BREAKING: Four feared dead in Kogi stampede for palliatives

Four persons were feared to have died on Sunday afternoon in Kogi as hundreds of residents stormed a warehouse in Lokoja in search of COVID-19 palliatives.
The warehouse, located along the Murtala Mohammed Way, close to Kpata the market was reportedly invaded as early as 7am on Saturday through Sunday, mostly by the women.

The fatalities, it was gathered, resulted from stampede by residents who rushed at the government warehouse.

The State Government had last week commenced distribution of COVID-19 palliatives to the 21 local government areas.

Each local government area got at least one trailer load of palliative items, including rice, semovita, indomie noodles and pastas in 10 kilogram packs.

The siege on the warehouse, it was gathered, might not be unconnected with an order by Governor Yahaya Bello the remaining items be distributed to people.

A source, who claimed to have been at the scene, told The Nation the casualties were recorded despite warnings by security personnel deployed to the area the residents should maintain the peace and avoid anything that may lead to stampede.

Some of the women,who spoke with our correspondent, confirmed they were there in response to the Governor’s directive that the remaining items be distributed to them.

Meanwhile, the government has expressed appreciation to residents who turned out to share in the palliatives.

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement on Sunday said: “Report at our disposal showed that local government authorities ensured the palliatives reached the masses and helped in ameliorating the hardship visited on our nation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We urge our people to continue to stand tall in public conduct as government will always put their welfare on the front burners.

“The Government of Kogi State also wishes to sound a note of warning to miscreants that all constitutional efforts will be geared towards protecting shop owners in the state as any violation of law and order will be met with superior resistance by law enforcement agencies.

“Our people should go about their normal businesses as Kogi State remains safe.”

Kaduna curfew: Police will deal with persons disturbing peace — CP

The Commissioner of Police (CP),  ​Mr Umar Muri of Kaduna State Police Command, says the command will deal decisively with any person or group disturbing the peace in the state.

Muri gave the warning in a statement issued by the Command’s spokesman, ASP Mohammed Jaleh in Kaduna on Sunday.

He ordered the immediate enforcement of the 24-hour curfew and warned violators to desist.

“The police and other security agencies will not hesitate to deal decisively with any person or group of persons, found in the act of disturbing the peace enjoyed by the good people of the state,” Muri said.

According to him, Kaduna State Government has, on Oct. 24, extended the 24-hour curfew that was earlier imposed on parts of Chikun and Kaduna South LGAs, to all 23 LGAs of the state.

Muri said that the measure became necessary to safeguard communities, protect lives and properties, and repress the activities of miscreants.

CAN accuses govt officials of hiding palliatives meant for citizens

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna state has accused Government officials of hiding palliatives meant for citizens.

This was contained in a statement signed by Rev. John Joseph Hayab, CAN Chairman in Kaduna state, issued in Kaduna on Sunday.

According to him, “two wrongs cannot make a right”

“Following the event of yesterday 24th October, 2020 in some parts of Chikun and Kaduna South LGA of Kaduna State where looting and vandalization of public and private properties is reported to have been carried out which necessitated the enforcement of 24 hours curfew in those areas and later in the entire 23 LGAs of Kaduna State, the leadership of CAN Kaduna State Chapter held a virtual meeting today 25th October, 2020 with church leaders and other stakeholders in the affected communities to have an objective understanding of the matter, assess it and chart a way forward.”

“Against this background, CAN Kaduna State Chapter, condemns in strong terms the vandalization and looting of public and private properties in Kaduna State by youth. We are sad to know that palliatives were discovered in warehouses located in Barnawa in Kaduna, as a result of which the youths fell into the temptation of vandalizing the property and looting the said palliatives stored there going as far as searching for other warehouses in other locations within Kaduna. CAN frowns at such actions and condemn it in strong terms.”

“More disturbing and repugnant is the fact that Government officials, in the face of hunger and untold hardship that has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic could withhold palliatives that should have been used to relieve poor citizens from the hardship and hunger that the pandemic came with. We note that whoever is responsible for holding these palliatives is/are to take responsibility for this unholy act. In that regard, we call on government to investigate and take drastic actions against those whose greed and insensitivity caused the near break down of law and order.”

