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HURIWA asks FG to declare killer herdsmen as terrorists

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***Demands that arrest of militiamen terrorising Benue communities

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA), on Wednesday, condemned the boneless act of Fulani herdsmen who invaded some communities in the Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, forcibly displacing native dwellers to plan permanent settlement.

This was contained in a statement issued by National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) Emmanuel Onwubiko.
The statement quoted one Joseph Anawah, a community leader and former media aide to an ex-governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam, to have said that the herders invaded the communities with more than 1,000 cows and settled at the Tse Azaye, Tse Agah, Tse Getim and Tse Iosun communities in the Tombo ward.

Anawah said, “They are so hostile and do not want anybody to come close to them. The residents, on sighting the arrival of cows, started packing out of their villages for the fear of the unknown.

“When the kindred Head of the Mbaifu community,  Gbamga Nengem, visited their settlement to know their mission in his community, they told him clearly that they had come for settlement and any attempt to evict them, either by the host community or government agencies, would invoke their anger and they would be left with no option but to resort to physical and open confrontation.”

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, urged security agents to arrest the militiamen terrorising the North Central state and prosecute them forthwith to send a clear signal that forcible takeover of land won’t be condoned.
HURIWA condemned the resurgence of the heinous activities of Fulani herdsmen in Benue and called on federal authorities and security agents to act fast to stop the menacing trend.

The group noted that the growing killings by aggressive killer Fulani herders have reached an alarming decibel and the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari must act swiftly if indeed it does not covertly support the acts of the vicious herders.
Just last Saturday, suspected herders killed three persons in the Guma Local Government Area of Benue while returning from a burial. Killings, abductions and rape have been steadily recorded on a daily basis in the state since 2015 when Buhari took over the seat of power. 
As though emboldened by Buhari’s tribal affiliation to them as a Fulani man, the herdsmen attacked Governor Samuel Ortom last March in what was a clear assassination attempt, with the governor saying herdsmen numbering about 15 attacked him in his farm at Tyo-Mu community, near Makurdi, the state capital.
He attributed the attack to his campaign against killer herdsmen, who had been attacking farmers in the state and other parts of the country.

A group, the Fulani National Movement had said it carried out the attack on Ortom. The group disclosed that 11 of its members were involved in the assassination attempt on Ortom, noting that a technical error aided the governor’s escape, adding that he would not escape next time.

Sadly, till date, the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Services, the Nigerian Army, and other security and intelligence agencies are yet to bring members of this callous group to book.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Killings have resumed with the resurgence of invasion of Benue State by armed Fulani herdsmen. Since 2015 when Buhari came in till now, over 5,000 Benue State natives have been killed by armed Fulani herdsmen.  However, for all of these killings and destructions of farms and houses, churches, killing of priests and worshippers, there is no single suspect in jail for these heinous crimes because the federal government is unwilling to order soldiers, DSS and police to arrest and for Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute them for these mass killings.

“In fact, the President has rather listed Governor Ortom as persona non grata for demanding action and justice for his people. At several times the Benue State government carried out mass burial including the burial of over 100 natives killed at a time by armed Fulani herdsmen and yet these terrorists are freely moving about.

“The governor almost got killed but for good fortune that he escaped. police said the attempted killers who shot at the governor were arrested but this is false because for a year now, not one person is prosecuted. Federal government has continued to sweep these killings under the carpet.

“The AGF must also begin the process of declaring killer herders as terrorists just like bandits. Killer herdsmen must be prosecuted for their atrocious acts. When impudence goes unchallenged, the aggressor becomes emboldened. HURIWA, therefore, calls for the immediate arrest of the marauding herders who displace Benue original residents from the Logo LGA. There must also be judicial actions against these killers who are roaming freely in the streets of Nigeria because the Federal government does not wish to arrest or prosecute them. 

“Already, HURIWA has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands over it. HURIWA will also be filing another fresh petition this week because for seven years, the Federal Government has tolerated the killings and postured itself as a Fulani herders’ sympathiser.”

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HIV service delivery: SFH trains security agents on human rights, inclusion, diversity

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The Society for Family Health(SFH) has expressed its appreciation to law enforcement agencies in the country for their commitment to the partnership with the organization.

The Managing Director, Dr. Omokhudu Idogho gave the indication in a goodwill message at a 3-day training workshop organized by SFH for the law enforcement officers held at Chatwell Hotel on Monday in Bauchi.

