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Posts tagged ‘Plateau State’

40 dead, five injured in Plateau multiple attacks.


Boko-Haram-dead-bodies

No fewer than 40 persons were yesterday killed by gunmen in four villages of Plateau State. But the Special Task Force, STF, in charge of security in the state confirmed that 37 persons died and five others were seriously injured during the multiple attacks in Barkin Ladi and Mangu Local Government Areas.

The injured are receiving treatment at various hospitals in the local governments. The villages affected are Tatu, Rawuru, Bok and Dorang.

One of the survivors, Jok Cholonm of Rawuru village told our correspondent that the gunmen stormed the house of his relative at about 12:30a.m. and killed him and his seven children. He lamented that security operatives in the area did not come to their aid during the attack. The village head of Tatu, Pam Gyang Tsok, who spoke to journalists, said the attack took place about 1a.m. on Tuesday.

He said: “At about 1a.m. yesterday, I started hearing gunshots, I then rushed out of my home to the direction of the gunshots and saw the corpses of our kinsmen murdered in cold blood by our attackers. “Our village was under siege for more than 30 minutes,” he said.

Pam Yakubu, who lost six relatives, also told our correspondent that the gunmen attacked the village at about 12:30a.m. and started shooting sporadically. He gave the names of some of the deceased as Davou, Yop, Sarah, Felix, Timothy.

“Our attackers must be professional killers as they were speaking good English,” Yakubu said. He appealed to security operatives to tighten security around the local government council. National Mirror also gathered that the victims were given mass burial.

Speaking to journalists at the burial of the victims, the outgoing President of Church of Christ In Nations, COCIN, Rev. Soja Bewarang, described the attacks as a calculated attempt to wipe out the people of the state.

He lamented that despite the presence of security operatives in the area, gunmen could still create such havoc on the people. Bewarang called on the state government and the STF operatives deployed to restore law and order to strength security in the local government.

The Chairman, Management Committee, Barkin Ladi Local Government, Habila Dung, described the attacks as barbaric and unfortunate, stressing that the attacks in the four villages occurred at the same time. “I got a call at about 12a.m. yesterday and immediately notified security operatives, who swung into action but the affected villages were difficult to access”, he said.

A statement by the STF Media Officer, Capt. Salisu Mustapha, in Jos said that the coordinated attacks were carried out about 2a.m. “The attackers killed about 13 persons in Katu Kapang, eight in Daron, nine in Tul and seven others in Rawuru.

About five others were also reported to have sustained injuries. “On receiving the report, STF personnel swiftly moved to the scenes to bring the situation under control but the gunmen fled on sighting the troops.

“STF Commander, Maj.-Gen. David Enetie, has visited the villages to assess the situation and he has vowed that no stone would be left unturned to fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act,” he said.

Mustapha called on the people of the state to desist from violence, urging them to remain law-abiding and go about their lawful businesses. He urged them to cooperate with the security agencies and jealously guard the relative peace being enjoyed in the state.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Death toll in Kaduna attacks hits 100 – Village heads.


Gov-Yero-kaduna-0

Following last Saturday’s attack on Attakar community in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State, during which 15 people were killed, the death toll in the series of attacks on Kaduna villages since March this year has risen to 100.

Also in the period under review, property, worth several millions of naira, including over 500 houses, household items and foodstuffs were destroyed and more than 10,000 natives displaced.

These revelations were made by the spokesman of the affected communities, and National President, Attakar Community Development Association (ACDA), Ishaya K. Samaila during a press conference in Fadan Attackar, yesterday.

This was even as the Paramount Ruler of Attakar Kingdom, Agwam Takad I, Chief Tobias Nkom Wada, on behalf of other community leaders present at the briefing, berated their representatives in the National Assembly for their failure to call Federal Government‘s attention to their plight. He expressed disappointment in the lawmakers for keeping quiet since March, when suspected Fulani gunmen began the onslaught on Attakar communities.

