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Group seeks agricultural reforms in West Africa, Sahel region to address insecurity

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The International Crisis Group, an independent non profit organisation, on Tuesday called for a reform in the agricultural sector in West Africa and the Sahel to address insecurity.


Mr Nnamdi Obasi, the Senior Adviser of the group for Nigeria made the call in Abuja at the 2nd Abuja Dialogue with the theme “Migration and Inter-Community Conflicts in West Africa and the Sahel: Which endogenous solutions for security for all’’.

According to him, insecurity is fueled by major conflicts across the region, ranging from farmers/herders crisis to conflict between extremist groups among others.


“These crisis have escalated overtime due to competition over diminishing resources by various user groups ,climate change, change in trans human migration by pastoralists.


“But increasing availability of illicit arms have changed the dimension of the violence.


“More so, absence or weakness of the state in providing protection for communities and the exploitation of inter-community divides by extremist groups have also escalated the insecurity.


“The conflicts have killed many and rendered others homeless, therefore, undermining agriculture and rural livelihoods threatening food security,” he said.


Obasi added: “To curb this, we need to embark on developmental issues, our long method of agriculture whether livestock or crop farming, though the methods were good at a certain stage but they have to evolve with the way the society is evolving.


“So, we need agricultural reforms to make them less conflict prone as they are presently, there is need to reform agricultural practices in the region by overhauling both the pastoral and crop farming.’’


He said that security agencies needed to cooperate more closely and the military in the region also required comprehensive reform to tackle insecurity and disarmament.


“We have to deal with poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment because these are issues that are creating a large army of uneducated, discontented and alienated persons vulnerable to recruitment by criminal and armed groups,” he said.


Dr Emile Ouedraogo, Senior Peace and Security expert, African Centre for Strategic Studies from Burkina Faso, said that the insecurity in the region if not checked would lead to mass migration.


Ouedraogo said that the region was marked with multiple crises with compound issues adding that the increase in inter-community crises had led to humanitarian crises affecting almost every country in the region.


He called on countries in the region to begin to look inward to use endogenous solutions to achieve long lasting peace.


Also, Mr Ulrich Thum, Resident Representative, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), said that the organisation had been promoting the values of social democracy in Africa for over 40 years.


Thum said that the programme was part of the European Union Security for All project aimed at providing inclusive security and democratic governance through participation of Civil Society Organisations in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon among others.


“It looks specifically at the cooperation and interaction of traditional security actors and civil society in the field of security because real security provision is not the exclusive responsibility of security agencies.


“It needs an inclusive approach, taking into account various stakeholders and the roles and needs of various actors because only if there is a good interplay between stakeholders can real human-centred security be provided.’’


The event was organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Co-financed by the European Union to offer solutions to current security challenges in West Africa and the Sahel.(NAN)


ATAB/AMM/ABI


Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Ali Baba-Inuwa

Defence/Security

Army provides free medical services to community in Ondo

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The Nigerian Army on Sunday provided free medical services to people of Ugbo community in Ilaje Local Government area of Ondo State.

Brig. Gen. Zakari Abubakar, the Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, said that the gesture was part of on-going exercise of Crocodile Smile lV in the area.

He said that the gesture was to enhance the life of the people in the area.

According to Abubakar, it is also to cement the relationship between the military and civil populace.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Nigerian Army had earlier donated some computers, printers, exercise books, generators, stationary and sporting materials to schools at Atijere community in Ilaje Local Government area on Nov.13.

NAN also reports that the gesture was part of civil-military activities as Crocodile Smile IV  flag off in the southern part of Ondo State will last from Nov.8 to Dec. 23, 2019.

Abubakar said that the medical services delivered included services at the general outpatient department for general consultation, general eye examination, health education, oral care, laboratory investigations, issuance of free mosquito nets and drugs.

He thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and General Officer Commanding 2 Division,Ibadan, Maj. Gen. Anthony Omozoje, for they exemplary leadership and for finding the Brigade worthy of hosting the exercise and approving the civil-military activities.

