Troops of the Nigerian Army attached to Operation Harbin Kunama 3 have arrested the traditional heads of Doka and Mutu villages in the Gusau Local Government Area of the state for serving as informants to bandits.
The troops also shot dead six bandits in Kirsa and Sunke villages in the Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State during a gun battle.
The arrest of the traditional heads comes two weeks after the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, said some traditional rulers in Zamfara and the North-West region helped bandits to perpetuate criminal activities.
Although the Zamfara State Council of Chiefs denied the allegations, the minister insisted in another statement by his Public Relations Officer, Col Tukur Gusau, a week later that the Federal Government had some security reports from the region indicting some traditional rulers of complicity in banditry and killings in the state.
According to the army on Monday, apart from the arrests of the leaders of Doka and Mutu villages, whose names were not disclosed, the troops nabbed 16 other suspected informants and errand men to the bandits.
Our correspondent learnt that the troops were on a clearance operation in Kirsa and Sunke villages in the Anka Local Government Area when they ambushed the bandits and engaged them in a shoot-out for about two hours.
The soldiers thereafter killed six of the bandits, recovered two AK-47 rifles and two motorcycles.
Our correspondent learnt that the bandits were armed with “sophisticated automatic weapons” but were forced to flee, abandon their camps and logistics, which were subsequently destroyed by the troops.
The Director, Army Public Relations, in a statement on Monday, confirmed the arrests of the village leaders and the deaths, of the bandits, saying three motorcycles, two dane guns, two machetes, among others were recovered from the bandits in Gusau Local Government Area.
He said, “Troops on Operation Harbin Kunama 3, based on credible intelligence about bandits’ movements in Kirsa and Sunke in the Anka LGA, continued with a clearance operation into the hinterland to clear the brigands.
“Consequently, the troops engaged the bandits in a shoot-out at the bushes of Kirsa and Sunke villages which resulted in the extermination of six criminals, the recovery of two AK-47 rifles and two motorcycles.
“In Doka and Mutu villages in the Gusau LGA, troops also had a serious encounter on Saturday with a group of bandits which lasted for about two hours. The brigands were armed with sophisticated automatic weapons, but they were overpowered by the troops, forcing them to flee from their hideouts. Eighteen suspected informants to the bandits were arrested, including the village heads of Doka and Mutu villages.”
He added, “The Force Commander, Maj.-Gen Hakeem Otiki, said the troops would continue to go after bandits in Zamfara and the contiguous states of Kebbi, Katsina and Sokoto.”
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Council of Chiefs has denied apologising to the Nigerian Air Force over its allegations that innocent villagers were victims of air strikes targeted at bandits and kidnappers terrorising the state.
Chairman of the state Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad, the Emir of Anja, while speaking to newsmen on Monday, described the report that the emirs apologised as baseless.
Recalling what transpired when the Chief of Air Staff delegation visited him, Alhaji Ahmad said, “I received an entourage led by Air Vice Marshall Idi Lubo, who was in the state to condole and sympathised with the entire people of the state over a mistake made by NAF that consumed innocent lives.
“In my remarks, there was no where I apologised that NAF mistakenly killed innocent lives during its bombardments on targeted camps operated by bandits across some villages in the state recently but, I rather used words of respect as did by the August visitor which had been our tradition when receiving guests.
“Our council meeting had, based on credible reports, believed that the killings of innocent people had occurred and we stand by our position. If later, I would come back to make a U-turn on that matter then, I should not remain as Emir,” he said.
Attahiru further said that NAF had accepted that the action was a mistake.
But NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “We will not take issue with esteemed royal fathers and traditional rulers. We follow the due process to ensure that it is only the criminals that are taken out by the air strikes. We remain resolute and we will continue our operations.”
FG, S’South Govs, Leaders Set to Meet in Rivers Tuesday
A delegation from the Federal Government is expected to meet with Governors and leaders of the South-South geo-political zone in Government House, Port Harcourt today (Tuesday).
The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, is expected to lead the presidential delegation.
A Government House source in Port Harcourt, who confirmed the meeting to our correspondent, said Gambari is on his way to Port Harcourt.
The rescheduled meeting is coming on the heels of the botched stakeholders’ forum, which angered the Southern Governor, during which the South-South Governors’ Forum, demanded an apology from the presidency.
Makinde Presents N266.6bn 2021 Budget to Assembly
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Monday presented a budget of N266.6bn as the 2021 budget to the state Assembly.
While presenting the budget tagged, ‘Budget of continued consolidation’ Makinde announced that 53.2 per cent of the total budget was being proposed for capital expenditure.
He said, “The 2021 budget is N12bn above the 2020 budget and this is to further drive a consolidation effort that we started this year.
“We were able to achieve 50.2 per cent of the 2020 budget implementation and you will agree with me that it was due to causes beyond our control like the COVID-19 pandemic and other crisis that bedevilled the nation and the world at large.”
Makinde further explained that the recurrent expenditure is N136, 262,990 while the capital expenditure is N130. 381bn.
According to him, 21 per cent of the budget, amounting to N56.348 bn, is allocated to education while infrastructure is to gulp N46bn, representing 17.2per cent of the budget.
For health, a total of N13.2bn, representing 4.9per cent of the budget was set aside for the establishment of primary health centers across 351 wards in the state.
