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Akeredolu Counters FG on Attackers of Owo Church, Backs Matawalle on Self-Defence

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The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has faulted the Federal Government on the claim that the Islamic State West African Province was responsible for the massacre of worshippers in Owo, a town in the state.

Akeredolu, who backed the call by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State for residents to arm and defend themselves against terrorists, called on the people of his state to repel those attacking them.

The governor, while criticising the centralised police system in the country, stated that the Nigeria Police Force cannot effectively secure the country.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had on June 9, 2022, disclosed that ISWAP masterminded the June 5 attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, which claimed 40 lives.

Speaking on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television, on Monday, Akeredolu asked people of the state to fight back when attacked.

Responding to a question on the reported arrest of the Owo attackers, he said, “We are still on the track of the perpetrators and we are yet to make a serious headway and that is for many reasons.

“These people usually disappear into our forests and from there migrate to other states.”

The governor, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, added that the vehicle and mobile gadgets suspected to have been used by the terrorists had been handed over to the Department of State Services for forensic analysis.

He added, “We have called on our traditional rulers that we must all be ready to rise up to defend our land and defend our people. What I really mean by that is that, you can’t fold your hands and say people (attackers) are coming and you are running away.

“No. If they bring a fight to you, fight them back. There is no room to run away from it. That was why when I heard my brother in Zamfara, who said people should carry arms and license people to carry arms, it might be to some a bit of extreme measure, but when you are pushed to the wall, there is nothing else you can say.

“So, what we have learnt is that our people cannot afford to stay back or lay back as if you are lazy people. We are not lazy; we are indomitable people in spirit and everything and nobody can dominate us. So, when we believe that and strongly act that, fight these people back. If they come, push them (back) inside the forest and leave. Whosoever has the higher (sic) arm will survive.”

On the claim by the Federal Government that the attack was carried out by ISWAP, Akeredolu said, “We are not people who will buy the idea that it is ISWAP or bandits or terrorists or Fulani herdsmen. We have been facing – at least in Ondo State – terrorism from the three, whether they are bandits or Fulani herdsmen or ISWAP; they work together. I don’t know how you want to separate them, except you have concrete evidence.”

“Our contention is that ISWAP, most times, if not all the time, take responsibility for their actions. So, when they do things, they say ‘we have done it.’ They take pride in this heinous crime. So, I expect that if ISWAP had done this, all this while, they would have come up and own up (to it). But some of us have our fears that it cannot be ISWAP and we do not agree with that position because the security agencies were just too quick.”

The Ondo governor noted that the Owo attack was about one month ago and the people had learnt to take security more seriously, which led to his order on security guards and installation of Closed Circuit Television cameras in public places.

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New Naira Notes: Emefiele Finally Appears Before House of Reps

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has finally appeared before the House of Representatives which summoned him over the crisis caused by the redesign of some naira notes and the exchange of old naira notes with new ones by the populace.

Emefiele is appearing before the ad hoc committee set up by the House to investigate the crisis, which is chaired by Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was to issue a warrant for Emefiele’s arrest over his repeated failures to answer at least four summons from the House.

The House had shelved its plan to go on break for the presidential and National Assembly elections, which was to commence on Thursday, over the CBN governor’s failure to answer the last summons issued to him by the committee.

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Protesting Youths Attack, Haul Stones at Buhari’s Convoy in Kano

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Despite assurances given by Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, some angry youths in the state, on Monday, hauled stones at the advance convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during an official visit to Kano.

Security had been beefed up across the Kano metropolis as the President visited the state to inaugurate eight development projects.

The President arrived at the Aminu Kano International airport in the morning and from there, he was conveyed by helicopter to the palace of the Emir of Kano, Aminu Bayero.

However, in spite of the heavy security presence mounted on the routes leading to Ahmadu Bello Way where the President was to launch Galaxy Backbone Limited’s project, angry youths holding stones of various sizes and wielding sticks reportedly attacked Buhari’s convoy and helicopter as it hovered above them.

Videos circulated on social media showed the moment the irate youths pelted stones at the helicopter believed to be conveying the President.

One video showed citizens angrily struggling with some unidentified security agents while a convoy made its way through their midst.

Another video showed a road littered with stones while teargas canisters were being fired to disperse the angry mob.

The Punch observed as the protesting youths shouted “ba ma yi” (down with you) and ran helter-skelter to avoid being caught by heavily armed security operatives who provided security for the President and his convoy.

Besides Hotoro and a few other projects that were inaugurated, the President’s chopper was parked at the Emir’s palace, from where he proceeded to Kumbotso Local Government to inaugurate the 10 megawatts solar power projects.

However, the President’s trip to Kumbotso did not record any attack by any mob, as he was sandwiched by security operatives, who comprised heavily armed soldiers aboard motorised Toyota Hilux and was also supported by armed mobile police special forces.

The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, had recently in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, asked Buhari to postpone his planned trip to inaugurate some projects in the state.

Ganduje said in the statement that the naira redesign and January 31 deadline for old notes had brought hardship on residents of the state, adding that the development made people angry.

“Deeply concerned with the hardship caused by the limited time given for halting the use of old naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and for security reasons, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje reveals that the state resolved and wrote to the presidency that the visit of the president to commission some projects to be postponed,”  the statement said in part.

However, Ganduje, while speaking to journalists after a meeting with Buhari in Katsina, expressed readiness to receive the president to commission the projects in the state.

“We are very much ready to receive him and we have a lot for him to commission, including Federal Government projects and state government projects. They are state-of-the-art projects,” Ganduje said.

Prior to the Ganduje episode, angry youths had attacked government officials when the President visited his home state in Katsina to inaugurate some projects on Thursday.

The youths were said to have staged the protest to express their anger against the hardship being experienced in the country.

The situation reportedly degenerated when the youths started throwing stones, causing a commotion that created tension in the area.

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NNPP Zonal Secretary Dumps Kwankwaso, Embraces Atiku

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The former North-East Zonal Secretary of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, Dr. Babayo Liman, on Sunday, said the NNPP and its presidential candidate, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, lacked the structure and capacity to rule Nigeria.

Liman who disclosed this in Jalingo, Taraba State, while addressing his supporters at a press conference, said he defected to the Peoples Democratic Party to help Atiku Abubakar win the February 25 presidential election.

“The NNPP lacks the structure to win elections. I have seen PDP as a vehicle to deliver Nigeria from the numerous challenges facing citizens. The PDP and Atiku have a structure that can win elections.

“Atiku was part of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government that recorded numerous achievements. For instance, during the PDP administration, insecurity was only in three states, now it’s everywhere. Poverty was not this much, that’s why I am following Atiku.

“Kwankwaso has proven that he can’t address the needs and yearnings of Nigerians. If he cannot handle the internal crisis in the NNPP with only 30 executives, how can he handle Nigeria with over 200 million people?

“Even among the executives, only four of us were active, the remaining members were ghosts and we never saw them, so how can such a party win elections?” he queried.

The former NNPP chieftain said as part of traditions, it was necessary for him to inform his supporters of his defection and his next move.

When asked about when he discovered that the NNPP and Kwankwaso were not the solutions to Nigeria, Liman said Kwankwaso lured them into the NNPP because of their popularity and support base in the region, but his inability to solve internal issues of the party was a clear indication that he was not ready to rule Nigeria.

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