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Train Attack: Buhari receives Victims’ Families, Assures Safe return of Abductees

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government is doing everything within its powers to ensure the safe return of the remaining abducted passengers of ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train.

Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s media aide, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said Buhari gave the assurance when he met with representatives of victims of Kaduna train abduction in Abuja on Thursday.

He said since the “terrible and cowardly attack by the criminal elements” on  March 28, the nation had joined them to endure a period of difficulty and emotional pains.

The president, therefore, condoled with the families of the victims and those who lost their loved ones.

He told representatives of the families that in the immediate aftermath of the incident several actions had been taken by government to bring succour to the affected families and to prevent a recurrence in the country.

He also explained his reason for discarding the use of lethal military force in extracting the remaining abductees.

‘‘I have been informed that at last count, there remain about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers, and our determination is to work towards returning these 31 people to their families.

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‘‘It is understandable that emotions typically run high, we have received several suggestions about the deployment of lethal military force in extracting those still being held in captivity.

‘‘This option has indeed been considered and evaluated.

‘‘However, the condition to guarantee a successful outcome and minimise potential collateral damage could not be assured and therefore that course of action had to be reluctantly discarded.

”My primary concern is to get everyone released safe and unhurt,’’ he said.

On his recent instruction to security and law enforcement agencies to bring an end to inhumane action against innocent Nigerians, the Buhari expressed delight, saying:

‘‘Judging by the available reports to me and news that have begun emerging in the last few days, I will say they have heard this instruction and are responding appropriately.

‘‘In the past couple of days, you must have heard about the number of terrorists neutralised by the military, and number of hostages freed. These efforts will not stop or reduce.

‘‘We must take the fight to the terrorists and demonstrate that there is no hiding place for them within the borders of our country.

‘‘Each one of them will be hunted, and pursued and spoken to in the language that they understand,’’ he stated.

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The president also used the occasion to commend the bravery and gallant actions taken by members of the Police Force who were onboard the train on that fateful day.

‘‘It is clear that their actions saved many lives and by making the ultimate sacrifice, they must be recognised for their bravery,’’ he said.

Buhari added that he had never doubted the ability or confidence of those who had presented themselves to defend the country and the Kaduna train incident had reinforced the belief and faith of the nation in this special group of Nigerians.

‘‘I also would like to use this opportunity to say that we are cognizant of events that have unsettled our citizens in various parts of our nation and in the Capital.

‘‘I would like to comfort those who were traumatised by these tragic events and pledge that our response is to protect all Nigerians wherever they are.

‘‘My dear country men and women, we thank God that none of the released prisoners died due to the severe trauma they passed through in the hands of the terrorists,’’ he maintained.

This, according to him, has shown that the efforts of government in securing their release were not in vain as government continues to do its best to secure the release of the remaining abductees.

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He assured that government would continue to ensure the overall security of all citizens in the country.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Jaji Sambo, said in the first week of his resumption in the ministry, he met with the relatives of the victims of the Kaduna train attack.

According to him, he updated them of all the efforts the government is making to ensure safe return of their loved ones.

He described the audience with the President as a manifestation of the efforts by this administration to secure the release of all captives and proof that ‘‘government is not resting on its oars’’.

A representative of the victims of the train abduction, Alhaji Sabiu Mohammed, however appealed to the federal government to assist the families in the release of their remaining loved ones still in captivity.

‘‘Please, we want to see our loved ones and many have found themselves in very critical situations.

“We do not have the money that they (kidnappers) are demanding.

“Please, Mr President, we know you are doing your best…please, please we want to see our loved ones,’’ he said. (NAN)

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Gov. Diri Queries Bayelsa Population Figures

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa


Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has faulted the population figures attributed to the state by the National Population Commission (NPC), of which he described as “grossly under-estimated.

Diri made this known on Tuesday, during a Stakeholder Summit on the 2023 Population and Housing Census held at Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Government House Yenagoa.



Buttressing his claim, the governor stressed that the state had grown beyond the current structure of eight local government areas, and noted that “the projected population of Yenagoa, the state capital, points to the fact that the state’s population was misrepresented.


A statement by Diri’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that such faulty census figures were responsible for the under-representation of Bayelsa in the House of Representatives with only five members.


Diri said Bayelsa State’s recent growth and contributions to the national economy as a result of its oil resources should give her more representation in the federal government.

“By the 2006 census figures, Bayelsa had a population of 1,704,515. That figure was not correct; we are hopeful that the next exercise will give a more reliable and acceptable figure.

“Our government is convinced that the National Population Commission has the commitment and capacity to deliver to Nigerians and, indeed, to Bayelsa State very credible, reliable, valid, and acceptable population figures.

“As a government, we are deeply concerned that Bayelsa has grown beyond the current structure of eight local governments. Clearly, we are under-represented in the House of Representatives with only five members. The current projected population of Yenagoa points to these facts. With our exponential growth and contributions to the national economy from our oil resources, we deserve more federal presence.”

