting earlier comments that a burial would be held on Sunday.

 

 

On Saturday, Mnangagwa walked behind the casket carrying Mugabe’s body as it was wheeled into the centre of Harare’s National Sports Stadium and placed on a podium decorated with flowers so that heads of state could say their farewells. Senior army generals and Mugabe’s wife and children followed, as a brass band played.

 

The 60,000-seater stadium was only half-filled.

 

In a tribute to his predecessor, Mnangagwa said Mugabe stood in defence of Africans. He urged the West to remove sanctions that were imposed during Mugabe’s rule.

 

“We who remain shall continue to hear his rich, brave, defiant and inspiring voice … encouraging and warning us to be vigilant and astute,” Mnangagwa said in a speech.

 

“A giant tree of Africa has fallen. Today Africa weeps.”

 

 

Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party wanted Mugabe buried at the national shrine to heroes of the 15-year liberation war against white minority rule. But some relatives, expressing bitterness at the way former comrades ousted Mugabe, had pushed for him to be buried in his home village.

 

 

Walter Chidhakwa, who spoke on behalf of Mugabe’s family, said Mugabe was an icon who was determined and unflinching in pursuing policies like land reform and later the black economic empowerment programme.

 

 

Mugabe left behind a country wrecked by hyperinflation, dollarisation and deeply entrenched corruption.

 

 

But many Zimbabweans also remember Mugabe as their country’s liberator from white minority rule and for broadening people’s access to education and land.

 

 

RAMAPHOSA BOOED

 

 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was booed by the crowd in the stadium after a wave of deadly riots and xenophobic attacks in South Africa earlier this month that triggered international anger. The attacks mainly targeted shops owned by African migrants.

 

 

The master of ceremony was forced to appeal to the crowd to give Ramaphosa a chance to speak.

 

 

“I stand before you as a fellow African to express my regret and to apologise for what has happened in our country,” Ramaphosa said, to cheering from the crowd.

 

 

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta called Mugabe an intellectual giant, “a visionary leader and a relentless champion of African dignity.”

 

 

Other heads of state who attended Saturday’s funeral included long-ruling leaders from Equatorial Guinea and Congo while China, Russia and Cuba, which supported Zimbabwe’s liberation movements that fought white minority rule, were represented by officials.

 

 

Prominent officials from Western countries, which were critical of Mugabe’s rule, did not feature in the official funeral programme.

 

Mnangagwa led heads of state in viewing Mugabe’s body, which was followed by a military 21-gun salute to honour Mugabe.

 

 

Banners at the stadium where Mugabe’s body lay in state read “Hamba kahle, Gushungo,” (go well, Gushungo)”, a reference to his clan name, and “Go well our revolutionary icon”.

 

 

Cleo Mapuranga, a caterer, told Reuters that Mugabe fought to give land and economic freedom to blacks and provided non-racial education.

 

 

 “Now, people are suffering. No one is controlling the prices in the shops. Our finance minister is trying to implement first-world policies which don’t work in third-world countries.”

 

 

Mugabe’s death has made some Zimbabweans question what Mnangagwa has achieved in his two years in power.

 

 

His government has taken steps to cut the budget deficit, remove subsidies on fuel and power and repeal laws curbing public and media freedoms, but those reforms and austerity measures have compounded ordinary people’s hardships.

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PEPT record: Delay calculated attempt to frustrate S’Court appeal – PDP

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PEPT record: Delay calculated attempt to frustrate S’Court appeal – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused justices of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) of undue delay in the release of the record of last Wednesday’s judgment to enable the party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar file an appeal at the Supreme Court.

The party said in a statement Friday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, that the delay was a calculated attempt to frustrate the appeal, “where Nigerians have expressed confidence to get justice as well as restore the integrity of our judiciary, which has been eroded by the tribunal.”

