​Water Sanitation: Nutrition Committee lauds Kaduna RUWASSA

By Habila Victor, Kaduna

The Kaduna State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN) has commended the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), for improving water and sanitation services in rural communities.

The SCFN gave the commendation when its members, supported by Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) visited the Director-General of the agency, Mr Ahmed Munir in Kaduna.   
Malam Salisu Lawal, Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, who led the delegation, described Kaduna RUWASSA as one of the “strongest pillars” of the committee.

Lawal explained that the major challenge affecting nutrition intervention in the state was the absence of a nutrition budget line in relevant ministries, departments, and agencies.

He pointed out that Kaduna RUWASSA not only has a nutrition budget line, but also records outstanding budget performance over the years, adding that access to water, sanitation and hygiene ensures a better impact of programmes designed to combat malnutrition.

“We are aware of your feats in providing water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in rural communities which is significantly helping in winning the war against Open Defecation (ODF) and malnutrition. We are here to say thank you and encourage you to continue with the good work.”

Also reacting, Ms Jessica Bartholomew, the Coordinator of CS-SUNN in the state, said that the visit was to further strengthen partnership and collaboration in addressing the scourge of malnutrition in the state.

Bartholomew pointed out that CS-SUNN recent budget tracking of nutrition interventions in the state showed that Kaduna RUWASSA was the only agency that recorded 94 per cent budget performance.

“This is commendable, and we want you to continue to do more,” she said.

CS-SUNN’s Chairman, Mr Ifedilichuku Ekene-Innocent, described the feat as very “encouraging”, adding that access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities was key to ending malnutrition in rural communities.

“I am particularly impressed with your commitment to ending open defecation in rural communities and ensuring access to water and sanitation facilities.
“For us, this is key in improving the indices of malnutrition in Kaduna State and I urged you to continue with this laudable commitment,” he said.   

Responding, the D-G, who was represented by the Director, Sanitation and Hygiene, Mr Zubairu Abdulkareem, thanked the committee for acknowledging the efforts of the agency.

Munir said that the agency was doing all that it can to eliminate open defecation in the state by 2023 ahead of the national target of 2025.

He said that Jaba Local Government Area (LGA) and 3,500 communities across the state have been certified open defecation free, adding that three other LGAs would also be certified by the end of February.

EFCC urges court not to vacate order against Maina

Counsel to the EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, told Justice Okon Abang to reject Maina’s request on the ground that it was made to delay justice in his trial.

The ex-pension reformed boss had, in an interlocutory injunction motion dated Feb. 9 and filed Feb. 10, urged the court to set aside its Nov. 18 order that his trial should proceed in absentia.

Recall that after Maina jumped bail, the court, on Nov. 18, 2020, revoked his bail and ordered his arrest anywhere he was found.

The court also granted the EFCC’s request that his trial in the fraud charges be conducted in his absence.

After his arrest and subsequent production in court on Dec. 4, 2020, Justice Abang again made an order that Maina be remanded in prison until the hearing and final determination of his matter.

However, Maina, in separate applications, applied for a bail on medical ground and for the setting aside of the order for his trial to continue in his absence.

At the resumed hearing of Maina’s interlocutory injunction, his counsel, Anayo Adibe, said though his client was not in court, the motion could be heard in his (Maina’s) absence in line with Section 266(b) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

The EFCC’s lawyer, Abubakar, did not disagree with Adibe.

Moving the motion, Adibe said he sought the order of the court setting aside the earlier order that the trial should continue in Maina’s absence.

He said the request was a very harmless application because the order sought to be set aside was one that ordinarily should lapse.

”The reason for our bringing this application is that the 1st defendant (Maina) having been rearrested, the order that the trial continues in his absence should lapse.

“This is so because it has been overtaken by event and as such, the legal essence of this application is to bring the proceedings of the court going forward within the parameters of the Provision of Section 36 of the constitution,” he said.

The lawyer said that was why he did not asked that the court should set aside previous proceedings in Maina’s trial.