Diri said the NPC needed to realize that an accurate census was critical for the nation’s democracy and economy because it underpins fair representation in government and enables those in authority to make appropriate funding for healthcare, schools, roads, and other critical infrastructure.

The state’s helmsman added that population figure was one of the basic parameters in the sharing of revenue, particularly in Nigeria.

In her address, the Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission in charge of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Gloria Izonfuo, said that the 2023 census would be fully digitalized in line with United Nations principles and recommendations for the 2020 round of Population and Housing Censuses.

Mrs. Izonfuo, who was a former Head of Service in Bayelsa, said the Commission had deployed technology to conduct the exercise and enhance data quality.

She expressed the Commission’s commitment to deliver credible and reliable census as well as ensuring that the results of the exercise are acceptable to Nigerians and the quality of the data to be generated meets international standards for planning and developmental purposes.

Izonfuo added that the stakeholder’s summit was the first of several meetings to be held in the state and thanked the government and people of the state for the support to the Commission.

In their goodwill messages, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Ben Okolo, and Chairman, Bayelsa State Founding Fathers, Chief Benedict Gwembe, said population census was strategic to enable the government plan for every sector, including the creation of more voting centers in the country.

They also stressed the need for more census enumerators to be deployed in the rural areas as well as provided sensitization on the need for people to participate in the process.

They assured the Commission of their support to assist it to conduct ahitch-free and successful 2023 national population and housing census. 

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Flood Kills 23, Displaces 116,000 in Benue- BSEMA

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 The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA) says no fewer than 23 persons have died as a result of flooding in the state since the beginning of the rainy season.

The Executive Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Shior, announced this while kick-starting the distribution of relief materials to flood victims on Tuesday in Makurdi.

He said that 116,084 persons had also been displaced as a result of the flooding in some parts of the state.

Shior said that the 116,084 displaced persons cut across 12,856 households in 11 local government areas.

“74 persons are having different degrees of injuries. 14 out of the  23 deaths arose from boat mishap in Guma Local Government Area,” he said.

The executive secretary further stated that the flooding had so far affected 14,040 hectares of farmlands while 4,411 houses had been submerged.

“Schools and markets, companies, houses and farmlands located in 104 communities are affected,” he said.

He listed the affected local government areas as, Guma, Vandeikya, Otukpo, Katsina-ala, Makurdi, Apa, Agatu, Tarka, Gboko, Gwer-West and Logo.

”The victims are in need of immediate support. That is the reason for this exercise.

”We began with Makurdi and Agatu because they are the worst hit with 34 and 28 affected communities respectively.

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”The victims in Agatu who are currently taking refuge along the Federal Highway will soon be relocated to Obagaji,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, Mr John Digah, Principal Researcher and Rescue Officer, National Emergency Management Agency, said the agency had deployed water treatment machine to support the victims with potable water.

Digah said that the machine had the capacity to treat 2,000 litres of water within an hour.

”In the past two days, we have treated and distributed 140,000 litres of water to the victims,” he said.(NAN)

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Senate Passes Bill to Increase Justices of Court Appeal from 90 to 110

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The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill amending the Court of Appeal Act, 2013 increasing the number of Justices of Court of Appeal from 90 to 110 .

This followed the adoption of the report of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and legal Matters by Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Bamidele Opeyemi(APC-Ekiti).

Opeyemi in his lead debate said the bill sponsored by Sen.

Chukwuka Utazi(PDP-Enugu)sought to increase the number of Justices of Court of Appeal from 90 to 110 .

According to him, the legislative intent of the amendment is to ensure that the court has the requisite manpower to allow cooperation of all the divisions of the court.

He said the bill was designed to bring justice closer to litigants in line with the current reality at expediting the administration of Justice.

“This is necessary in order to eliminate delay in the justice delivery systems, as it relates to the adjudicatory powers of the court

“This proposed amendments undoubtedly is targeted at increasing the work load of the court and enhance its effective performance,” he said.

He said that stakeholders were unanimous in their support of the passage of the bill, given its strategic relevance to the justice sector reform.

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He said the amendment would ultimately stimulate quick dispensation of justice

“The one silent improvement of this bill is the aspect that seeks to integrate virtual court proceedings which have become an integral part of our court proceedings.

” This also is in line with the guildline, given to courts by the Chief Justice of the Federation, as justice will no longer be delayed,” he said.

The Senate also stood down a bill for an act to provide for the rotation of power in the country.

This followed a submission by senators Bala Ib’n Nala(APC-Kebbi) and Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege that the bill was in conflict with the provision of 1999 Constitution.

The bill was sponsored by Sen.Abba Moro (PDP-Benue).

Presenting the bill,Moro said that it sought to enact a legislation to amend provisions of the constitution and provide for rotations of the presidency among the geo- political zones of the country.

The Senate also passed the National Health Act amendment Bill 2014 and the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Science Egbe, Kogi establishment bill.

This following the adoption of the reports of Senate Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).(NAN)

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