“It is instructive to state that the Court of Appeal is aware that our party and candidate have mandatory 14 days to appeal to the Supreme Court, yet it is delaying in releasing a judgment that was read for nine hours and which it wants the public to believe it actually wrote.”

PDP expressed the fears that this development gave credence to suspicion that the judgment was being tampered with and altered, “in the name of correcting errors.”

It expressed the hope that the delay has no link with the statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that PDP should not appeal against the judgement.

The party accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of trying to manipulate the process, but warned that it has the video and audio recording of the judgment and would not hesitate to expose any underhand act by anybody.

It demanded immediate release of the record of judgment as delivered by the tribunal without any form of alterations.

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FG, Atiku, PDP fight over tribunal judgment

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FG, Atiku, PDP fight over tribunal judgment

The Federal Government has advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar not to appeal against the Wednesday’s judgement of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

Instead, the government said PDP and Atiku should apologize to Nigerians for distracting President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration with a frivolous election petition.

The PDP, however, counselled the presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to be cautious in celebrating the judgement as such would be short-lived.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement yesterday, said although PDP and its candidate reserve the right to pursue their petition to the highest level, “there is a limit to tomfoolery.”

“Nigerians are tired of this orchestrated distraction, and will rather wish that the opposition, having lost at the polls and in court, will now join hands with the government to move Nigeria to the next level.

“This is more so that the judgement validating the re-election of President Buhari was unanimous that the petition lacked merit, that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds upon which their case was anchored and that President Buhari is eminently qualified to contest the poll.”

The minister said PDP and Atiku should thank their stars that they were not being prosecuted for coming to court with fraudulently-obtained evidence.

”It is intriguing that a party that trumpets the rule of law at every turn will present, in open court, evidence it claimed to have obtained by hacking into a supposed INEC server.

“Don’t they realise this is a criminal act for which they are liable?

“Instead of threatening to head to the Supreme Court, driven more by ego than commonsense, they should be sorry for allowing desperation to overwhelm their sense of reasoning. Enough is enough,” he warned.

Mohammed commended the tribunal for not only doing justice to the case, but for explaining, in painstaking details that lasted hours, how it arrived at its judgement.

“We also thank Nigerians who voted massively to re-elect President Buhari, for their continued support,” he said.

PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, maintained that the judgement cannot stand at the Supreme Court, given the weight of evidence against President Buhari and the APC.

The party said those celebrating the judgement were directly telling Nigerians something about their conscience and character.

“Our party is not surprised that Lai Mohammed, speaking for the Buhari administration, came short of calling for the arrest and prosecution of opposition members for coming before the Appeal Court, a situation which exposed their belief that they own the court and can determine the position of the judiciary on any matter.

“Notwithstanding, the PDP holds that Nigerians have seen the ‘several errors’ in the judgement delivered by the Appeal Court and have turned the verdict to a butt of jokes in public space.

“We invite Lai Mohammed to tell Nigerians if his Law Degree was awarded to him on the basis of a sworn affidavit and pictures of his classmates; or was his Call to Bar at the Nigerian Law School also based on presentation of pictures and affidavit?” the party asked.

It added that the unguarded outburst of the minister has heightened apprehension among Nigerians about recurrent manipulations of process by the APC.

The party said that was the reason it is challenging the judgement at the Supreme Court to salvage the nation from the drift towards impunity, anarchy and lawlessness.

It advised Mohammed to redeem his image by offering explanations to Nigerians on his alleged role in the N2.5 billion National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) fraud before casting aspersion on others.

Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, however, accused Mohammed of being on drug.

Ibe on his twitter handle wrote: “Lai: Atiku should apologise to Nigerians. Me: For real? What type of weed are you smoking? It can only be #CertifiedWeed.”