Adibe said the application brought asking the court to recall the EFCC’s witnesses, who had testified before he took over the case, was withdrawn.

“That is why we submit that setting aside of the order sought to be set aside should take effect from the day it was set aside; the day the application was made,” he said.

The lawyer, who said Abubakar misconstrued the purpose of the application, urged the court to grant his request in the interest of justice.

But Abubakar, who informed the court that an 8-paragraph counter affidavit dated Feb. 22 was filed alongside other processes, urged the court not to grant the plea.

He argued that the further affidavit filed by Maina and his reply on point of law had all confirmed the anti-corruption agency’s depositions in the counter affidavit.

But this is not what this motion is praying for and not what the ground no 1 upon which the relief is made.

He said Maina’s prayer in the motion paper asking the court to set aside the order made was at variance with his lawyer’s argument.

“I submit that on the face of the motion paper, the 1st defendant applicant (Maina) is praying the court to set aside the order made to hear the case of Maina in absentia.

“Granting the prayer is tantamount to setting aside all the proceedings conducted by this court in the absence of 1st defendant applicant,” he said.

Abubakar, who reminded that on Dec. 10, 2020, Maina feigned illness before the court, said if the Nov. 18 order subsisted, it would ensure that his trial was not stalled in such circumstance.

“On Dec. 10 in the course of proceeding, Maina feigned illness and stage a drama before the court.

“In such circumstances similar to what happened, the order of the court made on Nov 18 will still be useful so that the matter can proceed in his absence by virtue of the subsisting order of Nov. 18,” he said.

The EFCC lawyer further said that Maina’s first relief that the court should vacate its order that he be kept in prison pending the hearing and final determination of the matter was an abuse of court process.

“Such relief is incompetent; the 1st defendant having filed a motion for bail and argued before this court which application has been adjourned for ruling,” he said.

But Adibe urged the court to discountenance all arguments by Abubakar.

“I want to draw the attention of the court to Section 352 of ACJA Subsection 4. It is the foundation upon which the order sought to be set aside was made.

“The principal word in that provision is the absence of the defendant. But the defendant is no longer absent and as such, the order should lapse.

“We also submit that the submission of Abubakar as to setting aside, varying or discharging an order are all semantics.

“The court is a court of justice, not a court of technicalities,” he said.

Adibe, who said what happened on Dec. 10, 2020 when Maina slumped in the court was factual, prayed the court to disregard Abubakar’s submission.

“We urge your lordship to strike out his submission as it relates with the quote of the drama that played out in 2020.

“Whatever happened in 2020 was factual. if he wants to make claim on that he should depose to affidavit.

“His failure to do that render that submission as untenable and should be discountenance by the court

“Finally, prayer four on our motion paper is an omnibus prayer which gives the court the power to make appropriate order based on every case present before the court,” he said.

Justice Abang, who adjourned until Feb. 25, said a ruling would be delivered on all the three applications, including the bail plea, filed by Maina.

NAN reports that Maina had, on Jan. 20, approached Justice Abang for another bail after his arrest for jumping the first bail.

Maina, in a motion on notice dated and filed on Dec. 24, 2020 brought by one of his lawyer, Anayo Adibe, said the application became necessary over his worsening health condition.

In the motion, the ex-pension boss told the court that he had reasonable and responsible sureties who were willing to act as sureties if granted bail.

​COVID-19 vaccines safe for Nigerians – PSN

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, on Wednesday declared that given the scientific evidence available at their disposal as well as professional competence in the science and technology of vaccines formulation protocol that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for Nigerians.

They also decried that even with the availability of funds and infrastructure Nigeria cannot produce vaccines due to the non-passage of the Pharmacy Bill into law. .

Addressing a press conference on the Rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines in Lagos, the President of the Society, Pharm Sam Ohuabunwa called for caution in the use of Ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.

Ohuabunwa who dismissed various conspiracy theories against the vaccines urged Nigerians to accept the vaccines when they become available.

