The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Akwa Ibom Command, has called on Nigerians to cooperate with all security agencies to defeat insecurity. The state Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Abidemi Majekodunmi, made the call when he addressed journalists on Saturday in Uyo.
Don’t Resume Train Service until AK-9 Victims are Rescued, Family Members Charge NRC
42 days after terrorists attacked the AK-9 train along the Abuja-Kaduna rail route, families of the over 100 persons still in captivity have urged the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, not to resume services on the corridor until all those held captive are safely rescued.
Addressing a press conference, Monday, in Abuja, the families lamented the horrible conditions the abducted passengers have been forced to live in, even as they took a swipe at the manner the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the NRC have so far handled the matter.
Representatives of the families, Abfulfatai Jimoh and Ba’abba Muhammad said it would be insensitive for NRC to resume operations on the route with fate of scores of passengers kidnapped still unknown.
“Abuja-Kaduna train service should not resume until the quick and safe rescue of our family members held hostage and adequate security measures are put in place to guarantee the safety of prospective passengers.This position aligns with the prayers of the majority of Nigerians,” they said.
According to them, “it has been 42 long days of living in fear, virtually no sleep, no bath, wearing the same clothes, under the scorching sun and rain, and exposed to extreme environmental hazards.
“The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions are only imaginable.
“Among the abducted passengers are children- some as young as three years old, pregnant women, women including an 85-year-old great grandmother, and others. Some of these victims have health challenges requiring daily medications, which they have had no access to in the last 42 harrowing days.”
In an emotionally-laden voice, Jimoh added that the story of one of the victims giving birth in the forest is difficult to accept in a sane society.
“We read in the news that one of the two pregnant women in captivity delivered her baby in the forest.
“Giving birth is supposed to be a moment of joy; how would it have been if this woman delivered her baby in the comfort of a maternity ward? In whose hands? What is the place of birth of this baby, the forest? While some families have their breadwinners in captivity, others have their wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, and aunts held down in the bush.
“This hostage-taking has drastically disrupted the living conditions of affected families. Children are crying everyday, with the only question in their mouths being: When are my Mummy and Daddy coming home? What a miserable state!
“Since this unfortunate attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train, we believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, alongside his security and intelligence chiefs, have been working to rescue our loved ones. We have been given assurances that a positive outcome of these efforts would be apparent soon.
“We must, however, register our displeasure with the way and manner the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has been handling this tragic event since it occurred. Just a few days after 28th March, Mr. Amaechi was seen running around the Stadium in Port Harcourt where he declared his intention to become the next President of Nigeria.
“We had expected Mr. Amaechi to be running around as to how to get his abducted passengers rescued, and this is highly disappointing. Mr. President also directed the Management of NRC to establish a Situation Room to give a minute by minute account of rescue efforts to relatives of kidnapped passengers.
“Still, one week after this Presidential directive was issued, NRC has neither contacted the relatives of kidnapped victims nor established any Situation Room as directed by the President. This display of gross incompetence and insensitivity should lead to the appropriate punishment.
“Furthermore, we sought the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, which is the people’s court, but nothing has been forthcoming from them.
“We want to extend our profound gratitude to Nigerians, elder statesmen, traditional, religious, and community leaders, and the Nigerian media who have lent their strong voices to this struggle both in the open and behind the scene and their prayers for divine intervention. We still need this vital support until success is achieved,” they said.
Fielding questions from journalists, Hidayiat Yusuf, spokesperson for the families slammed the NRC for contemplating resumption of operations on the route, saying “if there was security in place, our loved ones would not have been kidnapped.
“We are ready to negotiate with the terrorists if they are willing. If it is money they want, they should come forward and say so,” she added.
DSS Raises Alarm over Alleged Plots to Launch Attacks on Public Places
By Gom Mirian, Abuja
The Department of State Service (DSS) has alerted Nigerians to plans by criminal elements to launch further attacks on critical infrastructure, other frequented public places, including worship, relaxation centres, during and after the holidays and festive celebrations.
The secret service said “plan by criminal elements is to return the country to the pre-2015 era reminiscent of IED attacks on soft and hard targets in parts of the country”.
The Service, however, recalls its earlier warning that some groups and individuals were plotting to stoke violence in the country. “Following these, patrons, owners and managers of aforementioned public places are advised to be wary of this development and implement basic security measures to deter the threats.”While the Service is committed to the disruption of this trend and pattern of violent attacks, it will continue to partner with other security agencies to ensure that necessary drills are emplaced in order that public peace and order are not jeopardized.
“To this end, residents are enjoined to go about their lawful businesses and share, with security and law enforcement agencies, useful information on the activities of criminals. ” Meanwhile, the DGSS, Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi, wishes all and sundry a hitch free Workers’ Day and Sallah celebrations”, Afunanya said in the statement.
Dariye, Nyame Pardon will not Derail Anti-corruption war – Presidency Assures Nigerians
The Presidency has assured Nigerians that the granting of pardon to two former Governors, Joshua Dariye Jolly Nyame — and 157 others by the Council of State will not derail the ongoing anti-corruption fight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, gave the assurance in a statement late Wednesday evening in Abuja.
Shehu quoted the president as assuring the nation that ”nothing done here was intended to achieve a political end or send a revisionist message on the relentless war against corruption which he has ably and evidently led by personal examples.”
According to Shehu, Section 175 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 enjoins the President to exercise his constitutional powers “to grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;
“To grant respite, either for an indefinite or a specified period of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence;
“Substitute a less severe form of punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on the person for such an offence or of penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the state on account of such an offence,” he said.
Shehu explained that the Federal Government constituted the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) on Aug. 28, 2018 with the mandate of assisting the president in the discharge of his constitutional responsibility of granting pardon/clemency to convicts or ex-convicts in deserving cases.
He disclosed that the committee filed its first report in March 2020 and reconvened on Sept. 28, 2021 to attend to the myriad of pending applications for presidential pardon and clemency from Nigerians across the country.
According to him, these accrued cases followed the established process of applying for pardon or clemency first to the Correctional Service.
He said this must certify claims made, ”be they of life-threatening ill-health, (as in the cases of Governors Dariye, Nyame; John Joshua Uloh, Engr Umar Bamalli, Sa’adu Ayinla Alanamu, Charles Ihenatu, Akinwumi Ajayi and tens of others making the approved list of 159; or such cases arising from remorse and good conduct or plainly on the basis of compassion among other stated criteria.
“The PACPM members, under the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, followed up the recommendations with a visit to selected Correctional Centers in several states of the federation to “critically appraise and identify potential cases of convicts and ex-convicts before recommending them for presidential pardon/clemency and reduced sentences.”
He stated that in this round of the exercise, 412 inmates were interviewed and 162 were recommended to the Council of State by the President in the exercise of his powers, pursuant to Section 175 (2) which required that he should carry out this function after being “advised by the Council.”
The presidential aide maintained that the presentation to the Council of States meeting last week, attended by former Presidents, a former Chief Justice and 36 states and the FCT along the lines of its statutory membership was a culmination of a rigorous process.
He said the exercise was also regulated and guided by the law which was not in any way designed to achieve a political purpose.
“While it is natural that the cases of the ex-governors-two among many would excite political analysts coming at a time when elections are in the air, the president would at the same time have come across as insensitive and cruel to most people were he to have ignored very compelling cases recommended for pardon made to him because someone is a former governor.
“Even governors have the right to be treated fairly under the law,” the statement. (NAN)
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