Katsina attack: Military considers external help to rescue abducted schoolboys – Newstrends
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Katsina attack: Military considers external help to rescue abducted schoolboys

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The military is considering the option of seeking external help to rescue over 300 schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) Kankara, Katsina State abducted last Friday by bandits.

A top military officer was quoted by THISDAY as saying one of the options being considered is for the Federal Government to seek assistance from the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).

This is to launch a rescue bid leveraging its sophisticated technology for such operation.

The military also dismissed claims by Boko Haram that it masterminded the abduction of the pupils last Friday.

It described the claim of the terror organisation, made by its acclaimed leader, Mr. Abubakar Shekau, as mere propaganda.

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, said 17 pupils had escaped from their captors.

Another report, however, claimed that two of the abductees might have been killed.

The Senate has summoned the defence minister and security chiefs over the abduction.

A military source said rescuing the pupils would be faster with help from US AFRICOM.

AFRICOM had recently alerted Nigeria and other West African nations that ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terror groups were making inroads into the West African sub-region, exploiting local differences and collaborating with affiliates.

The United States Special Forces recently rescued an American kidnapped from a farm in Niger Republic in Sokoto State.

During the operations, the Special Forces killed six of the kidnappers, four from Niger and two from Nigeria.

THISDAY gathered that the Federal Government could be reaching out to the US government (AFRICOM) in view of its recent intelligence alert on the movement of terror groups to the sub-region.

“At many levels, strategic levels there is a flurry of activities to rescue the children safely and keep the peace of the nation,” the source added.

The source said the military was looking at many options irrespective of ongoing negotiations with the kidnappers.

The source also dismissed claims by Boko Haram that it staged the kidnap of the Katsina students as propaganda.

He said, “We have our constitutional mandate, which we are pursuing. We are not discouraging other options, be it negotiations or any other thing.

“We are focused on the rescue of the children, having established location. The issue of collateral damage is also being looked at. The safety of the children is paramount.”

On the claim by Boko Haram that it kidnapped the pupils, the source, who asked not to be named, said, “It is in their character to make such bogus claims in situations like this. It is part of their propaganda. Anything that happens in Nigeria is linked to Boko Haram.

“The fact that they have collaborators is not in doubt but this is propaganda.”

17 students escaped from captivity, says Masari

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, in an interview with journalists late on Monday after he briefed President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura on efforts made to rescue the students, said 17 out of the 333 abducted schoolchildren had returned home.

Masari had earlier told the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Salihi Magashi (rtd), who on Sunday led security chiefs on a sympathy visit to the people of the state that 333 pupils were missing after the invasion of the school.

The governor, who said frantic efforts were ongoing to rescue the remaining captives, added that the 17 freed students were released “unconditionally” and had since been reunited with their family members.

He said: “As at today (Monday), information available to me shows that 17 of the missing children have been found. Fifteen of them were found around Dinya in Danmusa. I was informed by the DPO. One other was found through them and the last, the father called that his son has returned home.

“All these missing children who have been found have been reunited with their families since we have shut down the schools. Majority of the missing children are in the forest in Zamfara. But God willing, the children will be returned safely.

“I was told that they spoke with a teacher whose son was also kidnapped that the bandits said the helicopter should stop roving and that they will collect ransom but they didn’t specify. And so they ended the call.”

Masari explained that one of the abducted children’s fathers, who is also a teacher at the school, was contacted by the bandits who warned that security forces should stop aerial patrol of their hideouts.

He added that the bandits demanded that adequate money should be set aside pending the completion of the ongoing rescue mission.
However, two of the abducted students have been reportedly killed by their abductors.

A parent, whose son is among those kidnapped by the bandits, told THISDAY yesterday on condition of anonymity that one of the students who escaped from the kidnappers’ den said the hoodlums killed two of the schoolboys in his presence.

He said the student told them that while in captivity, they were made to go through inhumane experiences, including being flogged like animals and fed with wild flora.

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Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

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Doyin Okupe

Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

The Director-General of the Labour Party’s presidential campaign in the 2023 election, Dr Doyin Okupe, has stated that the candidate of the party, Peter Obi, betrayed the Peoples Democracy Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to contest the election.

According to Okupe, Obi’s presidential interest forced him to go against Atiku, who brought him into national politics.

Okupe denied the insinuation that he betrayed Obi, maintaining that he decided to withdraw his support for the LP presidential candidate because he was no longer interested in working with him.

The politician spoke in a viral video circulated on social media on Friday.

He said, “They said I betrayed Obi. No. How can I betray him? I started politics in 1978. Obi was nowhere else. My life and political destiny cannot be tied to Obi’s ambition. I wish Obi well, but I am done with him. We wanted to achieve something, but we couldn’t achieve it.

“Obi was the vice-presidential candidate of Atiku Abubakar in 2019. He brought him to the national limelight. Because of his own ambition, which was correct and due, Obi left the party and contested against Atiku. If people said I betrayed Obi, what did Obi do to Atiku? It is not fair.