The sensitization workshop focused on general health issues, gender diversity and human rights as they relates to the survival of the key populations.

The MD who was represented by Chief of Party, KP-CARE2 Project of the SFH, Mallam Abdulsamad Salihu said law enforcement agencies have shown serious commitment to their partnership with his organization.

He disclosed that the officers have been part and parcel of the organization’s activities over the years especially as it relates to public health programming, HIV and AIDS service implementation and extraordinary general security provisions.

He said, “It is with no doubt that our gallant law enforcement personnel have been through considerable tests of their resolve by the significant increase in criminal activities in the country, especially because of the challenges with poverty, inflation, banditry and insurgency

In his words, “We also know that over 200 million Nigerians rely on the law enforcement agencies for their security and livelihoods, many of which are also supported by SFH.”

In his address, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, CP Auwal Mohammed Musa disclosed that gender inequality is not a new concept but that their pervasiveness has brought them to international focus.

He pointed out that the police force as an institution is a major stakeholder in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, guided by its mandate to maintaining peace and uphold fundamental rights to freedom.

The police boss further explained that every individual deserves safety and respect, but that the scourge of rape and defilement are curbed, and that women and girl child and boys can live their lives free from fear, intimidation and harassment.

He expressed the hope that the training program would facilitate a smooth police service delivery and improve the areas of gender sensitivity in the Force.

In his speech, the Zonal Commander of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Zone B, Idris Mohammed Bello thanked the Society for Family Health for its commitment to confronting the HIV menace over the years and the benefits therein.

The NDLEA boss expressed the belief that participants will leave the training better equipped to stem the problem due to the increased knowledge they will acquire from the training.

Bello also explained that it was the second time he would be attending the Society for Family Health sensitization training for officers with his strong belief that the participants will live with the takeaway and even impact the knowledge on others.

Other agencies in attendance at the training included the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC), Hisbah Corps, representatives of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC), heads of State AIDS Control Agencies(SACAs) and representations from KP-led Community-Based Organizations(CBOs) among others.

The training attracted officers from the North West and North East regions comprising Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and host Bauchi states.

About 40,000 vulnerable individuals received care from the project with support from the United States Agency for International (USAID) and the Nigerian government.

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DSS alerts Nigerians against potential threats at crowded gatherings

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To avoid “potential threats” that may result from Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) in crowded places or suspicious locations, the Department of State Services (DSS), on Friday, cautioned Nigerians across the country to stay away.

The DSS in its message to both Christian and Muslim faithful to felicitate with them at their Lenten and upcoming Ramadan seasons respectively, said the advice became imperative in order to live in a peaceful environment.

The spokesman of the secret police, Peter Afunanya also cautioned clerics from both religions, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations.

“Residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” Afunanya said, stressing that the service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace.

“Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.”

According to him, the DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites, that is why it enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

The secret police spokesman said, “Accordingly, the Management extends its heartfelt felicitations for peace, unity and harmony to adherents of these faiths. The DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites and enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

“It appeals to stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations. This is more so that illegal practices such as price gouging or unethical marketing tactics are ungodly; violate fairness and can undermine the true essence of the holy events.

“As believers, it is incumbent upon us to uphold good standards and ensure that everyone can observe the religious duties with ease and dignity. Furthermore, the Service encourages clerics and religious leaders to uphold empathy as well as prioritise cooperation and conflict prevention beyond the periods under reference.

“Similarly, the media is encouraged to utilise their platforms to foster informed and accurate engagements that (can) enhance the achievement of national security objectives and interests.

“Likewise, residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.

“In the same vein, the Service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace. Overall, the Service recommits to provision of strategic intelligence to other sister agencies in order to achieve a safe and secure country.

“As we undertake these spiritual journeys in the Lenten and Ramadan periods, let us remember to love and share the values that unite us. Let us reaffirm our commitment to the values of mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, being our brother’s keepers among others and by these, advance more inclusive and equitable society for us all.”

