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Today's Headlines: We’ll end insurgency war this year–Buhari, Robbers kill police inspector in Benin

We’ll end insurgency war this year – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, gave timeline to round off the war against Boko Haram and bandits.

The President said the counter insurgency war will be finished this year, 2021.

He called for prayers for the Armed Forces of Nigeria to enable them end what they are doing.

The President, who spoke during the Juma’at Prayer for the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration at the National Mosque, also assured that “this is a year of action and we will finish what we are doing.”

According to Buhari, who was represented by the Defence Minister, Major General Magashi Salihi, “what is happening in this country will soon be over. This year we will finish what we are doing; pray for us that we succeed.”

He said that the nation will continue to remember the heroic duties of members of the Armed Forces and will continue to pray for the repose of the souls of those that paid the supreme price defending the integrity of the nation.

The President also assured that the welfare and comfort of the families of the fallen heroes, as well as those who are still alive will continue to get the priority of the government.

The Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Dr. Mohammed Kabiru Adams, prayed for the repose of the souls of the fallen heroes.

He also prayed for an end to insurgency, banditry and other social vices plaguing the country.

Robbers kill police inspector in Benin

Suspected armed robbers have reportedly shot and killed a police officer, Inspector Mohammed Hameed, in Benin, Edo State.

The incident occurred Wednesday night along the ever-busy Lagos Street.

It was gathered that a police patrol team had received a distress call that some suspected armed robbers snatched a car around the Ring Road.

The team, which swiftly responded, gave the hoodlums a hot chase towards Lagos Street, a short distance from the city center.

A gun fire exchange between the Police team and the armed robbers who shot at the patrol van, hit Inspector Hameed. The deceased who led the patrol team was said to have died on the spot. One of the robbers was also killed.

The State Command’s Spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, could not be reached on his mobile phone for comment.

NANS gives Makinde 72hrs to address alleged brutality of Amotekun corps on residents

Following the backlash that trailed the operations of the Western States Security Network, codenamed: Amotekun, the leadership of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), has given a 72-hour ultimatum to the Oyo State Government to set up machinery for the reorientation of operatives of the corps.

The ultimatum was on the heels of series of alleged misdeeds of some operatives of the corps since its inauguration by Governor Seyi Makinde in the state.

The students’ body, in a statement jointly signed by the association’s chairman in the state, Comrade Oluwafunmbi Mayowa Opakunle; General Secretary, Comrade Ojetola Babatunde; Public Relations Officer, Comrade Adeleke Quadri and made available to Saturday Vanguard, stated that the Amotekun corps had over the time shown that they needed additional orientation on modern security approaches and their relationship with the masses, for proper cohabitation and navigation of their duties as they will be needing necessary stakeholders in fishing out the criminal elements amidst the population.

The statement added that this was the best way to overcome the security threats posed by bandits and other criminal elements and to avoid unnecessary victimization of the people.

The statement read further: “We’ve written on several occasions to inform the Oyo State Government and the entire populace of the state on the excesses of the just commissioned Western States Security Network, Amotekun Corps, but it seems a mere propaganda to many and an attempt aimed at undermining the effort of the state government on tackling the rampant insecurity uprising in the state, as the accused has also sent publications on this occasions to distort the allegations against them.”

“But truth and reality cannot be hidden for long, as a burning vapour cannot be covered; the Amotekun corps had over and over again shown that they need additional orientation on modern security approaches and their relationship with the masses, for proper cohabitation and navigation of their duties as they will be needing necessary stakeholders in fishing out the criminal elements amidst the population.”

“As this is the best way to overcome the security threats posed by bandits and other criminal elements and to avoid unnecessary victimization of the people.”

“These set of people have shown to be lacking in moral ethics of modern security operations and necessary training ensuring it, and has been operating in total contrary to the mode and purpose of their enactment made known to the public because it can not be understood in any way as to the reason for their recurrent misdemeanours and assaults to the innocent citizens. We should recollect that these acts are a replica of the causes of the aggravated #EndSars protests that shook the whole country.”

