Get Guns and Defend Yourselves, Matawalle Tells Zamfara People

*Instructs CP to issue licences to willing citizens 

*Shuts markets, filling stations in two council areas

*Orders security forces to shoot on sight okada riders in restricted areas 

*Terrorists allegedly ban political activities in Kaduna communities
*Ortom attributes FG’s inability to curtail killings to hidden agenda
*Uzodimma grants 10 days amnesty to bandits, says they’ll face bombardment thereafter
* Kidnapped Catholic Priest found dead in Edo

Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Francis Sardauna in Katsina, George Okoh in Makurdi, Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City, John Shiklam in Kaduna and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

Confronted with a seemingly helpless situation, Zamfara State Governor, Mohammed Matawalle, has resorted to self-help, directing residents of the state, particularly farmers, to acquire guns to defend themselves against marauding terrorists/bandits.

Matawalle ordered the Commissioner of Police in the state to issue licences to residents willing and fit to bear arms, to protect themselves against the armed criminals.
The governor approved the immediate closure of all markets and some filling stations, and banned the use of motorcycles in Mada, Wonaka and Ruwan Bore districts as well as Yandoto emirate in Gusau and Tsafe local government areas of the state, respectively. He ordered security agents to shoot violators of the ban on sight.

In Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom said the continued attacks on communities in the state by Fulani herdsmen and killing of innocent people was not because of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, but due to a hidden agenda of the aggressors and the failure of federal government.

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, yesterday granted a 10-day amnesty to bandits operating and hibernating in forests in the state to leave the woods and surrender themselves and their arms to the traditional rulers, or face bombardment if they failed to utilise the window.

Similarly, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, approved the recruitment of additional 500 men into the state’s sector of the regional security outfit, Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed Amotekun. This was part of the efforts of the administration to enhance security of lives and property in the state.
But in Edo State, gunmen, yesterday morning kidnapped a Catholic Priest, Rev. Father Osia.
Meanwhile, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State disclosed that about 200,000 people displaced in the North-east by the activities of Boko Haram were yet to be returned to the country.

In a related development, the Ansaru terrorists group, reportedly, banned political activities in some communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressives Union (BEPU) disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists in Kaduna on Sunday night.

Matawalle, in a statement by his Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, said the state government would distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 emirates in the state for those willing to obtain self-defence weapons. He explained that the government had ordered for the recruitment of 200 additional Community Protection Guards (CPG) in each of the 19 emirates to boost their manpower and capacity to tackle banditry and other crimes in the state.
The governor said the government had also approved the formation of additional paramilitary units in order to properly and effectively reinforce the operations of the state’s community protection guards.

The statement said, “Government has henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as government has directed the state Commissioner of Police to issue licences to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves.
“Government is ready to facilitate people, especially, our farmers, to secure basic weapons for defending themselves. Government has already concluded an arrangement to distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 emirates in the state for those willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.

“People must apply from the Commissioner of Police, license to own guns and such other basic weapons to be used in defending themselves. A secretariat or centre will be established for the collection of intelligence on the activities of informants.
“In addition to this, the government has equally banned riding of motorbikes and selling of petroleum products in Mada, Wonaka and Ruwan Bore districts, as well as Yandoto emirate. Henceforth, all filling stations in the affected areas are hereby closed with immediate effect.

“Anybody found riding a motorbike within the areas is considered as bandits and security agencies are thereby directed to shoot such persons on sight. Security agencies are by this announcement directed to ensure strict compliance.”
The governor reiterated that anyone found violating the order would be dealt with in accordance with the rule of law, warning, however, that government would not condone any acts against innocent people.
He maintained that the security measures taken by the state government were to deal decisively with recent escalating attacks, kidnapping, and criminal levies on innocent communities by terrorists.

Ortom: FG’s Inability to Curtail Killings Part of a Hidden Agenda

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, said the constant murderous attacks by Fulani herdsmen on communities in the state were not because of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law enacted in the state. Ortom attributed the attacks to a hidden agenda by the assailants and a curious failure of the government at the centre to curtail them.
The governor made the assertions yesterday while addressing the congregation at Saint Michael’s Catholic Church, Nyorgyungu, Makurdi, during the wedding of his immediate younger brother, Bernard Ortom, and his wife, Helen Tyokyegh.

According to Ortom, other states in the country that have no laws prohibiting open grazing are equally facing attacks and killings, in a clear confirmation of the aggressors’ annihilation, subjugation and conquest agenda.
The governor advised the people to arm themselves with the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and actively participate in next year’s general election by voting for credible people with proven capacity to turn things around in the country. He charged Christians, particularly, the clergymen, not to relent in praying to God on the worsening security and other challenges confronting the state.

