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FG lauded over telecoms shutdown

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Residents of Kebbi, Sokoto and Katsina states said they are ready to bear the socio-economic cost of the telecommunication shutdown in neighbouring Zamfara State, if the measure will get rid of bandits.

Although the inconveniences occasioned by the shutdown were obvious, they said the inconveniences were ‘too inconsequential’ compared with the desire to regain their freedom from killers and kidnappers.

Some of them even expressed anger that issues on ‘effect of the shutdown’ were being raised, when such a decisive measure was aimed at safeguarding lives and property.

“I am sure the negative effect will revolve around hindrance of social and economic activities; by the time bandits kill you and you are no longer alive, how do you engage in those activities?

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“In any case, even if you are lucky to remain alive under the atmosphere of threat by bandits, how do you engage in social and economic activities?” one of the respondents queried.

Bena is one of the towns in Kebbi State sharing boundaries with Zamfara, and is also partially affected by the shutdown in telecommunication services.

The shutdown was ordered by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that telecom services to Zamfara State and its environs , be disconnected, effective September 3.

In an interview with NAN, residents of Bena, in spite of the hardships occasioned by telephone blackout in the area, commended security agencies for the success recorded in the ongoing efforts to clear the state of bandits.

Some of them who spoke after accessing telecom service from neighbouring communities, said in spite of challenges, they were elated by measures being taken to rid their community of bandits.

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One of the residents, Alhaji Muhammad Ya’u, said although communication with relations had become difficult, he had sought for other options, and was prepared to make such sacrifice for the next “100 years”.

According to him, they are ready to make whatever sacrifice that will guarantee their safety from the many years of killings by bandits.

“We consider the development (shutdown) as a bitter pill, which we have to swallow to be free from the clutches of bandits terrorising and killing our brothers and sisters.

“If you can recollect, many years ago, Nivaquine tablet used to be the most bitter pill to swallow, but it was the most effective remedy against malaria fever disease.

“We were closing our eyes and swallowing it to get well because we did not want malaria to kill us; in the current scenario, I see the ‘telecommunication shutdown’ as the Nivaquine tablet, and the bandits are the ‘Malaria’ disease,” he analysed.

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Another resident, Alhaji Nasiru Bena, a businessman, said it was unthinkable and annoying that some people are even viewing the telecom shutdown as a ‘worrisome development’.

“We do not consider the shutdown as a measure that has resulted in hardship or any difficulty; we had already been facing the worst of these (hardships) as a result of attacks and kidnappings by bandits.

“We lost our relatives, brothers and sisters to banditry on daily basis, and our businesses have not been striving, hence, we are not only happy with the measures taken, but also participating in providing information to security agents,”he fumed .

According to him, markets stopped operating many months ago, even before the shutting down of telecom services, adding that customers had ceased coming, for fear of being kidnapped or killed.

Also in an interview, Yakubu Zubairu, a cellphone businessman from Danko/Wasagu area, who just came to Olumbo mini market in Birnin Kebbi, told NAN that the shutdown had an impact on commerce, but added that the sacrifice was worth it.

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“Those who sell telephone recharge cards are particularly affected by the shutdown, but we also have to appreciate the fact that the sellers must first be alive, before they can sell,” he said.

A fruit seller, Malam Mamman Mahi, said that the shutdown had affected their business negatively in the area.

“We face a lot of difficulties calling for fruit supplies from Birnin Kebbi or Yauri, to the area for our shops.

“I probably have a lot of perishable items at the motor park sent to me by my suppliers, but they (suppliers) cannot reach out to me; I still wonder how our business is going to survive, but certainly, we need security for the business itself to strive,” he said.


Mahi also said they believed that their personal security and safety were more important than the temporary disruption of their socio-economic activities as a result of lack of communication.

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Also, a cross section of Sokoto residents commended the Federal Government for shutting down telecommunications networks in neighbouring Zamfara State.

They told NAN that already, they had started feeling the positive impact of the measure, and were in fervent prayers for government to succeed in routing out the miscreants.

Alhaji Yaro Gobirawa, former Chairman, Sokoto State Traders Association, said after barely few days of operation by security agents, traders now moved freely within Zamfara axis without fear of informants notifying bandits of their movements.

Gobirawa said the shutdown of network and the military operations had reduced the apprehension of traders and commercial vehicle operators, who, hitherto, had to be watching over their shoulders for fear of being monitored by bandits.

He suggested the extension of such action to Sokoto and other nearby states experiencing similar challenges of banditry.