“It is Obi’s interest in 2023 that made him go on a collision course against his former master. Obi was not my master; I was his supporter. If I supported him up to a point and decided to go back and be myself, how can that be an offence?”

Okupe disclosed that Pa Ayo Adebanjo, a leader of pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, persuaded him to support Obi.

According to him, he (Adebanjo) objected to the idea of a northerner succeeding former president Muhammadu Buhari, adding that he supported the move for the South to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.

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Okupe further stated that the collective decision to support Obi from the South-East was based on fairness.

The politician said, “Baba Adebanjo called me and said he heard that I wanted to contest for the presidential election, and I said yes. Baba said I was a troublemaker. I told Baba that he didn’t know what was happening in our party.

“PDP wanted a northerner to replace Buhari; that didn’t make sense to me. It made a mockery of our federalism and unity as a nation. It undermined my essence as a human being.

“Baba asked which section of the South should be considered if the presidency was zoned to the region. I told Baba that it was only the South-East that has not produced a president.

“Baba said we should support the South-East for the presidency and I agreed. We reviewed the presidential candidates from that region and we concluded on supporting Obi. That was what happened.”

Speaking further, Okupe said, “I went to the Press Centre in Abeokuta to declare that I was withdrawing from the race, and that I would support Peter Obi. By that time, I hadn’t met Obi. I haven’t discussed or seen him. I only knew he wanted to be president.

“Five days later, Obi called me on the phone and requested to see me. We met and discussed and he made me the Director-General of his campaign. That was how the journey with Obi started. When it was clear to us that we couldn’t get the ticket from PDP, we decided to leave the party.”

On why Obi lost the election, Okupe disclosed that the party was grossly and inadequately arranged to cover a national election, saying LP didn’t have what it took to win the presidential poll.

He said, “We ran a fantastic campaign; we did a lot of mobilisation, but we had our flaws and shortcomings. The party was grossly and inadequately arranged to cover a national election. We didn’t have what it took. The structure that covered the entire country wasn’t there.”

Reacting to Okupe’s statement, the Chairman of the Labour Party in Osun State, Bello Adebayo, said, “Obi didn’t betray anybody; it is not correct to say he betrayed Atiku because he didn’t contest the PDP presidential ticket with him in PDP.”

Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

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Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

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Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police (CP), Benneth Igweh, yesterday night refuted claims by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that the police prevented union members from protesting.

Reacting to the development, Igweh dismissed allegations  by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that the operatives of the FCT police command restricted members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, from leaving the protest ground and also deployed armoured vehicles, assault dogs, and police personnel to break up the peaceful protest using excessive force at Unity Fountain in Abuja on Thursday.

A statement issued by the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh said: “The command wishes to state that it clearly recognises and understands the rights of the citizens to freedom of association and expression and wouldn’t prevent citizens from exercising such rights. Hence, it didn’t deploy armoured vehicles, assault dogs, or personnel to use excessive force to prevent protesters from exercising their rights.

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“The command wishes to state that there was an understanding and agreement between the associations and itself that the protest should be held within the unity fountain, where representatives of each association will address the press and subsequently take their complaints on behalf of others to the appropriate authorities without entering the streets. The agreement was reached to prevent potential hijacking of the protest by some unscrupulous elements, hence the restriction.

“The commissioner of police FCT, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, wishes to reaffirm that the command is committed to upholding the right to peaceful assembly while prioritising the safety of the general public. He also noted that the command appreciates the cooperation of the community and will continue to work diligently to maintain a safe environment for all.”

Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

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Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

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Reinstated dep gov of Edo State Philip Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki

Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

The reinstated deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, says the State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has vowed to destroy him.

Shaibu alleged that Obaseki was behind the attack on him and Monday Okpebholo, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state on Thursday.

A clutch of armed men opened fire on Shaibu and Okpebholo on Thursday at the exit gate of the Benin Airport upon their return from Abuja after the judgment reinstating the former as the deputy governor of the state.

Okpebholo’s police aide was killed during the shootout.

Speaking during an interview on Channels TV on Friday evening, Shaibu said he got an intelligence report that Obaseki ordered his men not to allow him into the state.

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He, however, said no one can stop him from entering the state even if he was an ordinary let alone as a deputy governor.

He said: “Yesterday I got intel that the governor told his men not to allow me into town. I’m a free-born citizen of Edo State, nobody can allow me into the state.

“The Constitution does not allow anybody to bar me from entering the state, not even when I’m a deputy governor, even if I’m an ordinary citizen; nobody has that right.

“But I didn’t know he would arm them that much, reviewing it further; I remembered the governor threatening to destroy me, he used the word ‘I will destroy you’

“It’s obvious that it was an attempt to actualize the statement that he was going to destroy me. I have decided that only God can destroy a man and that’s why I have decided that I will fight till the end of this campaign, even when I was impeached; I decided to fight for the sanity and sanctity of the office of the deputy governor.”

Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

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