Recalling the incidents, Samaila said, “between March 19 and 20, Stephen Aboye was killed at Mafan and Markus Aba, shot dead in Telak by suspected Fulani gunmen. On the March 21, Attakar villages on the Plateau State axis including Kirim, Danti, Mayit, Zadian, Dajak, Tinga Mogwai and Durag were invaded, leaving 14 people dead, while 247 houses were burnt, including four churches and two schools. Personal items worth about 150million were destroyed in that attack”.

According to the community leader, “on March 30, Mafan, Muyit and Zilan communities were attacked in the afternoon, being the Easter eve. A total of 32 people were killed, with two churches and two primary schools and the entire villages razed.

“Also on May 13 in Zangan District, 13 people were killed in a night raid by suspected Fulani armed men. 82 houses were destroyed, including a church and a primary school. The assault also forced over 3,000 people to seek refuge in Zangan Secondary School.”

Ismaila said that the armed men had a breather until 2nd September, when Adu village in the same Zangan District was attacked. In the attack, a family of four was completely wiped out, leaving a death toll of nine, he recalled.

Speaking on the manner of the invasions including last Saturday’s in which 15 people were murdered, Ismaila said, “the mode of the attacks were as if their mission was to completely wipe out entire villages, children and women, not spared. The attacks seemed to have been directed at taking over our lands.” He lamented that attempts by his people to reclaim their lands were met with further attacks during which four lives were lost at Mayit and Tela communities. ” Fulanis have now settled in Mayit and other villages after displacing the Attakar people”, Samaila disclosed.

Despite all these attacks, the Attakar people have remained peaceful and law abiding and still allow Fulani herdsmen’s cattle to graze.

The Attakar people now called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency come to their aid.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria’ll not break up despite challenges Lar.


Solomon-Lar

Pioneer chairman of the Peoples Democratic Paty, Chief Solomon Lar, has expressed optimism that despite Nigeria‘s current travails, it would still remain a united and indivisible entity.

Lar in his message on Nigeria’s 53rd Independence Anniversary said he was privileged to be part of the celebration of yet another independence anniversary.

Lar spoke in a statement by the Executive Secretary, Mr. Major Adeyi, the ex-PDP chairman said, “It is a great privilege for me to be part of the 53rd Independent anniversary of our great nation Nigeria. For me and those of us who witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack, and the hoisting of Nigeria’s national flag, we have every reason to rejoice.

“Our experience as a nation in the past 53 years may not be all that palatable but it is worth thanking God Almighty. The process of nation building is not a day’s business, but a complex one, more than state building. We as a nation have really done well and there is hope for a greater and brighter tomorrow.

“I urge every Nigerian and all our friends to see Nigeria as doable; a nation that has come to stay an indivisible entity that will democratically solve her socio-economic problems without blood shedding again. We should not allow the mistakes of early post-Independence years to re-surface in any form.”

In his own message, Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang called on Nigerians to be optimistic that the country would emerge as a stronger nation despite its challenges.

He said that Nigerians needed not dwell on the negative side but also appreciate our positive strides in other spheres of life.

The governor also enjoined the citizens to love, tolerate, forgive and respect our diverse cultural values in a bid to strengthen this bond of fraternity.

He also enjoined Nigerians to pray fervently for the peace, unity and stability of the country and to support their leaders in order to bring about the needed transformation.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Revenue crisis cripples states.


Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-02

The drop in the monthly revenue allocations by the Federal Government to the 36 states of the federation has affected the finances and smooth-running of various governments.

Investigations by Saturday Punch showed that the shortfall in revenue allocation to states by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee which started three months ago, had disrupted payment of salaries, pensions and financing of government projects in many states.

A cross-section of states that spoke with Saturday PUNCH on Thursday, lamented that the shortfall in the allocations and non-disbursement of full allocations as at when due, had reduced the financial capacity of their governments, thus making it impossible for them to execute some vital projects.

While blaming the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for not remitting enough revenue to the coffers of the Federal Government, the states urged government to ensure adequate, transparent and accountable revenue remittance by the NNPC.

