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Bandits kill policeman, kidnap five in Niger

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Bandits have killed a policeman and kidnapped five others in attacks in Shiroro and Rafi local governments of Niger State.

One person was injured in the attack at Chukuba community in Shiroro council. Several cattle were stolen.

The attacks came just as Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, said most of the bandits operating in the North were from Mali and Sudan.

The bandits stormed the community, leaving the villagers confused and devastated.

The Chairman of Shiroro Local Government, Suleiman Chukuba, confirmed the incident during a telephone interview.

He appealed to the Federal Government to assist the council.

Another bandit attack occurred in Rafi Local Government during which five people were abducted.

The bandits reportedly invaded Rigo village in Rafi Local Government Area in their normal style of riding motorcycles and shooting sporadically at people.

At the end of the raid, which sources said lasted for about two hours, five people were kidnapped.

Police spokesman ASP Wasiu Abiodun, promised to get back with information on the attacks.

Governor Bello told journalists on Wednesday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa that the bandits were recruited through Facebook, a social networking platform.

Niger has recorded high incidents of banditry and kidnapping.

The governor said he asked the president for help against banditry and the repair of deplorable roads in the state.

“The situation is very bad. Niger is 73,000 square kilometers. It’s the size of the entire south-south and south-east,” he said.

Bello also said, “We have a limited number of security personnel and I think we have to start thinking of increasing the number so that we are able to cover most of the local government within the state.

“Some of our local governments are up to 6,000 to 7,000 square kilometers. For example, the Bobi Grazing Reserve, established by the state government, the CBN and the federal government to stop the movement of cattle and avoid herders/farmers conflict, has become a target.

“We are having an influx of bandits from neighbouring states, especially Zamfara and Kaduna states. It is difficult to patrol those areas because vehicles do not go there and it is a forest, which means we will need the federal might, especially the air force.

“By the way, the air force has been doing well in recent times to support our ground operations. In one particular case, we arrested bandits that are foreigners from as far as Sudan and Mali and they came on motorcycles.

“They are being recruited through social media, through Facebook in some cases. They confessed to this. They governor said the activities of bandits differ from place to place.”

The governor said the bandits are trying to deprive the country of food security by burning farms.

“I can understand if you kidnap, you are looking for money. But, when you burn farms, then, there is something else happening. Or when you kill animals. They go to villages and kill animals. They don’t steal,” he said.

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Lagos govt revives sanitation competition among LG LCDAs

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By Dada Jackson

Lagos State Government has announced the resuscitation of the environmental sanitation competition among all local governments and council areas in the state.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, in a statement, said the competition was being brought back to reawaken the consciousness of every resident with local governments serving as the pivot of the campaign.

Bello explained that since the programme suffered a setback in 2017 through a court stoppage of the monthly environmental sanitation, adding that everyone had let down their guard, thus aggravating various environmental issues.

He stated that part of the benefits derivable was bringing about healthy competition in sanitation and hygiene practices amongst communities, markets and LG/LCDA.

Others are improvement in the environmental conditions of the state especially on highways, roads and streets, markets, schools and discourage illegal street trading.

The commissioner said the competition would take input of actors in the communities including local government chairmen, community leaders,  traditional rulers, transport unions and market leaders.

He informed that an assessment committee which would start work in May had been constituted with membership drawn from the Environment Ministry and Local Government and Community Affairs and other relevant MDAs to inspect all public utilities.

The assessment committee will also inspect the general aesthetics of the scheduled LG/LCDA and the commitment of each to environmental management.

Bello listed some of the criteria for the assessment of each LG/LCDA to include culture of bagging of refuse, clean and flowing drains, LAWMA PSP patronage and vegetal control.

Others are markets cleanliness; landscaping and beautification of LG/LCDA secretariat; control of illegal structures, shanties, black spots, illegal refuse dumps; encroachment on drainage setbacks; street trading, abandoned buildings, land and properties.

The assessment is expected to be rounded off in November with an award ceremony during which mouth-watering prizes will be presented to the winner and first runners-up LG/LCDA, according to the commissioner.

Consolation prizes would be given to the cleanest market, school, environmental sanitation friendly motor park/garage amongst others, he added.

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23 killed in Zamfara traders, vigilante group clash

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A clash between Fulani traders and a vigilante group in Zamfara State has led to the death of about 20 persons.

The killings were said to have occurred at Dansadau in the Maru Local Government Area of the state as a reprisal for the death of three people at Ruwan Tofa and the rustling of cattle.

A report by The PUNCH, quoted a resident of the area, Mohammed Nuhu, as saying some bandits attacked Ruwan Tofa, killed three people, including a member of Yansakai, a proscribed vigilante group, and rustled cattle.

Nuhu said the rustled cattle were then put on sale at Dansadau Market, where the Yansakai members from Ruwan Tofa had coincidentally gone in search of the stolen animals.

He said the vigilantes were enraged when they saw the stolen cattle and killed at least 20 traders in the village.

“Immediately they sighted some cows, they became wild, saying they were the stolen animals and wanted to know who had brought them to the market,” he said.

“They were shown three Fulani people who claimed to be the owners of the animals; they killed them and reclaimed their cows.”

Another indigene of the area identified as Alhaji said all efforts to get security agents to come to their aid were frustrated.

“We have begged the government and security agents to come to our rescue, but up to this moment there are no security personnel in the whole area,” he said.

The Federal Government had banned mining activities in the Zamfara to curb the spate of banditry.

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We will remodel danfo buses, not scrap them – Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Government will not scrap the yellow buses popularly known as ‘danfo’, but remodel them to meet modern standards, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

He stated this when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Sunday.

Sanwo-Olu said it would not be fair to scrap the ‘danfo’, adding that they had served Lagos residents for a long time.

He said, “It will be unfair for us. These (their operators) are important stakeholders. They served our citizens. They served Lagosians for a long time. It became the print of Lagos, the yellow buses.

“Let’s be very creative. Let’s see how we can remodel them without scrapping them. We are collaborating with them. You know that our citizens now deserve newer models of cars.”

The governor also said the state had signed an agreement with a local bus manufacturing company to replace buses burnt during the #EndSARS protest.

He said although the buses were insured, the insurance did not cover such “unforeseen circumstances”.

Sanwo-Olu said, “We are trying to replenish them, we have started the compensation and the interesting thing is that we are working with a local bus manufacturing company.

“And it is going to come almost with the same specifications of the ones that were unfortunately destroyed so that Lagosians can have the same feel of the buses. They were insured. Insurance will never cover you 100 per cent.”

Speaking on transportation in the state, Sanwo-Olu said a mega city like Lagos should not make use of one mode of transportation, adding that his administration was working towards exploring other options.

He said, “One-third of Lagos is water. That is natural. It will be unfair on us not to utilise that opportunity. Lagos in terms of area is also even below the sea level.

“About 33 per cent of our landmass is water. We need to create that infrastructure. The infrastructure for water is terminal.”

The governor also spoke on the construction of light rail in the state, saying the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the federal level did not back the project when it was initiated.

The governor said his administration was determined to construct the red and blue light rail lines across the state.

He said, “Lagos was not with the Federal Government at that time so the PDP government never gave Lagos the right of way from the red line now which is from Oyingbo, Ebute Meta all the way to Agbado, which was where we all grew up, that rail corridor.

 “When I was in the BRF’s government, we never actually started the red line then. It was the blue line that we started in 2010. If we step back then, you remember we have always had that rail corridor.

“So the Federal Government never gave us that opportunity to be able to do the red line then. So it is just now that we are doing the red line.”

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