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Troops apprehend 35 kidnappers in N/Central – Army



Nigerian Army remains apolitical – Spokesman Nwachukwu

… Dismantles oil bunkerers’ camp, arrest vandals***

The Nigerian Army says its troops conducting “Exercise Enduring Peace” apprehended no fewer than 35 kidnappers in various operations in the North Central zone of the country in October.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, stated this, while briefing newsmen on the ongoing exercise being conducted by the army across the country, on Monday in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said the troops of Headquarters Command, Army Records, Lokoja, in conjunction with personnel of NNS Lugard and a detachment of Department of State Services (DSS) operatives, conducted a Joint Amphibious Operation to clear Igwa Pati Island on River Benue, around Oguma general area on Oct. 12.

He said the troops, supported by NAF Helicopter gunship, stormed the Island and destroyed all bandits’ camps insight.

“A total of 35 suspected kidnappers were apprehended, while troops also recovered five AK-47 rifles, two Sub Machine Guns, two automatic pistols, five locally fabricated pistols, eight AK-47 magazines, two Sub Machine Gun magazines and two locally made double barrel guns,” he said.

Other recovered weapons, according to him, are five locally made single barrel guns, 557 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 36 rounds of 9mm and 89 cartridges.

He said eight outboard engines, one pumping machine, 14 machetes, one hammer, two axes and one knife were also recovered.

“Troops also rescued a nursing mother and four young ladies during the operation,” he said.

Nwachukwu said the COAS had commended troops for the modest successes recorded so far and urged them to sustain the tempo in order to decisively curtail the activities of criminals across the country.

“Troops are also encouraged to remain professional, vigilant and exhibit utmost respect for the Human Right of citizens in their respective Areas of Responsibilities.

“The Nigerian Army urges law-abiding citizens to take ownership of the ongoing exercises and volunteer useful actionable information to security agencies,” he said.

In another development, the Nigerian Army says the troops of 6 Division, operating under “Exercise Still Waters”, have conducted raid operations and destroyed five oil bunkering camps with 16 cooking ovens and 21 reservoirs in parts of Bayelsa and Rivers States.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, stated this while briefing newsmen on the ongoing army exercises across the country on Monday in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said the troops in conjunction with personnel of sister security agencies, conducted aggressive night patrol to Amousa in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers following credible information on the activities of bunkerers in the vicinity.

According to him, a total of three dumps with illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) were subsequently destroyed.

“This was followed by another raid operation on Oct. 7 within Opromor-Peretoror in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

“The raid led to the destruction of five bunkering camps, 16 cooking ovens and 21 reservoirs,” he said.

Nwachukwu also disclosed that troops also apprehended three suspected metal vandals along Oku–Iboku–Mbak road in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.

He said the suspects were duly handed over to relevant authorities for further action.

The Army spokesman further stated that troops of 81 Division, had on Oct. 7, intercepted a large barge of illegally bunkered petroleum products along the Ojodu-Berger waterways.

He added that a Joint Patrol team, comprising troops of 2 Division, paramilitary personnel and vigilantes, rescued 18 kidnap victims from kidnappers’ hideout at Ezizubowa forest in Edo on Oct. 7.

According to him, the troops overwhelmed the criminals and forced them to flee the hideout.

“Troops subsequently rescued the kidnap victims and recovered 20 cartridges, 70 rounds of 7.55mm ammunition, one HP Laptop, 15 mobile phones, and the sum of N223,200, amongst others,” according to him.

Besides, he disclosed that troops of 81 Division also apprehended 17 suspected drug users and recovered a large volume of substance suspected to be Cannabis Sativa on Oct. 6.

Nwachukwu also said that troops of 81 Division, in collaboration with operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), conducted an anti-drug raid operation and arrested eight suspects at Idi-Oro in Mushin, Lagos State.

He said that a foreign national in possession of several sacks of substances suspected to be Cannabis Sativa and other psychoactive drugs, worth about N6.5 million were intercepted.

“Same day, troops of 2 Division apprehended a serial impostor, one Ahmad Suleiman, following credible information on his nefarious activities in defrauding unsuspecting members of the general public around Tanke general area of Ilorin township.

“The suspect was arrested with two Guard belts and one pair of camouflage inner shirt and trouser, amongst other items,” he said.

Nwachukwu said the troops of 2 Division had on Oct. 9, arrested six suspected bandits’ logistics suppliers at Kaiama Forest in Borgu Local Government Area of Kwara.

He said the suspects were arrested with 160 gallons which the suspects confessed were used in conveying fuel to bandits.

According to him, troops of 6 Division had on Oct. 12 apprehended 7 suspects, while one human skull, one locally-made pistol, one motorcycle and seven mobile phones were also recovered.


Health and Safety

Maternal Mortality: 82,000 Nigerian Women Die yearly from Pregnancy-related Complications – UNICEF



Maternal Mortality: 82,000 Nigerian Women Die yearly from Pregnancy-related Complications – UNICEF

…. As MMR declines by 34%, or deaths from 342 to 223 deaths per 100,000 live births***

 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that about 82,000 Nigerian women die yearly from complications from pregnancy or childbirth in the country.

It broke it down to 225 women dying every day from maternal mortality, which requires urgent action from the Federal Government and all stakeholders to halt the menace in the country.

