From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, yesterday, raised the alarm that the north is turning to killing field by bandits and other terrorists operating in the region.
The Sultan, who noted that bandits were holding the region, especially North West, spellbound, expressed concerned that most of the killings were not being reported or underreported.
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Speaking at the opening ceremony of the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), he accused the elite of being responsible for the unending security challenges.
“We need to sit down and talk about ourselves. We need to come up with possible solutions to the problems of Nigeria, particularly as regards rising insecurity. In this room, we are the minority, we are the elites and the elites are the problems of this country because we always want things to go our way.”
The Sultan lamented that terrorists unleash terror on communities and kill people on a daily basis in the north “freely” and should be stopped forthwith.
“Evidently, Nigeria is faced with series of challenges, and if leaders doesn’t wake up, come together to understand the issues facing the country, the challenges might escalate and possibly consume all.
“Let’s not deceive ourselves, everything is not all right in our country, and I have spoken about it repeatedly in different fora. To know that you have a problem means you have part of the solution. The earlier we rise to the occasion, come together, the better for us.”
The Sultan reminded some religious leaders of the enormous respect, loyalty and followership they command, hence they should guide their utterances and actions particularly towards their followers to avoid unnecessary bitterness and incitement.
“We have to be careful in the way we handle, say and do things as religious leaders. We are not political leaders, and therefore, we have to be weary of what we say, where and how we say such things, because our followers will definitely believe in what we say and feel that it is from the Holy Koran or the Holy Bible.”
President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, also complained about activities of kidnappers and other criminals on Nigerian roads.
“Travelling on Nigerian roads has become a very great risk now. Kidnapper are everywhere and they don’t only come out to kidnap but also to kill. So, you don’t know who the next victim is going to be.
“Why should these people be killing and hiding people in our territory without being challenged? Why should it be easy for them to hide people somewhere within the state and the security agencies in the state within few days or weeks will not be able to fish them out?” he queried.
The CAN president, who is co-chairman of NIREC, thus, advocated intelligence gathering to tackle the challenge.
He advised Nigerians to volunteer information to security agencies so that the movement of criminals could be traced and apprehended ahead of time.
The Executive Secretary of NIREC, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua, in his opening remarks, stressed the importance of synergy between Christians and Muslims in the fight against terrorism and insecurity.
“No terrorist can be a religious person and no religious person can be a terrorist. We must come together now to pray and fight those who have waged war against humanity in Nigeria,” he advised.
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APC zones chairmanship seat to North-Central, lists South-East for secretary
Eniola Akinkuotu and Stephen Angbulu
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress may have decided to zone the National Secretary position of the APC to the South-East while the North-Central will get the chairmanship of the party. The deputy national chairman (South) is expected to go to the South-South, has learnt.
A top chieftain of the APC revealed this to even as he stated that the party would be alternating certain positions.
He said positions that were occupied by northerners in the last National Working Committee would be given to southerners and vice versa.
The chieftain said, “Discussions are ongoing. So far, we have agreed that the North-Central will take the national chairmanship position while the South-South will take the national deputy chairman (South) and then the South-East will get the national secretary position.
“Also, the plan is that all positions that the North occupied in the last NWC will now be occupied by the South. Of course, everyone who wants to contest has the right to do so but this is the plan for now. Other positions will be determined in due course.”
The APC is also expected to set up sub-committees that will handle several aspects of the convention ranging from publicity to budget, security and logistics.
The members of the caretaker committee met in Abuja on Tuesday but had yet to finalise discussions and agreed to meet again on Wednesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, announced that the APC national convention will hold on February 26, 2022.
Buni, who stated this on Tuesday while delivering his keynote address at the Progressives Women Congress held in Abuja declined stating the venue of the convention.
In his message to delegates, Buni urged women to gun for public offices saying the APC is the most friendly women party in Nigeria.
He said, “You remain the best mobilisers of support to any political party and its candidates. You have always been there in the queue on election days to determine the fate of candidates. With this, we are confident of winning the 2023 general elections with huge success.
“Let me assure you that the party shall not forget this gesture by supporting women and youths for their political aspirations and to realise their political dreams.
