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Traditional Leaders Responsible for Violence in North, Says FG

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The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, on Tuesday said fresh intelligence had exposed the complicity of some “highly-placed traditional rulers” in the ongoing killings of Nigerians across the northern parts of the country.

Deadly attacks blamed on “bandits” have increased in north west states of Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina, with hundreds killed in recent months.

In the north east, attacks by the insurgent group Boko Haram have continued, affecting mostly Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

The widespread killings by rampaging armed bandits had prompted a surge in military and police deployment in those states, with President Muhammadu Buhari promising an escalation of security response if required.

The government on Sunday ordered the immediate stoppage of artisanal mining in Zamfara saying it had confirmed the attacks had links to illegal exploration of solid minerals in the area.

Mr Dan Ali in a Tuesday morning statement to PREMIUM TIMES said unnamed but high-profile traditional leaders had been identified as culpable in the violence, and vowed that they would not be sparred.

Mr Dan Ali said locals, especially in Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara and other parts of northern Nigeria ravaged by faceless gunmen, should “rise in unison to support all government’s efforts” aimed at addressing the crisis, especially because soldiers and other elements in the armed forces cannot combat it alone.

“It is instructive to mention here that insurgency and terrorism are global phenomena that cannot be addressed through military actions only,” Mr Dan Ali said.

“However, in spite of the concerted efforts of the Armed Forces and other security some unpatriotic persons including highly placed traditional rulers in the areas were identified as helping the bandits with intelligence to perpetuate their nefarious actions or to compromise military operations,” the minister said.

Mr Dan Ali did mention names of traditional leaders suspected to be fueling the violence, or whether any of them had been arrested.

A spokesperson for the ministry did not immediately answer requests seeking comments.

The minister also said the suspension of mining across Zamfara was amongst the key decisions the administration believed were key to returning normalcy to the region.

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Napoli Consider Renaming Stadium after Diego Maradona

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Napoli are considering renaming their stadium in memory of Diego Maradona after the club legend died aged 60.

Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991.

The forward, who inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, joined Napoli from Barcelona and won their only two Serie A titles – in 1987 and 1990 – along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed following Maradona’s death that the club will discuss renaming their stadium in his honour, combining its current title with his full iconic name, Sky reports.

“We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona,” De Laurentiis told French sports channel RMC Sport.

Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris supported the proposal that the city’s San Paolo Stadium be renamed for Maradona, who scored 81 goals in 188 appearances for the club.

“We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples stadium to Maradona,” De Magistris said.

The Mayor added: “We’re hoping to make it coincide with the resumption of games with fans.”

Fans gathered outside the stadium, which was lit in memory of Maradona’s time at the club, in the southern Italian city on Wednesday evening.

Tributes have poured in from the world of football and beyond, with three days of national mourning underway in Argentina.

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Implement People’s Demands Or Set Nigeria on Fire, Wike Tells Buhari

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prove to Nigerians that he is ready to do the people’s requests.

The governor said the President will set the country ‘on fire’ by not implementing some of the requests voiced out by leaders during the recent discussions with the presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.

The PUNCH had reported that Gambari led ministers and federal lawmakers to meetings with leaders of the six geopolitical zones as a way of addressing concerns raised in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

Gambari and the presidential delegation had met with governors and leaders of the South-South geopolitical zone in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday.

At the meeting, the South-South leaders including the Rivers State governor demanded the restructuring of the country in line with the principle of true federalism, saying it will guarantee peace, security and stability in the country.

Giving an update on the meeting on Thursday morning, Wike said the President still has time to implement the will of the people and etch a legacy for himself.

The governor spoke today on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by The PUNCH.

He said, “I am not a pessimist. I don’t believe that because you didn’t do what you agreed to do yesterday, therefore, you will not do what you agree to do today. Even if he (Buhari) has not done what he told Nigerians he would do, he can say, look, I promised Nigerians yesterday, I didn’t do that and that is affecting my integrity and so, for people who know me, I will implement what I have said.

“People have raised the issue that they don’t think anything will come out of the dialogues. I don’t agree with them. I believe that if the President does not do it, given the opportunity he has now, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.”

Continuing, Wike said political will to implement what the people want is key in governance.

According to him, the President has to show leadership by listening to Nigerians and by implementing the people’s requests.

“He may not necessarily implement everything the people may want but let the people see the concrete evidence that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three, four demands by the people.

“If he (Buhari) doesn’t take this opportunity now to implement some of these requests, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigerians and for his legacy,” the governor added.

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Legendary Football Star, Diego Amando Maradona Dies at 60

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Diego Maradona, one of football’s greatest-ever players, has died. He was 60 years.

The 1986 World Cup winner had surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month. The Argentine Football Association confirmed he had died this afternoon.

“The Argentine Football Association, through its president Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts,” they said.

Another of football’s greats, Pele, has led the tributes to: “Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above.” Follow latest updates and reaction here.

Dr Leopoldo Luque, Maradona’s personal physician, said the former player had shown signs of improvement after a successful operation three weeks ago.

Dr Luque said Maradona “laughed” and “grabbed my hand” just a day after he had the procedure.

“Diego is without any type of neurological deficit, without any type of complication associated with surgery,” Luque said, addressing reporters at the clinic’s door.

“He has an excellent post-operative period, the laboratory parameters even improved.

“The first impression is it is favourable, but it is difficult to evaluate.”

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