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Don’t play politics with insecurity in South-West, OPC warns

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The Oodua People’s Congress has advised the Presidency and Arewa Consultative Forum against playing politics and ethnicity with the worrisome state of security in the South West, and has offered to assist Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in enforcing the deadline issued to herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in Ondo State.

Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, also known as Askari, the Deputy President to late OPC Founder, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, said this in a statement on Sunday following an emergency meeting of OPC leaders at the Century Hotel, Okota, Lagos.

Pointing out that no Southerner would dare go to the North and carry out killing, kidnapping and banditry that Fulani criminals have unleashed on Southern communities and highways, OPC issued a stern warning that this would no longer be condoned.

“ACF is threatening reprisals instead of telling its prodigal sons to halt their criminality. ACF should know that nobody has a monopoly over violence,” said the Yoruba socio-cultural group.

“Although the millions of law-abiding Fulani men and women living in our midst have absolutely no cause for alarm, those Fulani criminals hiding under the cloak of being herdsmen to perpetrate evil against law-abiding citizens should know their time is up. Henceforth, it will be fire for fire.”

Afolabi expressed his group’s backing for the pronouncement issued by the Ondo State Governor that herdsmen should leave forests for open areas by Monday.

In the words of Afolabi: “We are fully prepared to help enforce Governor Akeredolu’s quit notice in Ondo State at the expiration of the two-week deadline. Anybody found in the jungle will be regarded as a kidnapper and bandit and will be appropriately dealt with. We Yoruba shall rise up to defend our land from foreign marauders who daily rape our women, kill our farmers and kidnap Nigerian citizens. Enough is enough.”

The OPC also described the manhunt launched by the police for the Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, as misguided and provocative.

“The government must guarantee the life of Sunday Igboho. Rather than declare Sunday Adeyemo an outlaw, the Federal Government’s security agencies should turn their attention against criminal elements engaging in kidnappings and killings in the South,” the OPC Deputy President said.

 

Similarly, according to Afolabi, The Presidency’s opposition to Akeredolu’s order was divisive, provocative and ill-advised, as well as an insult to the country’s Federalism and the Separation of Powers principle of the Constitution.

 

He said: “In this Federation, one level of government will be overstepping its bounds by dictating to another level of government.

 

“The evil of kidnapping and killing being perpetrated by Nigerian Fulani and their foreign cousins can no longer be tolerated.

“This kids-glove treatment was how authorities encouraged Boko Haram to transform into a full-blown terrorist organisation that has made the North-East the most dangerous place to live in the world.

“Therefore, in line with His Excellency’s directive as the Chief Security Officer of Ondo State, herdsmen, tourists and farmers alike must vacate forest reserves to enable security agents and vigilantes move in to smoke kidnappers out of their hiding places and restore sanity to the backwoods.”

Urging all Yoruba to speak with one voice against the rising insecurity in their land, the OPC said the race currently faced an existential threat to its survival as foreign criminals had turned highways, forests and farms into danger zones while the Buhari Government turned a blind eye.

Afolabi said: “We cannot fold our arms and wait to be wiped out of our Fatherland by foreign elements.

“The Yoruba are peace-loving people with a great reputation for extending hospitality to visitors in order to produce mutually-beneficial advantages.

 

“But what we see today are invaders, murderers and parasites committed to snuffing the life out of their hosts.

 

“We can no longer tolerate them and we must reclaim not only our land but our peace from these children of Satan.”

 

According to the OPC, the imbalance in the country’s security architecture had always raised suspicion; and the government’s apathy to the rising menace in the South showed that authorities felt nothing about the daily murder and plundering of Nigerians.

 

OPC said: “Time has come for all Nigerians, especially the National Assembly, to compel the President to alter the security architecture to conform to the Federal Character principle of the Nigerian Constitution he swore to uphold.

 

“What obtains now is lopsided in favour of a section of the country and this is dangerous.”

 

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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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