“The COAS is particularly  concerned about the health and well being of our community knowing fully that health is wealth. It is in this light that he has taken by his step to provide this medical outreach.

“The objective is for you to embrace peace and shun every act of violence and criminality.

“COAS believes with peace, come development. There will not be development without peace,” Abubakar said.

,Maj. James Agbe, the Commanding Officer, 32 Artillery Brigade Medical Centre, Akure, said that one of the services rendered was to teach people on how to brush.

“We also rendering free eye care handled by specialists, free toothpaste and brushes, free drugs for common ailment in the community, free mosquito net to prevent mosquito bite considering the environment in which they living as riverine area.

“Community should take the advantage of the services being provided by COAS to make maximum use of the services and drugs effectively, ” Agbe admonished.

In his welcome address, Oba Akinruntan Obateru,Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, who was represented by the High Chief Hosea Iperepolu and Chairman of Ugbo Council of Chiefs, commended the gesture.

He said that the gesture would bring cordial relationship between the Nigerian Army and the community.

“The exercise is laudable one because we all know that health is wealth.

“This will bring cordial relationship between civilian and Nigerian Army. People are always afraid of Army, but with this new development, people will not see them as their enemy.

“When Army starts to come nearer to the people like this, people will be able to interact with them and it will reduce the rate of insurgency, kidnapping and all unnecessary crime in the societies,” he said.

Obateru charged the community to see the Nigerian Army as their friend and admonished the Army to continue with their good relationship so that people would not see them as their enemy.

The monarch promised Nigerian Army that Ugbo kingdom would continue to support and cooperate with them so that the issue of kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and many other crimes would reduce in the area.

One of the participants, Mr Akin Adetuo, a 60-year-old farmer with eye problem, thanked the Nigerian Army for the gesture.

“I am here with my eye problem so that I can see very well, but with the service rendered by Army today am very happy. May Almighty God help them as they choose to help us,” he said.

Mr Maigba Israel, who said that he came from the neighboring town near Ugbo kingdom for stomach ache and eye problem, urged the Nigerian Army to continue to support civilians, especially on health related issues.

“I am not from Ugbo kingdom, but I am from Ugbo-Nla town.

“I believe this services will go a long way for our people, especially for me because I don’t have money to go to hospital that is why when I heard that Nigerian Army is giving free eye service, I left my food to benefit from the services,” he said.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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Outgoing Edo CP tasks security agencies on proficiency

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The newly promoted and outgoing Commissioner for Police in Edo, Abubakar DanMallam, has tasked security agencies on proficiency in tackling insecurity in the state.

DanMallam gave the advice on Saturday in Benin during a send-off ceremony organised for him by the state command.

He said that Edo was a strategic state as it was a gateway to various states and geopolitical zones in the country.

He added that in view of this criminals in the state were highly sophisticated, and therefore tasked security agencies as well as officers and men of the command to be alert to their responsibilities.

He also advised the officers and men of the Edo command to maintain the already established legacies of an environment devoid of insecurity.

While attributing his successes to robust synergy with security agencies and police/public relationship, he sued for more support and cooperation.

DanMallam, however, said that the major challenge on his assumption of office in the state was cultism, armed robbery and kidnapping, adding that these had been reduced to its barest minimum.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Brig.-Gen. Greg Omorogbe, Commander 4 Brigade and chairman of the occasion, commended the leadership style of the outgoing CP.

Omoregbe said that the CP’s promotion to an Assistant Iinspector General was an eloquent testimony of his hard work and contributions to peace in Edo.

“I have no doubt that his comradeship and espirit de Corps would be missed,” he said.

Gov. Godwin Obaseki in his remarks said described the outgoing CP as ” humility personified “.

Obaseki, represented by Mrs Julie Olatunji, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet office, said that the outgoing CP was a man who knows his job and does not pay lip service to issues.

“He contributed his wealth of knowledge to our security architecture and also the synergy among security agencies in the state today,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that DanMallam was among the 14 Commissioners of Police promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in October and redeployed a fortnight ago.

