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Kaduna forest killings: Don’t demoralise troops with false allegation, Coalition warns 

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja 

A Coalition of 15  non-governmental organisations working for peace and national unity in Northern Nigeria has warned the public against actions capable of demoralising the troops of the Nigerian Army working to restore peace in the country.

The coalition mainly picked holes in the allegation against troops of the Nigerian Army following the discovery of 11 bodies in Kaduna forest believed to be those of some Fulani natives.

The coalition, led by an international peace advocacy group, Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative (GOPRI), reacting in a statement following an on-the-spot visit and assessment of the crime scene as well as the Fulani Community in Kaduna, appealed to the Fulani community, particularly the deceased family to remain calm and law-abiding, pledging that they would get justice in the gruesome killing of their relative by yet-to-be-identified assailants.

The group, which exonerated the Nigerian Army, passed a vote of confidence in the General Officer Commanding 1 Division, Major General V.O Okoro, and the troops, saying they had worked to the delight of peace advocates in the regions.

The coalition’s statement was signed by the leader of the Group and the Executive Director of the Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative (GOPRI), Amb. Melvin Ejeh; Dr Ibrahim Modibo, Convener of Conference of  Fulbe Awake Forum Africa (FUAFOA; Dr Hamza Uba  Sani,  Northern Nigeria Human Rights Initiative(NONIHUR) and Hajiya Zainab Mohammed, president  Women In Peace Building and Good Governance Forum

( WOIPBAG).

The 15 CSOs said the statements by some groups alleging complicity of troops in the unfortunate killings of the Fulani natives were unsavoury, just as it commended the General officer Commanding GOC 1 Division Nigerian Army Kaduna, Major General VO Okoro, and his men over their professionalism and dogged commitment to fighting banditry and other forms of criminality within their area of responsibility.

The coalition said from its fact-finding visit to Tilde Fulani in Laduga grazing reserve in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, where they received a formal complaint from Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Kaduna State Chapter, there was no evidence yet to link troops to the dastardly act.

To this end, it appealed to the Fulani Community to remain calm, pledging its unwavering commitment to assist them in getting justice over the act.

It called on some faceless groups planning to catch in on the development by planning unnecessary protests in some parts of the country to desist, describing them as merchants of crisis.

The group said its position was informed by a visit and assessment of the crisis area to provide independent findings into the alleged extra Judicial killings of 11 Fulani natives allegedly by some soldiers of the Nigerian Army from 1 Division  Kaduna. 

The statement read in parts: “Leader of the Group and the Executive Director of GOPRI, Amb. Melvin Ejeh and his team, who were received by the Village Head of Tilde Fulani in Laduga, Alhaji Mohamadu Yusuf and some of the victim’s relatives, Mallam Adamu Idris,  Abubakar Mohammed,  Suleiman Abdullahi, took the team around the community and the scenes where the corpses were recovered. They later proceeded to a stakeholders’ meeting where he addressed them.

“Amb. Melvin Ejeh, in his words, deeply condoled the families of the deceased and prayed for the repose of their souls. He went on to inform the victims’ families and community that they were in the community sequel to a former complaint written to them by MACBAN to carry out independent findings into the alleged killing of 11 innocent Fulani boys without any justification. He assured them that justice would be done to all the parties,  no stone will be left unturned during this fact-finding, and the report would be submitted to relevant human rights and law enforcement agencies locally and internationally.

“He, however, advised the victim’s families and members of the community not to allow themselves to be used by some desperate politicians or crisis merchants who may want to cash in on this unfortunate situation to defame the hard-earned reputation of our gallant Nigeria Army who are making uncommon sacrifices to keep us safe, while the investigation is still on.

 “We all know the excellent work the GOC and his officers and men are doing in the fight against banditry in this general area and other places. We can’t afford to demoralise the troops with allegations that are yet to be proven.”

Speaking further to the community, Amb. Ejeh said: “Some of the people coming here to instigate you against the Nigerian Army are doing that just to earn their living and satisfy their parochial interests. In fact, some of them are criminals and sponsors of banditry who may want to use this opportunity to weaken the morale of our gallant troops because of the Army’s hard stands on criminality. We should not allow that; the Army is ours, and we must own it.

“We call on crisis merchants and unpatriotic elements who are stuck in trade to blackmail the  Armed forces into refraining forthwith as any attempts by them to do so will be resisted point by point. 

“We received intelligence that some desperate and sponsored element are planning a so-called world conference against the Nigeria Military for the alleged killing of 11 Fulani natives in Kaduna; we want to make it clear to them that we will not hesitate to reply  them points by points based on facts on the ground. We urge them to visit the community and find facts instead of constituting themselves as  agents of falsehood against the national Army; 

The statement said while responding on behalf of the community, the Village Head of Tilde Fulani, Alh. Mohammed Yusuf “thanked the team and assured them that he would refrain from any further engagement with strangers and media not to jeopardise the various investigations going on. “

“All we want is justice, and we’ are confident that justice will prevail in the end,” he said.