“With our avowed responsibility to diligently nest medication safety of Nigerians, we make bold to say that the vaccines are safe and should be accepted when they become available to us.

“Vaccination has remained a veritable tool for disease prevention, control and possible elimination. For example, Nigeria, in August 2020 eradicated polio through effective vaccination. We should be proud that some Nigerians are involved in the development of the vaccines to save humanity from this dreaded disease.”

Represented by the National Publicity Secretary, Pharm. Ijeoma Okey-Ewurum, he pointed out that vaccination should be seen as public health good and should be delivered to all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

Noting that the place of pharmacists who are the custodian of drugs was fundamental, he said participation of pharmacists must be secured to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccinations and generation of data for much needed local vaccine research.

He called for the filling up of funding gap in vaccine capacity building, enforcement of COVID-19 protocols even as vaccinations begins, strengthening the health system and infrastructure and improved budget allocation, as well as better management of COVID-19 palliatives in all states as well as considering community pharmacies as vaccination centres to reach a larger number of Nigerians within the shortest period of time.

He also pointed out that the COVID-19 experience which led countries including China to ban exportation of essential medicines should provoke the country to a resolution to make Nigeria a hub for active pharmaceutical ingredients and the revamping of abandoned vaccine plant.

“COVID-19 remains an emerging infectious disease. We must arise to make sure that another pandemic does not take us unawares. A multi-sectoral approach should be key to mobilising the stakeholders towards sustainable solutions that will put Nigeria on the path of medicines security, economic recovery and development.”

Speaking on Ivermectin, Ohuabunwa appealed to health professionals and Nigerians at large to exercise caution in the use of the drug for non approved indications such as COVID-19 as every drug is a poison and can cause under-reported side effect or adverse events especially when used for new indications with different dosing regimen.

“Ivermectin is a drug that has been around but what we are worried about is the protocol that is being proposed for even prophylaxis in COVID-19. In fact, the one that is being forward as curative is beyond what human beings can tolerate as of today. That is why Pharmacists have continued to scream it at every point because we are the custodians of drugs and we understand the chemistry of these drugs. We know what they do.

“We are also looking at the long time effect because as of today, there is no finished line. It is being taunted because nothing has been established. Some trials showed that the recovery period was shorter but it has not been reproduced here and no extensive study has been done, also COVID-19 is a viral infection which if you treat it, it takes two weeks if you don’t treat it, it takes a fortnight. If the immune system is working, people can recover on their own. Until we do our study in our environment we do not support people going to take ivermectin. Right now, it is being recommended that people should take every week or two weeks, no agreement as at today.

“The first instance is that this medication is proposed for a very short time therapy. You take it for two days in a period of a year or two years. This is now what people take every week or two. That is why Pharmacists are insisting that we must have empirical evidence before we can say yes to this.

Speaking on Vaccine production, he said Nigeria cannot produce vaccine currently due to the absence of a Pharmacy Law.

Ohuabunwa said Nigeria cannot do much about vaccine protocol until the pharmacy bill is signed into law. He said the Bill will enable NAFDAC to do the due diligence adding that. Most drugs produced in the country cannot ship abroad due to the absence of pharmacy law.

Corroborating his views, the National Secretary, Pharm. Olugbenga Falabi explained that the last assembly actually passed the Bill but it failed to receive the President assent, adding that the Bill has been represented all over again.

“We plead to Nigerians and the members of the National Assembly to see the need to do their work all over again. We also hope the Bill will receive the President’s assent before his tenure elapsed.”

​Governors should decide what to pay workers – Reps

The House of Representatives Tuesday passed for second reading, a Bill to allow state governors determine how much they will pay their workers.

The issue of remuneration is at the moment of the concurrent list(duties shared by federal and states) in the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Besides, the House, also passed another legislation to hands off the federal government from the administration of correctional centers in the country.

The two bills, after a thorough debate, were referred to the ad hoc committee of the House on the review of the 1999 constitution (as amended).

