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Ibaji leaders defiant as Attah Igala kicks against draconian sanctions

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Ibaji leaders defiant as Attah Igala kicks against draconian sanctions

A first timer to Ibaji would wander why the morality of old is still held in high esteem in spite of the modern day corrupt tendencies to covert neighbors goods.
Harvested yams lutter the road side and in the farms with out the fear of their being stolen for as long as the farmer wishes.
Even the current economic recession and it’s attendant poverty and deprivation would have been enough to make the most morally sound to think otherwise but not in Ibaji.
The reason is not far fetched; many draconian bylaws are used by the leaders to instill fear into the people to forestall brake down of law and order.
The Ibaji people who largely are known for their commercial agricultural prowess live along the plains and tributaries of the River Niger in Ibaji Local  Government Area of Kogi State.
This agrarian people are specifically distinguished by their cultivation of yam and rice in commercial quantities as well as fishing.
Bordered on the West by Edo and Delta State in the South, Ibaji which is made up of about 96 communities coexisted peacefully for centuries in the midst of other forms of communal relations.
However their greatest albatross had been their nature’s endowment as it was gathered that controversies over fishing lake, land and chieftaincy matters seem responsible for the series of violence attacks that has claimed many lives.
However it’s leaders under the the Ibaji Development Association (IDA) had remained resolute in its determination to rid it’s community of criminal tendencies and unnecessary friction leading to incessant killing and destruction.
Hence it prescribed some laid down rules against any community taking laws into its hands against another through attacks and destruction of lives and properties.
Hence it recently wielded the big stick against Ikah Community for the attack against a smaller neighboring community of Iregwu.
The small community of Iregwu was overran by Ika which is larger forcing the survivors to take refuge in other lands as many lives were lost and the community totally reduced to rubbles.”
IDA explained that it sanctioned Ikah community over alleged complicity in the wanton destruction of lives and property at Iregwu.
The National President of IDA chief John Ojih said it was in a bid to forestall incessant communal crises in Ibaji that the Association excommunicated the community.
According to him the community disregarded the laid down rules against any community that takes laws into its hand by attacking it’s neighbor without any formal report to the Association.
He Said the IDA has given an ultimatum of 12 months within which Ikah is expected to rebuild the community after investigations exposed their wicked attack against Iregwu.
This was coming against the backdrop that the Attah of Igala His Royal Majesty Agabaidu Dr. Idakwo Ameh Oboni had frowned at the stringent sanctions against Ikah which he said were draconian and against the spirit of the Nigerian constitution.
In a reply to the reaction of Attah the National President expressed dismay that the Attah was taking side with people that have violated their standing rule which he said were in the interest of Ibaji.
Ojih explained that based on their peculiarities as a riverrine people who have been neglected by Government, they have to devise means of check mating violence and insecurity through sanctions that have been clearly spelt out and agreed on.
According to him Ibaji local Government is made up of about 96 communities and a population of over one million but there were less than 25 policemen deployed to the area to protect lives and property
He said the crises between Iregwu and Ikah was unfounded because the pond that they were fighting over was not in any way close to Ikah but rather it was a cause of crises between Uchuchu and Iregu which led to the lost of the lives of two police officers.
He wandered how Ikah came in to the crises over a pond that does not belong to them.
“When the fight started in the evening we sent people there the next morning when the houses were not yet raised down. 
“If they did not report and they went into fighting a small village like that it is bad and the association had to condemn it.
He said their crises came while they were trying to resolve Iyano crises for which another community;Aluaja was also raised anyone d the people displaced.
“A communique in which they resolved that people of Ikah should rebuild all the houses they destroyed in Oregwu so that the people can return to their homes was issued.”
The communique also barred every person of Ikah origin from associating with anybody and should not have anything in common with the rest Ibaji communities
It also threatened to sanction any community that would violate their resolutions.
He said the sanction was not the first time saying it was meant to serve as deterrent so that the people can live in peace 
However the Atah Igala expressed deep shock over the content of the communique which he described as primitive mode of settlement.
He blamed such high handed mode of settlement for the incessant crises in Ibaji land
He described the prescription of alienation of the defaulting community as being selective saying it has eroded their credibility.
“Excommunication of citizens of Ibaji is an overreaction to an internal matter”
He also condemned the resolution for the Ikah people to rebuild the houses destroyed in Iregwu in twelve months as selective because similar punishment was not handed to Iru people when Aluaja was raised and the people sent away from their homes.
He said victims of the Iyano crises are still living in Idah and neighboring villages as refugees after losing two farming seasons.
“Who will feed their families when the association has turned them to refugees in their own land?
“Arrogating these enormous responsibilities to the IDA is a departure from the civilised norms of governance which brought peace and jargon before this intrusion.”
He warned that the IDA lacks power of any enforcement under any law in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and should therefore limit itself to community development.
Atta also queried IDA for not taking similar draconian action on Iyano crises where Aluaja people were also displaced? 
But the IDA said they were not silent on Iyano crises neither but were handicapped by the obstinate attitude of the Aluaja people who disarmed law enforcement agents who came to keep peace in their community.
Hence when arsonists visited mayhem on their village it was difficult to know which of the four communities in their neighborhood carried out the attack adding that when police was involved the IDA could not have come in.
The association indicated it was aware that Aluaja violated the standing order first adding that when their town was raised down the IDA could not sanction it since it would amount to double jeopardy for them.
However it indicated it has assisted them in the rebuilding process as it used it’s position to solicit for assistance from various group towards that.
As at the time of filling this report over 90 bundles of zinc were already moved in for the reconstruction of the village buy all hostilities have to be suspended for that to take place.

