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We paid N6.6m for our girls’ release – Katsina community .No ransom was paid, Zamfara govt insists

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A community in Katsina State, where 26 girls were abducted by bandits, has countered the claim by the Zamfara State Government that no ransom was paid to secure their release from captivity.

Indeed, the community said they paid over N6m to the kidnappers as ransom for the release of the abducted girls

The girls were said to have been randomly picked from houses in Garin Aja on October 13, 2020, only to be released on November 6. The community shares border with Zamfara State, Daily Trust reports.

“Those abducted included girls and spinsters. The bandits moved from house to house and selected their victims,” one of the sources said.

“The abductors did not bother to pick children or the old; they carefully selected girls and young women who either lost their husbands or divorced. They also asked their parents to pay a ransom and get their wards back. The parents simply complied because they want their children back and safely,” another source said.

The Zamfara State Government delegation, led by the Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran, handed over the 26 girls to Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari at the weekend.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Enlightenment, Media and Communication, Zailani Bappa, told Daily Trust last night that the girls were released after negotiations and dialogue with the armed bandits.

Governor Bello Matawalle had earlier tweeted that: “I interacted with 26 rescued girls after medical professionals have ascertained their physical and mental fitness following days of trauma suffered in kidnappers den.

“The young girls kidnapped from Katsina State were rescued on 6/11/2020 as a result of our intervention.”

But the village head of Dan-Aji, Alhaji Lawal Dogara, told newsmen on Monday in Katsina that the community paid N6.6 million ransom to free the girls.

“The governor of Zamfara State should stop claiming credit for the release of our women because we paid for their release,” Dogara said.

He said two community leaders, Alhaji Abdulkarim Dan Aji and Liman Babangida Dan-Aji, trekked for three days into the forest to deliver the ransom to the bandits.

Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Police Command has confirmed an attack on the state government delegation returning from Katsina State where they handed over the rescued girls to Katsina State Government.

The command’s spokesman, Muhammad Shehu, in a statement on Monday, said the delegation was caught in the crossfire between two warring bandit groups who were fighting for supremacy at Dogon Karfe, Gidan Jaja along Zurmi – Jibiya Road in Zurmi local government.

“Unfortunately, a driver in the delegation died in the crossfire. Immediately, the combined Police and Military personnel rushed to the scene to strengthen the existing escort of the delegation,” Shehu added.

Kidnapping is a recurrent decimal in Zamfara, Katsina and the North West in general.

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We’ll not ban Almajiri qur’anic education, but reform it — Gov. Tambuwal

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Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the state government was targeting the remodelling of the Qur’anic education system and not banning it.

Tambuwal stated this on Saturday at the closing of a two-day workshop for the adaptation of the Indonesian Pondok system into the Almajiri-Islamiyya educational system in the state.

He expressed government’s determination to ensure that the initiative was implemented to the letter, stressing that any recognisable success of the system would upgrade and improve the state’s educational system.

He said: “We are not aiming to ban the Almajiri qur’anic education system as some people have urged the Sokoto State Government to emulate other states.

“We are striving to provide reasonable solutions to the challenges and with the present initiative the time has come.”

Tambuwal assured of full implementation of the suggestions made by resource persons and the design of a programme that would surely be a solution to the educational challenges, especially bridging the gap of out of school children.

In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged the Federal Government and its agencies, including the Universal Basic Education Commission, to consider making financial provisions to the Almajiri qur’anic educational system.

Abubakar noted that when the implementation of the initiative begins, the out of school children figure will drop as well as curtail those roaming the streets.

The Sultan urged others states to emulate Sokoto state on the initiative, in recognition of its importance and suitability to Nigerian’s system of education.

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Social Investment Programmes, Maryam Uwais, expressed delight at the initiative as it was in line with the President’s efforts at reducing poverty and empowering Nigerians.

Uwais said: “The huge numbers of marginalised youths and children, who have no education, school dropouts who have no skills, have contributed to the dismal outcomes of security challenges.

“The challenges also include females who faced incidence of gender based violence, along with cases of early marriages arising from lack of education, which leads to diminished opportunities.”

She noted that the Pandok system focuses on character development and addressing socioeconomic challenges that children faced, as well as improving educational levels which were all aligned with Sustainable Development Goals.

Uwais added that her office was working towards empowering between 30 to 50 youths in all the local government councils, to supervise and monitor others on valuable skills to be acquired, through various initiatives.

Earlier, the Executive Director, Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Education Board, Alhaji Umar Altine, said based on the study conducted, the Pandok system of education in Indonesia were owned and managed by individuals or communities, regulated and assisted by the federal ministry of religious affairs.

Altine said the major sources of sustainability were Endowments (Waqf) and Alumni, noting that based on advocacy and sensitisation by the board, six Qur’anic schools had adopted the model.