“CAN calls on all persons who may still have palliatives in their warehouses for selfish gains against the poor masses to as a matter of urgency bring the palliatives out and share them to the citizens that they are ment for. Should you choose to keep these palliatives in your custody, the youths may still find out in the near future which will still bring us back to this ugly experience as there is nothing hidden under the sun.”

“CAN calls on those responsible to come out publicly and apologize to the citizens for withholding what belongs to us at a time we needed it most. CAN also is calling on the youths to resist the temptation of vandalizing and looting. We understand the pains, we feel it too but as responsible leaders and organization we all know that two wrongs don’t make a right. Our youth must note that destroying public and private properties is never a justified means of expressing grievances. We advice that you report such suspicious steps to your leaders rather than resort to looting. We call on parents to rein in their children as actions like this will bring us more pains and embarrassment than relief.”

“On the curfew announced by Government, CAN sees it as unfortunate and a step in the wrong direction, we cannot address every issue by imposing curfew all the time. How can we allow the wrong doing of a few, within a little part of the state cause the larger Community of the 23 LGAs pains and hardship? Government should find other ways of handling criminality. Curfew has become an easy tool in the hands of government that at the slightest provocation, it is imposed and life made difficult by a vast majority of law abiding citizens. We fear that if we continue in this direction, in the future, citizens won’t take government serious when the need for it arises. Curfew should be a last resort in containing crises of humongous proportion.”

“These unfortunate incidents are happening because government is not doing enough to carry her citizens along in issues as this. CAN notes that issues like this escalate largely because government is not carrying the relevant stakeholders along. These youths live in communities where we have different community leaders; Government should involve these leaders in matters as these rather than resorting to imposing curfew at every little provocation. We therefore call on Government to as a matter of urgency reassess and review the 24 hours curfew imposed to a more favorable time to enable citizens go about their lawful business. ”

“While we call on Government to review the curfew, we call on citizens especially pastors and all Christians in Kaduna State to be lawful and obey Government regulations always. We reiterate the call on all to find lawful channels of ventilating their grievances to enable a peaceful environment for our individual and collective growth.”

EndSARS: Tension as N’Delta militants roll out 11-point demand

WARRI- MILITANT groups from the nine states of the Niger Delta region, which vowed to resume hostilities, last Monday in support of #EndSARS protests, triggered fresh anxiety, weekend, as it presented 11 new demands to the Federal Government.

Leader of the militants under the auspices of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, self-styled “Major General” Johnmark Ezonebi, in an electronic mail statement, said the coalition had communicated multinational oil companies to evacuate their staff to avoid human causalities.

RNDA stated : “In support of the existing demands by the #EndSARS protesters, we have added new demands that could stop the mayhem on foreign oil multinationals, oil and gas infrastructures and the Joint Military Task Force involved in the Operation Crocodile Smile in the region.”

“We have vowed to take the destiny of our region into our hands and kick-start the occupation of all the major oil wells and the oil platforms, we will also bring down all major crude oil production pipelines to zero,” it added.

First on the demands of the RNDA is: “Urgent release of the N98 billion gas flare penalty fund to the host communities of the Niger Delta, which are funds domiciled in the Federation Accounts through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, by the International Oil Companies, IOCs, as payment to compensate the communities being affected in the creeks of the Niger Delta due to their environmental pollutions and environmental hazard caused the multinational oil companies.”

The group recalled the President Muhammadu Buhari administration withdrew $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account sometime in 2019 to acquire heavy weapons to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, adding: “This is wicked and insensitive to the peace accord signed with the people of the Niger Delta region, most especially the RNDA militant group that accepted the ceasefire agreement on 21st of August 2016 and nothing has been done so far.”

“Secondly, we demand the total control of our God -given resources in the region. If some parts of northern states are allowed to operate and will be given license to engage in illegal mining and sale of gold, it means it is time the people of the Niger Delta region, especially the Ijaw ethnic nationality be given equal opportunity to go ahead with artisan and local refining of crude oil in the creeks without any form of intimidation and harassment from the Nigerian government as well.

