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Insecurity: Northern Elders, PDP Blast Buhari, Governors

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Northern Elders and opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) on Sunday came hard on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government over rising insecurity in many parts of the country, especially the North.

While the elders, under the aegis of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), said their region had been pushed to the wall, the PDP said the inability of the Buhari government to contain the killings across the nation was unacceptable.

The Prof Ango Abdullahi-led group lamented that the people were now at the mercy of armed gangs who roam their towns and villages at will wreaking havoc.

It said in a statement the Buhari administration and governors of the region had woefully failed in the provision of security and welfare for the people.

The group enjoined the Federal Government and Northern governors to note that “it is now time to say, enough is enough.”

The statement which was signed by Abdullahi reads: “Northern Elders Forum (NEF) is alarmed at the rising insecurity of communities and their properties in the North. Recent escalation of attacks by bandits, rustlers and insurgents leave the only conclusion that the people of the North are now completely at the mercy of armed gangs who roam their towns and villages at will, wreaking havoc.

“It would appear that the administration of President Buhari and governors have lost control over the imperatives of protecting people of the North, a Constitutional duty they swore to uphold.

“The situation is getting worse literally by the day. Bandits and insurgents appear to sense a huge vacuum in political will and capacity which they exploit with disastrous consequences on communities and individuals.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the people of the North have never experienced this level of exposure to criminals who attack, kill, maim, rape, kidnap, burn villages and rustle cattle, while President Buhari issues threats and promises that have no effect.

“The situation under which our communities from Kogi to Borno States, from Sokoto to Taraba States live is no longer tolerable.”

NEF however said that as a “responsible body, it had joined millions of others in prayers and in giving advice and encouragement to all authorities that have responsibility to protect our communities.”

”It is now time to say, enough is enough. Our people are known for their patience and respect for constituted authorities, but all governments must be aware by now that all Northerners have been pushed to the wall.

“The forum is aware that some citizens are contemplating peaceful protests, which are their constitutional rights, to draw attention of President Buhari and all levels of authority to the plight of people of the North.

“The forum urges all citizens to conduct themselves in peaceful and responsible manner. It also urges governments to respect the rights of citizens to express their opinions peacefully.

“The forum is also consulting other groups and organizations which share its goals and concerns to lend our voices to the demands for action and relief from the unremitting assaults on our lives and livelihood as Northerners.

“We remind President Buhari that provision of security and pursuit of economic welfare of citizens are the only two constitutional responsibilities of the state which all leaders must achieve.

“Our current circumstances in the North clearly demonstrate that the Buhari administration has woefully failed to achieve either. This is unacceptable.

“We demand an immediate and comprehensive improvement of our security in the North. We are tired of excuses and verbal threats which criminals laugh at, and our fellow citizens see as a clear failure of leadership which they see as part of them. Enough is enough.”

The PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Borno, Kaduna, Kogi and Taraba states were the worst hit by the deplorable security situation in the country.

The party said it was greatly hurt by the horror, anguish, agony, torture and cruelty Nigerians were facing in the hands of bandits, insurgents and kidnappers.

It therefore challenged the Federal Government to rise to the occasion by tightening the security architecture and securing the nation.

The statement said, “Our party holds that the situation where marauders and insurgents, who had been pushed to the fringes by the PDP administration, had resurged under the APC(All Progressives Congrss} to the extent of occupying territories, ravaging communities and killing our citizens with reckless abandon, raises a lot of questions.

“It is even more lamentable that the bandits had become so emboldened by the failure of the APC administration to the extent of holding Mr. President’s home state, Katsina, to ransom.

“Some APC governors are reported to have had contacts, discussions and even negotiations with the bandits: a situation which also demands that the APC and such governors come clean on links with marauders.

“Furthermore, Nigerians have observed the failure of the APC, as a party, to raise a strong voice in giving its government, marching orders against banditry. “The APC had not taken any decisive action or proffered any significant suggestion in the effort to secure our nation, beyond lame condolence messages to victims of the attacks”.

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Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

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Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.

This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.

AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.

A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.

“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.

The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.

Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.

“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.

“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.

The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.

He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.

According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.

“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”

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Deputy Nigeria Ambassador to Jordan, Ibrahim Mohammed,(1st left) the Managing Director Ministry of Tourism and Antiquiies, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, (middle) Executive Secretary NCPC, Yakubu Pam (right) during a courtesy visit paid to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan recently

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Coalition Warns Anti-Vaxxers, Urges Nigerians To Disregard Fake News Of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

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The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy has urged Nigerians to treat reports of side effects from the AstraZeneca jab as fake news, noting that some elements are out to frustrate the ongoing vaccination exercise.

This follows the claim of blood vomit by a woman in Kaduna after allegedly being administered the vaccine.

While the state government has vowed to investigate the report, the National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy said the assertion is the handiwork of anti-vaxxers.

In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Samson Abu, on Saturday, the group, though, admitted potential side effects from the jab, added that some persons are out to sow fear in the minds of Nigerians.

Abu, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to disregard all fake news pertaining to the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to him, the supposed victim is an isolated case yet to be proven by any expert.

The group, however, urged Nigerians to continue to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy is appalled by the deployment of fake news by anti-vaccine elements in Nigeria in their bid to scare and discourage people from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is meant to protect against the Corona Virus and save lives.

The fake news, published with the headline “Woman vomits blood after taking COVID-19 vaccine” is a disingenuous attempt at creating a deepfake given the effort that was made to create the impression that one Hannatu Tanko was rushed to Gwamna Awan General Hospital in Kaduna State because she started vomiting blood after receiving the vaccine.

Interestingly, the same script was published by several blogs and a few undiscerning news sites without the publishers carrying out the necessary checks and without speaking with experts on what could have led to the woman’s condition.

The fake news also created the impression that there is coercion in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine whereas people are voluntarily accepting the jab owing to their knowledge of how it protects one from catching the deadly virus. Such a desperate act could have only resulted from people that are keen on seeing the pandemic decimate humanity.

With more than half a million so far vaccinated, even if the account of the woman experiencing reactions to the vaccine were correct, the case would be an isolated one and the fact that sources claimed the woman is recovering confirms that the vaccine is safe while any unintended effect would be at worst temporary. We, therefore, find it unacceptable that the isolated and unproven instance is now being used by purveyors of fake news and anti-Vaxxers to discourage Nigerians from taking the vaccine. This is a huge disservice and unacceptable.

For the avoidance of doubts, experts’ views are required to confirm that what a person experiences after taking the jab is related to the vaccine. To do this, the experts would have ruled out that the symptoms exhibited by such are not caused by other underlying factors that coincidentally flared up at about the same time the person took their vaccine.

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy consequently warn detractors and anti-vaxxers in Nigeria that they have a responsibility to society to desist from sowing fear in the mind of the people especially when it is apparent that the fake news they are spreading has all the potential to hurt more people than save them.

We appeal to Nigerians to disregard all fake news about the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and only based their decision to accept the jab or not on sound science, which would make them appreciate the benefits it offers. Nigerians, who truly value their wellbeing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, should make it a personal responsibility to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them.

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