The UNICEF Chief of Health in Nigeria, Dr. Eduardo Celades, disclosed these in Lagos on Wednesday, at a three-day Media Dialogue on COVID-19 and Routine Immunization, organised by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Culture.

Maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth.

 From 2000 to 2020, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by 34 percent – from 342 deaths to 223 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to UN inter-agency estimates.

On the other hand, the global humanitarian intervention agency revealed that the country was now witnessing eight million childbirths yearly, expressing worry that the situation was not commensurate with healthcare indices in the country.

NAN recalled that the new death rate arising from pregnancy-related complications doubled the figure released by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), just in March 2022, when it said that at least 40,000 women in the country lose their lives to pregnancy-related issues annually.

It also said that over one million children, under the age of five, also die as a result of losing their mothers to pregnancy delivery complications.

But speaking at the media dialogue, Celades said that Nigeria has a very high rate of maternal mortality at the moment, stating that the global maternal mortality report from 2000 to 2020, was recently launched as the source.

According to him, the new figures which he said were received, will help UNICEF in its response to health challenges in the country.

He said: “In the last few months and weeks, we got new data. The report is telling us that the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes is very high. About 82,000 are estimated to die every year from maternal mortality.

“What we are doing is to strengthen primary health care in the country.

“We hope that the data would help us in our response and the response with the government in Nigeria.

“The other one is the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), an analysis where there is the main issue and how we can face them.

“The other new data is the global maternal mortality trends, 2000 to 2020. This is a new report that was launched a couple of weeks ago and we wanted to share that with you because we think this could influence how we work and define how we work with the government so that we can all align and we can have a common narrative.

“We think that this is the new way of working. We are learning and we are trying to innovate. Nigeria is one of the most complex countries in the world in terms of public health issues facing it.

“It is the second country in the world with more zero-dose children–the ones that have not had any single vaccine. It is the country in the world with high maternal mortality.

“Last year was the biggest outbreak in the world and Nigeria has an extremely weak health system. So, we are trying to think from different angles because we at UNICEF and the UN cannot move alone. To do that, we need the government to work with journalists and social media influencers to make the change that is needed.”

He said that UNICEF is planning to launch antigenes virus vaccines in the country soon, noting that the vaccine would immunise children against some childhood diseases.

He said that the country is moving towards the attainment of SDG three, but, its current pace is insufficient to meet the targets.

“Maternal mortality is not going down. Maternal mortality is the same. We have seen that it has reduced by about 12 percent in the last 20 years but it is not enough if we want to achieve the target.

“So, from UNICEF, our main approach is to try to accelerate interventions to make an impact. Now, we have seven more years to 2030 and we are halfway. If we continue like this, some donors will leave in the next few years, so we have a window of opportunities,” he explained.

He called for an increase in effective investments in primary healthcare, at the state level as well as the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“The second one is that now, we have a very powerful tool to get Universal Health Coverage, (UHC). To reduce maternal mortality, we must focus on National Health Insurance. So I appeal for expansion of the National Health Insurance as much as we can.

“We must invest in the most vulnerable. We appeal to the state governments to allocate resources and with partners, we will allocate enough resources to that.

“Our third appeal is to target the most vulnerable, those women who don’t have access in the most hard-to-reach areas and in the more inaccessible places. We need to invest in getting into these areas,” he said.

He disclosed that UNICEF was working in collaboration with the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch what he described as Leadership Challenge.

“The challenge is called the Primary Healthcare Leadership Challenge and the idea is to recognize and reward state governments that are investing more in primary health care.

The launch, he said, would attract different categories of awards with US$200 million as the highest to states that would win from the six geopolitical zones of the country.

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Health and Safety

FG, IOM evacuate 128 more irregular Nigerian migrants from Libya



FG, IOM evacuate 128 more irregular Nigerian migrants from Libya

The Federal Government and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday evacuated 128 more Nigerian migrants living illegally in Libya to Nigeria under its voluntary evacuation exercise.

The stranded Nigerians, who were evacuated from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, are expected to arrive at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on Wednesday evening.

Amb. Kabiru Musa, the Charge D’affiares en titre of the Nigerian Mission in Libya disclosed this in a statement made available to the press on Wednesday in Abuja.

The 128 evacuees were the second batch of stranded Nigerians repatriated by the Federal Government and IOM within 24 hours, following the resumption of the Nigerian government, IOM voluntary repatriation exercise.

“IOM Libya airlifted 128 stranded Nigerians from the capital, Tripoli to Lagos today, 29th march 2023 aboard chartered flight no. UZ189.

“They are expected to arrive at Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos at 17.40 hours the same day.

“Just yesterday (Tuesday), we airlifted 151 stranded Nigerians, who safely arrived the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and have been reunited with their families,” he said.

According to him, the Federal Government remains committed to evacuating whoever is ready to leave that country under the IOM voluntary repatriation exercise.

“The Mission is also always open to facilitating the return of stranded Nigerians living here who are willing to return home.

“Last year, the Federal Government evacuated almost 4,000 stranded Nigerians here and we hope to evacuate more this year,” Musa said.

Musa said that the next evacuation would be from Misrata, Libya on April 18.

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Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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