“Thirdly, RNDA demands that riverine areas in Niger Delta be connected to the cities with roads and bridges with provisions in the 2021 budget. A road project for instance should connect Warri to Ogulagha, Burutu local government area, which is a host to Forcardos Terminal, producing over one million barrels of crude oil that contribute trillions of dollars to the federal government on daily basis.

“Fourthly, the proposed 2021 budget, which appropriated billions of naira to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, should be withdrawn and put on hold and the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs should not be allowed to defend the proposed budget until the substantive board of the NDDC is inaugurated and sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We also demand that Senator Godswill Akpabio be mandated to hold a town hall meeting with the traditional rulers, stakeholders and leadership of RNDA militant group in the creek in order to show a genuine intention that the budget proposal will not witness embezzlement and diversion of billions to Akpabio and his cronies’ pockets without any tangible and practical development in the creeks of the region.”

“And we also demand immediate take- off and re-opening of the Burutu Seaport by the federal government, which should be included in the 2021 budget.

“More importantly to the RNDA militant group, we call for an emergency review of the Revenue Allocation Act in other to give proper interpretation of the 13 per cent derivation funds that will not be deposited in the hands of the so- called inhuman wicked corrupt minded Niger Delta governors that has been pocketing the billions of naira on monthly basis from the federation allocation account without getting to the oil producing communities in the creeks of Niger Delta and without any accountability to the long neglected emancipated oil producing communities that are the original owners of the 13 per cent derivation funds , according to section 162 sub section 2 of the 1991 constitution as amended.

“So we demand proper interpretation of this Act by the Attorney General of the Federation as to the chief law officer of the country because the people of the Niger Delta oil producing communities are tired of this perpetual man-made injustice caused by the so -called Niger Delta callous inhuman wicked and corrupt minded governors.

“We also called for a review of the four-point agreement with the Host Communities of Nigeria, HOSTCOM, which was submitted to the federal government by the national chairman, Prince Mike Emuh, and has not been approved up till date. The provisions of the agreement which include 10,000 pipeline surveillance jobs to the oil producing communities through the leadership of HOSTCOM has not been approved.

“Yet the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC went ahead to award pipeline surveillance contract to one individual, Chief Captain Hosa Wells Okunbor, who is the managing director of Ocean Marine Solutions Company that is handling the pipeline surveillance security contract worth over 18. 6 million dollars annually just for OML30, which is TFP pipeline security surveillance contract alone.

“Not to talk of the Trans Escravos Warri Kaduna pipeline amounting to over 20. 5 million dollars annually and that of the Bonny Nembe Creek trunk pipeline surveillance job that worth over 2.7 million dollars contract in the creek of Niger Delta. RNDA and HOSTCOM are not benefiting from these billion dollars pipeline surveillance security contract jobs in the hands of one individual from Edo state and the situation will not be accepted any more in the creek as far as the pipeline surveillance security contract job is concern.

“Therefore, RNDA demands pipeline security surveillance job to accommodate the members of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers group, who are over 5,000 in the creek and we will no longer allow this to happen any more in the creek or else we will bring down all the pipelines in our creek within the stipulated time of ultimatum.

“Furthermore, we demand release of the 10 licenses for modular refineries in Niger Delta, which the federal government has not approved up till this moment, yet the Federal Executive Council is approving billions and trillions every week in the presidency through the sales of our crude oil on 1.86 million dollars to 2.2 million dollars barrels on daily basis without any tangible,” the militants said.

Kaduna warns on health risks from looted drugs, grains

The National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has updated the Kaduna State Government about the items looted from their warehouse in the Narayi area of Chikun LGA.

Samuel Aruwan, Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs,said the looted items included expired, prohibited and dangerous drugs.

“Persons who consume such drugs are at great risk of serious illness and death.”

“The management of a food processing company whose stores were looted in Kakuri has also disclosed that the stolen grains have been treated with chemical preservatives which render them unsafe for consumption.”

“Residents of Kaduna State are hereby notified to be vigilant and careful about the source of the food and medications they take and where they buy them, to avoid these dangers. ”

“The Kaduna State Government appeals to the public for information on the identities of the looters and where they might be hiding the stolen items,” he said.