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Villagers flee Borno communities as B’Haram, troops engage in fierce battle

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A clash between the military and fighters of the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) that raged for hours on Saturday has made hundreds of people in many communities located within the Hawul Local Government Area of Borno State to flee their homes.

The insurgents had invaded the Borno villages after a similar raid on Garkida in Adamawa on December 24.

The marauding insurgents were said to have stormed the Borno villages on Saturday in nine gun trucks and launched coordinated attacks.

All the visited communities are in the southern part of the state, which used to be relatively safe from attacks from the insurgents.

But ground troops with aerial support from the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole launched a counterattack and were able to repel the invasion.

Specifically, villages invaded are Tashan Alade, Shafa, Azare, Sabon-Kasuwa and Debro, all in the Hawul Local Government Area of Borno State.

The insurgents reportedly burnt down schools, shops and places of worship during the attacks.

Eleven people were reportedly killed; five others abducted and several residents injured.

Thousands of bags of farm products recently harvested by farmers were alleged to have been looted by the insurgents who also emptied shops and market stalls.

Spokesman for the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, said the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole had scrambled fighter jets to engage the invaders.

“The Air Task Force OPLD has scrambled NAF aircraft to the area since the most recent attack on some settlements surrounding Garkida started just after sunset today (Saturday).

“The aircraft have been engaging the Boko Haram terrorists,” he said in a message to defence reporters.

Hundreds of the villagers were said to have fled their homes while the terrorists were shooting sporadically.

The fleeing villagers took refuge in the nearby bushes and mountains.

Air strikes from Nigerian Air Force reportedly compelled the attackers looting shops and residential areas to flee.

The villagers were said to have watched the exchange of fire from the mountain tops.

The terrorists also set ablaze, vehicles and trucks belonging to a construction company.

A member of the vigilante group in the area said the attackers burnt down two EYN churches in Tashan Allade as the villagers scampered to the bushes.

Another member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), Balami Yusuf, told reporters, “As I am speaking to you, they are shooting. You can hear from the background.

“We are in the bushes and people are running and children are crying. We are helpless.”

Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, on Sunday was said to have been briefed about the incident.

The governor had cut short his visit to Abuja to return to Maiduguri and on arrival, he took a military chopper to assess the damage in the affected communities.

Zulum, according to his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, had travelled from Maiduguri to Katsina and Abuja on Thursday, for series of scheduled activities.

A statement by the governor’s spokesman confirmed the destruction visited on Tashan Alade, Shafa, Azare, Sabon-Kasuwa and Debro by the insurgents.

Gusau said Zulum was in Yimirshika, Azare, Sabon-Kasuwa and Shafa, where he inspected all destroyed property, including police station, market stalls and others, and ordered their immediate reconstruction.

The statement said:, “In Shafa, Zulum ordered the provision of six patrol vehicles and other components to strengthen local security network in the community. Also in Yamirshika, Zulum directed the provision of surveillance vehicles to hunters and vigilantes.”

He said the governor addressed “terrified residents who returned to Yamirshika town earlier Saturday, after attempts by insurgents on the town, was repelled.”

The governor commiserated with the people, adding, “We departed Abuja to Maiduguri this morning, and we are here to show our sympathy and to stand with all of you, our brothers in Hawul, over the sad incident, yesterday (Saturday).

“I have been fully briefed and I have seen things myself, insha’Allah, we will strengthen security here and in all places. We will as soon as possible, make available all your requirements based on my interaction with security stakeholders and community leaders.

“We will rehabilitate the police station, the shops and all other infrastructures destroyed yesterday.”

The governor also said, “As enshrined in section 14, 2b of the 1999 Constitution, security of lives and property remains the cardinal objective of any government. We know this and we are doing everything within our powers to provide security and ensure the welfare of citizens. We will neither relent nor shy away from our responsibilities. We shall remain resilient and focused in our search for peace in Borno.”

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Lagos Gridlock: Fayose Takes ‘Okada’ To Avoid Missing Flight

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it is working with the Lagos State Government to address the traffic gridlock on the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) road in the state.

 

Daily Trust reports that the traffic gridlock has worsened on the airport road in recent times, forcing some travelers to resort to motorcycles in order not to miss their flights.

There were mixed reactions when the former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was sighted on a bike along the airport to catch a flight. It was not clear where the governor was heading to.

 

Our correspondent reports that many passengers on several occasions had to resort to Okada in order not to miss their flights following the hectic traffic gridlock that has become a daily occurrence especially at peak periods on the airport road.

 

The worst hit is the domestic wing of the airport as the gridlock usually stretches from Ikeja under bridge to as far as the airport tollgate.

 

When such happens, commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders usually flood the airport road, charging passengers as much as N1000 and N2000 to convey them to either the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) or the MMA2, a private terminal operated by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

 

Though Okada is banned on major roads in Lagos, the riders have continued to defy the law to take over the road leading to the busiest airport in Nigeria.

 

Passengers and airport users have continued to lament the daily traffic gridlock on the airport road where they spend hours commuting from the international airport to the local terminals or the popular Ikeja Under-Bridge.