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A Journalist, Yusuf Muhammad Ladan, also lauded the efforts, stressing that bandits had network of communications and shutting down the system would force them to either surrender or come out of their hideouts.

While acknowledging the inconveniences occasioned by the exercise, he however said nothing could be compared with safety of lives and property.

“First of all, one needs to be ‘alive’ before getting ‘inconvenienced’; if the former is not in place, talking about the latter does not arise,” he analysed .

He also suggested the extension of telecommunications shutdown to cover Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger states, as runaway bandits scrambled for places to hide.

Also, Deputy Chairman of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Sokoto State Chapter, Mr Babangida Sa’idu, called for the extension of the shutdown to cover more than just one state.

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“The measure had great impact as information reaching us indicated that security operatives were confronting the bandits and succeeding; but we heard bandits are migrating to other states,” he said.

A commercial vehicle operator, Malam Adamu Shuni, said the mere presence of security personnel that mounted check-point, had reduced tension on the highways.

“Although there is no communication between drivers as was the case before the shutdown, the current operation is making my colleagues and passengers to feel secured,” Shuni said.

Similarly in Katsina metropolis, residents said the shutdown had made it impossible to communicate with their relatives in Zamfara state, just as it affected their businesses.

One of the residents, Alhaji Suleiman Yellow, said for some days now, he had been trying to know the condition of his sick brother in Gusau, to no avail.

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“I am very disturbed because I left him in a critical condition, but I have not heard from anyone about his condition.

“Due to the security challenges, traveling from Katsina to Zamfara is risky at the moment, and that is why we can not embark on a journey to check on him.

“But the shutting down of network is in our interest; we have started seeing the result of the efforts of our security agencies in Zamfara.

“Government should be commended for such effort; I believe if such a measure is taken here in Katsina, the bandits will also be eliminated to pave way for peace,” he said.

Another resident, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi, a civil servant, said the measure was satisfying, in spite of the inconveniences created.

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“There are some of my relatives in some parts of Zamfara, where there are serious security challenges, and they were planning to relocate to Katsina.

“But with with these measures in place, we are optimistic the challenges will become things of the past, therefore the relatives are no longer thinking of relocating,” he said.

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UN told Nigeria’s failure to deal with diversity root of Biafra crisis

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The United Nations Security Council has been told that the failure of Nigerian leaders to deal with diversity was the root cause of the Biafran crisis.

The person who made the presentation, was South Africa´s former president Thabo Mbeki, who lived in Nigeria for a few years in the late 70s during the anti-apartheid struggle.

Mbeki addressed the UN Security Council on Tuesday and listed African countries, apart from Nigeria, where the failure to deal with diversity was a root cause of conflict.

He blamed the current clashes in Ethiopia´s Tigray region, also on the failure to manage diversity.

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Mbeki recalled that the Nigerian government was victorious against secessionist-seeking Biafra 50 years ago and its leaders announced “that they would follow a policy of no victor, no vanquished.”

Looking at the “painful example” of the ongoing conflict between the Ethiopian government and ethnic Tigrayans, Mbeki said, “this is exactly what Ethiopia needs.”

Thabo Mbeki cited “the centrality of failure properly to manage diversity” in the conflicts in Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast and Sudan.

He pointed to the 2004 report of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission “which tells the naked truth, that it was as a result of the failure to manage diversity that the country experienced a very costly 11-year war which started in 1991” — and there is a similar failure to manage diversity “in the violent conflict which has been and is still going on in Cameroon.”

France´s U.N. ambassador, Nicolas De Riviere, had some additions.

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In the Sahel region stretching across northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea, “terrorist groups use differences to stir up hatred between communities,” he said.

And ethnic and religious violence is also prevalent in the Middle East including Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

They spoke at a U.N. Security Council meeting on “Diversity, State Building and the Search for Peace” that was organized by Kenya, which holds the council presidency this month, and chaired by its president, Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The key message I wish to deliver today is that poor management of diversity is leading to grave threats to international peace and security,” Kenyatta said.

He said inequality within and between countries “is too often the result of exclusion on the basis of identity” that becomes institutionalized in governments and in economic relations.

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“And it manifests in stereotyping and bigotry,” leading among other consequences to lack of work for billions of people simply based on who they are, he said.

“The result is a profound sense of grievance and bitterness that populists and demagogues can easily exploit,” Kenyatta said.