The bill seeking to remove establishment correctional centres from the exclusive list aims to empower the states to establish and manage correctional centres in their various states, so as to reduce the menace and prisons congestion.

Chairman of the House Committee of Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Benjamin Kalu who sponsored the bill, argued that the growing population of inmates in correctional facilities across the nation and resultant over-stretching of the facilities had made it impossible to reform the inmates and as such, most inmates return to the society unreformed.

He also said that Section 12(8) of the Nigerian Correctional Act empowers the state controllers of correctional service to reject inmates where it is apparent that the operational centre is filled to capacity, noting that inmates will soon be rejected if the bill is not passed.

Although, the bill was stiffly opposed by some lawmakers, it was eventually passed for a second reading.

In the same vein, the bill seeking you transfer the subject matter of minimum wage from the exclusive list to the concurrent list, sponsored by Rep. Garba Dattj Muhammed(APC-Kaduna), was passed after a long debate.

Muhammed while leading the debate, said the proposed legislation “would allow individual states negotiate remuneration with its staff according to its workforce and resources”.

But the deputy speaker of the House, Ahmed Idris Wase, who doubles as the chairman of the House Committee on Constitution Review, urged his colleagues to oppose the bill.

Despite, the opposition however, the Bill was approved for third reading in the end, and referred to the Constitution Review Committee.

​Okorocha to face protest in Igboland – Igbo youths

The Coalition of Southeast Youth Leaders yesterday called Senator Rochas Okorocha, representing Imo west senatorial district, to desist from inciting violence in Imo state or get ready for a heavy protest against the way he conducts himself.

The youth leaders spoke to newsmen in Owerri, through Goodluck Ibem, alongside other youth leaders.

According to them the display by Okorocaha, by invading into the government sealed Royal spring palm estate had caused destabilization and destruction in the state.

Ibem said: “Our decision to call out ex-governor via Owerri peaceful protest on any time soon of February because of his recklessly corrupt practices whilst in Office as the Governor of Imo State which led to a reasonable impoverishment of Imolites, hence an appreciable increase in the insecurity in Imo State, should serve as a warning to all Igbo corrupt politicians.

“All such destructive and destabilizing attitudes and scheming, must end definitively, or we end the promoters of such unhealthy and divisive culture. Our chief interest lies on the holistic security of the whole, nothing more, nothing less!

“At this juncture, we want to categorically state that the failure to adopt the aforementioned demands to the letters, will result to an unpredictable reaction from the South East Youths. We have our plans clearly worked out, no need divulging them to anyone.

“But, the failure to adhere to our legitimate demands, will necessitate a roll out of our plans. Plans, that would not be good for anyone, particularly those looking for our trouble. It’s a high time we the youths rose to secure all Igbo territories. No part of Igbo land, not even a square meter area, would be ceded to anyone.”

“Finally, we have to commend the efforts of the capacity Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma. Uneasy lies on the head that wears the crown, we can understand how difficult and challenging the whole ugly situation must have been to him, but so far, he has been working assiduously to ensure a speedy and conclusive resolution of the crisis. Your Excellency, we commend you, and also task you for more efforts.

“We are solidly behind all moves that will see to the end of this nightmare. Be focused Sir, don’t get distracted by the evil scheming of the detractors. We are fully aware of your noble efforts towards galvanizing Imo State out of the doldrums you found it, via your “triple-R” mandate of Recovery, Rebuilding and Rehabilitation of Imo State,” Southeast youth leaders said.

Other youths leaders at the meetingincluded; Igbo youth assembly, Okey Uche, Southeast Nigeria Students, Silas Obinna, Igbo youth Parliament , D.C Ike, Southern Nigeria Youth Assembly, Njoku Moses, World Igbo Round table, One Nwachukwu, Alliance for Youth Against Crime in Eastern Communities , Ibekwe Amaka among others.

​We‘ll make Nigeria top destination for investment – Onu

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has assured that Nigeria will soon overcome its current security challenges and become top destination for foreign direct investments.

