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Air force denies bombing civilians in Zamfara

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The Nigerian air force (NAF) says it is inconceivable that it would attack locations where civilians reside in Zamfara state.

This was in reaction to some media reports insinuating that the recent air strikes conducted by its personnel killed only civilians in the areas attacked and not bandits.

In a statement issued on Friday by Ibikunle Daramola, NAF director of public relations and information, the air force asked those with evidence that civilians were targeted during its recent air strikes in Zamfara to produce such evidence.

“The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to some media reports insinuating that the recent air strikes conducted by its Air Task Force for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA killed only innocent civilians in the areas attacked and not bandits,” the statement read.

“The NAF finds such reports rather ridiculous because most of the locations attacked are within the Rugu, Sububu and Kagara Forests general area, which are known armed bandits hideouts that have been attacked in the past, without any outcry. Besides, the NAF target selection process for air operations is particularly rigorous and methodical in order to ensure proper target identification and thereby prevent strikes on wrong locations.”

Daramola said the locations attacked from April 8 to 11, 2019 were selected based on human intelligence (HUMINT) reports obtained from security agencies and other government sources, traditional and community leaders as well as reliable, vetted informants.

“These were all further confirmed by days of detailed day and night Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions to ensure proper targeting for avoidance of collateral damage. To further ensure this, as standard practice, NAF attack aircraft on air interdiction missions are accompanied by ISR platforms that guide them to designated targets,” he added.

“Furthermore, NAF pilots, by training and in line with extant Rules of Engagement (ROEs) for the operation, do not attack any location if it is observed that non-combatants, especially women and children, are present. In such cases, the pilots would rather return to Base with their munitions unexpended. Consequently, it is inconceivable that the NAF would attack locations where innocent civilians reside.

“In view of the foregoing, the NAF finds it rather mischievous that anyone would spread such deliberate misinformation whilst the Service is doing its best to effectively respond to the challenges facing the good people of Zamfara State and its environs.

“Rather than making such spurious and unsubstantiated allegations, NAF requests that anyone with evidence to the effect that innocent civilians were targeted by the NAF air strikes should produce such evidence.”

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Details of IBB’s meeting with lawmakers in Minna revealed

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Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, on Thursday, told members of the Niger State House of Assembly, that they have met the expectations of the people.

IBB stated this when the lawmakers visited him at his Uphill home in Minna.

“I have been looking forward to meeting with you.

“I am proud to say that you have been doing well. You are meeting our expectations.

“We have heard of states lacking synergy among the arms of the government, but in Niger State that should not be your lot.

“Keep a good working relationship between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. You have been doing this and I want you to keep it up.

“You are closer to the people. It is your responsibility to know what the people need and carry them along all the time. Do not leave them outside your projects and programmes,” he said.

Speaker Abdullahi Bawa Wuse explained that they visited the former President, to get the blessings required to run the legislature effectively.

“We are here to get the blessing of our father; this is because we know your concern and commitment to the development of this state and Nigeria.

“Outside office, you have done more than you did while in office. Your role as a father in the nation has ensured that Nigeria remains indivisible,” Bawa said.

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Tribunal upholds Ikpeazu’s election, dismisses Alex Otti’s petition

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The three-man panel of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, and chaired by Justice A.L. Ogumoye, has dismissed the petition filed by 2019 APGA gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Alex Otti against the declaration of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.

The tribunal ruled that the petitioner failed to prove the case of over-voting, non-compliance to the INEC election guideline and electoral act.

Recall that Alex Otti had asked the tribunal to cancel fifteen out of the seventeen local government areas’ election results in Abia State.

Otti claimed that the respondents, PDP, and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who was the governorship candidate of PDP perpetrated excessive malpractice in those LGAs in the last March 9, 2019, election conducted in the state.

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Importers Smuggling Rice In Tyres, Says Economist

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Due to the closure of Nigeria’s borders with Benin Republic, rice smugglers are seeking out more devious ways of importing the product into the country.

National Coordinator of the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, Dr Oladapo Ganiyu, while speaking with SaharaReporters said that people have resulted to fitting bags of rice into tyres of automobiles. 

Ganiyu, who claims this method is carcinogenic, said the border closure was untimely.

He said, “The closure of the border now is untimely. People are now packing rice inside tyres.

“When the four tyres are rolling, will you suspect there is rice there? The way they are bringing it in, it can cause cancer.

“The people I have spoken with on commercial buses and market women, say the rice is not sweet and it takes time to cook.”

Speaking further, Ganiyu said ICEN will give the government’s new economic team six months before judging their performance.

For over 30 days, Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic and parts of its Northern border with Niger Republic had been closed.

Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, insists that the border closure will not cease until concerned West African states stop the smuggling of parboiled rice from their country into Nigeria. 

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