“We urged the Oyo State Government earlier as the state government that houses this axis of the National Association of Nigerian Students, to see to the perpetrators of these reported crimes else the supposed security of the state will only be a charade of the intended, but all have been futile and no positive response whatsoever, rather, it has aggravated and just again the Amotekun Corps have victimized the Public Relations Officer of the NANS Oyo State JCC, with so many other cases of innocent students being victimized across all areas of the state.”

“We all will agree that the Western States Security Network, Amotekun is new and still a baby compared to other security agencies in the country. It is a necessity for all and sundry to be a part of their success if we all want to sleep with our two eyes closed.”

“We urge the Oyo State Government to invest more time and concentrate more on the successful running and administration of Amotekun Corps to achieve the desired result.”

“Despite our regards and willingness to always cooperate with the state government so as to make things work in our beloved Oyo State and to defeat the number one enemy of the state(insecurity), we have rather been met with rejection, seen as irrelevant, unworthy, inapplicable and impertinent, but we can’t continue to fold arms and act like nothing is happening while innocent students are being victimized.”

“We are always ready to play our part and reprimand where necessary, we, therefore, put it straight to the state government and demand that the Amotekun Corps are properly reorientated, retrained and exposed to moral ethics of modern security operations, before being reintegrated into the society, to avoid more casualties being recorded to their name as this may lead to a great response from us as an association to protect our own.”

“We are giving the Oyo State Government a 72-hour ultimatum from Monday to attend to these issues or await a more active response from the association; which implies that there will be confrontations in our own ways by Thursday, January 14, 2021, if the state government remains indifferent as posed to us,” the statement warned.

FG warns public against using Airport Road Flyover

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr Olukayode Popoola, on Friday advised the public to stay off Airport Road Flyover in Lagos dangerously burnt by fire, pending the determination of its structural safety.

The bridge which runs over Toyota Bus Stop on the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway being reconstructed, was engulfed by fire when a petrol tanker burst into flames on Thursday.

The federal and Lagos State governments on Friday carried out a joint inspection to know the extent of damage to the bridge and adjoining roads.

Leading the state and federal officials, Popoola raised concerns over the safety of the bridge, saying that its structural integrity had yet to be ascertained.

He told NAN during the inspection that samples were being taken from the burnt bridge for analysis to be able to ascertain the level of damage and where to carry out repairs.

Popoola said that 200 meters of the rigid pavement of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway reconstruction project, being carried by the Dangote Group, was burnt.

He added that the deck of the flyover was burnt and its pier badly damaged, raising fears of structural instability of the bridge.

The controller said that the bridge was barricaded after the fire because of safety concerns, regretting that the barriers were removed at night.

Popoola warned that there would be risks in using the bridge.

“We are taking some samples to go and analyse before we know the structural stability, but physically, a lot of damage has been done to this pier of the bridge.

“The integrity is already compromised.

“Yesterday the road was barricaded but in the night, some people went and removed the barricade.

“We are advising that members of the public should not take the risk of using this bridge,” he said.

Popoola said that about 200 meters of the bridge deck as well as the pavement of Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway being reconstructed was affected by the inferno.

He added that one of the piers – pillars of the bridge – was badly burnt, making the ministry unsure of the structural integrity and safety of the bridge.

He said that outcome of tests would ensure appropriate action on the flyover constructed by Julius Berger Plc, as well as the highway under reconstruction by the Dangote Group.

According to the controller, the Federal Highway Act empowers the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to prosecute whoever caused damage to assets of the Federal Government.

“This Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway project is ongoing, and we have not even completed it. Now, due to carelessness of drivers, this fire occurred, and you can see the level of the damage.

“The pavement that we have spent a lot of money, up to 200 meters – have been affected; that will cost a lot of money,” he said.

Popoola noted that the ministry had been working in collaboration with Lagos State Government to tackle trucks’ menace and other infractions affecting road infrastructure.

The Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, said that the state government, through its Ministry of Transportation, would embark on strict enforcement of road worthiness regulation.

She told NAN that the government’s agents would begin to enter depots and loading bays for petrol tankers to ensure that those not road worthy would not lift petroleum products.

Adeyoye said that truck accident causing damage to road infrastructure had become recurrent.

“Oftentimes, they claim that the roads are bad. What do you say about this one now that the road is very good, there is no pothole anywhere,” she said.

Adeyoye said that truck accidents were most times caused by reckless driving.