He is to return to Louis Edet House as the AIG in charge of SPU.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Army troops rescue octogenarian, others from Boko Haram in Borno

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The Nigerian Army troops deployed at Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno has subdued Boko Haram terrorists and rescued an Octogenarian, three women and four children held captives by the insurgents.

The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Iliyasu said that the rescued victims were evacuated while the children among them were equally administered with Polio Vaccination by a Nigerian Army medical team.

He added that no causality was recorded by the army troops during the commando operations.

According to him, many of the Boko Haram criminal elements fled in disarray towards the summit of Mandara Mountains with gunshot wounds.

“The troops’ resilience and doggedness are unwavering as further exploitation to complete the annihilation of the insurgents is being sustained in the mountainous environment.

“The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, wishes to reassure the public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute our constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better secured Nigeria.

“He also thanks all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army as they sustain the conduct of various operations and routine exercises nationwide,” he said.

Iliyasu said that the army troops had continued to sustain the tempo of the counter-insurgency operations in the North East with a view to decimating and destroying the remnant of Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) criminals.

He said the troops had also continued to extract credible intelligence report on the presence of some of the criminal insurgents in the areas.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Defence/Security

Another Catholic priest abducted in Enugu

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The Enugu Police Command said Saturday in Enugu that it has commenced a massive manhunt of abductors of a Catholic Priest, Rev.-Fr. Theophilus Ndulue.

This was coming barely two weeks after the release of another catholic priest earlier abducted in the state.

According to the Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, Ndulue was abducted by unidentified gunmen on his way home along Amansiodo Road in Ndiagu-Oghe in Ezeagu Local Government Area on Friday evening while returning from a pastoral council meeting.

Amaraizu while confirming the incident, in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu described the abduction as unfortunate.

He however, said that police operatives would leave no stone unturned to secure release the catholic priest unhurt.

“We have launched a massive trail for the rescue and release of the priest from his abductors as soon as possible.

“I assure the good people of Enugu and the Catholic family that we will get at them and bring them to book.

“However, we are circumspect on the operation in order to ensure that the Catholic priest is released unhurt,’’ he assured.

Amaraizu said that Ndulue, who was the Parish Priest of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ihuonyia, Amansiodo, was initially kidnapped alongside the Chair lady, Catholic Women Organisation in his parish, Mrs Stella Nwodo.

He said that Nwodo was later released by the abductors.

NAN recalls that this was happening barely two weeks after Rev.-Fr Arinze Madu, Deputy Rector, Queen of the Apostle Spiritual Year Seminary, Imezi Owa in Ezeagu Local Government Area, was released by his abductors.

Madu had been kidnapped at the seminary gate on Oct. 29.

edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/Maureen Atuonwu

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FRSC visits hospital, sympathises with accident victims in Kebbi

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Kebbi, on Saturday, visited the Sir Yahayya Memorial Hospital, Birni Kebbi, to sympathise with the victims of road crashes in the state.

The state FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Abayomi Asaniyan, while briefing the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Aminu Bunza, said that the command was doing everything possible to minimise road crashes in the state.

“Our visit is part of activities marking the 2019 World Accident Victims Remembrance Week.

“I, my staff and special marshals have come here to sympathise with victims of various road accidents; we want to urge you to always observe traffic rules and regulations to forestall further occurrences,” he said.

According to Asaniyan, the FRSC is not only for enforcement and rescue of road users, but to also follow up crash victims.

He said that the victims had spent so much on their medical bills, hence the move by the corps to donate a few items to assist them.

“The FRSC is also striving to “catch them young” with the creation of 50 more road safety club units in various schools in Kebbi State.

“The Corps is also harmonising operations of cyclists in the state with the creation of a central database for them and issuance of uniform and code to them,” he said.

The FRSC chief expressed appreciation to the hospital’s management for prompt medical attention to the victims as well as assistance from private individuals.

In his remarks, Bunza thanked the corps for choosing the hospital for the visitation, adding “here, we give FRSC rescue teams priority.

