Buhari: With Advancement in Technology, No One Can Claim Millions of Votes Again

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•Urges Nigerians to resist agents bent on destabilising their country

•Meets with govs, ministers, others over Iftar

•Insecurity worse now than in 2015, Diri declares 

•Terrorists kill three kidnapped victims in Kaduna, threaten to kill 22 others over N20m ransom 

•Three dead, 19 Injured as explosion rocks Taraba cattle market

•IG orders maximum security in schools, colleges across Nigeria

Deji Elumoye, Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja, John Shiklam in Kaduna and Wole Ayodele in Jalingo

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, assured the Nigerian people that with advancement in technology by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the 2023 elections would be different and prevent individuals from claiming millions of votes at elections.

Buhari, who met with governors, ministers and heads of government agencies at the State House, Abuja, over Iftar, however advised Nigerians to resist agents bent on causing breakdown of law and order, in the country, assuring them also that no individual or group would be allowed to destabilise the country.

But the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, yesterday, bemoaned the increasing insecurity in Nigeria and said the situation was worse than it was in 2015, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over power in the country.

The governor, who stated this at Government House, Yenagoa, during separate courtesy visits by new heads of some security agencies, therefore, called on the federal government to redouble its effort at combating insecurity, particularly, in the northern part of the country.

This is as some terrorists have killed three of their victims in Kaduna State, threatening to kill 22 others if a ransom of N20 million was not delivered to them before midnight yesterday.

At the same time, three people were killed while 19 others sustained varying degrees of injuries, when an explosions rocked Iware Cattle market in Ardo Kola Local Government Area of Taraba State.

In similar breath, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba, has ordered a review of police personnel and operational assets deployments to schools and colleges around the country.

Buhari, in a release issued by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, thanked the governors and ministers for honouring his invitation to break fast with, and expressed confidence that in spite of the current security challenges, the country would succeed.

Specifically on the 2023 elections, the president affirmed that being beneficiary of free, fair and credible elections, the introduction of technology and the Permanent Voters Card (PVCs), would make it impossible for anyone to claim millions of votes again in the country.

He however, noted that, “We have the land, we have the resources, and we have the people. But I do not know why people will allow themselves to be successfully subverted to destabilise their own country.”

Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi,however, commended President Buhari for demonstrating resilience and determination at a crucial period in Nigeria’s history.

“We have a leader, who is not distracted  by momentary challenges but has continued to commit to the renewal of our nation and we, governors, ministers and heads of government agencies are equally dedicated to building a better Nigeria, on your watch,” he said.

Noting that this year’s Holy month of Ramadan coincided with the just concluded Christian Lenten period, the Governor of Ekiti, said it held enormous spiritual value on the benefits of renewal, sacrifice, almsgiving, forgiveness and healing for the individual as well as the nation. 

On his part, Diri, who spoke when he received the Comptroller of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Bayelsa Command, Mr Sunday James, the Bayelsa helmsman lamented the level of insecurity in the north, saying once a part of the country was in distress, other areas were also affected.

He said the spate of killings by terrorists in the country was a great setback for Nigeria, where lives could be taken at will and urged the APC-led federal government to effectively curb the killings.

His words: “I use this opportunity to again call on the federal government to do something. These are the same issues that led to the APC government coming to power in 2015.

 “I am sure that you will agree that things are worse now than in 2015. The federal government has to redouble its effort, otherwise, the joker card is with the people of Nigeria. They know what to do come 2023.

“When one part of the country is sick, it affects the other parts. Kaduna and other states in the North are sick security-wise and it is affecting other parts of the country. Nigeria is very close to the Thomas Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’ where life is described as nasty, brutish and short. The federal government has to do something to keep us away from the Hobbesian state.”

Earlier, James, said the visit was to formally present himself as the new helmsman of the service in the state, and said as the agency in charge of giving clearance to intending foreign visitors, he was prepared to synergise to realise the state’s investment drive.

Diri equally charged the new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Idi Abbas, to collaborate with the state government in curbing oil theft, illegal bunkering, kidnapping and related crimes in the maritime domain of the state.

He acknowledged that having served in the Command in other capacities, Rear Admiral Abbas, would contribute significantly towards sustaining the peace and development of the state.

He said: “I believe you have distinguished and excelled in your service and will not be a pawn in the chess game of anybody or any political party.

“Ensure that you discharge your functions with utmost professionalism to bring about peace, security and development of Bayelsa and the country as a whole.

“Security does not know ethnicity. It has no face of political parties and so, let nobody influence you and your Command on politics. We are in a political season and all kinds of characters are on display: the good, the bad and the ugly. The number one thing is to ensure safety of lives and property in our maritime domain and that is the only way we can talk about genuine development.”

Abbas, on his part, also said his visit was to officially present himself to the governor following his posting to head the Command on February 4 this year.