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Kidnaping: Police in Adamawa Nab 3 Suspects, Rescue 16-yr-old Female Victim

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The Police Command in Adamawa, says its operatives, in collaboration with Hunters in Gombi Local Government Area (LGA), have arrested three suspected kidnappers, and rescued a 16 year-old female victim.

SP Suleiman Nguroje, the command’s spokesperson, who disclosed this in a statement in Yola on Wednesday, said the operation was carried out by its Crack Squad.

Nguroje said that the operation was launched following a tip-off, and the operatives stormed a kidnapping den at Fotta village of Gombi.

“The suspects were all arrested at a certain house in a remote side of Fotta Village, where they camped their kidnapped female victim and demanded N8,000,000 ransom.

He said the victim, name withheld, was kidnapped three days ago, from Buma Village, Shani LGA of Borno State.

According to the statement, the victim is currently receiving medical attention at an undisclosed health facility.

Nguroje stated that the Commissioner of Police, CP Dankombo Morris, had assured the public that there would be no hiding place for criminals as they would be fished out from anywhere within the state.

He called on members of the public to give timely information to the Police, especially those with questionable character. (NAN)

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Average Price Per Litre of Kerosene Stood at N1,329.53 in January – NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says the average price of a litre of kerosene dropped from N1,362.27
in December 2023 to N1,329.53 in January 2024.

This is contained in the Bureau’s “Kerosene Price Watch’’ for January 2024 released on Wednesday in Abuja.

The report said the January price represented a 2.

40 per cent decrease compared to what was obtained in December.

The NBS said the average price per litre of kerosene increased on a year-on-year basis by 15.

27 per cent from N1,153.40 recorded in January 2023 to N1,329.53 in January 2024.

On state profile analysis, the report showed that Kaduna recorded the highest average price of N1,833.

33 per litre of kerosene in January, followed by Benue at N1,766.67 and Niger at N1,703.70.

“On the other hand, the lowest price was recorded in Bayelsa at N969.70, followed by Rivers at N1,057.69 and Kwara atN1,066.67.”

The NBS said the analysis further showed that the North-Central recorded the highest average retail price per litre of Kerosene at N1,479.10, followed by the North-East at N1,381.94.

It said the South-South recorded the lowest average retail price per litre of kerosene at N1,225.83.

The report said the average retail price per gallon of Kerosene paid by consumers in January 2024 was N4, 870.83, indicating a 7.53 per cent increase from N4,529.92 recorded in December 2023.

“On a year-on-year basis, the average price per gallon of kerosene increased by 25.34 per cent from N3, 886.11 recorded in January 2023.

On state profile analysis, it showed that Adamawa recorded the highest average retail price at N6,083.33 per gallon of kerosene, followed by Bauchi at N5,800.00 and Kano at N5,777.78.

On the other hand, the report said Delta recorded the lowest price at N4,000.00, followed by Ondo and Enugu at N4,398.03 and N4,409.05, respectively.

Analysis by zone showed that the North-East recorded the highest average price per gallon of Kerosene at N5,526.39, followed by the North- West at N5,062.78.

“The South-East recorded the lowest average price per gallon of kerosene at N4,508.51,” the NBS said.(NAN)

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Protest: DSS Urges Labour to Embrace Dialogue

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has urged  the organised labour to embrace dialogue and negotiation against its planned protest slated for Feb. 27 and Feb. 28.

Dr Peter Afunanya, the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications of the DSS,  made the call in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the service recognised protest as the legitimate right of the labour movement but call on the body to shelve the planned  action in the interest of peace and public order.

“The attention of the DSS has been drawn to plans by sections of the organised labour to stage protests between Feb.

27 and Feb.  28 in parts of the country over sundry economic issues.

“The DSS appeals to labour  to go after dialogue and negotiation rather than engaging in conducts that can heighten tensions.

“More so,  the service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence,” he said.

He said the protest, without doubt, would worsen the socio-economic situation across the country.

According to him, it is common knowledge that all levels of government are striving to ameliorate the prevailing economic condition and as such, should be given a benefit of the doubt.

He said appropriate authorities were working assiduously with a spectrum of stakeholders to fashion out modalities to address the current difficulties.

Afunanya urged citizens to recognise that what remained unsolved in peace time, would not be attained in war-time, adding that everyone would be casualty in time of trouble.

“Ongoing wars in the global scene is a stark reminder of their catastrophic repercussions on the affected countries’ domestic environments thus, the critical need to protect and maintain our internal stability and unity.

“Those exploiting the fault lines in the country need to have a rethink as resort to negativities will endanger our peaceful coexistence with dire consequences.

“Parents and guardians are implored to exert authority in guiding their children and wards from inimical acts capable of jeopardising public safety and harmony,” he added.

He called on all sectors, including political parties, opposition groups, religious and traditional institutions, civil society and non-governmental bodies to eschew violence and demonstrate leadership and statesmanship in the current challenging times.

According to him, making political capital out of the current situation or involving in divisive utterances at a time like this, will be of no benefit to any peace-loving Nigerian.

Afunanya enjoined citizens to be vigilant and not allow fifth columnists and hostile forces or agents to use them to destabilise the peace of the nation. (NAN)

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