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Scores killed as Air Force bombards bandits in Zamfara

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said it has intensified the bombardment of armed bandits’ hideouts in Zamfara State and its environs.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, disclosed in a statement on Thursday that the offensive was carried out by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Diran Mikiya.

According to him, the air strikes were preceded by days of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, initiated based on credible human intelligence reports.

The NAF spokesman revealed that this led to the identification of several camps being used by the bandits to launch attacks on innocent civilians.

He said, “One of the air interdiction missions was conducted at dawn today, 7 February 2019, at a location in Rugu Forest South of Gurbin Baure, where some armed bandits were seen assembled by a logistics truck parked near their compound-hideout.

“The ATF dispatched a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) attack helicopter and an Alpha Jet to engage the bandits’ truck and compound. Overhead the target area, the bandits were seen dispersing in different directions with some attempting to make a getaway in the truck.”

Daramola added that, “The helicopter strafed the moving truck in successive passes immobilising it and neutralising its occupants.

“The Alpha Jet simultaneously attacked the compound and destroyed one of the huts harbouring the bandits, which was seen engulfed in flames.

“Credible Intelligence sources later revealed that several bandits were killed as a result of the attack.”

The air commodore further revealed that NAF was working in close coordination with surface forces and other security agencies.

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Arewa

Why I can’t pay workers’ salaries, pensions in Kogi – Gov. Yahaya Bello

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for his government’s inability to pay workers’ salaries and pension.

According to his spokesman, Kingsley Fanwo, the last PDP administration embarked on failed projects through bonds, which indebted the state.

Fanwo, who was a guest on a Channels Television programme Politics Today, on Wednesday, said the government of Yahaya Bello had only been able to access N20bn bailout funds which have made them unable to pay salaries.

“On the issue of salaries, PDP caused most of the problems we face. They took bonds and they were expending it on white elephant projects. We did not collect N30bn bailout, we took N20bn.

“What we needed to pay salaries and pensions projected N50.8bn which was approved by president Buhari. From the N50.8bn, we have accessed only N20bn, remaining N30.8bn, that is the reason why we are still owing salaries.”

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Redouble efforts to release Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls – Reps to Buhari Govt

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government to redouble its efforts toward securing the release of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram.

The lawmakers also urged the government to do everything within its power to free Leah Sharibu and others from their abductors.

This followed a motion under matters of urgent public importance by Rep. Asabe Vilita-Bashir (APC-Borno) at a plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Yusuff Lasun, at the National Assembly, Abuja.

No fewer than 276 of the students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, were abducted by Boko Haram group on April 14, 2014.

Out of the number, 57 of the girls escaped before the insurgents could transport them to their base in Sambisa Forest, four others escaped after two years while a total of 103 were released after an agreement with the government.

Moving the motion, Vilita-Bashir, who represents Chibok/Gwoza/Damboa Federal Constituency, said it is disheartening that after five years of abduction about 112 of the girls were still in the custody of the terrorists, NAN reports.

‘‘The house notes that the April 14 marked the 5th anniversary of the kidnapping of 219 Chibok girls by Boko Haram insurgents.

‘‘The house further notes that over 100 Dapchi schoolgirls were also abducted by the same insurgents.

‘‘The house is concerned that in spite of the local and international cries, 112 of the Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu and Alice Ngaddah are still in captivity,’’ she said.

The lawmaker, who commended the federal government for its efforts so far, said there was the need to do more toward ensuring freedom for all the abductees.

Contributing, Rep. Diri Douye (PDP-Bayelsa), said it is unfortunate that the country is still being faced with the challenge of securing the release of the remaining girls five years after.

‘‘It is heart-bleeding for us to still be talking about the release of our sisters who have been in captivity for five years. This same thing goes for Leah Sharibu.

‘‘If efforts have been intensified, I know today, we would not be raising this motion. This is a wake up call on the federal government and all of us,’’ he said.

Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, (PDP-Abia), said it is sad that some of the parents died while waiting for their daughters’ return.

The lawmaker, who commended the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, said the country has failed in its responsibility of securing the lives of its citizens.

‘‘Around the world, this has been the conversation, even in the U.S.,’’ she said.

Also speaking, Rep. Ken Chikere, who commended the federal government for its effort so far, noted that government still deserved some praises so that it could do more.

Rep. Sergius Ogun, (PDP-Edo), said there is the need for the federal government to tell the abducted girls’ parents and the nation on the current status of the girls.

On his part, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, (PDP-Enugu), who said it is unimaginable the way the girls were kidnapped by the terrorists, queried why it has taken such a long time to secure their release.

‘‘Until we begin to be accountable, we may not be able to find solutions to our problems.

‘‘People in government should begin to exercise their functions with some level of responsibility,’’ he said.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Lasun, said it is painful that after the Chibok girls’ abduction, ‘‘we still have another set of girls being captured by the insurgents.

‘‘It is painful because in my area, my people say it is better for a child to be announced dead than to be declared missing.

‘‘We just need to improve on our security architecture,’’ he said.

Lasun, however, remarked that ‘‘with the knowledge or fact that some of the girls might have died in the hands of their abductors, coupled with some of the security personnel who might have lost their lives in the course of rescuing the girls,’’ the House should observe a minute silence for them.

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NYSC: Govt warns employers against rejecting corps members

Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State has warned government establishments not to reject any corps members posted to them for their primary assignments by the NYSC.

Masari gave the warning on Tuesday in Katsina during the closing ceremony of the 2019 Batch ‘A’ Orientation Course, NAN reports.

“I want to warn employers of labour not to reject corps members posted to them.

“The rejection of corps members by employers of labour is inconsistent with the spirit and objectives of the NYSC scheme.

“I, therefore, call on all employers to mandatorily accept the corps members that will be posted to their establishments for the one-year national service programme,” he said.

Masari, represented by his Special Adviser on Youths Development, Alhaji Ibrahim Khalil, also advised the corps members to be loyal, patriotic and exemplary during their national service.

“Yours is to ensure that the ideals of the schemes are manifested in your dealings both with your employers and your host communities where you will perform your primary assignments,” he said.

Also, the state NYSC Coordinator, Hajiya Ramatu Sanda, in her remarks said that the corps members were posted to serve the nation in four sectors of the economy.

Sanda said that the sectors were: education, health, agriculture and rural infrastructure, hence, the need for the employers of corps members not to reject them.

“Give the corps members the opportunities to contribute their skills and talents to improve their host communities for maximum productivity.

“I urge you to care for them and show them hospitality that will make them feel at home,” she said.

She urged the corps members to be good ambassadors of the scheme throughout the service year.

“I urge you to remain worthy ambassadors of the scheme and exhibit the virtues of honesty, tolerance and humility to make your service year reputable and rewarding,” she said.

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