He said that the state government had, about six years ago, approved free first medical treatment for road accident victims.

Bunza said that the hospital was working on building a trauma centre for road accident victims, which would be inaugurated in 2020.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that items given to the crash victims included medical consumables and toiletries, while drugs were also donated to the hospital.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Exercise Ayem Akpatuma2: Army embarks on community services in Nasarawa community

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The Nigerian Army on Saturday embarked on sanitation exercise at Toto market in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

The environmental sanitation carried out by the officers and soldiers of the brigade involved clearing of garbage and refuse in and around the market as well as clearing of drainages on major roads in the town.

Speaking on the exercise, the Commander, Guard Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Muhammed Usman, represented by his Chief of Staff, Col. Kassim Sidi, said that the exercise was part of activities of Exercise Ayem Akpatuma II 2019.

Usman said the exercise was aimed at creating a secured environment for the people to go about their normal businesses during the months of festivities.

According to him, part of the activities we lined up is civil military cooperation where you see the military coming into the society to render certain assistance to endear us to the larger society.

“The sanitation which we have just conducted this morning is part of it.

“There are many activities lined up such as medical outreach, educational aid distribution to schools, sports, visitation to hospitals and correctional facilities to mention a few.

“We want the society to believe that the military is part of them. We don’t want to appear hostile to them, we want them to feel free with us, mix with us and also know that we have something to offer to give back to them.

“So, this is what we are building on and what we shall continue to do in subsequent exercises,” he said.

Usman explained that the exercise was created by the army headquarters to address security challenges in parts of the country.

He disclosed that the activities of kidnappers had reduced in Toto general area since the arrival and setting up super camp at Kukia-Sabo.

According to him, by the time we are through with this exercise in January, we will have zero or close to zero criminal activities in this area.

He commended the officers and soldiers that took part in the sanitation exercise, saying that the army had the mandate to give back to the society.

On his part, the Chairman of Toto Local Government Area, Prince Nuhu Dauda, said that the presence of the military and other security agencies in his local government had brought comfort to his people.

Dauda added that the recent security threats like kidnapping in the area had been a source of concern, adding that the exercise was welcomed in the area for so many reasons.

The chairman said the sanitation exercise being carried out by the army in Toto market was a confidence booster that the military and the civilians could relate peacefully.

He added that ordinary Nigerians usually looked at military men as unfriendly people, saying that the exercise had enhanced civil military relations and friendliness.

“The presence of the military in my local government is a comfort to my heart and my people.

“Toto local government used to be a peaceful and friendly local government but for sometimes now, there have been activities of criminals especially the activities of kidnappers that have become rampant all over the country but your home is where you know.

“Precisely I know that if Toto is safe, a segment of Nasarawa state is safe and also a segment of Nigeria is safe and that is why I am very happy.

“On the community service, I want to tell you that I am very happy with the sanitation exercise because the surroundings where the market is, requires cleaning and the army has brought this intervention,” he said.

The Chief Market Overseer, Toto Market, Mr Adugu Ibrahim, commended the army for the exercise, describing it as a rare opportunity for the military to clean a local market.

Ibrahim said that the presence of the military in the community had encouraged the locals to go about their normal businesses without fear of insecurity.

He said that kidnapping had been a challenging threat in the area in recent time, adding that the people were ready to cooperate with the army by providing useful information.

According to him, they will make sure that the traders continue to consolidate on the exercise to enhance the sanitation of the market.

“We are very happy with this activities because it shows that the military is concerned about our security and well being because health is very important,” he said.

Also, Musa Maikaya, Youth Leader, called on the government to create a permanent military base in the area to address the challenge of insecurity.

“We have challenge of kidnapping here and we hope that with the presence of the military now, things will change,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency , reports that the representative of the Commander, Sidi, led the Chairman of the local government to the Kukia- Sabo Super Camp to visit the troops.

The super camp is being coordinated by the army in collaboration with other security agencies such as the police and immigration.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Ismail Abdulaziz

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