She called for attitudinal change.

She said that fires caused by tanker accidents had caused much hardship on road users, urging that road unworthy trucks should stop coming into Lagos State.

She said that the support of the Federal Government was important in tackling the ‘hydra-headed monster’.

Mr Cyril Zango, Deputy Corps Commander (Operations), Lagos Sector Command of the Federal Roads Safety Corps, said the offending truck had been impounded.

He said that investigations were on as regards the accident, adding that, if found guilty, the owner and the driver of the tanker would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to other road users.

Zango said that articulated vehicle drivers engaged sharp practices to evade checks.


Iran bans importation of US, UK Covid vaccines

Iran’s Supreme Leader has banned the purchase of coronavirus vaccines made by United States and United Kingdom companies, limiting the country’s options as it confronts the worst outbreak in the Middle East.

“The import of American and British vaccines to the country is banned,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech Friday, according to Bloomberg.

“If their Pfizer manufacturer can produce a vaccine, then why do they want to give it to us?” he said. “They should use it themselves so they don’t experience so many fatalities. Same with the UK”

“Importing vaccines made in the US or the UK is prohibited. They’re completely untrustworthy. It’s not unlikely they would want to contaminate other nations. Given our experience with France’s HIV-tainted blood supplies, French vaccines aren’t trustworthy either,” he added.

Khamenei is a strident critic of the U.S., which under President Donald Trump left the 2015 nuclear deal that had offered Iran a route to economic recovery and reimposed sweeping sanctions. Iranian officials have said the penalties hindered the country’s response to the pandemic.

The cleric said western drug companies tested vaccines on other countries “to see if they work or not.”

Khamenei only singled out Pfizer Inc. by name, but the ban would appear to rule out imports of vaccines made by UK-based AstraZeneca Plc, as well as US firm Moderna Inc.

Iran, which has recorded more than 1.2 million cases of Covid-19 and in excess of 55,000 fatalities from the virus, also aims to have a locally developed vaccine available by the summer.

Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road’ll be completed by 2023 —Ministry

The ongoing reconstruction work on the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road project is progressing appreciably and will be completed in the life of this administration, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing said on Friday.

Nigeria’s current government administration’s tenure elapses in 2023.

The Director, Highways Construction and Rehabilitation, FMWH, Funso Adebiyi, disclosed this during the ongoing visit to the project site to assess the progress of work on the project.

He was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja by the ministry’s Deputy Director, Press, Salisu Haiba, as saying “We are satisfied with the quality of work going on and we are working to increase the pace of work.

“Work is going on simultaneously on all sections of both lanes of the dual carriage 375km long road from Abuja to Kaduna and to Kano.”

Adebiyi explained that the road was initially meant for rehabilitation, but noted that full reconstruction work was currently ongoing.

He appealed to road users to bear the discomfort being experienced every day as a result of blockages and diversions.

He stated it was a necessary action in the construction of an infrastructure of such magnitude, adding that the volume of vehicular traffic on the road was high.

On the level of work done so far, Adebiyi said, “We have made a lot of progress. Over 100km, although not at a stretch, have been completed under section one to three (Abuja-Kano).

“Also, 40km has been completed under section two (Kaduna-Zaria), and 70km completed under section three (Zaria-Kano).”

He stated that while some sections of the road were also at different levels of completion, remedial works were being carried out on the sections that were critically bad in order to facilitate movement.

The Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road reconstruction project was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc on December 20, 2017.

The project commenced on May 21, 2018 with the 36 months completion period.

NIMC workers suspend strike, to resume NIN enrolments

Workers of the National Identity Management Commission have suspended the industrial action which they embarked upon on Thursday over the fear of COVID-19 spread in the agency.

It was gathered that the workers decided to put the strike on hold after a meeting with the Federal Government, where it was agreed that the demands of the employees would be addressed.

The President, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC Unit, Asekokhai Lucky, confirmed the suspension of the strike to our correspondent in Abuja.

He said workers of the commission across the country were being contacted to resume work by Monday and begin the enrolment of citizens for National Identity Numbers.

Details to come…

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Armed Forces of Nigeria Benin Boko Haram Muhammadu Buhari National Mosque


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