“We look forward to having more women contesting in the forthcoming national convention of the party on February 26, 2022, and the general elections.”
He urged women to enlighten their relatives and the larger society that elections are not do or die affair
“As we approach the convention, and draw closer to the general elections, I wish to remind you of your Progressives roles and supporting progressive minded leaders aspiring for various offices for the betterment of our country.
“We should promote peaceful elections and service delivery against personal gains. Let me once again assure, that APC will continue to support you and support you generously,” Buni said.
In her remarks, the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari, said as the country welcomes another election year, leaders must go beyond paying lip service to putting women in vital offices within our party and the government.
She said, “Since 2015, I have had the privilege of engaging Nigerian women across the entire country. My conviction is that Nigeria’s future is entirely dependent on actualizing the potentials of our women. It is no mere coincidence that countries that have grown strong, prosperous and influential have prioritized women participation in nation building.
“I therefore wish to call upon the APC to double its efforts promoting women. This I believe should serve as one of the objectives of this Conference. As Nigeria heads towards another election year, we must go beyond paying lip service to putting women in vital offices within our party and the government.
“We must put in place, workable strategies to ensure that this actually happens. Charity must begin at home and so the APC must start by ensuring that women occupy strategic offices within the party and more strategic roles in governance.”
Aisha called upon Nigerian women to continue the struggle by showing greater interest, commitment and unity in the decision making process of this country saying “Our vantage point lies in our sheer numerical strength.”
In a related development, the APC has released its timetable for concurrent legislative by-elections in Cross River, Imo, Ondo, Plateau states in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Independent National Electoral Commission’s guidelines.
The APC’s approved timetable/schedule of activities for the concurrent Legislative by-elections was signed by the National Secretary, APC Caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe.
The by-elections will hold in Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency, Ondo State; Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Plateau; and Pankshin South State Constituency, Plateau.
Others are Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency, Cross River; Akpabuyo State Constituency, Cross River; and Ngor-Okpala State Constituency, Imo.
The notice of election to the state chapters was made on Tuesday. The sale of forms began on the same day while the deadline for submission January 24. The screening of aspirants is January 26 while the publication of claims and objections is January 28.
The primaries are expected to take place on February 1, 2022 while appeals will begin on February 3.
The expression of interest and nomination forms for the House of Representatives positions cost N3, 850, 000. For the State House of Assembly positions, the forms cost N850, 000. Female spirants and physically challenged aspirants 50 per cent of the prescribed fees for each positions.
Protest as DSS officers driving against traffic kill tipper driver, injure two
Benin City, Edo State, was thrown into confusion on Tuesday when tipper drivers blocked major roads in the area to protest the alleged killing of one of their members by personnel of the Department of State Services.
The DSS operatives were said to be driving against traffic in two cars towards Tipper Garage, Ikpoba Slope, due to the gridlock caused by a broken down articulated vehicle.
The tipper drivers reportedly moved to the road to regulate traffic.
One of the protesters, Joseph Osaretin, said, “When our drivers identified the first vehicle as being occupied by the operatives, they allowed them to go, and asked an unmarked Audi to go back. This got the operatives angry and on getting down from their vehicle, they shot one of our drivers dead.
“When the drivers saw that their person was down, they went mad and that made the operatives shoot two other persons, who are in a critical condition in a hospital.”
gathered that the drivers later regrouped with placards, as they blocked major roads in the city.
Our correspondent learnt that the protesters drove hundreds of their vehicles to the DSS office, thereby blocking the entrance to the state police command and other security agencies in Benin.
An official of the 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Benin City, Brigadier General Sani Abdullahi, appealed for calm.
Our correspondent gathered that after a meeting between the executive of the tipper drivers and the DSS, three arrested tipper drivers were released.
An official of the DSS, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, said the operatives were confronted by hoodlums who wanted to free some kidnap suspects.
He said, “We arrested three of their men who were involved in kidnapping and they decided to lay siege to us at the Tipper Garage by Tenboga Junction, to free them.
“The hoodlums, upon sighting the DSS operatives, pounced on them with guns and weapons. In the process, our operatives sustained varying degrees of injury, while our vehicles were also damaged.”