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Omo-Agege grieves over death of 9 persons in Delta communal clashes

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Omo-Agege grieves over death of 9 persons in Delta communal clashes

***Sue’s for peace in Isoko land

The Deputy President of the Senate (DSP), Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has expressed shock and saddenness over the reported killing of 9 persons, including a child, in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.
At least nine people were  reported to have been killed in Delta State following a resumption of hostilities between two neighbouring communities involved in a boundary dispute.
The incident happened at a boundary between Oleh and Ozoro communities.
The two communities which are in Isoko South and North local government areas of the state are presently embroiled in renewed hostilities.
Senator Omo-Agege in a statement issued by his special adviser on media Yomi Odunuga said urgent and pragmatic efforts must be made to prevent further bloodletting.
According to him, respected political, traditional, religious, women and youth leaders within and without Isoko need to preach restraint, de-escalate the situation and help to quickly restore genuine peace to the land.

The deputy president of expressed the believe that it is by divine order that Isoko and Urhobo are historical good neighbours with strong filial, marital and lingual affinities.
“Whatever touches Isoko touches Urhobo, and vice versa.”
He is therefore genuinely concerned about the reported killings and bloody violence, and is ready to do whatever that is necessary for peace to reign.
The DSP recognised the all-important duty of the Delta State Government to maintain internal security in the State.

To this end, he chalkenged the Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa and his team, to work diligently to ensure that acts that are capable of leading to more bloodshed or violence are responsibly, urgently and sustainably curtailed.

He  therefore appealed to all our people who may be involved in the crisis one way or the other to embrace peace, no matter the provocation. “There is no alternative to peace. Where there are perceived injustices or wrongs, lawful processes should be followed. “Isoko’s unity and progress are on trial and it is the duty of all responsible leaders and stakeholders to ensure these common interests are not sacrificed on the altars of violent reprisals and in-fighting.
“Let all persons involved in this matter cooperate with both the Local and State governments as well as relevant federal authorities to restore and maintain the peace in Isoko.”
Omo-Agege said he is ready to engage with Distinguished Senator James Manager representing Delta South Senatorial District and other leaders on the matter for the overall good of our people.
In the meantime, he has directed his Senior Special Assistant on Security Matters, Col. Melvin Usman (rtd), to immediately liaise with relevant authorities and stakeholders on the de-escalation of the situation.
“This is to enable him (Omo-Agege) to get more informed briefing on the matter and for him to better support peace efforts on the ground.”




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Over 70 communities submerged as River Niger overflows its banks in Kogi

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Over 70 communities submerged as River Niger overflows its banks in Kogi

By Bukola Giwa

No fewer than seventy Kogi communities have been submerged under water as the River Niger overflows it’s bank due to three days of torrentian rainfall during the week.

Consequently, over 50,000 people have been displaced from their houses in different parts of the State.

Residents of some of the communities who spoke in Lokoja, on the sidelines of a stakeholders sensitisation/advocacy meeting on 2020 flood said that the flood had wreaked havoc in the affected areas.

They indicated that the communities had been experiencing massive flooding in the last five days.

The one-day meeting was organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in partnership with the Kogi State Emergency Management Agency (KOSEMA).

One of the residents, Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, who is also the Desk Officer in charge of ecological and emergency matters in Kogi Local Government Council, said that 66 communities had been submerged by flood in the area.

Abdullahi said that over 50,000 people had been forced to evacuate their houses and were now being accommodated in schools, filling stations and other makeshift buildings.

He said that some of the victims in Edeha and Koton Karfe communities had been sleeping on roads and other open places, co-habiting with mosquitoes and dangerous reptiles.

He said that schools had been closed as they had been converted to temporary camps for the victims, calling for urgent intervention from the State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The desk officer said that the victims had lost their means of livelihood to the flood, as their farms and livestock were also washed away by the rampaging floods.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Flood Committee in Ibaji Local Government Area, Mr Omonu James, said that floods had sacked thousands of residents from their houses in the area.

