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House Directs Works Ministry, FERMA to Rehabilitate River Katsina-Ala Bridge



Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly

By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

‎The House of Representatives yesterday called on the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to urgently rehabilitate the River Katsina-Ala bridge to avoid its complete collapse and also reconstruct the road from Wukari-Zaki-Biam–Katsina-Ala-Gboko-Aliade-Otukpo-9th Mile to ameliorate the suffering of commuters.

The resolution was consequent upon the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon.

Richard I. Gbande (PDP, Benue).

The House also mandated the Committees on Works and Legislative Compliance (when constituted) to ensure compliance.

While presenting the motion, Hon.

Gbande noted that, “River Katsina-Ala bridge is located on trunk A344 road in Katsina-Ala town, the headquarters of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State and harbours an important archaeological site where artefacts of the rich Nok culture were discovered;

He also noted that the bridge, which was constructed in 1976 by Sterling Astaldy, an Italian construction company is long overdue for rehabilitation as it poses a serious threat to commuters plying the route which can easily be deduced from the incessant accidents that occur along the route resulting in loss of lives and properties and the deteriorated part of the bridge has become a den for criminals who take cover under the bridge to terrorize the communities of Katsina-Ala Ugbema Junction, Ikowe, Ayua and Abwa.

He informed that Zaki-Biam, the largest yam market in Africa, which is estimated to dispatch, on a daily basis, over a thousand truckloads of yams may be cut off from business due to the sorry state of the bridge.

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DG, NA Centre Tasks Judiciary on Due Diligence in Handling Terrorism Cases




The Director-General, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, retired Maj..-Gen.Garba Wahab has urged the judiciary to carry out due diligence in handling cases of terrorism insurgency, banditry and other security threats facing the nation.

The call Wahab said became necessary to guard against impunity by perpetrators of such acts.

He made the call while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Friday.

”Let the judiciary start doing their job because if we don’t, we are encouraging impunity”.

Wahab also said that the conference was a pre-conference to a roundtable to be held on Monday and Tuesday on “Asymmetrical National Security Challenges, the Army and National Development”.

He said that the security challenges in the country were well-known issues by all adding that it behoved on all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the myriad of the problems.

“We will like to trudge on to find a solution to the security challenges. We know the problems but what are the solutions.

“We have issues. We must find solutions; we must beg, if it means begging… This is our country and it must work.

“We must find a way to make sure things work in Nigeria. Prosecution is a two-way thing. The judge and the prosecuting officers must up their game.

“The judiciary must be up and doing. Series of allegations have been leveled and we are not leveling allegation against anybody, but we must work as a country,” Wahab said.

Also speaking, the Executive Director , Development Specs Academy, Prof. Okey Ikechukwu said that the pre-conference was organised as part of public engagements designed to strengthen public awareness on asymmetrical national security challenges.

“The essence of drawing special attention to our strategic partners is to emphasise the roles and relevance of credible and highly professional bodies, institutes and institutions as well as agencies of government that are headed by professionals in public communication and the media.”

He said that asymmetrical security challenges ranged from embedded targets, refusal of the average person to help the army and other security agencies with local intelligence.

“We become illiterate enough not to understand that it is our duty to provide that intelligence for us to be protected.

“So that is a security challenge for those managing security but it doesn’t take the standard form that they are familiar with so refusal to help.”

Ikechukwu listed the partners to the planned roundtable to include the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Voice of Nigeria (VON), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, among others.(NAN)

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Police Neutralise Kidnap Suspect, Arrest 4 others in Delta




The Police Command in Delta has neutralised a suspected member of a kidnap gang during a shootout in Ughelli North Local Government area.

The command’s spokesman, SP Bright Edafe told newsmen on Friday in Warri that the other members of the gang escaped during the shootout.

Edafe said that the incident occurred on Thursday near the Adjekota-Ogor communities  of Ughelli North.

He said that the team of police operatives deployed by the Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Olufemi Abaniwonda, intercepted and engaged the hoodlums resulting in the death of one of the gang members.

Edafe said that the team lead by ASP Julius Robinson, acting on credible intelligence, stormed a criminal hideout on the Ughelli/Patani Road by an abandoned filling station.

“The hoodlums on sighting the police opened fire on the team, and the police responded.

“In the ensuing gun duel, one of the hoodlums sustained serious gun shot injuries while others escaped.

“The injured suspect was taken to the hospital where he died while receiving treatment,” he said.

Edafe said that two Beretta pistol and five rounds of live ammunition were recovered from the gang members.

The command’s spokesman said that a manhunt was already underway for the fleeing members of the gang.

Edafe also said that the police special team arrested four robbery/kidnap suspects in Sapele Town on Wednesday.

He said that ASP Robinson led the police team to the suspects hideout in Sapele and effected the arrest.

According to him, one locally made cut-to-size gun was recovered from the suspects.

Edafe said that preliminary investigation revealed that aside the hoodlums’ involvement in cult-related activities, they were also suspected to be armed robbers

The police spokesman said that investigation into the case was ongoing. (NAN)

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NDLEA seized 761,000 Tonnes of Illicit Drugs in 3 Years, Says Marwa




Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, the  Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says the agency seized 761,000 tonnes of  illicit drugs and substances between January 2021 and March 2024.

Marwa said this during a special Juma’at service as part of  activities to mark the 2024 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the National Mosque in Abuja on Friday.

Reports says that June 26 every year is set aside to commemorate the day and the theme of the 2024 World Drug Day (WDD) is: “Evidence is Clear, Let Us Invest in Prevention”.

The NDLEA boss said that the 2018 drug use survey showed that 15 million Nigerians abused drugs, saying that it was three times the global average.

Marwa, who described the report as unacceptable said that the aim of the year 2024 World Drug Day (WDD) Campaign was Prevention.

“Money-making is the major reason drug barons are persistent inspite of the efforts of the agency to curb to the barest minimum drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

“When you look at the population of Nigeria and you take out 15 million, it means the rest are not.

We don’t want even a single Nigerian to enter that basket of users.

“We have made seizures in three years of 761,000 tons but they still keep coming and we have to look at the other side.

“Now, assuming we didn’t seize it, were will it be? it will be on the streets and the money would have been used for very negative purposes or it would have gone to the criminals.

“We are doing our level best, supported by the government to make sure the supply reduction is very effective,” he said.

Speaking further, Marwa said that prevention was very important in dealing with drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, adding that the agency had recommended a two track approach.

He said that the first and most important track was global which was the entire society, all fragments, beginning with the family, parenting, adding that the children should be taught as they grow up why drug use was bad.

“We have children killing their parents. So in anyway, parentage and parenting is also important.

“Most important is the community level, the traditional institution, religious bodies, both christian and Muslim should include in their sermons and the advocacy in the school system and the curriculum.

“There should be  random drug tests. For instance, we have promoted drug tests for students, tertiary institutions and drug tests before marriage.

“When you go for the wedding, bring the HIV, the genotype and bring drug tests that are negative.

“These are some of the steps on this side. On the other side is to deny availability of drugs and access. You have to have drugs first to abuse it.

“And it’s our job as NDLEA to launch operations to seize drugs, arrest the offenders, take them to court, and seize their assets as well, “he said.(NAN)

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