He expressed gratitude to the state government for its support to the Command and appreciated it for the donation of land to build a referral hospital, adding that the secondary school allocated to the Navy would be taken over completely in no distant time.

In a related development, Diri was decorated as an ambassador against drug abuse by the state command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The NDLEA State Commandant, Commander Aminu Ali, conferred the honour on the governor when he led other members of the agency to formally introduce himself as the new head of the command.

Terrorists Kill Three Kidnapped Victims in Kaduna, Threaten to Kill 22 Others over N20m Ransom

Some terrorists operating in Kaduna State had killed three of their victims in the state, and threatened to kill 22 others if a ransom of N20 million was not delivered to them before midnight yesterday.

The victims were abducted at about 8pm on March 31, 2022, in Anguwan Bulus, a suburb near Sabon Tasha GRA in Kaduna city.

Speaking with journalists, who visited the community yesterday, the Village Head, Mr. Gideon Goni, said the terrorists called the community on telephone to inform them that three of the victims had been killed and threatened to kill the remaining 22 if by midnight yesterday N20 million ransom was not paid.

He said on March 31, 2022, the terrorists invaded the community around 8pm, killed two people and abducted 26 others, adding that one person was later released on health ground.

He said the terrorists gave them a description of a location along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, to pick the corpses of the three persons killed.

“The terrorists called and said they had killed three of the 25 people being held in captivity and that if we don’t pay N20 million ransom before 12pm on Tuesday (April 19, 2022), others would be killed,” Goni said.

According to him,  the community was raising some money to secure the release of the victims “when the terrorists called us and told us to pick the corpses of three of their victims at Dutse.

“I am appealing to them not to kill anyone. We are appealing to the state and federal governments as well as religious bodies to come to our rescue so that the killings will stop,” Goni said.

One of those whose family member were kidnapped, said he had been able to raise N7 million, “but the terrorists insisted on the N20 million or they will keep killing the victims.”

Mohammed Jalige, spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command did not respond to telephone calls, when contacted.

Three Dead, 19 Injured As Explosion Rocks Taraba Cattle Market

Three people were yesterday killed while 19 others sustained varying degrees of injuries, when an explosions rocked Iware Cattle market in Ardo Kola Local Government Area of Taraba State.

The incident, which occurred around 4pm at a local drinking spot, sent the entire community in pandemonium as people ran helter-skelter for safety.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abdullahi Usman, confirmed the incident to THISDAY in a telephone interview.

A resident of Iware, Ismael Yakubu, also told THISDAY that the bomber came into the spot in company of another accomplice with the bomb hidden in a polythene bag and disguised as customers.

According to him, “Two guys came to the drinking spot as if they wanted to buy Burukutu and after they were served, the one holding the poly bag containing the bomb dropped his beer and the polythene bag and left.

“The accomplice then said he was going to look for his friend and would come back. After he had also left, the bomb exploded and many people were injured while some others were killed.”

One of the bombers was, however, apprehended and was killed by the angry mob before security operatives could arrive the scene.

The corpses of those killed had been deposited at the mortuary while those injured were receiving treatment at a health facility in Iware. Others in critical conditions had equally been moved to the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo.

Iware cattle market is one of the biggest cattle markets in Taraba State and the economic hub of Ardo Kola Local Government Area, which operates every Tuesday.

IG Orders Maximum Security in Schools, Colleges; Hard on Compliance

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba, yesterday, ordered the review of police personnel and operational assets deployments to schools and colleges around the country.

The review may not be unconnected with the incessant kidnapping of school children by bandits in the North and the killing of school pupils in isolated incidents, owing to inadequate security by the affected schools in the Southern part of the country.

Lagos State government had yesterday shut Chrisland School over alleged sex scandal involving a 10-year-old female pupil during a trip to Dubai.

A statement by Force Headquarters said the review was to ensure the protection of schools and colleges, particularly, boarding schools, tertiary institutions and its campuses in areas prone to security breaches around the country.

The statement said the IG directive was issued at a meeting of the force management team at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, while reviewing the general security in the country including the security of schools and colleges as a result of some isolated incidences reported in some schools.

The IG slso directed all Commissioners of Police in the 36 States and FCT, tactical commanders as well as their supervising Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) to explore all available options and think outside the box to boost security in and around schools, colleges and student-based communities.

The IG, therefore, directed detectives/operatives of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID) and the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) to ensure sustained surveillance and intelligence gathering activities within various school environments while the Police Airwing was directed to extend its aerial patrols to the six geo-political zones of the country.

The IG, however, assured the people that all hands would be on deck to ensure a safe environment for all pupils and students in the various schools and colleges in the country, even as he reiterated the commitment of his administration to diversifying resources towards sustainable security and safety of the citizenry.