James said that the problem of the victims were compounded by the area’s terrain as it had no upland for them to relocate to .

Accordingly, he said, all the 26 schools in the council had been converted to camps for the displaced persons but said that the camps lacked basic facilities.

He said that one death, that of 17-year-old Michael Egwuaba, had been recorded since the floods started, but that the number could rise if urgent measures were not put in place to mitigate the effect of the disaster on the people.

In Lokoja metropolis, many residents living along the bank of River Niger and other flood paths have been forced out of their houses by the floods.

The situation is said to be very grim in the suburb communities of Egan, Konami, Buzih, Ebwa, Even, Lagan Budan, and Gbuje where residents had been forced to relocate to the neighbouring Niger State.

They appealed to the government to quickly come to the aid of the displaced persons, especially in the area of provision of water, drugs, blankets and mosquitoe nets for the victims.

Gov. Yahaya Bello who declared open the meeting said that substantial amount of money had been released to purchase drugs, food, water and other relief materials for the victims.

Bello, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, also directed that 21,000 youths recently engaged under the Federal Government’s public works programme be deployed to help in the rescue operation.

He said that maximum security would be provided for the personnel involved in search-and-rescue operation, promising that more succour would be provided for the victims.

The NEMA Director in charge of training, Mr Mohammed Usman, said that incessant flooding had become a serious threat to the country’s efforts at becoming self sufficient in food production.

Usman said that nine local government areas in Kogi were among the 102 in the country that had been identified as highly probable risk areas for flooding in 2020.

He called on the state government to urgently take preventive and mitigative measures to reduce the impact of the flood on people and the economy of the state.

He said that NEMA would also, in line with the Federal Government’s directive, assist the victims to find their feet and go back to farms as soon as possible.

Stakeholders at the meeting, including, the Red Cross, Navy, Civil Defence, Police, NIMET, fire services and the media all expressed their readiness to make their services available to the government.

The Navy, marine police, civil defence, Red Cross and the fire services assured that they had enough men and equipment on ground to confront the disaster.

Mr Julius Mejayan, Executive Secretary, KOSEMA, said that highlands had been identified and camps established across the nine local government areas prone to the disaster.

He listed the council areas as Bassa, Lokoja, Kogi, Omala, Idah, Ibaji, Dekina, Ofu and Igala-mela, warning that residents must be ready to move at any time from now.

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More than 200 households square up for battle with CBN over clinic conversion to COVID-19 center plans 

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More than 200 households square up for battle with CBN over clinic conversion to COVID-19 center plans

Apparently piqued by what they referred to as insensitivity on the part of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over plans to convert its clinic to a Covid 19 treatment centre, more than 200 households in a CBN estate in Abuja have vowed to square up for battle with the Apex Bank.
As parents and owners of homes in the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) estate in Garki II of the Federal Capital Teritory, Abuja, they are worried for their families about the trauma such an action would bring to bear on them.
More so, that the CBN sold the homes in its former Estate to the new owners 14 years ago.


The residents are saying the Apex Bank no longer own the estate solely hence it has no power to unilaterally take such decision without recourse to the other stakeholders, since it ceased to be the sole owner of the estate after it sold homes to former occupiers.
They therefore sent a protest letter to the Bank management stating that,
“Our attention has been drawn to the recent decision of the Management of the Central Bank of Nigeria, to convert their old clinic building located at the CBN I & J Estate one Garki II, Abuja to a center for the treatment of Covid-l9 patients.

“We, the Residents of the Estate are hereby constrained to write to the Management of the Bank to draw your attention to the following facts and express our displeasure over such plan as it shows total disregard to humanity.
“CBN is not the sole owner of the Estate by virtue of the sale of the Estate to occupiers in 2006 in line with the approved guidelines issued by the Federal Government in respect of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT.
“By the said sale, the Bank ceases to be the sole owner of the Estate and therefore cannot take any unilateral decision that will affect all patties.”

The residents have also sent letters of protests to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Capital Territory Department for Development Control, seeking to stop the conversion of a clinic to a Covid-19 centre.
The Residents’ Association vowed to go to any length with the bank, starting with the courts, if the “unpopular and arbitrary” decision to convert the CBN Clinic in the Estate to a Covid-19 Isolation Centre is not reversed
According to the association, in a statement, “The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN has planned to convert its clinic inside the estate in Garki 2 as covid treatment centre. The Clinic Doctor and CBN Management staff had met officials of the estate association to brief them of the proposed plan but the residents are vociferous in their resistance.

The association is at a loss as to why the clinic inside an estate where more than 200 families live should be converted to treatment centre saying the risk can only be imagined.

“If executed the estate will have only one entrance instead of the normal two as expected by law. The association intend to approach the court should CBN insist on converting the estate into covid treatment centre.”

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