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Zamfara working with repentant bandits to get abducted girls released – Matawalle

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  • Says Nigerians will be shocked by those behind the abduction
  • Aviation minister leads FG delegation to state

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, on Sunday said revelations about those behind the attack on Government Girls’ Secondary School, Jangebe last Friday and abduction of over 300 students will shock Nigerians.

He stated this just he told a high powered Federal Government’s delegation led by o the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, that the state government was working with repentant bandits to secure the release of the abducted schoolgorls.

The governor, while speaking on Sunday when 17 Emirs in the state paid him a sympathy visit over the abduction of the schoolgirls, said Nigerians would be shocked to know people behind the abduction of the girls.

Also during the visit, the Emir of Anka and Chairman of Zamfara state Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Attahiru Anka, berated the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the upsurge in killings and kidnappings by bandits in the country.

Gunmen on Friday had attacked GGSS Jangede, and abducted over 300 girls, while seven of the girls escaped while they were being taken into the bush.

This happened about two weeks after bandits abducted 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State.

Before the attack in Kagara, bandits had struck in Kundu village, also in Niger State and abducted passengers of the state transport service bus.

Commenting on the rising insecurity in the country, the Emir of Anka blamed the Federal Government.

He said, “The Federal Government is in total control of the security operatives in the country and not the state governors, as such the President is the one who has failed to address the issue of insecurity.”

In his response, Matawalle thanked the Emirs for the solidarity visit and assured them that he would not abandon his peace accord with the bandits no matter what the people would say.

He said, “Many people will be surprised to hear those people behind the abduction of these innocent children.”

“They are not comfortable with the progress I am getting as a result of my peace initiative and they want to do all they can to sabotage my efforts”.

“I will insha Allah succeed at the end of the day and they will bury their faces in shame,” said the governor.

Delivering a speech on behalf of the President, Sirika said the Federal Government was deeply concerned with the abduction at the GSSS Jangebe.

He stated, “The President is deeply concerned and worried about the abduction of students in Zamfara State and other states where such incidents occurred.”

Responding, the governor said the abducted students would be released soon.

He said the state government was working with repentant bandits to facilitate the safe rescue of the schoolgirls.

“We are using the leaders of the repentant bandits to rescue the schoolgirls from the kidnappers. Very soon, we are going to witness the release of the abductees,” he said.

Matawalle added that his administration “is going to continue with peace process with bandits, considering its impact in addressing security challenges facing the state”.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for sending the delegation to symphathise with the state.

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Zamfara killings: Buhari says it’s time to crush bandits

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President Muhammadu Buhari was aghast by the latest orgy of violence visited on innocent people in Zamfara State by bandits and issued a fresh order to security agents to crush the gunmen.

More than 25 people were killed in attacks on Gobirawa, Rini, Gora, and Madoti Dankule in Bakura and Maradun LGAs in Zamfara — the death toll has since risen.

The gunmen were said to have invaded the communities on motorcycles and shot sporadically, on Wednesday.

Reacting, Buhari said the “insane and persistent violence against innocent people must stop”, adding that “such wanton disregard for life will be brought to an end sooner than later”.

A statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Thursday quoted Buhari to have said this, adding,“These criminals should stop pushing their luck too far by believing that the government lacks the capacity to crush them.

“The violence against poor villagers who are struggling with poverty and other severe economic challenges is not going to be tolerated by this administration.”

He directed security agencies to close all existing gaps in their operations while expressing hope that the special operation launched by security agencies will prove decisive in ridding the state of the “frequent and horrifying” bandit activities.

“Let’s not give these criminals any opportunity to succeed by taking the war to their own camps and stop them in their tracks before they even have the time to respond under our massive fire power,” the president added.

Buhari reassured residents of the state of his administration’s determination to defeat the enemies, despite the latest setback.

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MASSOB rejects UK asylum offer, says it’s plot against Biafra

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The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has turned down the United Kingdom’s offer of asylum for its members.

It said the offer was an arrangement probably taken with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government to divert the attention of the people of Biafra.

A statement by MASSOB leader, Uchenna Madu, made available to journalists in Enugu, said the asylum offer was part of plans by the Buhari regime hatched with the British government against the emergence of Biafra.

The statement read in part, “The government of Britain is the sole architecture of the political, economic and religious problems of the people of Biafra in Nigeria even till today.

“It has not shown any remorse or apologise to the people of Biafra.

“Britain killed, maimed mesmerised and wounded our fathers, mothers and brethren through the Hausa Fulanis. MASSOB rejects their asylum gift.

“How can the chief persecutor of the people of Biafra suddenly turn to be our pacesetter? Britain and Nigeria can no longer deceive the world again concerning the plights of the people of Biafra.

“Our unified resilience, resolutions and unshakable spirit of no surrender will continue to hunt down this geographical expression called Nigeria.

“MASSOB demands referendum on Biafra not asylum.”

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Security: Avoid 14 Nigerian states, US warns citizens

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The United States has asked its citizens to stay away from 14 Nigerian states considered as hotspots of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.

It stated this in its latest travel advisories even as it urged its citizens to “Reconsider travel to Nigeria”.

The US State Department in the updated advisory added at least 116 countries this week to its ‘Level Four: Do Not Travel’ list.

The UK, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Germany and others are on the list, citing a “very high level of COVID-19.”

Before Tuesday, the State Department listed 34 out of about 200 countries as “Do Not Travel.” The State Department now lists 150 countries at Level Four.

Nigeria is categorised as Level 3.

Unlike countries categorised as Level 4, based on the advice of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nigeria has a good rating on COVID-19 prevalence.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for Nigeria due to COVID-19, indicating a low level of COVID-19 in the country”, the State Department said.

It listed areas American visitors should avoid, while in Nigeria as Borno, Yobe, and northern Adamawa states due to terrorism and kidnapping, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Zamfara states due to kidnapping.

It also banned American citizens from going to Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, kidnapping, and maritime crime.

In a country summary on Nigeria, the U.S. State Department wrote:

“Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage taking, banditry, and rape – is common throughout the country.

“Kidnappings for ransom occur frequently, often targeting dual national citizens who have returned to Nigeria for a visit, as well as U.S. citizens with perceived wealth. Kidnapping gangs have also stopped victims on interstate roads.

“Terrorists continue plotting and carrying out attacks in Nigeria, especially in the Northeast.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting shopping centers, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, transportation hubs, and other places where crowds gather. Terrorists are known to work with local gangs to expand their reach.

“There is civil unrest and low-level armed militancy in parts of Southern Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta region. Armed criminality, including kidnapping and maritime crime, is also pervasive in this region.”

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