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Borno Killings: 48 bereaved families get N600,000 each

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  • Tinubu commiserates with Gov Zulum, Borno people

About 48 bereaved families of rice farmers killed in the Zabarmari area of Borno State last Saturday were on Thursday given a cash donation of N600,000 each and bags of food items.

The money and food items were handed over to the affected families by a committee set by Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum.

The money was said to have been put together from the combined support of N20m donated by the Northern Governors Forum, and N5m by the North-East Development Commission, NEDC.

A committee, chaired by Borno State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Saina Buba, made the cash donations and other food items to the victims at Zabarmari on Thursday.

Zabarmari is located at Jere, in the central part of Borno State.

Also donated to the victims were 13,000 bag of rice, maize and beans, 1,300 cans of vegetable oil, 2116 cartons of seasoning cubes, 1,083 cans of tomato and 650 sachets of salt.

They were donated by Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development for distribution to the families, the committee chairman, Buba, said.

He said each family should consider the N600,000 cash and food varieties not as compensation for the killing of their loved ones, but to reduce hardship resulting from gaps in access to livelihoods created by the death of their breadwinners.

Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has commiserated with Governor Babagana Zulum and the people of Borno State over last Saturday’s killing of scores of farmers in Zabarmari community, Jere Local Government of the state by Boko Haram insurgents.

The former Lagos governor condemned the cold-blooded murder of innocent farmers toiling to eke out a living for themselves and their families and provide food security for our nation.

In a letter to the governor made available to reporters by his Media Office, Tinubu said, “It is with utmost sorrow and distress that I commiserate with you on the dastardly and inhuman killing of dozens of farmers in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, on Saturday 28th November 2020.

“The cold-blooded murder of these innocent citizens, toiling to eke out a living for themselves and their families and provide food security for our nation is not only callous but satanic.

“I recall your strident sacrifices to ensure that millions of displaced Borno residents are resettled in their ancestral homes and return to their various occupations. These efforts have not only helped in increasing agricultural output but have also given joy to the displaced.

“Your Excellency, this unfortunate incident despite your spirited efforts in complementing the efforts of the federal security forces is a sad reminder that the war against these desperate and blood-thirsty insurgents will require more efforts to win.

“My hope and prayer is that Allah will give you the courage to continue to provide succour to your people even in the face of this rather depressing event.”

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400 suspected Boko Haram, bandits’ sponsors arrested

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Security agents have arrested about 400 businessmen for allegedly funding operations of Boko Haram and bandits in the country.

Daily Trust reported that the businessmen were arrested in an operation coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have approved the operation in 2020.

The newspaper reported that an initial list of 957 suspects comprising bureau de change (BDC) operators, gold miners and sellers, and other businessmen is being acted upon.

A source told the newspaper that about 400 persons were arrested in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.

Names of the BDC operators arrested were given as Baba Usaini, Abubakar Yellow (Amfani), Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida), Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge, and Muhammad Lawan Sani, a gold dealer.

Those arrested are reportedly being kept in military and the DSS facilities in Abuja and other places.

“Because this is economic warfare against the insurgents and other militant groups, the president, when approving the operation directed that the NFIU take the lead as the country’s financial intelligence powerhouse,” Daily Trust quoted a source to have said.

The source added that “with the presidential approval, a task team was composed of personally selected senior officers who were deployed under the DIA to carry out the special assignment”.

“The main person coordinating the funding ring for Boko Haram is in our custody, he and his closest ally in the business,” he said.

Another source was quoted to have said about 19 BDCs owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been used in funding terrorism.

Apart from one person in Borno and another in Zaria, Kaduna state, the source said over N50 billion were traced in funding to the armed groups.

“A number of those arrested have divulged vital information including operational details of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. But they are being kept to aid further arrests,” the source was quoted to have said.

Family members of those arrested, the newspaper reported, have been calling on the government for their release.

In 2020, six Nigerians were also jailed in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly funding Boko Haram.

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Former Ondo deputy governor agrees to return vehicles

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Former Ondo Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi has finally agreed to return the two vehicles in his possession to the Ondo State Government.

The state government last week said it would embarrass Agboola if he failed to return the four vehicles.

But Agboola, who said he had only two vehicles, insisted they were part of his benefits.

The state government also petitioned the Ondo State Police Command to help recover the vehicles.

In a statement on Sunday, the former deputy governor said he was not the problem of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration.

Agboola stated it was in the interest of everybody that Governor Akeredolu demonstrated good governance, transparent policy making and effective change.

He said it was unfortunate some members of the inner circle of Akeredolu have prioritised harassing him on a number of issues most especially the return of vehicles

Agboola said he hoped “these petty interactions would have ceased after the recent inauguration.

“To be clear – if the return of these two vehicles will make the administration focus more on the avalanche of pressing needs, challenges and predicaments facing the state most especially insecurity, the absence of governance and unpaid salaries across the entirety the Ondo public sector – then I’m ready to make the sacrifice and return the two vehicles which they so desperately need.

“I am not the problem of the present administration. I have moved on.”

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Pensioners demand payment of N35bn arrears

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Nigeria pensioners who retired from the electricity sector have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to come to their aide in order to resolve the lingering issue of their owed N35billion pension arrears.

The pensioners under the aegis of Electricity Sector Retiree Welfare Association (ESREWA), led by its  President, Elder Benjamin Amako, asked President Buhari to save countless dying pensioners whose fate are tied to the delayed payment of their pension arrears.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, Amako said every Nigerian, including President Buhari, knows the pathetic situation of pensioners in the country.

Amako said: “First we thank God that Mr President returned from his medical trip healthier, stronger and successfully. The news of his return gave us pensioners so much joy because we know  he will not sit quiet and watch more pensioners lose their lives because of humanly inaction. So far, his administration has ensured that pensioners gets their rights and this arrears we are asking for is our right.

“Interestingly, President Buhari had already directed that this same arrears (N35billion) be paid to us, but for over five years ago he issued the directive, the relevant authorities who it is their responsibilities to ensure we get this arrears for our dying members seems to be working contrarily.

“So for the past five years, these arrears have always been part of the National Budget under Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) budget and accordingly transferred to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). But sadly, we have not been paid a dime even as I speak, for reasons that are totally and obviously human making.

“So we are pleading with President Buhari, the SGF, Minister of Finance, Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Accountant General of the Federation, PTAD and other relevant authorities to save our lives by paying us this money without further delay.”

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