“So, it is pertinent that we appreciate the members of the state House of Assembly for their support.”
Amuwo Odofin LG Boss, Buraimoh Under Attack over FESTAC Traffic Crisis
Residents, motorists and commuters in Festac Town, the festival town in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos, have berated the chairman of the council, Engr. Valentine Buraimoh, over the deplorable state of the roads in the area that has caused them untold hardships every day.
Of major concern is the 2nd Avenue Road, a major gateway to the community which is bogged down by heavy traffic jam on a daily basis.
Though the council boss in a recent report claimed that the congestion was the barricade placed on 2nd Avenue Road by the Area E Police Command, residents however, believe that the gridlock is as a result of insensitivity and neglect of the major roads by the LG Boss especially in fixing the gaping potholes which have become more deplorable over the years due to lack of maintenance and also road diversion to educate motorists on alternative roots to decongest that root. Also the refusal of the local government council to work with other state agency like LASMA because Engr. Valentine Buraimoh is noted to be hostile on his dealings with them.
The Area E Command, like most other police stations in Lagos had barricaded a lane on the access dualize road in front of their offices for fear of another possible attack by hoodlums who had hijacked the #EndSARS protests and resent for fear of another attack by commercial motorcycle operators (Okada riders) who had violently protested and forcefully confronted the Lagos State environmental taskforce who came to enforce the law of Lagos State on restriction of commercial motorcycles from the Oshodi Apapa expressway
One of the residents, Pastor Omotore Folorunsho, said: “Please, don’t allow anyone to deceive you, the barricade on the 2nd Avenue Road has nothing to do with the heavy traffic jam. If the roads are good, their would have been no traffic. All the alternative roads in Festac Town are terribly bad. You can come and investigate it your self. We call on the Federal and State Government to open a panel of enquiry to investigate what the local government chairman has been doing with the Federal and State allocation with the internally generated revenue. All services are down in the local government. The health centers are in a state of disrepair. Many primary schools are also in a very bad sharp. We use to have road sweepers by previous administration but does days are history. The drainages are all blocked and the environment is totally very dirty. A typical example are the entrance gates to Festac Town. Go to first , second and third gates, you will cry for Festac Town. All the Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government does is collect the monthly allocation and loot the money. We call on EFCC to come and investigate this local government.
“For now, the action of the police is the best because if hoodlums are allowed to attack the police station, and loot the weapons, they would use the weapons they steal to attack residents and motorists of this local government.
“As far as I am concerned, we don’t have a local government council chairman. The council chairman, Engr. Buraimoh, has failed. What has he used all the allocations he has received so far to do? I can tell you, nothing! No meaningful development.”
Another resident, Femi Adeyinka, who has lived in the neighbourhood for over 30 years, said the roads have remained the same over 5 years, without any effort by the local government to improve them.
“For over five years now, the state of roads has been so deplorable especially in Festac Town. Residents find it hard to go out of their homes with ease. It is much terrible during the raining season.
“If you go to other communities, you would find better roads and other infrastructures because residence have taking their faith into their own hands by repairing and constructing their roads with their own money without any help from the local government, but Festac Town is still in a very bad condition.
“At every available opportunity, we made appeals to the local government chairman Engr. Valentine Buraimoh, to fix all the bad roads but he refused to respond and when he tries to respond, he does so with bad road repair. We want the council to come and repair the roads using competent contractors,” he said.
Corroborating the residents, Adewumi Ogunsina, one of the councillors representing Ward K in the council, berated the council chairman, Engr. Valentine Buraimoh, stressing that he was only hiding under the cover as he has refused to address the real challenge confronting the people in the local government.
Hon. Ogunsina said: “Since Engr. Buruiamoh assumed office in 2017, the people of Amuwo Odofin Local government have continued to languish in pain because the council chairman doesn’t care about the people or the community but only on how to enrich himself.
“On the barricade on the 2nd Avenue Road, Engr. Buraimoh is only lying and using that as cover-up. Do you know that there are over six alternative roads that can take you away from that part of 2nd Avenue infront of the Area E command and Festac Police Station into and out of Festac town but people avoid those places because they are not motorable? The roads are so bad and the chairman has refused to fix them.
“Just last week, there was even an attempt by okada riders at 2nd Rainbow around the Jakande Low cost Housing Estate to burn down the Area E Police command and Festac Police Station, so what do you expect the police to do? Should they fold their hands and allow their command be looted and set on fire?
The problem is not the police but the deplorable state of roads in the local government alongside the drainages which the council chairman has refused to desilt for a long time. Go and long at the drainages, you will see that they are all blocked.
“There are supervisors in the local government executive council, do you know that the chairman has not held the weekly executive meeting for over 10 months
We have seven councillors in the council, do you know that the chairman doesn’t meet with us to discuss development of the area or even to get approval?
It will shock you to know that the Chairman takes decisions alone and simply because I challenge his actions, he decided to side-line me totally and align with the other six as he spends the money of the local government at his own free will.
He runs the council like his private company because he believes that he is untouchable.
I once again appeal to the Lagos State House of Assembly to institute a panel of enquiry to investigate the criminality and maladministration in Amuwo Odofin Local Government
Efforts to reach Engr. Buraimoh for his reactions to the development proved futile as calls and text messages placed to his mobile phone were not responded to as at press time.