But as the states lament the toll of the shortage on their administrative efforts, President Goodluck Jonathan has intervened with a view to finding a quick solution to the problem.

Saturday Punch learnt on Thursday that the President had approved a sum of N75bn to be immediately made available to the FAAC to augment revenue shortfall for July.

This development was confirmed on Thursday by the Chairman, Forum of Commissioners of FAAC, Mr Timothy Odaah, during a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja.

He said the amount would be added to the N45bn already provided by the Ministry of Finance to make up the N115bn arrears for the Month of July.

About N336bn is being owed the three tiers of government as arrears of revenue shortfall owing to persistent decline in oil production and revenue.

Odaah said though the timely intervention of the President would help cushion the impact of the problem, state governments still believed the President was not well briefed on what was happening.

In Plateau State, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham, told Saturday PUNCH that the shortage had affected all cash-flow of salaries, wages, contractual obligations, security and the smooth running of government at all levels.

Abraham, who spoke with one of our correspondents, however, assured civil servants that the state government would ensure payment of salaries immediately the shortfalls were released.

He said, “Naturally, the non-disbursement of funds and shortfalls in federal allocations from the Federal Government affects all aspects of cash-flow such as salaries and wages, contractual obligations, handling of security problems and the smooth running of government at all levels.”

He, however, said, “Sad as the situation may be, Governor Jonah Jang has always ensured prudent management of state resources.”

Akwa Ibom

In Akwa Ibom State, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bassey Akpan, said that the state government got a loan of N80bn from the Standard Chartered Bank of London, not for the purpose of financing new projects, but to offset the previously acquired credit facility of N50bn from the United Bank for Africa Plc.

He explained that the state government had already met with the state House of Assembly on the need to write off the UBA loan facility which attracted an interest rate of 18.5 per cent per annum.

He stated that the UBA facility was a bridge to support the state government to fulfil its financial obligations as at the time the loan was taken.

Inquiries by our correspondent, however, showed that the state government was not owing workers’ salaries.

He said, “When we consummated the UBA facility, we were also working with international financial institutions. The essence of this loan is to enable us to bring down the cost of governance for the people. We have to do this based on the interest that has been shown by the international financial community based on the performance of the governor.”

Kwara State

In Kwara State, the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the dwindling revenue from the federal coffers had impacted negatively on the state government as it had prevented the state from embarking on projects that required huge funding.

He attributed the dwindling revenue to a shortfall in the state’s allocation from the federation account which he said arose because of the non-augmentation of shortfalls of revenue by either the FAAC or the Ministry of Finance.

“The state government has been suffering as a result of the unwillingness of the appropriate agencies to augment the shortfalls of the Federal Government revenue.

“The problem has lasted for about three months now, FAAC just explained the reasons for the non-augmentation of shortfalls of revenue to us in September.”

He stated that the state was still pressuring the relevant agency of the Federal Government to augment the revenue shortfall, expressing the hope that the state would soon succeed.

According to him, the shortfalls may not be unconnected with the low remittances from the revenue collecting agencies of the Federal Government.

Ahmed called for more transparency in collecting and accounting for revenue from the Federal Government collecting agencies, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Demola Banu, told Saturday PUNCH that the state was only meeting its monthly financial obligations on payment of salaries, pensions, interests and other recurrent expenditures that could not be differed.

Banu said, “We are facing challenges. But workers’ salaries are being paid. There is never a time that we did not pay salaries. But there could be other expenses that we need to make that could be deferred. But generally it has not affected us drastically.”

Both Ahmed and Banu declined to provide information on the state’s total loan obligations to its creditors.

Osun State

In Osun State, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, could not be reached to say how much the state was being owed by the Federal Government.

Also, calls put across to his telephone indicated that it was out of network coverage area.

However, a top civil servant, who pleaded not to be named, because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said that the state government had been paying salaries despite the shortfall in federal allocations.

He said that the government had been using the state’s reserve to pay workers’ salaries, adding that the reserve would soon be empty.