In her presentation, UNICEF Education Specialist, Sokoto Field Office, Dr. Safiyya Tahir, said that no fewer than 1.2 million children were out of school in Sokoto State, noting that early children development centres were mostly owned by private schools, with only a small percentage owned by public schools.

Tahir said the Pandok system would be relevant to the culture of Sokoto people because they shared similarities with the Indonesians as many families prepared their children for enrolment in religious schools in early life.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several resource persons made presentations at the occasion, including Dr. Bala Muhammad of the Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano, and Prof. Abdullahi Sule-Kano of the Political Science Department, BUK.

Others were: Prof. Maryam Koko of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto; Prof. Suleiman Khalil, Sociology Department in UDUS; Prof. Bashir Galadanci; and Prof. Muhammad Junaid.

The Eagle Online

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Resident Doctors Vote to Continue Indefinite Strike

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Striking resident doctors in the country have resolved to sustain their ongoing industrial action until their demands are met by the federal government.

The strike by members of the National Association Resident Doctors (NARD) has entered its seventh week, with their parent body, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), also threatening to embark on solidarity strike if the dispute is not resolved by next weekend.

The resident doctors are demanding payment of arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform as well as approval of new hazard allowance for the health sector, among other demands.

Rising from its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that ended yesterday at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi State, NARD said that it had unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action.

A new national leadership also emerged at the meeting with Dr Dare Godiya Ishaya as the new president of NARD.

NARD said that: “After critical appraisal of the performances of both federal and state governments on all the issues that led to the ongoing strike as stated above, the AGM unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action until our minimum demands are met”.

In a communiqué jointly signed by NARD President, Dr. Dare Godiya Ishaya; Secretary General, Dr. Suleiman Abiodun Ismai; and National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alfa Yusuf, the doctors said that federal government should ensure that their demands are urgently met before normalcy would return to the health sector

The resident doctors said they are demanding the payment of the Medical Residency Training allowance within 72 hours since the money meant for it is available and verification of the list for payment has been completed.

They also demanded payment of the arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform within 72 hours while the migration process continues.

Other demands of the Resident doctors include: “Withdrawal of the case against us in court in the interest of peace; and payment of our withheld August and September salaries”.

NARD said that federal government should prevail on various state governments to urgently “pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed our members in the state tertiary health institutions as stated above”.

In the communiqué, NARD said they were committed to the smooth running of the health sector, but can only do so when their welfare is given the desired attention.

“We, therefore, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to set aside all technicalities as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari and resolve the aforementioned demands in the interest of the masses and our members who are currently suffering because of the ongoing strike action,” it said.

Earlier during the AGM, the doctors bemoaned the delay in payment of death-in-service insurance benefit to the next-of-kin of the fallen heroes despite their sacrifices to the country.

They expressed concerns over the conditions of their members under different state governments’ employs, especially Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states, where their members are being owed 20 months, six months, four months and four months’ salary arrears, respectively.

They meeting also observed with serious concerns the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta and Benue for adopting the law.

In particular, NARD expressed appreciation to the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who has paid its members the 2021 MRTF during the ongoing strike.

The meeting lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions and the attendant burnout effects on its members.

The communiqué said that NARD observed with serious concerns that despite several meetings with the presidential committee on salaries and other top government stakeholders on the review of hazard allowance for health workers, the hazard allowance still remains a paltry N5,000.

It also noted the non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance to some of the members in federal and most of its members in state tertiary institutions.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Thisday News

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BREAKING: IPOB orders sit-at-home on October 1, removal of all Nigerian flags from southeast

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The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has declared a sit-at-home across the Southeast on October 1.

IPOB said the October 1 sit-at-home is to show its rejection of Nigeria and all the country stands for.

In a statement by its spokesman on Saturday, Emma Powerful, the group also declared the commencement of “operation no Nigerian flag begins in Biafra land from October 1st.”

Powerful said the sit-at-home order was declared to celebrate Ambazonia Independence Anniversary.

The statement reads partly: “IPOB has declared 1st of October 2021 total shutdown in Biafra land as a sign of our rejection of the evil construct called Nigeria and there shall be no movement in Biafra land on this day.

“Also, IPOB has declared from today 25th September 2021 that all Nigerian flag mounted anywhere in Biafra land must be brought down, Banks exceptional, IPOB leadership will communicate to Banks directly and give them reason they must peacefully bring down Nigeria flag in their banking premises before we do it ourselves in our own way.

“Every body must strictly adhere to this directives from IPOB leadership, we want to let the world know you that Biafraland is not Nigeria and shall not be. Don’t say I don’t know, a word is enough for the wise.”

Seun Opejobi, Daily Post

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