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BIG BUSINESS: Bandits net N3bn as ransom from Kidnapping in Zamfara alone

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BIG BUSINESS: Bandits net N3bn as ransom from Kidnapping in Zamfara alone

…Peace Committee Indicts 5 Zamfara Emirs***

…As Army neutralizes 39 bandits in Zamfara***

Banditry in Nigeria may have become an unimaginably big time business, extremely difficult to curb, as a Committee set up by Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle to find solutions to this has disclosed that over N3 billion was collected by bandits as ransom from relations of abducted victims in Zamfara State alone.

The Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Abubakar, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), made the disclosure while presenting the committee’s report to the governor on Friday in Gusau, noting that the report covered the period from June 2011 to May 29, 2019.

He said the money was collected from 3,672 victims whose relatives paid to secure their freedom.

Abubakar said that a total of 4,983 women were widowed, 25,050 children orphaned and 190,340 persons displaced by banditry over the period in the state.

He also said that innocent Fulani herdsmen lost 2,015 cattle, 141 sheep and goats, 2,600 donkeys and camels to rustlers while 147,800 vehicles, motorcycles and others were burnt at different times and locations within the period.

The former IGP therefore advised that if enduring peace would be achieved, and sustained, the state government should take over all farmlands situated on grazing routes and adopt modern livestock farming to encourage herders to remain in one place.

Abubakar said that the committee had recommended unconditional disarmament and setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry backed by law to address all forms of banditry in the future.

He also advised government to partner neighboring state governments to rehabilitate all inter-state roads, to ease movement of security personnel and the general public.

In addition, he said the state government must give priority to education and ensure that all children including those of nomads attend school.

Also read:   Zamfara govt summons emergency meeting with Fulani leaders after attack on soldiers

But even more strongly, the committee on finding solutions to banditry in Zamfara, also revealed on Friday that it uncovered concrete evidence, that five Emirs in the state were complicit in the spate of banditry in which more than 6,319 men and women were killed.

The former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar also noted that 33 district and several village heads equally worked with the bandits.

Abubakar, who made the disclosure while submitting the committee’s report to Gov. Bello  Matawalle in Gusau on Friday, however did not publicly named the traditional rulers.

He added that 10 soldiers, some policemen and civil servants were discovered to have had their hands smeared in the banditry which lasted for about a decade in the state.

The former IGP said some security personnel and one emir distinguished themselves creditably in the protection of the people.

He said that the committee had recommended that the emir be conferred with national honour while the officers should be promoted to their next ranks.

Abubakar said the 300-page report would be relevant to other state governments and the federal government in addressing security issues in the country.

Receiving the report, Gov. Matawalle promised to implement the recommendations, assuring that he would not be diverted by any sentiment.

“I would like to make it clear that personal relationship, sectional, geographical, religious and ethnic interests will have no role to play in the decision l will take with regard to recommendations of the committee, especially those that relate to the recommended sanctions and disciplinary measures,” he assured.

The committee was inaugurated by Gov. Matawalle in July and its investigation covered between June 2011 and May 2019.

In the meanwhile, the Army has neutralized no fewer than 39 armed bandits, in two different operations in Zamfara this week.

Capt. Oni Orisan, Operation Hadarin Daji spokesman, who disclosed this on Saturday, said the operations were carried out in Bakura and Anka axis of the state.

According to him, 19 of the bandits were killed in an encounter with the army in the bushes of Anka while the 20 were killed in Bakura.

Orisan reiterated that the soldiers would not attack any repentant bandit.

He, however, said that those unrepentant ones who still carry guns and move around in large numbers would be treated as hostile.

He advised the unrepentant bandits to surrender their arms to constituted authorities and embrace the peace initiative of the state government.

It is instructive that since the beginning of the peace and reconciliation initiative about five months ago, peace has returned to many communities.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai visited the state recently, promised that the army would continue to work for the sustenance of peace in the state.

 

Health and Safety

LASG Unveils 24-hour Customer Service Centre To Enhance Traffic Management

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LASG Unveils 24-hour Customer Service Centre To Enhance Traffic Management

In a significant move to enhance the operations of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Lagos State Government has launched a 24-hour Customer Service Center, equipped with a dedicated Toll-Free Hot Lines, a Walk-In Complaint Centre, a Website, a Whistleblower App, and a new Department of Statistics, Research, and Data. 

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa, the centre is at the LASTMA headquarters.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Giwa officially opened the Customer Service Center and announced the dedicated lines as 0800-00-527862 or 0800-00-LASTMA.