He said, “The allocation shortfall is biting harder and I know that all the states are feeling the heat. The Federal Government is owing all the states N261bn. There was N121bn deficit in June and N140bn deficit in July.”

“Look around, you will see that some states have not been paying their workers since the shortfall started in June. Many will join the league of such states if the shortfall continues.”

He said that the other two tiers of government would soon be prostrate if the shortfall continued.

He said that Nigerians should appeal to the Federal Government to pay the money, saying otherwise many states would no longer be able to pay workers’ salaries.

Enugu State

In Enugu State, government kept mum on how the state was coping with the non-payment of arrears of allocations and financial commitments to banks, contractors, among other financial issues affecting the state.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Godson Nnadi, on Thursday said, “I am not permitted to speak on any of such matters without the approval of my principal.”

Nnadi pleaded with our correspondent to call the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chucks Ugwoke, “as he is the only one empowered by the State Executive Council to speak to journalists on any matter.”

However, SATURDAY PUNCH could not get the comments of Ugwoke as he did not pick several calls to his mobile phone. He also did not respond to text messages sent to his phone.

At the Enugu State Budget Office, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Casmir Ugwu, was unavailable to speak to our correspondent.

Rivers State

In Rivers State, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Chamberlain Peterside, said the state had yet to receive allocation for September 2013.

Peterside also lamented that the state was short-paid for the month of August.

According to him, while the state was expecting N19bn, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission allocated only N14bn to it last month.

Peterside, however, explained that the state was finding a way out of the problem through its internally generated revenue.

“It (non-payment of monthly allocation) is the reality we are facing. We are even in a better shape than most other states.

“We have been able to fall back on our internally- generated revenue and that is why our situation is different from that of other states,” the commissioner said.

Describing the challenge as a national problem, Peterside pointed out that Rivers State had been able to pay contractors, adding that workers’ salaries had been processed and will soon be paid.

He said, “We have been able to pay contractors and that is why you can see them working at different locations in the state. The September salaries of civil servants have been processed and they will soon be paid.”

He, however, expressed the need to embrace transparency in the developments within the oil and gas sector.

Bayelsa State

In Bayelsa State, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Markson Fefegha, declined to comment on the inquiries by our correspondent. He said, “Those are questions reserved for those who attend Federal Allocation Committee meeting or officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance.”

Odaah said FAAC was owing states N336bn. This amount, according to him, is made up of N128bn for June; 115bn for July while shortfall for the month of August was put at N93bn.

Going by the payment of the N115bn, the arrears have now dropped to N221bn

Odaah said the inability of the Federal Government to pay the N115bn arrears which was already approved in the committee’s July meeting was the major bone of contention at its September meeting.

This, he explained, led to a walkout of the commissioners at both the committee’s meeting held on September 13 and 23 respectively.

The Federal Government had during the meeting provided the sum of N548.393bn as statutory revenue for the three tiers of government for the month of September. This was rejected by the members of the committee.

Odaah told our correspondent that the major reason for the rejection was that the approved N115bn July shortfall was not provided for.

He said, “In July, we approved that the arrears of N115bn be paid to us. We met in August and nothing was done about it. In September when the meeting was held again, they still haven’t paid.

“So when we met in September, instead of paying us the arrears, they told us that from September, what we will be sharing is actual instead of budgeted revenue. This made us to demand the clearing of all our backlog of N336bn and this was what caused the stalemate.

“But now the President has approved the release of N75bn to complement the N45bn already released by the Ministry of finance to make up the July shortfall of N115bn. We are grateful to him for his prompt intervention.”

Odaah dismissed reports that the action of the states was political and insisted that the states needed to get their allocation to carry out developmental projects.

“Our position is not political. We are a patriotic forum and we are doing this to help in developing our states. We are representatives of our respective governors.

In recent times, there had been persistent decline in gross federally collected revenue accruing to the federation account.