The minister said that the Federal Government is already working hard and taking proactive steps to make insecurity a thing of the past and make the country become a top destination for foreign investment, tourism and other socio-economic benefits.

The Minister gave the assurance when he received the Chief Medical Director of Army Command and NAOWA (Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association) Hospital in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

Dr. Onu further commended the hospitals’ management for their integration and use of home grown technologies (indigenous technology) in managing their patients.

He said that the Ministry, in line with Executive Order 5 will continue to provide support to the hospitals.

“We believe that through Executive Order 5, our scientists, engineers and professionals will be at the centre of all economic activities, it will further help Nigeria produce all the machines and other equipment needed in the hospitals”.

Dr. Onu further affirmed the Ministry’s dedication to move Nigeria’s economy from being dependent on resources, to a knowledge based and driven economy.

Earlier, the Chief Medical Director, Army Command and NAOWA (Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association) Hospital, Maj. Gen Ikechukwu Okeke (rtd), said that his hospital will cooperate with the Ministry to develop indigenous technology in carrying out their services and treating patients.

​Kwara Hijab Controversy: CAN seeks spiritual intervention

Following the protests by muslim students in Christian schools over their stoppage to use hijab, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has chosen the option of praying to God so as to have peaceful solutions to the controversy.

Christians in Kwara State are making some key demands which include the return of their schools and no use of hijab and that CAN does not want the schools to lose the identity of being built and owned by Churches.

Government’s closure of the schools was prompted by protest on Friday, by hundreds of female students who put Hijab on their heads, and were turned back to their various homes.

The 10 Christian-built schools were closed to forestall breaking of law and order due to the fact that some groups of Muslims vowed to forcefully effect the use of hijab by female students in the affected christian schools which the Christians resisted a day before the schools’ closure.

The well attended prayer session by members from various units and denominations was held Sunday, February 21, 2021 at St. Barnabas Anglican Cathedral, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin.

While awaiting government pronouncement on the issue after series of meeting, CAN leaders called out members to pray to God for ultimate solution.

Rev Fr. Ralph Ajewole, Chairman, CAN Ecumenism who gave the brief on the reason for the gathering, said, it was for the faithful to raise their voices to the Lord in unison, giving the example of how Israelites do overcome in battle.

He reminded Christians that “God is with us in facing the current challenges as he has always been,” charging them never to be tired or worried.

After Bible lesson from 2nd Chronicle 20:15 – 22, which was taken by Evangelist Mary Okoye, Rev. Dr. S. O. James of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin gave the exhortation.

Rev. James charged the people to believe in God who never forsake his own people. He gave the example of Gideon who was almost going into hiding before he was strengthened to face the challenges ahead and conquered.

South African army allows hijab as part of uniform

“We have reached a level in Kwara in which Christians are just living to survive. Why? What happened on Thursday and Friday in respect of attempted enforcement and resistance of hijab in Christian-built schools will make anyone to feel sorry for the state,” he remarked.

He reminded all: “God is with us. We have Him as Israelites have Him. He has promised to be our God and He has superior power.” He enjoined Christians to go in might as a united body of Christ.

In their submissions, Rev. J. S. Dada, President, Kwara Baptist Convention and Rev. Rueben Ibitoye, State Secretary of CAN said, Christians in Kwara State are making two key demands: “The return of our schools and that no use of hijab in our schools,” and that CAN does not want the schools to lose the identity of being built and owned by Churches.

Barrister Shina Ibiyemi, CAN Legal Adviser, who elucidated on the legal angle of the controversy said, there was never any time the hijab issue was a subject of contention in the law court in the state. He therefore implored the people to harm themselves with fact and safeguard against misconception.

The gathering also prayed for unity of the Church, for peace in Nigeria and Kwara State in particular. Prayers were said for blessings, courage and boldness in faith.

Northern Youths Accuses Yoruba Political Leader of Fanning Embers of Hatred over 2023 Presidential Ambition

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum( AYCF) has sounded a word of warning to a political leader of the South West who has been engineering violence and arson in order to further his 2023 ambition and vowed to expose him if the killings is allowed to happen again.

