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Terror Alert: DSS Enjoins Nigerians to Take Necessary Precautions



Terror Alert: DSS Enjoins Nigerians to Take Necessary Precautions
… As Survey says Northwest Communities Self-defence approach yielding results***

The Department of State Services (DSS) has called on Nigerians to take necessary precautions and be security conscious in view of the security advisory released by the US Embassy on possible terror attacks on Abuja.

Dr. Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations Officer of DSS made the call in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

He said that the DSS had issued similar advisory in the past and urged residents to remain alert and calm.

“While advising that necessary precautions are taken by all and sundry, the populace is enjoined to remain alert and assist security agencies with useful information regarding threats and suspicious criminal acts around them,” he added.

Afunanya said the service was working with other law enforcement agencies and stakeholders to maintain peace and order in and beyond Abuja.

The US Embassy security advisory alert issued on Sunday said targets for the attack may include government buildings, places of worship, schools, markets, and shopping malls.

It said others are hotels, bars, restaurants, athletic gatherings, transport terminals, law enforcement facilities and international organisations.

In another development, the Residents of some states in the Northwest say the governments’ approach of encouraging people to defend themselves in the fight against bandits, is yielding the desired result.

In their responses, they said this bold approach, which entailed enormous sacrifice by residents, had forced bandits to soft-pedal in their nefarious activities.

According to them, the hoodlums have realised that the battle is no longer between security agents and bandits but now involved the ‘people’ as active participants in the fight.

In Katsina, for instance, the State Government said several leaders of bandit groups had reached out to the authorities, seeking peace.

The Special Adviser to Gov. Aminu Masari on Security Matters, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed, said that most of the hoodlums had envisaged a bleak future and were willing to make amends.

According to him, the approach adopted by government targeted at ‘building the courage” of the people, had started yielding positive results, with the rate of attacks by bandits reduced.

Ahmed said success could be achieved easily through the combined efforts of the citizens, the state government and security agencies.

He said the state government had trained 1,100 highly volunteers to serve as members of community vigilante corps, and were ready to make sacrifices for their communities to survive.

According to the adviser, this is an effort to send a message to the bandits to embrace peace or face tough times.

In Sokoto, a security expert, Sqdr. Leader Aminu Bala (Rtd), observed that the activities of bandits had reduced slightly in the past few months, but called for the sustenance of the current military onslaught on the hoodlums.

Also, Malam Laminu Umar, a resident of Sabon Birni in the state, noted that the situation in the area had changed for the better.

“The ongoing military operation in our area has helped in checking the activities of the hoodlums.

“Some of the bandits have been neutralized, while others have fled because they cannot withstand the military power; the military operation should be sustained for a long time,” he suggested.

Alhaji Bello Dantsoho, a resident of Rabah in Sokoto State, also observed some improvement.

“They only storm remote areas, pick one or two persons and demand ransom before they release them.

“They have been subdued to the extent that they can no longer launch deadly operations frequently, as was the case in the past.

“This is unlike before when they attacked our people in numbers, killed, raped and stole belongings, including livestock,” he said.

Meanwhile, some religious leaders in Kaduna State have observed that insurgency had remained unabated in the state but admitted that little success had been achieved.

One of the leaders who is also the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state, Rev John Hayab, said in spite of the little success recorded, the persistence of insurgency was worrisome.

Hayab observed that the number of security agents tackling the challenge was enough but stressed that what was needed was the building of the people’s confidence that would encourage sharing of useful information.

According to him, many people are still reluctant to ‘say something’ whenever they ‘see something’ around their environment.

“When you have the understanding and support of all stakeholders and the public, then you have your security beefed up enough to unravel and tackle every security challenge.

“Only then can you proudly say you are winning the war on insurgency,” he said.

In his contribution, the Acting Administrative Secretary of Jamaatul Nasril Islam (JNI), National Headquarters, Kaduna, Malam Yusuf Bida, said an enhanced welfare package for security agents on the front-line, was key.

He added that concerted media engagement efforts must also be intensified to dissuade citizens from serving as informants to hoodlums.

Reacting to recent development in the state, Zamfara State Police Spokesperson, Muhammad Shehu, said the security situation had improved, adding that apprehension and fear among people had subsided drastically.

According to him, the ongoing efforts by police and other security agencies in the fight against banditry activities had been yielding results.

However, the former Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Zamfara, Malam Ibrahim Kanoma, called for deployment of more security personnel to rural parts of the state.

Kanoma also appealed to government and security agencies to ensure close monitoring of security operations in the state.

A community leader in Gusau, Mr. Garba Yusuf, urged government to give priority to victims of banditry activities in the state.

Yusuf lamented that thousands of such victims, mainly women, and children, had been displaced from their communities due to insecurity, and were in need of intervention from government to save their lives.

In Kebbi State, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Kontagora, said his command and sister security agencies, as well as traditional rulers, were putting heads together in confronting the lingering security challenges bedeviling the state.

He said that recently, he and his management team had paid courtesy visits to the Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Comptroller, Nigeria Correctional Service, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), among others.

He said the visit was meant to solicit the support and cooperation of the sister agencies in making Kebbi State safe.

The Commissioner appealed to the people of the state to cooperate with the police and other security agencies with a view to reducing crime to the minimum.



Troops Destroy 51 Illegal Refining Sites, Recover Stolen Crude Oil – DHQ



….Destroy 7 dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, one outboard engine, others

The Defence Headquarters says  troops of Operation Delta Safe have  destroyed 51 illegal oil refining sites and recovered stolen crude oil and refined products in the Niger Delta in the last one week.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, disclosed  in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also apprehended 58 perpetrators of oil theft and denied them of  estimated sum of N668.7 million

He said the troops destroyed seven dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, 141 cooking ovens, one pumping machine, one outboard engine, one tricycle, one speedboat and one tugboat.

According to him, troops recovered 267,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 567,700 litres of illegally refined AGO and 5,000 litres of DPK.

“Troops has maintained momentum against oil theft and arrested persons involved in oil theft in Bonny and Ikpoba Local Government Areas of Rivers and Edo States respectively.

“Troops also arrested suspected armed robbers and foiled illegal bunkering activities in Oshimili South and Ukwa West of Delta and Abia States respectively,” he said.

In the South East, Buba said  troops of Operation UDO KA arrested 15 suspected criminals and repelled attacks by IPOB/ESN criminals in Anambra, Abia and Imo States.

He said the troops conducted raids and rescued kidnapped hostages in Ishielu and Igbo Eze North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi and Enugu States respectively.

He said the troops neutralised three criminals, rescued five kidnapped hostages and recovered 14 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammo.

In the South West, Buba said  troops of Operation AWATSE foiled armed robbery attacks in Orelope and Olorunsogo Local Government Areas of Oyo State and arrested a gunrunner in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.

According to him, troops rescued 15 kidnapped hostages and recovered two vehicles.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he added.

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NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

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