The Federal Government had projected monthly earnings of N702.54bn in the 2013 budget, but it only surpassed that target once during the first seven months of this year, earning N651.26bn in January; N571.7bn in February; and N595.71bn in March.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Explosions Rocks Saminaka In Kaduna State.


By SaharaReporters, New York

Reports from Saminaka in Lere local government area of Kaduna State indicated that there were a series of bomb explosions and shootings throughout the night and till the early hours of today.

The explosions and shootings were reportedly carried out by suspected gunmen believed to be insurgents while other versions has it that it was an armed robbery attack on two commercial banks in the area.

Saminaka shares boundaries with Bauchi, Plateau and Kano states. It lies in a heavily forest said to be a terrorists den, the area has served as a safe passage for insurgents and violent criminals crossing from Bauchi to Southern Kaduna and other parts of northern Nigeria.

A source told Saharareporters that soldiers have been deployed to the town to fight the attackers.

Slaughter Of Apo Squatters: Call Spokesperson To Order, Muslim Group Tells SSS.


SSS spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar
By SaharaReporters, New York

Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), an umbrella Muslim organization, has advised Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) to caution its spokesperson, Marylyn Ogar, against misleading Nigerians over the killing of seven squatters in the Apo area of Abuja. JNI regretted that Ms. Ogar tried to link the hapless victims of the unprovoked execution to the extremist Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

In a statement issued Monday and signed by its scribe, Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, JNI wrote: “Jama’atu Nasril Islam received with shock and bewilderment the cruel and senseless killings/attacks on innocent people at Apo, in Abuja (FCT), Benisheikh, in Borno State, Wase, in Plateau State, Kafanchan in Kaduna State and also various attacks in Nasarawa and Taraba States. It is quite unfortunate, regrettable and condemnable that, after witnessing relative peace in some of these states in recent time, these unfortunate recurring massacres are coming up within 72 hours concurrently claiming many lives! JNI laments this sorry state of affairs in [the] strongest terms, for the nation seems to be [descending] into nihilism leading to multiple loss of innocent lives, the repercussion of which may not be good for the nation in the nearest future. Hence, the situation calls for Allah’s guidance and intervention. May He guide us alright, Amin.”

The statement rebuked the SSS spokesperson. “A critical overview of these repeated acts of absurdity clearly depict to the discerned, that the manner in which the SSS spokesperson handles reportage of security issues needs serious introspection, because the spokesperson concludes matters before investigation. The case of the Nasarawa State man found with dynamite in Radio House is still fresh in the memory, as Nigerians are appreciably learned and cannot be taken for a ride. Therefore, the spokesperson should be called to order. It is most likely as reported by the media that the Apo victims were not Boko Haram members as claimed by the spokesperson. More amazing also is the news going round that the military were said to be overwhelmed by insurgents and driven away prior to the Benisheikh attacks. Hence, the use of the military regalia by the insurgents. This act calls for sober reflection, if it is confirmed to be true. And it tells Nigerians the sorry state of the security operatives in Nigeria.”

JNI called on all concerned to be moved by the fear of God and to put a stop to the spilling of blood for no just cause. According to the group, “2015 is two years ahead but regrettably on frequent basis innocent souls are being maimed, killed or massacred for no reason. Therefore, the JNI calls on the Muslim Ummah to rise above the tide by engaging in supplications to Allah, the Most High to bring to an end these acts of barbarism.”

The group called on the Federal and concerned state governments to set up panels of inquiry into recent violent events. After sending condolences to all the affected state governments and their people, JNI restated an “earlier call that rules of engagement should be professionally employed by the Nigerian Army, the police, SSS and other security agencies in curbing insurgencies, so as to reduce collateral damages recorded in such types of upheavals.”

I’m not accountable to you– Okonjo-Iweala replies Amaechi’s NGF.


Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, yesterday called the bluffs of the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, saying she is not accountable to state governors, but to President Goodluck Jonathan.

It will be recalled that the Amaechi-led NGF on Tuesday called for Okonjo-Iweala’s resignation for what the Forum termed her alleged breach of the provisions of the Appropriation Act, 2013 and non-compliance with the revenue projections in the federal budget.