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Xenophobic attacks: We went through hell in S’Africa –Returnees

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Xenophobic attacks: We went through hell in S’Africa –Returnees
  • Obiora: I came back with nothing
  • Michael: I was robbed because of phone
  • Returnee: South Africans burnt my shop, beat me up

 

Emotions ran riot as 187 Nigerians returned from South Africa to Nigeria at the Hajj Camp section of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at 10.38p.m. on Wednesday.

Some of the returnees told New Telegraph that they went through hell in the hands of South Africans.

Both the returnees and those waiting to receive them wept freely as the victims of xenophobic attacks in the former apartheid enclave recounted their horrific experiences.

The wait for the evacuation of the returnees was long, but at the end, it was worth all the trouble.

Nigerians patiently waited for the arrival of the 187 Nigerians, who arrived aboard Air Peace B777 aircraft, christened Anuli Peggy Onyema, landing at the Hajj Camp section of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at 10.38p.m. on Wednesday.

Nigeria began repatriating more than 600 of its citizens from South Africa following a wave of deadly xenophobic attacks that frayed diplomatic relations with neighbouring nations.                                                                                                                                        

Air Peace volunteered to fly people for free back to the commercial city of Lagos. The returnees, who expressed mixed emotions on their return, burst into tears as they alighted from the aircraft that flew them into Lagos.                                                                                                                                          

They expressed their bitter experiences in the hands of South Africans.

One of them, who gave his name as Mr. Bethel Midos, a mechanic for German cars, in an interview with New Telegraph, recounted how his shop was destroyed and almost lost his life while trying to escape.

Another returnee, Goodluck Obiora, said: “Those guys in South Africa have no conscience. The only thing I need now is help.”

Obiora sold telephone accessories, stressing that last week, over 10 arsonists attacked his shop and razed it down. He disclosed that it was God that saved him from death as the attackers clubbed him until he lost consciousness.

Obiora added that they took him for dead, which enabled him to run for his life after regaining consciousness.

“I left Nigeria for South Africa in 2014. This nonsense started two or three months ago. I need help. I don’t have a mother, I don’t have a father. I am looking for anybody who can help me,” he said amid tears.

“On Monday morning, they beat me up. They collected my passport, my phone, my wallet, everything I had with me. I did not come back with anything, just my little bag that had four clothes inside. That is the only thing inside this place. What I experienced there was very terrible.

“They will never allow you to pass freely on the road. They are so wicked to Nigerians. If they find just a cheap phone in your hand, they will try to stab you in a way that you can hardly survive it just because of a phone,” he added.

Obiora described their attackers as beasts without conscience.

He added: “They keep asking for papers, but when you go to their embassy, they will frustrate you. When you walk on the road, they will go all out to arrest you for your resident permit.

“If you don’t present the papers, they will arrest you. When you apply for the papers, they will not give it to you and refuse to refund you. I was trading in Johannesburg. I had a shop there. They burnt my shop. I never knew I would be coming to Nigeria today. It was my brother who came to the hospital to pick me. I ran to the hospital for treatment after my nose was broken. I was vomiting blood.

“A few months ago, as I was going to my shop, taxi drivers grabbed me and beat me mercilessly. They have sticks with big heads they use to hack people down. I asked them the offence I committed. They are very greedy people. How can people do such thing?”

Asked if Nigerians were the only ones selected for attacks, Obiora said: “Nigerians and other nationals from African countries are the targets of these criminals. One of my sisters, who had her shop very close to mine, Echi, sells stock fish in bags; her shop was completely razed. The lady watched in utter disbelief as her shop was completely burnt. She lay there, crying.”

On what the South African government is doing to put an end to xenophobia, he carpeted South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, describing him as “wicked,” stressing that the rainbow nation turned for the worse since he assumed office.

The returnee said there were thousands of Nigerians in South African prisons with no hope of getting their freedom now or in the near future.

He said: “They will never be released unless the Federal Government intervenes. They undergo excruciating pains in jail. My first plan has been achieved; arriving my country safely. The other plan is to sit and think of what to do in Nigeria to sustain myself. I will never go to that country again. Never.”