 

Speaking with Daily Trust, General Manager, Corporate Communications of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a chat with Daily Trust said Okada remain banned on the airport road and vowed that the authority would continue to clamp down on the riders.

 

She, however, said the authority was working with the state government to address the gridlock on airport road while further clamping down on Okada riders.

 

Asked on what FAAN is doing on the Okada menace, she said, “Of course we are doing something. We usually arrest them and take them to the Police station. We impound their bikes. Only recently we mounted signages warning them on the use of bikes on our access roads. There’s a fee of 50k if caught.”

On the worsening gridlock, she said, “FAAN is working with the LASG to address the traffic gridlock. It starts from under the bridge and the government promised to do something.”

 

Aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, decried the situation, saying it was wrong for Okada to be operating a shuttle on airport service road. He charged FAAN to urgently do something about it.

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Why We Attacked Goronyo Market – Banditry Kingpin

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Bandits operating between Sokoto and Zamfara states have taken responsibility for the attack on Goronyo Market in Sokoto State, where 49 villagers were killed on Sunday, describing it as a reprisal.

 

One of the kingpins, who is close to both Kachallah Turji and Halilu Sububu – the two notorious warlords in the area – Shehu Rekeb, said the attack was carried out to avenge killings of “innocent Fulani” in the area.

Daily Trust had on Tuesday reported that the attack was a joint one with the attackers storming the market on over 100 motorcycles.

 

They surrounded the place and opened fire on buyers and sellers that led to the death of 49 people.

 

“We heard those who attacked Goronyo being described as criminals. They were not.”

 

“The president (Muhammadu Buhari) came out to say so. Those people (of Goronyo) have killed so many people, so they would have to be attacked and killed,” he said.

 

Citing the killing of some Fulani Muslim worshippers at Unguwar Lalle, Rekeb said, “When those people (Fulani) were killed, the president did not say anything but he is now coming out to react to this one.”

 

A resident had on Monday told Daily Trust that, “The recent attack could be a misplaced reprisal by ‘Yan Sakai’ because of the recent killing of 11 herders at Mamande Market in Gwadabawa Local Government Area.

 

“This outlawed group is arresting and killing Fulani men unjustifiably,” he said.

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NNPC Spent N1.1tr On Subsidy, Oil Exploration, FAAC Remittance In 7 Months

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent N1.165 trillion to subsidize petrol, for oil exploration and remittance to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in seven months of this year.

According to NNPC monthly FAAC report for September, the three expenditure items gulped 57 per cent of the total revenue distribution of N2.043 trillion done by the national oil company in the first eight months of 2021. The balance of N878bn was distributed for other expenditures including crude oil lifting inspection expenses.

On subsidy which NNPC describes as under-recovery of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) value shortfall, the corporation spent N714.791bn within seven months, from February to August.

 

While there was no subsidy spent in January, NNPC spent N25.37bn in February and that figure rose by nearly three times in March to N60.396bn. The corporation then spent N61.966bn in April which more than doubled to N126.298bn in May, following a reported higher rise in the landing cost of imported petrol.

 

The national oil company further incurred a higher cost in petrol subsidy of N164.337bn in June but declined to N103.286bn by July; however, by August, the gain was reversed when subsidy cost rose to N173.132bn, the highest figure published so far.

 

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has continually reiterated that the government was committed to ensuring the total removal of subsidy from next year especially with the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as Nigerians await the impact of the decision.

 

Frontier exploration gulps N20bn

 

NNPC also spent N20.681bn on frontier oil exploration in seven months with the highest expenditure done in August. While it spent N1.964bn on exploration activities in January, the bill slightly dropped to N1.920 in February but rose to N2.250bn in March. There was no expenditure on oil exploration in April but the figure rose to N3.216bn in May, and dropping to N2.715bn in June. While oil exploration expenses dropped to N2.443bn in July, it rose by three times in August to N6.167bn.

 

This expenditure on oil exploration is being made at a time when global leaders are shifting from the use of fossil fuel to renewable and clean energy. However, Sylva recently said Nigeria will gradually lead its energy transition by focusing on gas exploration towards reaching a cleaner energy goal.

 

More so, in the recently signed PIA, 30 per cent of oil proceeds has been pegged for oil exploration activities at the frontier basins with concerns that these activities are concentrated in the north.

 

However, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, at an oil and gas union gathering last week in Abuja, clarified this misconception saying what refers to as frontier encompasses all new exploration areas including the Niger Delta, with the Benue Trough exploration reaching Calabar, the Cross River State capital. He also said it includes the Benin Basin and some undeveloped offshore areas in the South-South.

 

FAAC gets N429bn in 7 months

 

The corporation also remitted N429.284bn oil proceeds to the FAAC for seven months during the period as it skipped remittance in April.

 

The breakdown of the remittance shows that NNPC remitted N90.860bn in January, but that dropped to N64.161bn in February, and further depleted to N41.184bn in March 2021.

 

There was no remittance in April which was said to have gone for subsidizing petrol pump price per litre to keep it at the 162 to N165 price band.

 

By May, the remittance to FAAC dropped to N38.608bn but rose significantly to N47.162bn in June and higher to N67.280bn in July before climaxing at N80.030bn in August.

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