At least 110 people were killed in the Boko Haram attack on a farming community in Jere Local Government Area, a top United Nations official has said.
The Saturday attack was mostly on rice farmers in Zabarmari, a community in Jere Local Government Area, with residents saying at least 43 farmers were killed.
President Muhammadu Buhari who condemned the attack in a Saturday night statement did not speak on the casualty figure.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the victims were buried on Sunday with residents saying many others are yet to be accounted for.
On Sunday, the UN resident coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said the death toll from the attack could be as high as 110.
“I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri. At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” Mr Kallon said.
“In early afternoon of 28 November, armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields in Koshobe and other rural communities in Jere Local Government Area.
“I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the civilians who lost their lives in this atrocious attack. I also wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded in the incident,” he said.
Mr Kallon also said many women may have been kidnapped by the terrorists during the attack, something the Nigerian presidency kept mum about.
“We have also received reports that several women may have been kidnapped,” he said, calling for “their immediate release and return to safety.”
“My thoughts are also with the rural communities in the area, who are shocked by the brutality of yesterday’s attack and fear for their safety.
“The entire UN system and the humanitarian community working to provide life-saving and development assistance to the most vulnerable in Borno State is outraged by the incident.”
The UN official lamented that Saturday’s attack in Jere was the worst of such incidents this year in the troubled North-east that has suffered from Boko Haram attacks since 2009.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Mr Kallon said.
“It is unfortunately one of too many such attacks targeting farmers, fishermen and families who are trying to recover some livelihood opportunity after over a decade of conflict.
“I strongly condemn this attack and any act of violence against innocent civilians and I firmly urge all actors on the ground to respect international laws and humanity.
“Rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships. Helping them to farmland and rebuild livelihoods are amongst our priorities and the only way to avoid the looming food crisis in Borno State. They and all other civilians need to be protected and spared from any kind of violence.
“Innocent women, children and men desperately need food and other support and assistance, particularly at a time when we are recording some of the highest levels of food insecurity in Borno State. We owe to do our utmost to help them survive these difficult times.”
Mr Kallon’s statement highlights the difficulty in getting accurate data about casualties of Boko Haram attacks in Borno as several parts of the state are not easily accessible and the government deliberately downplays both civilian and military casualty.
At least 30,000 people have been killed in the Boko Haram insurgency, mainly in the North-east, since 2009 with millions of others displaced.
The terrorists have since spread their activities to neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Third Mainland Bridge: FRSC Thanks Motorists, Warns Against Reckless Driving
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has appreciated the Lagos public for the maturity and patience exhibited while the closure of the Lagos Third Mainland Bridge for repairs, lasted.
In a statement signed by the Command’s Public Education Officer, Route Commander Olabisi Sonusi, and made available to PointBlank.ng, the Lagos Sector Commander, Olusegun Ogungbemide advised motorists to steer clear of reckless driving and other sundry recklessness associated with road safety.
The Bridge finally opened for use Saturday February 27, 2021 at 12noon.
The statement reads in part:
“You may recall that the repair work which commenced from 24th July, 2020 expected to be completed by January 2021 was delayed because of COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSars unrest.
“We must say that the motoring public were so cooperative during the entire period the rehabilitation work lasted and this is commendable.
“It has become very imperative for us to enjoin motorists to avoid excessive speed, dangerous overtaking, disregard to lane discipline now that the most important bridge has been opened for use.
Ogungbemide urged motorists to drive defensively at all time on the bridge and other corridors within the state.
He thanked the Federal Government for the rehabilitation, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his immense support for the Command during the period.
He also expressed delight in the final opening of the bridge and also appeal that motorists should always drive safe and stay safe at all times.
Ogungbemide aldo promised that the command would not relent in its determination and commitment to reduce road traffic crashes and fatalities in the state.
He also appreciated all the FRSC officers and men as well as other sister agencies who worked assiduously during the period of the rehabilitation on the bridge.
Mailafia Accuses Those Who Wanted Jonathan Out of Sponsoring Bandits
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, says many of the bandits terrorising the country were sponsored by persons who wanted to push former President Goodluck Jonathan out of power at all cost.
Mailafia said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday.
He said, “During the 2015 elections they brought in thousands of foreigners into this country, armed them because it was a case of if Goodluck Jonathan doesn’t surrender, there will be war. They were ready for civil war; they were not ready for peace.
“Of course, Jonathan handed over to them and then they turned their backs on the hoodlums and the hoodlums said ‘look, you brought us here and we are still here’.”
Mailafia, who was the Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the last election, said he was also convinced that some foreign powers were behind the bandits.
“There are certain world powers that want to destroy our country. That is what I believe. There was a container load of weapons that were brought in from Turkey. Another time some were brought in from Iran. But nobody probed further and everything was swept under the carpet and that was the end of it,” he said.
The former CBN deputy governor, who was last year invited by the Department of State Services and the police for saying that an unnamed northern governor was a Boko Haram commander, said the fact that other people have come out to say far worse but have not been invited, shows that he was unfairly targeted.
The former CBN deputy governor also disagreed with the approach of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi on the issue of amnesty for bandits.
Mailafia said it was wrong to offer such hoodlums amnesty and then make no provision for the victims, adding that they have no agenda other than to destroy.
He argued that appeasing the bandits would never work even as he said the Niger Delta militancy and the banditry ravaging the country are two different things.
“I do not believe that the Niger Delta militancy can be compared to the terrorists. These people (terrorists) are not even bandits. A bandit is a common thief or a brigand. The ‘agbero’ are bandits. These people carrying sophisticated weapons and rockets are not bandits. They are terrorists.
“They have killed, they have maimed, they have raped and they have wreaked havoc,” Mailafia said.
Zamfara Confirms Abduction, Says Security Operatives, Vigilantes in Pursuit of Abductors
The Zamfara State Government has confirmed the abduction of female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of the state.
The confirmation was made by the Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran in a brief interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Gusau on Friday.
The abductors in their hundreds invaded the town and took away the students about 2 am.
“I can confirm to you now that we have sadly received the report on the abduction of the students of GGSS Jangebe and right now, I am on my way to the school.
“At this moment, l cannot say how many students were taken away by the gunmen until l get there, but we have already mobilized security men and members of the vigilantatè who are now in pursuit of the abductors,” the commissioner stated.
A staff of the school who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity said, “The gunmen in their hundreds invaded the town around 2 am on Friday, shot sporadically in the air to scare the residents before coming into the school.
“After taking away most of the students, we rounded up those that escaped or hid from the bandits and conducted a census where we counted 54 students and we are still searching to see if we can get more.”
Also, a resident who gave his name as Haliru Jangebe said the local vigilantes had tried to repel the invaders but were overpowered.
“The bandits were too many and they all seemed to be carrying heavy arms as we heard gunshots from all parts of the town and when the shots stopped, we heard that the students had been taken away.”