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Iyano Crises: witnesses bemoan lack of land to bury their dead

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Iyano Crises: witnesses bemoan lack of land to bury their dead

Itale, Abujaga and Iru accuse panel of biase

Witnesses at the ongoing public hearing on inquiry into the Iyano Community crises yesterday called on the Government to do something about the people of Aluaja whose kinsmen bodies are lying in the mortuary because they have no place to bury them.
They also prayed the panel to do the needful and ensure a quick resolution to the Iyano crises so they can return to their home for the next farming season as they have lost two seasons already to the crises.
Governor Yahaya Bello had inaugurated a 13-man panel of inquiry on the Iyano community crises in Ibaji Local Government area of the State with a mandate to come up with recommendations for lasting solution to the disputes.
It would be recalled that Aluaja community was alleged to have been raised down by arsonists on May 24th last year with the affected people rendered homeless
Speaking at the public hearing yesterday a former Counselor in Ibaji Local Government Honorable Lucky Apeh said not less than two dead bodies are in the mortuary for want of place to bury them.
He said the bodies of a paramount ruler, the Okpale Iyeni by name Ochawo Acholo and Enemene Ijoba are presently being preserved in a mortuary in Idah.
Apeh indicated that 8 other members of their communities were buried in borrowed lands where they have been taking refuge.
Another witnesses Geoffrey Egwemi asked the Government to help protect his life from those that massacred his Father and brother over the crises last year 06 April, 2015.
Egwemi alleged that the arsonists that raised down Aluaja community killed his father Paul Egwemi and his brother Raymond after their father testified in the court over the burning down of the entire community of Aluaja.
The young Egwemi maintained that the Aluaja people remained the original owners of Iyano adding that the settlers burned down their town and rendered the people homeless.
He likened the story to that of two women in the book of Kings who were claiming a baby after one killed her own baby during sleep.
He said when Solomon listened to their narratives he gave the baby to the woman who never wanted the baby to be shared saying she was having that motherly affection while the one who wanted the baby shared was condemned
He said the Aluaja did not carry out reprisals neither did they burned down any part of the community they are the true owners of the land.
Egwemi pleaded for protection as the same persons that killed his father and brother were still after him.
He said his own life has been at risk because the same.people are also after his life.
A Play right director for grandpa international Sierra Leone Inaju R. Inaju who is also a stakeholder from Aluaja said he had been at the open hearing from the very beginning.
He said the presentations from the Itali people validate that of the Aluaja as far as the kingship tussle is concerned.
“We have also heard from the boy whose father and brother were massacred because he went to testify for the Aluaja people sometime last year.
“The people of Aluaja had been sacked from their community for a very long time now and it is our fervent hope and believe that if this committee does not achieve anything else the Government would be able to assist the people of Aluaja to go back home.”
He said the Aluaja have been a peace-loving community and that is why since the sacking of the people they never bordered to carry out any reprisal attacks
“While we assure the Government that there would be no reprisal attacks we are also hoping that the Government would use every means at its disposal to come to the aid of the Aluaja people and help them to return especially now that the flood season would be over and it would be planting season again, we have.lost two seasons of planting. 
These people are living from hand to mouth depending on people begging for lands when in actual fact they have their own land
He commended Governor Bello for being the first Government to take the bull by the horn to sincerely look into the crises.
“The Government of Yahaya Bello has shown leadership and we applaud him beyond words for what he has done. 
“We have confidence in the chairman of this committee her reputation precedes her and we are hoping that at the end of this sitting justice would prevail peace would be achieved and there would be a final decision in this matter.”
According to him the matter is older than 50 years and keeps raising it’s ugly head every four or five years.
 “We are hoping that by the time this committee finishes this would be the last time the people of Aluaja would face any problem.”
Inaju observed that Iru and Abujaga have not appeared in the hearing, even as he appealed to them to come with whatever facts they have, whatever it is that has aggrieved them as the Government had stepped in and asking for documents entitling any side to the land.
He said it is imperative for them come before the panel present their documents, listen to the questions, answer them so that the third party which is now a neutral body; committee so that they can take a decision.
“We believe that whatever decision they are going to take would be in favour of Iyano and Abujaga living peacefully side by side.”
Meanwhile communities of Itale, Abujaga and Iru in Ibaji local government area of Kogi State have accused the panel of inquiry set up by the state to examine the Iyano-Ibaji crisis of being biased in their approach.
In a protest letter addressed to the governor and jointly signed by Chief Simon Davidson Egwuda (Attah Okakwu Iyano) and John Ameh (Attah Okakwu Abujaga), the communities demanded for removal of the panel chairman, Mrs Ayoade Folashde Arike and be replaced with another unbiased and “uncompromised person”.
“The information available to us reveals that the chairman of the committee has an arrangement with Aluaja people to decide the matter in their favour. That is why they started jubilating even before commencement of the committee’s sitting”, they alleged.
The communities also asked for the replacement of the Attah Igala’s representative on the panel with another person from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The communities also expressed concerns that the content of the letter of summon addressed its people by the panel sound forceful and threatening, especially the use of the phrase “You are hereby summon to appear before the panel…Therefore fail not at your peril”.
But reacting to the allegations, Chairman of the Panel, Mrs Ayoade Folashade Arike debunked the claims that the panel was taking side with any of the communities in disputes, assuring that members of the panel are people of integrity and would be fair to all.
She said it was too early for anyone to pre-empt the panel’s assignment, adding the committee was set up to restore lasting peace amongst the warring communities and not to witch hunt anybody.
He said the panel has about five stages to go through before coming up with its final report and make appropriate recommendations to the government for further action.
She said the committee after the public hearing would visit the affected communities on an on-the spot assessments and would also meet with the various community leaders in the cause of its assignment.
“What we are interested in as members of the panel is that we want peace restored to Ibaji. We are not interested in any particular party. We want peace in Iyano community”, she said.
On the content of the said summon letter, Mrs Ayoade explained that the letter was written in line with provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Law of the northern Nigeria and not meant to intimidate those invited as being misconstrued.

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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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