“It is fodder for terrorism, insurgencies, the rise of xenophobia, hate speech, divisive tribalism, as well as racism.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited a U.N.-World Bank study that found “many conflicts are deeply rooted in longstanding inequalities among groups,” which leave people feeling excluded and marginalized because they are denied opportunities based on their culture, race, skin colour, ethnicity or income.

He pointed to the sharp increase in armed groups at the heart of conflicts — “rebels, insurgents, militias, criminal gangs and armed trafficking, terrorist and extremist groups” — as well as a rise in military coups.

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While combatants can agree to end hostilities, Guterres warned, “without including a wide range of diverse voices at every step of this process — without bringing all people along — any peace will be short-lived.”

He said that women and young people must be “meaningful participants” and that “when we open the door to inclusion and participation, we take a giant step forward in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.”

Fawzia Koofi, the first woman to be deputy speaker of Afghanistan´s Parliament who left the country after the Taliban takeover on Aug. 15, said her country is the latest test of whether the global community can come together to uphold the principles of the U.N. Charter, including promoting the rule of law, justice and equality for men and women.

“There are serious reports that fundamental freedoms are being flouted,” she said.

“Women and girls are once again regarded as second-class citizens, literally. They are making us invisible again … (and) thousands of people from religious minorities and other minority groups are forced to flee their villages.”

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Koofi said the Afghan situation shows how the imbalance in power is “at the roots of so much conflict and inequality.”

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, whose country was the scene of genocide in 1994 in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by the majority Hutu population., said sustainable peace can only be built if the root causes of conflict are understood by a broad range of the population, and it requires dialogue and search for solutions.

“It may not be possible to entirely prevent all conflict,” he said. “In fact, disagreements and grievances will always be there in one form or another. But the intensity and the impact of conflicts can be minimized by remaining attentive to local needs” and delivering “the results that citizens expect and deserve.”

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Gov Masari kicks against indiscriminate release of bandits, rapists on bail

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Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State has frowned at what he called the indiscriminate release of suspected bandits, rapists and other criminals on bail by the courts.

Masari made this assertion shortly after the swearing in of three newly appointed high court judges in Katsina State, NAN reports.

The Governor called on the Nigerian Bar Association to implore its members that are in the habit of supporting criminals to secure bail through the instrument of fundamental right enforcement to be ethical and avoid compromise under cover.

“We are in an unusual time of serious security challenges and must therefore put heads together to address these unusual challenges.

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“We have had incidents where suspected bandits, terrorists, armed robbers and rapists were released on bail only for them to commit the same offence.

“Such ugly incidents could have been averted if bail was not granted at all”, the Governor said.

“The overriding objective of every legal system, he said, is to deliver justice which is the best pivot and pillar that upholds the very best of decency and the best guarantee for peace, prosperity and good governance.

“The age long adage that Justice delayed is Justice denied, has been a thing of concern to the government.

“Thus there is the need to address the speed of justice among all stakeholders in the justice sector.

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“It was in response to the Justice Sector Reform in the state that the state Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2019 and the state Penal Code Law, 2019 were repealed and replaced with the new laws of 2021,” he said.

The Governor noted that the new laws addressed the shortcomings observed in the 2019 law.

He further stressed that, with this development, all actors and stakeholders in the Justice sector will now work towards a coordinated approach to ensure speedy disposition of criminal cases which involves arrest, investigation and prosecution’.

Masari said the state government was seriously disturbed over the trend of blame shifting by the justice sector actors.

Masari therefore directed the state’s monitoring and coordination committee to discharge its statutory mandate by ensuring that all criminal cases are handled with deserved dispatch.

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He further urged the committee to ensure that the ugly trend of releasing suspects with prima-facie records of crimes on bail is checked.

He further urged the new judges to consider their appointment as a call to duty that requires more dedication, professionalism and above all the fear of God.

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Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Usyk officially confirmed

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Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has confirmed that he has triggered his rematch clause with Oleksandr Usyk.

The fight is expected to take place in March next year.

Usyk has already said he would like to defend his newly-won titles in Ukraine.

However, Hearn has claimed that the rematch will take place in the UK.

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Joshua lost his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts to Usyk via a unanimous decision last week.

“Today we officially triggered the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight, which we’ll see early next spring.

“Back in the game and we’re looking for him to become three-time world champion.

“A few niggles in camp for AJ, Usyk had a bad cut, it’s officially triggered, we’ll sit down with K2 Promotions and I think March is when you’ll see that fight.

“This was a disappointing loss to a pound-for-pound great. We don’t need to get back in the game with 10-rounders, he needs to rip those belts off Usyk,” Hearn told DAZN.

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