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Farmers also carry AK-47 for protection – Gov Lalong

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Simon Lalong, chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Plateau State governor has said both Fulani herdsmen and farmers carry AK-47 for self-defence.

Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed had been in the eye of the storm since last week when he said herdsmen had no option but to carry AK-47 for self-defence.

But Lalong speaking on Channels Television programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, on Tuesday, said an investigation by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum also showed that farmers were carrying AK-47 and other firearms for protection.

He said when the farmers-herdsmen crisis occurred in Plateau State, both herdsmen and farmers were arrested with AK-47.

He said, “I am not justifying anybody carrying AK-47 but don’t forget in the cause of our deliberations and investigations, it was not only Fulanis that were carrying AK-47, but even farmers are also carrying AK-47.

“Farmers are also carrying AK-47 because when you talk about them, it is just a proliferation of arms with respect to guiding and everybody trying to protect himself. We shouldn’t allow people to have self-help. When they talk about AK-47, I have not seen anybody talk about that.

“But at the time there were farmers-herdsmen clashes here, we arrested people. Farmers were holding AK-47 and the herdsmen were also holding AK-47.

“So, if you want all of them not to hold AK-47, you must put deliberate efforts towards curtailing the influx of light arms and secondly, to also find ways of taking these people away from their old ways of farming and then introduce them into the modern system.”

Lalong also spoke on the decision by some governors to ban open grazing, noting that it would be difficult to implement it if alternatives were not provided.

He said, “You must provide an alternative. You don’t wake up today and say ‘No, you can’t do poultry’. If you say you are not going to do poultry, those into it will ask ‘what alternative are you giving us? This has always been my point.

“Open grazing is out of fashion but what do we do as an alternative? We must be able to teach people the modern way of animal husbandry and also sensitive to them before they understand. Otherwise, if you just wake up tomorrow and say you ban it, it will be difficult. To be honest with you, it will be difficult to implement because not everybody will understand.”

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Updated: FG asks NRC to increase new Lagos-Ibadan trains

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The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation to increase the number of trains currently being run on the new standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, gave the directive on Saturday after inspection of train stations along the route.
Amaechi spoke at Moniya railway mega station, Ibadan, just as the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said 16 trips would be run daily on the route.
The corporation began one return trip (two trains) on the new rail line on December 3, 2021 after completing the track laying from Lagos to Ibadan.
Amaechi expressed satisfaction with the quality and level of work done so far by the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
He, however, did not give any specific date for the delivery of the entire project.
Meanwhile, the NRC MD said 11 new locomotives, two of which are for shunting, and 44 coaches had been delivered to the corporation.
He added that they would be deployed for freight and passenger standard gauge trains currently running in Nigeria.

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Abducted Kagara students released

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Exactly 10 days after their abduction, students of Government Science College, Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have been released.
The state government confirmed this on Saturday morning.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger announced this in Minna.
A total of 27 students, three staff members and 12 members of their family were abducted after the attack on the Kagara school in the early hours of last week Wednesday.
The statement said the released persons were received by the Niger State government officials at the Niger State Development Company suite in Minna.

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Lagos-Ibadan rail: Amaechi inspects Ebute-Metta, Apapa train stations

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The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday inspected the level of work at the Ebute-Metta Railway Terminal, Lagos, currently at completion stage.
He did this in company with the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Musa Alhassan; and NRC Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria.
The ultramodern terminal is part of the new standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan railway also undergoing skeletal service, after completion.
Although minor work, mainly fixing of interior materials was ongoing at the magnificent terminal, the building is already wearing a new look.
The outside design has been substantially completed.
Inside, which was inspected by the minister, both the arrival and departure halls look ready.
The shops, tickets arena and conveniences were all inspected.
Roofs and lights of a few inner officers were still be fixed.
He also inspected the Apapa railway station.
Eight other train stations also being constructed between Apapa and Moniya, Ibadan by the railway contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, are in various stages of competition.
The CCECC had finished doors, windows, roofing, flooring, ceiling and lighting in some of the stations.
Amaechi had earlier said
“Olodo (Station) is just near completion. At Kajola, what is outstanding is just painting. There are changes at Ebute-Metta. There was an improvement in Kajola, Olodo, and Ebute-Metta.”
The stations were meant to have been completed ahead of the inauguration of the new rail line.
“They have given us the target; by the end of September, three stations will be ready.
“By the end of October, all the minor stations will be ready, that is six stations. By the end of December, every station will be ready,” the minister once said.
“The only one station they (CCECC) are afraid of is Apapa (Station) because they started very late. But I insisted that Apapa should be completed at the same time as the rest,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari was initially expected to officially inaugurate the new rail line in January this year but was postponed.

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