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Health and Safety

Troops kill scores of ISWAP terrorists, destroy several equipment in Borno



Troops eliminate 3 bandits in Kaduna; Police intercept 185 parcels of cannabis, neutralise 2 bandits in Katsina

… As Army Gen. says Military remains at the forefront in tackling insecurity***

Troops of Joint Task Force, North East Operation Hadin Kai, have neutralised several Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Saturday’s encounter at Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said that the fierce encounter which was supported by the Air Component of OPHK had deployed five A-Jet, two A-29, two Dragon combat vehicles and nine Gun Trucks and APC against the terrorists.

He disclosed that a gallant senior officer, Brig.-Gen. Dzarma Zirkusu and three soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice having successfully defended the civilians in the town.

Nwachukwu said the deceased officer and the soldiers exhibited rare displays of gallantry as they provided reinforcement in a counteroffensive against the terrorists and successfully defended the location.

Also read: Troops deactivate 20 illegal refining sites, arrest 8 criminals

He said the families of the senior officer and soldiers had been contacted.

According to him, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has deeply commiserated with the families and relations of the fallen heroes.

Yahaya said the gallant officer and soldiers courageously defended the territorial integrity of Nigeria and Nigerians even at the expense of their own lives.

He also directed that the troops continued in the ferocious counter-offensive and hot pursuit to eliminate the remnant of the fleeing terrorists.

In another development, the Force Commander (FC), Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Maj.-Gen. Kevin Aligbe, says the Nigerian armed forces have remained at the forefront in tackling the myriad of security threats confronting the nation.

Aligbe stated this at an interactive session with the Meyetti Allah’s Cattle Breeders Association(MACBAN) Nasarawa State Chapter held in Makurdi, Benue state.

The Deputy Director, Defence Information, Air Commodore Wap Maigida, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, in Abuja.

The force commander said the military had been leading the war against all forms of criminalities, adding that the constitution had vested it with mandate of protecting lives and property of every Nigerian.

He said the security parley was in continuation of the peace initiative through consultation and engagements between the stakeholders and the military towards proffering lasting solutions to the security challenges in the two states.

Aligbe said the ongoing military engagement was crucial in addressing the wave of insecurity in the North Central zone, occasioned by farmers/herders and communal clashes, adding that inputs of all parties were required towards sustainable peace and progress.

He thanked MACBAN members for being open-minded in making suggestions to the security threats, promising that there would be interventions in the security dispositions.

He also promised to elicit the same peace cooperation from the Benue State livestock Guard to help cement the proposed peace and stability within the two states.

Aligbe, however, commended Field Commanders for their professionalism and doggedness in the discharge of their duties.

The Chairman, MACBAN, Nasarawa State Chapter, Alhaji Bala Baou, acknowledged the critical roles being played by the military in the defence and security of the state.

Baou expressed optimism that critical issues bordering on farmers and herders crisis, cattle rustling and communal clashes would be a thing of the past soonest from the interaction with the commander.

He solicited support from the commander in ensuring peace and stability within the two states, adding that MACBAN was grateful for giving them opportunity to state their problems and heed to their plights.

According to him, their major challenges include excessive charges from the Benue State Livestock Guard and border demarcation among the two states which is not properly mapped, causing the herders to graze from Nasarawa into Benue territory without them knowing.

He expressed strong belief that the interaction would help address all issues and restore normalcy to the two states.


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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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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