The group explained that its independent investigation has revealed “One South West politician and his associates, who have been fanning the embers of ethnic and regional hatred as well as igniting mindless and senseless violence, especially in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital”, stressing that “his dirty political game is up if he fails to desist”.

The AYCF, in the statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima said the group condemns in totality the violence, killings and arson in Ibadan but explained that it was improper to punish the innocent majority because of the sins of a few criminals.

The statement reads in part: “Much as we condemn all crimes and criminals themselves, we cannot fathom why the action of a view criminals should justify any form of physical attack on majority innocent citizens and their assets in any part of this country”.

Talking about the suspected South West politician, which the group fingered as the arrowhead of the recent spate of senseless ethnic profiling and physical attack, the AYCF said: “All Nigerians are living witnesses to the role of the Northern political elite in stabilizing the nation, using the democratic system of supporting the emergence of Presidents outside the North. Our philosophy of self-denial does not mean, we are not aware of our political strength.

“When the South West cried of marginalization over the annulment of June 12 polls, which the late MKO Abiola was said to have won fair and square, the North rallied behind the South West, by giving their massive votes to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and he served for 8 years.

“The emergence of another President from the North, the late Umaru Musa Yaradua was shortlived but the Northern Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) joined hands with Southern progressives to form the Save Nigeria Group(SNG) that helped paved the way for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan from the South to continue as the nation’s leader.

“So, the North’s large heart in giving its total support for the emergence of political leadership outside the North should not be mistaken for weakness. We cannot be stampeded into surrendering power just because of one man’s blackmail to fuel his 2023 political ambition.

“The North is never such a weakling and let it be known that Northerners did their best in supporting the emergence of Presidents from outside the region not because of political blackmail of ethno-regional profiling”, the group noted.

The group also revealed its demand from the governors of the South West, notably the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, to ensure that compensation is paid to the families of those killed and the survivors of the violent attacks.

​Mai Tangale crisis: Three killed as Gov Yahaya sues for peace

At least three lives were lost and one policeman injured in a violence that erupted on Friday night over the appointment of new Mai Tangale of Billiri in Billiri Local Government area of Gombe State.

This is even as Governor Inuwa Yahaya vowed to make sure that the law takes its course over the incident.

The Governor in a state broadcast while extending his condolences and sympathies to the families of all those who lost their lives or properties in the incident, announced the suspension of further action on the appointment of new Mai Tangale.

Yahaya promised to do everything within his powers to protect the lives and property of the innocent citizens saying “we are a people known for our cherished peace and stability. Violence, sectarianism and extremism have no place in our culture and tradition. Those conflict merchants who seek to profit from this violence by setting brothers upon brothers, families upon families, and communities upon communities, will soon be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

He said he approached the Mai Tangale succession process with high sense of responsibility because, as part of Gombe State’s cultural tradition, any decision he takes will have far reaching implication on not only the Tangale chiefdom but the entire Gombe State.

“That’s why I undertook widespread consultations, conducted background checks and engaged in personal reflection in order to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the people and the state. Let it be clear that it is within my powers as governor to appoint any of the three recommended candidates to become the new Mai Tangle. Let it also be clear that no official pronouncement was made about any candidate before, during and after the eruption of violence in Billiri Local Government Area.

“The violence was orchestrated by some unpatriotic individuals who thought they could blackmail the government into announcing their preferred candidate. Let me make it clear that our administration will never cow into any blackmail, threat, intimidation or witch-hunt from any individual or group no matter how highly placed,” he said.

According to the Governor, “the violence in Billiri LGA has left us with no option than to declare a 24-hour curfew to further stem the spread of violence, loss of lives and destruction of property.

“To this end, Government is withholding any decision on the new Mai Tangale until normalcy returns to the affected communities. I have noted with dismay the dangerous campaign of incitement and polarization waged by some unscrupulous elements on social media. Government will vigorously discharge its role of protecting innocent citizens and combating criminality and violence anywhere in Gombe State.”