Ortom stated that no challenge was too big for God to solve permanently. He said as someone with the mandate of God and the people to govern the state, he had been doing his best to ensure that the people had comfortable lives.
While responding to an earlier appeal by the Priest in Charge of the church, Ortom directed the chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, to construct a classroom block for the primary school owned by the church and promised to look into their other challenges.

Uzodimma Grants 10 Days’ Amnesty to Bandits, Threatens Bombardment

Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State granted a10-day window to bandits operating and hiding in forests in the state to leave and surrender themselves and their weapons to the traditional rulers in the areas or face bombardment.
The amnesty took immediate effect.

Uzodimma, who spoke at the Government House Chapel, Owerri, while addressing the congregation after the Sunday Service, said government had decided to rid the forests of bandits and, accordingly, procured the necessary equipment for the purpose. He said bandits who wanted to be reintegrated into the society should take advantage of the amnesty and quit now and hand over their arms.

The governor disclosed that Imo State would host the annual Army Day Celebration from June 30 to July 6, saying no fewer than 10,000 military personnel drawn from the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, and Nigeria Police, among others, would be in attendance. They would be led by the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Chief, Chief of Air Staff, Inspector-General of Police, and other security heads, according to the governor.

Uzodimma disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari, who would be expected to declare open the Army Day celebration, had fixed July 12 – 13 as the period he would commission the Owerri-Orlu and Owerri-Okigwe roads as well as  perform the flag-off of the construction of Owerri-Mbaise-Umuahia (from Fire Service) and  the Orlu-Akokwa roads and the foundation laying ceremony of the Imo International Conference Centre in Owerri.
Uzodimma said Cranburg would handle the new roads.

 Kidnapped Catholic Priest Found Dead in Edo

The Catholic Rev. Father Christopher Odia, popularly known as Rev. Father Osia, that was Kidnapped   early yesterday   by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Ikabigbo community, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State has been found Dead.
It was gathered that the armed herdsmen stormed the  residence of the priest when he was preparing for Sunday and  whisked him away.

The priest was  abduction amid sporadic shooting by the  suspected Fulani herdsmen, which earlier left two people dead while a third victim reportedly sustained serious injuries.
It was learnt that the priest was preparing to go for Sunday Mass in the early hours of morning when gunmen stormed his residence in the community and abducted him into the bush.
During the shooting, a Mass server and a member of the local vigilance were shot dead while another vigilance  member sustained serious injuries.

The Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Bishop Gabriel Dunia, who spoke to  THISDAY  on phone, described incident as “sad one because the  local security who went after them, have    died. One of them, a mass server, the other a member of the vigilance group who ran after the kidnappers.
“The situation is very riotous, the vigilance people are very angry, am on my way now to the Army in Nikoho. The Fulani, the two who have been  arrested now are with the army,” Bishop Dunia added.

Meanwhile, the  Catholic Diocese of Auchi, has announced the death  of the priest.
The Diocese in a statement,  signed by its Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Peter Egielew,  said: “With heavy hearts but with total submission to the will of God, we announce the death of our priest  Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia, who was killed by his abductors after being kidnapped  at about 6.30am yesterday  in his rectory while coming out to go for Sunday Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church Ikabigbo, Uzairue, Edo State.  Until his death, Fr Odia was the Administrator of St Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo and also the Principal of St. Philip Catholic Secondary School Jattu. He was aged 41.  May his soul rest in peace.  Burial arrangements will be announced by the Diocese later. “

Makinde Approves Recruitment of 500 Additional Amotekun Corps

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde approved the recruitment of additional 500 men for the state’s Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed Amotekun, in an effort to enhance the security of lives and property in the state. Makinde disclosed this at the weekend, during the monthly security meeting with local government chairmen, vice-chairmen, heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, and stakeholders held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan.
The governor told the gathering that security was a collective responsibility and all hands must be on deck to curtail insecurity.

He stated, “As the operation of the Amotekun corps is concerned, we have perfected the process of employing 500 more hands to enhance their performance and further deepen the security architecture of our state.”
The governor added, “Security is everyone’s business and if we all play our parts well, we will have a safer and more secured environment. Although security of lives and property is paramount responsibility of government, government cannot do it alone except with cooperation of the entire citizenry.