Explaining the initiative, Hon. Sola Giwa said Motorists can contact the Call Center via the toll-free hotlines to report incidents, request assistance, or seek information on road conditions, including updates on the activities of LASTMA personnel. 

He said the centre will also enable drivers get real-time updates on road conditions and traffic advisories, enabling them to plan their routes more effectively, avoid congestion and reduce travel time.

Highlighting the features of the customer support centres, the Special Adviser further explained that the whistleblower app is designed to involve everyone in the state’s traffic management. 

“When you see something, say something,” he added. The app is available for download on the Android Play Store”, Sola Giwa said, stressing that the whistleblower app will allow Motorists and other road users to report dangerous driving and other reckless behaviours on the road, enabling LASTMA to take immediate action and uphold traffic regulations. 

He said the public can also earn points for every valid incident they report and get rewarded for their actions.

Hon. Giwa also mentioned that a walk-in complaint centre and a live interactive website (lastma.org) are available for citizens to engage with traffic management personnel, urging everyone to embrace the initiative.

Discussing the new Department of Statistics, Research, and Data, he explained that the department aims to provide a comprehensive breakdown and analysis of vehicles on Lagos roads. 

This includes real-time data on the number of vehicles impounded, categorized by private and commercial vehicles, and details on accidents and other traffic offences.

In the demonstration on statistics and data carried out between January and June 2024, the Special Adviser debunked the belief that the agency concentrates more on private vehicles disclosing that 5, 547 commercial vehicles were impounded for traffic infringement as against 3, 823 private vehicles. 

In his address, the Commissioner for Transportation Mr Oluwaseun Osiyemi emphasized that the customer support centres aim to improve communication between the public and LASTMA, streamline traffic operations, and significantly enhance the overall driving experience in Lagos State. 

He noted that with these new centres, Traffic Management Officers are now just a phone call away, at no cost to the public.

The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Olalekan Bakare Oki, confirmed that officers managing the newly launched Call Center have been thoroughly trained by the government, noting that the agency will use multiple languages, including English, Pidgin, and Yoruba, to ensure convenient communication for all members of the public.

 

He reiterated the agency’s commitment to prioritizing public feedback, stating that input from citizens will aid in efficient traffic management across the state.

The event was also attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos Ministry of Transportation Mr. Olawale Musa, Directors in the ministry and LASTMA Personnel.

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Health and Safety

Waterloo: NAF Kills Several Terrorists In Aerial Bombardment In Borno

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Waterloo: NAF Kills Several Terrorists In Aerial Bombardment In Borno

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai, has eliminated several terrorists in an aerial bombardment in their hideouts in Borno.

This is contained in a statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, on Thursday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said that the hideouts located near Degbewa and Chinene in the Mandara mountains in the state were known terrorists’ hideouts.

He said the air strikes became expedient after several days of aerial surveillance which revealed a consistent gathering of a large number of terrorists in the area.

According to him, the location is also suspected to be a site for manufacturing Improvised Explosive Devices and a storage area.

”The terrorists were also observed to be loitering within the vicinity, clearly oblivious of what was to befall them, and probably confident that their location was safe and secured from any form of military bombardments.

”The air strikes were thus authorised with the aircraft bombarding the locations in several passes until the majority of the terrorists were eliminated.

”Others observed fleeing the location were taken out using canons,” he said.

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Health and Safety

Sumal: 1 Dies, 12 Arrested In Ibadan Palliative Protest – Police

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ABUJA: Police Arrest 1 Prankster, 5 Kidnappers

… Affirms protest hijacked by criminal elements who forced their way into the factory

The Police Command in Oyo State says one person died and 12 suspects were arrested in a violent protest by workers of Sumal Food Company, Ibadan, over palliatives on Monday.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Adewale Osifeso, confirmed this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Ibadan.

Osifeso said the protest broke out in the factory located at Oluyole Industrial Estate, Ibadan around 4 p.m. on Monday.

He said that the workers staged the protest to challenge what they called non-distribution of the palliatives allegedly given by the Federal Government to all private companies across the country.

Osifeso said that it was sad that the protest was hijacked by criminal elements who forced their way into the factory, thus destroying vehicles and other property worth millions of naira.

“One person died and 12 suspects were arrested in connection with the violent protest,’’ he said.

The spokesman, however, said that normalcy had returned to the area where the company is located, following the deployment of police operatives to maintain peace.

He also said that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ayodele Sonubi, had ordered the transfer of the matter to the homicide unit of the Criminal Investigations Department for further investigation.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the protest was premised on false information created and peddled by some workers over the disbursement of palliatives to privately-owned companies,’’ he said.

Osifeso said that the command would give further information on the matter as soon investigation was concluded.

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