Yahaya who was at Billiri earlier in the day for on the spot assessment of the situation described the action of the protesters as uncivilized adding that arrests have been made and more arrests will still be made over the incident.

He added; “I am saddened by the incident and what I saw is not an action of a civilised people. The destruction is too much, as you can see a lot of houses, shops and markets were destroyed and lives have also been lost.

“So it’s really a very serious setback and a sad development. What I saw on ground is what everybody saw, if these people are peaceful they shouldn’t have resulted to violence.”

The Governor who was in Abuja when the incident happened arrived on Saturday and drove straight from the Airport to Billiri to assess the situation.

Yahaya, looking visibly angry, vowed to ensure that all those involved in the crisis are brought to book.

The state Commissioner of police, Maikudi Shehu confirmed that three people have been killed in the incident and one of his men injured.

Driving through Billiri community in company of his Deputy, Dr. Mannasa Jatau, the Governor was shocked at the extent of damage to market stalls, private businesses and others.

​But in a swift reaction, a group under the aegies of Tangale Community Overseas has urged Governor Yahaya Inuwa of Gombe State to approve the newly elected Mai Tangale.

In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Lamela Umaru Lakorok, the group said it’s not the Governor’s responsibility to appoint a Chief for the Tangale people as contained in the Gombe State Law on Traditional council.

​SouthWest govs., traditional rulers back NEC on forest mgt

Governors from the SouthWest zone of the country and some first class rulers on Saturday okayed the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) for each state in Nigeria to manage its forest.

This took place at a closed-door meeting which was held at the executive chamber of the Oyo state governor’s office, Agodi in Ibadan.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state, who also is the chairman, SouthWest Governors Forum, said that the governors and traditional rulers supported the decision of NEC about forest management.

“We believe that all the states should be in position to manage their forest and that will give the respective state governments to power to determine who and who are in the forest and for what purpose.

“And where we have people that are illegally in the forest the state should be able to take some steps so that we can preserve the forest.

“So all of us, including the traditional rulers, supported the decision of NEC on forest management,” Akeredolu stated.

The Ondo state governor further said that they observed that the SouthWest states’ borders had become too porous and that they needed to do something urgently “to prevent foreign herdsmen coming into the country without any form of caution.

“We noted that a number of these foreign herders with their herds and cows are already in the country and what they do is something of concern to all of us and we believe our borders need to be tied.

“We need to tighten our borders so that all these foreigners, maybe from Niger or bordering states, coming with their herds and destroying farms are curbed.”

According to Akeredolu, the meeting also discussed the need for government to support cattle breeding just as “we have been supporting other areas of farming.

“One of the areas we can support cattle breeding is to change the way and means cattle breeders are adopting now.

“This can be done by finding a designated area where cattle can graze, no need of trecking far with cattle but this issue of open grazing in this modern time must be looked at.”

He, therefore, called on the states and Federal Government in particular, to look into areas of support as much as they could, for the cattle breeders.

He concluded with an appeal to the media on the need to assist the country in curbing the issue of fake news, saying newsmen had a duty more than any other person, in carrying news as they are.

NAN reports that the meeting was to be attended by the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu and Director-General of the DSS Yusuf Bishi but they could not make the journey due to bad weather.

According to Akeredolu, the meeting was called by Prof Gambari, but unfortunately, the CoS and the two security heads were at the Abuja airport for long “but had to cancel because the weather could not allow them to fly.

“They contacted us and apologised but because we were here already we felt we should discuss a few things.”

The meeting had in attendance, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Mr Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Mr Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) the host governor Mr Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Rotimi Akeredolu, (Ondo).

Among the traditional rulers that participated in the meeting were the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Fedrick Akinrutan, Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and Olugbon of Orilegbon, Oba Francis Alao.

The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, in charge of SouthWest , Mr David Folawuyo, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, and other heads of security agencies in Oyo state were also in attendance.