The gory tale of Obiora in the hands of South Africans was not different from that of Uchendu Michael, who described South Africans as racists, saying the hoodlums go unchallenged by the police, who look the other way when they attack other people from Nigeria, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

He said: “If you fight them, they will lock you up even when the attackers are caught with guns. The police will ask you why you decide to fight your attackers when it is obvious that you are the one attacked.

“Let us take this scenario for instance. After catching an armed robber, you are hoping that the armed robber will spend some times in jail, but you will be surprised that after two weeks, the armed robber will come out more emboldened and tell you that he was enjoying his life in jail watching DSTV. Sometimes, they commit crime to go to jail and rest.

“They are not like the Nigerian police who immediately get you arrested when they see you with gun. They will shoot you because you are a criminal if you are not licensed to carry a gun. Over there in South Africa, guns are like toys to those people. If they can rob me because of Nokia phone, that means they can kill. They are mean. They can kill just for R10.”

Asked if he would go back if the problem subsides, Michael said: “I am not planning to go back to South Africa or any other country again. I don’t want to pass through that route again because I don’t want to pass through that stress of seeking asylum procedure. One thing is that when they give you asylum, they will cancel it.”

Another returnee, who pleaded anonymity, added a bit of drama to the situation, saying hard drinks frequently taken by South African men has seriously affected their libido; a situation he reiterated makes South African ladies to prefer Nigerian men to their men.

He said: “When they find out that their women go for Nigerian men, they become very envious and they will set you up. Before you know it, you are deported. I don’t see this problem coming to an end.

“The Zulu King said they must claim their land. I don’t know who is fighting with them over land matters. Most of the houses in South Africa are owned by banks, FMB, Capitec, Standard Chartered and NedBank. To own a house, you will pay till you go to your grave.”

The man pleaded with government to empower the returnees and faulted people who declined to come back, saying whatever happened to them should not be put on the door step of anybody.

One of the returnees, who gave his name as Salami, said so many Nigerians had been killed in South Africa, noting that the extra judicial killing by South African police was alarming.

“They throw corpses around without care. They will stop Nigerians on the road; take their money without any offence committed. Why are Africans wicked to fellow Africans? Why are they doing these things?” Salami asked.

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Boko Haram: 22,000 missing in North-East, says ICRC

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Boko Haram: 22,000 missing in North-East, says ICRC

At least, 22,000 people in the North-East are missing as a result of the bloody campaign by Book Haram sect, which has displaced and claimed the lives of many since its activities took a nasty turn in 2012.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), raised the alarm in a statement.

The ICRC, which operates in over 80 countries including Nigeria, said this was the first time its organisation was recording such a massive number of persons whose whereabouts, dead or alive, could not be accounted for.

The ICRC President, Peter Maurer, who just rounded up his official visit to Nigeria, said in the statement that some families were often separated while fleeing attacks while others have had loved ones abducted or detained and did not know their whereabouts.

Maurer, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari, senior government officials, civil society and business leaders during the period of his visit, noted that in Nigeria, the ICRC had been confronted with a series of challenges in trying to find missing persons and reconnect them with members of their family.

He said: “Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search.

“People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place.

“The ICRC works with the Nigeria Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region to trace missing people by showing photographs, calling out names and going door-to-door in camps and communities.

“So far, 367 cases have been solved since ICRC received its first cases in 2013, underscoring the immense challenges that come with finding missing people and reconnecting them with their families in Nigeria.”

Only recently, Chief Lieutenant General of the Nigerian Army, Tukur Buratai, disclosed that it was difficult finding many persons who were displaced during insurgent attacks in the North-East.

Buratai expressed worry that despite the efforts of the military against boko haram insurgents, humanitarian efforts were being hampered.

He said: “Large swathes of the North-East of the country remain completely inaccessible to humanitarian organisations. People have also been displaced by fighting many times, making them harder to find.”

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