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World Humanitarian Day: 37 aid workers so far killed in Northeast Nigeria, says UN Office

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The Head of Office, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN OCHA, Mr. Peter Ekayu has stated that a total of 37 aid workers have lost their lives in service of humanity since the beginning of the conflict in northeast Nigeria.

Peter Ekayu stated this in a statement made available to newsmen as aid workers mark humanitarian day.

Mr. Perter also said that, over the years, too many innocent children, women and men had died in the violence, adding that, data showed that about 35,000 people had lost their lives in the conflict since 2009.

“These are 35,000 deaths too many. As we mark World Humanitarian Day to honour aid workers around the world and in Nigeria, who often risk their own lives to help save and improve that of others, I salute the courage and relentless commitment of not only colleagues and partners, but also affected people and families have shown over the years,” Peter said.

“in the past year, tragic events befell women humanitarians working in Nigeria. We are here to salute their commitment and recognize the sacrifices they and their families are making every day.

“Our efforts are not vain. Together, we are making a difference in the life of millions.These everyday heroes are working tirelessly to provide much-needed vital assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

“UN staff, INGO and local NGO personnel, State emergency professionals, doctors, nurses, host community members, or simply fathers, mothers, neighbours… thousands of people are guided by their dedication to humanity. They are driven by the most noble cause of helping others.

“Today, we are paying special tribute to the women among them. Women are active in every aspect of humanitarian action: from negotiating access to people in need, to addressing deadly diseases such as measles and cholera. From reuniting separated children to ensuring people uprooted by natural disasters and conflict have shelter, access to clean water, healthcare, food and education.

“Women humanitarians bring a unique perspective to this work through their understanding of the specific needs and priority of girls and women.

“And women humanitarians extend our global humanitarian access in parts of the world by their ability to reach women and girls who might otherwise be out-of-reach and bring them the information, support and services they need.

“Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa and Hauwa Mohammed Liman. They were midwives with ICRC and were executed after being held in captivity by non-state armed groups for more than six months. Both aid workers were abducted from Rann town, Borno State in March 2018 along with a nurse from UNICEF who is still held in captivity.

“Faye Mooney. She was a British communications and learning specialist with the non-governmental organization Mercy Corps. She lost her life in an attack by gunmen in Kaduna State earlier this year.

“We are here together to honour them and their grieving families, relatives and children surviving them. As I stand before you today, my thoughts also go to the families of our colleagues who are still being held captive by armed groups.

“The UN and its humanitarian partners call for their immediate release and return to safety.

“My heart also goes out to the families of the thousands of civilians who have been similarly abducted and whose whereabouts are still unknown.

“Today, we are here together to remind the world that the humanitarian crisis hitting Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states is far from over.

“The less attention we pay to the crisis in the north-east, the more risks face our colleagues who are working in extremely volatile areas struck by violence and devastation.

“As respect for the laws of war weakens, aid workers are increasingly vulnerable, though they are more needed than ever before.” He added.

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Arewa

Katsina: Bandits free 30 more captives after deal with govt

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Repentant bandits in Katsina have released additional 30 kidnapped victims, following the dialogue initiated by the state government with their leaders.

The victims were presented to Gov. Aminu Masari at the Government House on Sunday in Katsina.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the victims were kidnapped by the bandits from Kankara and Shimfida, both in Jibia Local Government area of the state.

They were thereafter taken to their hideout in Damsadau forest, Zamfara State, where they spent some weeks.

Addressing the victims, Masari said that government would continue to persuade the bandits to release more kidnapped people until all of them were freed.

He directed that the released victims be taken to hospital for medical check up before reuniting them with their respective families.

One of the victims, Zinatu Sani from Kankara, while narrating her ordeal in the hands of the bandits, said that she was kidnapped from her matrimonial home, with two of her children.

She said that the bandits demanded for a N20 million ransom before they could release her and the children.

Sani explained that the ransom was later reduced to N6 million which, she said, her family could still not afford to pay.

She said that the suspected bandits used to give them rice to cook, with only water and salt.

“For 55 days, we slept in an open place without a roof, not minding the rainfall or heat,” she lamented.

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Police rescue kidnapped lecturer, four still missing as kidnappers storm Abuja

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The police in the Federal Capital Territory has said that it rescued one Abubakar Alkali, a lecturer at Baze University, who was kidnapped on September 8 in Abuja.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, on Sunday in Abuja.

The statement reads, “It is pertinent to inform the public that the police has successfully rescued the Baze University lecturer, who was kidnapped on September 8, 2019.

“The command wants to also inform the public that it has commenced discreet investigation into an unfortunate kidnap case that took place at Asokoro on September 14, 2019.

“The police are currently making concerted efforts to rescue the victim.

“Contrary to speculations on the social media about an upsurge in this crime, the command wishes to correct the notion and inform the public that the aforementioned were the only cases reported and efforts are ongoing to arrest the suspects behind the crime.”

Among of those allegedly kidnapped in the city on Saturday were two teenagers returning from Quran lessons at Wuse Zone 6.

Also, one Hannah Azubuike was said to have been abducted near Habiba Plaza in Maitama while another victim, Ummi Ardo, was kidnapped outside Blickers Supermarket in Asokoro.

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National Assembly warns ministers, heads of agencies

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The National Assembly has issued a stern warning to all the revenue generating federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) engaging in diversion of revenues to desist from the act.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Solomon Adeola, gave the warning after a meeting with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

Adeola, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by his Media Adviser, Chief Kayode Odunaro, said that the era of diversion of revenues generated by MDAs was over.

According to him, the National Assembly will ensure that the Federal Government generates enough revenue to implement people-oriented policies and programmes.

“It has been observed that year in year out, the Federal Government has not been able to meet its targets on independent revenue sources.

“Findings indicate that the major culprit in this shortcoming is the inadequacies of MDAs, coupled with their penchant for diversion of revenue on recurrent expenditure under frivolous excuses,” he said.

Adeola said that the National Assembly would not tolerate unauthorised expenditure by the ministry of finance or agencies of government not backed by law or relevant acts of the National Assembly guiding such expenditure.

He said that every expenditure must henceforth be in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other applicable laws in Nigeria.

“Reports show that over the years, the Federal Government has not been able to surpass 30 per cent of its revenue targets.

“This has resulted in low level of budget implementation for critical capital projects.

“We need to reverse this trend. Indeed, we intend to introduce quarterly review of targets so that needed revenue can come to the federal purse” he stated.

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