The governors also called for the immediate disbandment of the National Economic Management Team, NEMT.

But, the minister, who responded briefly to media enquiries on whether or not she was preparing to heed the call of the governors, during a briefing on the

performance of the economy in Abuja, said there was no basis for her to leave office given the impressive fundamentals of the economy.

Although, she was reluctant to comment on the call for her resignation, since the basis of the briefing was to update the public on the state of the economy based on micro and macroeconomic assessment parameters, the minister was however quick to categorically state that she was accountable to the President, who appointed her and the Nigerian public on the economy and not the aggrieved governors.

She said: “I will not involve myself in political issues with the state governors. We are here to manage the economy for the good of the nation and what we are doing here is based on facts on the ground. I am minister for the economy; I am working for President Goodluck Jonathan and I am answerable to him.

“Do I look like someone who is preparing to resign? I am not resigning, I dey kampe! I have a very committed and dedicated team and so I am not going to respond to such issues.”

Specifically, the minister explained that despite some misgivings on the economy in some quarters, the performance indices, in terms of macroeconomic stability, increasing build up of critical infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, inflows, job creation opportunities, foreign reserves profile and growing investors’ confidence, suggested clearly that Nigeria is on the path of sustainable growth.

She spoke elaborately on the various achievements of the current economic reform agenda, particularly in terms of job creation, infrastructure development in rail, road, air and waterways, foreign reserves level, successful privatisation of PHCN successor companies, increasing private investment inflows, inflation rate and capacity of the country to meet payment obligations when due and other areas.

According to her, in addition to ensuring that the economy is prudently managed through a combination of fiscal and monetary measures, indications showed that more and more investors were investing in the country, even as the state governments are also exploring the bond market to raise funds for their longterm infrastructure needs.

“It is very clear that there is a growing investor confidence in the economy and this happens only in prudently managed economy. You only float bonds in a stable, prudently managed economy. Many of the states are doing this.

“Already, we have nine of them that have done this and many more are coming. As we speak now, two new applications are also coming in. So, the environment is supportive of investment and I can say that more and more investors are doing business here,” the minister added.

On the performance of the 2013 capital budget, Okonjo-Iweala said in addition to paying salaries and government’s bills when due, a total of N850bn had been released this year on capital budget, of which substantial portion had been cash-backed.

Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who is also factional chairman of NGF yesterday, condemned the call on the minister to resign.

In a statement released in Abuja, Governor Jang questioned the authority under which the call was made as, according to him, only 13 governors were present at the meeting.

The governor disassociated himself and his other colleagues from the call.

“Show me any of them that has a perfect state. Instead of facing the reason they were elected as governors, they have now become a mouthpiece for opposition politics in search of statements that will make front page news even if it is foolish. Thankfully, Nigerians are smarter and see through this mischief,” Jang stated.

In a related development, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has cautioned his colleagues on the demand for Okonjo- Iweala’s sack.

Speaking with journalists in Lagos yesterday, the governor said the minister should not be held responsible for the bad shape of the economy.

He insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, should be held responsible over its failure to make available the generated revenue.

“There was a call by some of my colleagues yesterday (Tuesday) on the Minister of Finance to resign if she cannot manage the economy. Why I know that this month’s FAAC meeting has been suspended indefinitely as there is not enough money available to share, calling on the Minister to resign is not the way to go.

“We know that this year’s budget is predicated on the sale of 2.3 million barrels of crude oil at the benchmark of $79, but we have been consistently selling the product above $100. While we complain of theft of about 400,000 barrel of crude oil, I know that we have been able to reduce the theft to about 80,000 barrels.

“The question that we should ask ourselves as a nation and direct at the NNPC is where has all the money gone to the extent that we cannot hold FAAC meeting this month,” Uduaghan said.

He said that the implication of the financial position of the economy is that some states may not be in a position to pay workers salary at the end of the month.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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