“And as we can see from the report gotten all over the country, Oyo State is relatively peaceful. This was not achieved by the effort of government alone but with the efforts of the all stakeholders, most especially, the security commanders.
“This meeting is aimed at getting the situation report from various quarters on security as well as to dialogue on what to do as stakeholders and fine tune necessary steps. This will help government to put necessary machinery in place for people in the state to sleep with their two eyes closed.”

Zulum: 200,000 Displaced North-east People Yet to Be Returned

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State said no fewer than 200,000 people displaced in the North-east as a result of Boko Haram terrorist attacks were yet to be returned to the country.
The affected people are refugees in neighbouring countries, like Niger and Cameroon, where they fled in the wake of the Boko Haram terrorist onslaught in the zone.

Speaking at the weekend at the State House, Abuja, while presenting the report of the Technical Working Group (TWG) to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Zulum, who is also the vice chairman of the committee, said within the last few years, about 50,000 people had been brought back.

He told newsmen after the presentation that in the last few years, “We have repatriated no fewer than 50, 000 people, but we still have more than 200,000 left in neighbouring countries. So, what we are looking for now is to see how we can repatriate indigenes of Borno State that are living in Niger, especially, those that are from Malumfatori, Abadam Local Government Area that are willing to come back.

“While we have those from Gwoza Local Government Area, Bama Local Government Area mainly that are leaving from Cameroon, they are also willing to come. We also have indigenes of Kukawa and Marte local government areas that are living in Chad.”

Asked about the current security situation in the state, Zulum said, “The security situation has greatly improved. Mr President has inaugurated a committee a few months ago that will look into the repatriation of indigenes of Borno State and other states of the North-east that are living in the Republic of Chad, Cameroon, as well as Niger.
“Sequel to his inauguration, the vice president inaugurated the technical working group, sub-committee, which is headed by my humble self.

“We presented the report to the vice president with a view to ensuring that the repatriation exercise from Cameroon will continue immediately while the repatriation of Nigerians that are living in the Republic of Niger and the Republic of Chad will resume very soon.”
Zulum appealed to Osinbajo, who is Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North-east, to facilitate speedy approval of funds and other logistics required for the rebuilding of the destroyed communities in Borno State.

The governor stated, “So, I think the vice president will do the needful to ensure that the president gives immediate approval in terms of funding and other logistics required for the re-establishment of these communities in Borno State.”
Buhari had in February inaugurated the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North-east, and designated the vice president as the chairman.

Terrorists Ban Political Activities in Kaduna Communities

The Ansaru terrorists group banned political activities in some communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, according to the Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressives Union (BEPU).
A statement made available to journalists in Kaduna on Sunday night, signed by Chairman of BEPU, Ishaq Usman Kasai, said the terrorist group had banned political activities in many communities in the eastern part of Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area.
Kasai said the terrorists had continued to gain strength in some of the communities following the recruitment of young people.

“In fact, the group continues to gain acceptance from many members of the communities, particularly in old Kuyello and Damari communities in Kazage Ward,” the statement said.
BEPU disclosed that the terrorists were marrying girls from the communities. It said some of the locals, who had joined the group, no longer lived within their communities for fear of being arrested by the security agencies.
The statement said, “The Ansaru and the new recruits are of the belief that their numerical strength will help them to bring the present democratic government down.

“Presently, the Ansaru are going round distributing memory cards to the locals, which contain their beliefs and doctrine.
“A disturbing scenario is where the group banned all political activities in many communities, such as Damari of Kazage Ward.

“Politicians from these communities have to go far away secretly to the neighbouring communities before they hold political meetings.

“For instance, this week an okada rider who lives in Unguwar Makera of Kazage Ward was seen with a sticker of one of the candidates vying for the Kaduna State House of Assembly and he was thoroughly beaten by the Ansaru.”
The BEPU chairman added, “People in these communities are now disenchanted and frustrated about participating in political activities.

“We don’t know how the coming elections will take place in those areas because even the last local government election in Kaduna State did not hold in those communities due to the escalating insecurity.
“In short, the Ansaru are now in charge of many of the communities in the area and the group is expanding its occupation.”

The statement also said, “The terrorists now call the shots and determine what is to be done in the villages they are dominating.”

The statement lamented the increasing number of locals joining the terrorists group, adding that those who have joined usually come back to the communities to recruit others and take them to the forests for indoctrination.

Kasai said the new recruits were told to fight government.

BEPU expressed disappointment that despite the worrisome development, the authorities were not doing much to contain the situation.

The statement called on the federal government to take the battle to the hideouts of the criminals in the forests and flush them out to stop the daily killings of people.

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