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Clamour for State Police gains traction at security conference

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Solomon Arase
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***As Arase recommends citizens’ engagement

***Wike expresses confidence that efforts against insecurity in FCT is yielding results

The chairman Police Service commission Dr. Solomon Arase on Thursday recommended citizens’ engagement in the fight against criminality through a multi-faceted approach that involves building trust, empowering citizens and fostering a sense of shared responsibility for public safety.
Arase’s recommendation was made in a paper titled: “Strenghtening Security: Engaging Citizens in Nigeria’s fight against crime and criminality” which he presented at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)/New Star Newspaper organised National Security Comference on Thursday, at the NAF Conference Center, Abuja

proffered a lasting solution to the heightened security challenges in the country that has almost defied all possible solution,
“By implementing initiatives such as community policing forums, crime reporting apps, and neighborhood watch programs, communities can work together with law enforcement to prevent crime and create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods.
There are several initiatives that can be implemented to engage the citizenry in crime fighting, including Community Policing Fora therough Establishment of community policing fora where citizens can meet with law enforcement officials to discuss crime trends, share information, and collaborate on crime prevention strategies.
Accoeding to him, the fora can help build trust and cooperation between the community and law enforcement and empower citizens to take an active role in crime prevention.
Another initiatives Crime Reporting Apps is in developing mobile applications that allow citizens to report crimes anonymously and securely. “These apps can provide a platform for citizens to share information about suspicious activities, crimes, and other concerns with law enforcement, helping to improve response times and reduce crime rates.

Neighborhood Watch Programs he said encourage citizens to form neighborhood watch programs to monitor and report suspicious activities in their communities.
He said, the programs can help deter criminals and provide an extra layer of security for residents.
Explaining further he indicated that Education and Awareness Campaigns is crucial to inform citizens about crime prevention strategies, importance of reporting crimes, and how to stay safe.
“These campaigns can be conducted through community meetings, social media, and other channels.

“Establishing volunteer programs that allow citizens to contribute to crime prevention efforts. Volunteers can assist law enforcement with tasks such as patrolling neighborhoods, conducting safety audits, and organizing community events.
“Organizing citizen patrols where trained volunteers patrol neighborhoods and report suspicious activities to law enforcement. These patrols can help deter criminal behavior and provide a visible presence in the community.
He canvassed for engaging young people in crime prevention efforts through initiatives such as youth mentorship programs, after-school activities, and community service projects. “These programs can help keep young people engaged and provide them with positive outlets for their energy and creativity.
Other solutions he said should include establishing victim support services that provide counseling, legal assistance, and other support to crime victims and their families.
“These services can help victims recover from the trauma of crime and provide them with the resources they need to rebuild their lives.
He reiterated the need to encourag citizens to participate in civic activities such as town hall meetings, community cleanups, and local government initiatives.
“This can help foster a sense of community and collective responsibility for crime prevention.
“Forming partnerships between law enforcement, businesses, and community organizations to develop and implement crime prevention strategies can leverage resources and expertise from multiple sectors to address crime more effectively.
The former inspector General of police said the fight against crime in Nigeria is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including government agencies, law enforcement, community leaders, and individual citizens. While progress has been made in some areas, such as the establishment of specialized agencies and the implementation of targeted interventions, much work remains to be done to address the root causes of crime and create a safer and more secure environment for all Nigerians.

“One of the key lessons learned from the experiences of other countries is the importance of engaging the citizenry in crime prevention efforts.
“Initiatives such as community policing, neighborhood watch programs, and crime reporting apps can empower citizens to take an active role in keeping their communities safe.
“By building trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the community, these initiatives can help reduce crime rates and improve public safety.
He also canvassed for the underlying socioeconomic factors that contribute to crime are addressed for long-term success.
“This includes investing in education, job creation, and social support programs that provide individuals with alternatives to a life of crime. Strengthening governance and the rule of law, promoting transparency and accountability, and addressing corruption are also essential for creating an environment where crime cannot thrive.
“Finally, it is important to recognize that crime prevention is a shared responsibility that requires the collaboration of all stakeholders.
“This includes government agencies, law enforcement, community organizations, businesses, and individual citizens. By working together, we can create a safer and more secure Nigeria for future generations.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesome Wike in his welcome address acknowledged that over the past few months, the nation’s capital has faced its fair share of security challenges, as have many regions across our great nation.
Represented by the acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry Dr. Shamsu Yahaya said, news, especially of kidnappings and the infamous “one chance” commercial car robberies made headline news.

“I am however pleased to report that through concerted efforts and the dedication of our security agencies, we have made significant strides in addressing these challenges.
“Our approach has been multifaceted, combining robust law enforcement measures with proactive community engagement initiatives.
“Furthermore, we have prioritized community-oriented policing approaches, fostering trust, and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. By empowering local stakeholders and investing in grassroots initiatives, we have cultivated a culture of vigilance and resilience at the grassroots level.

“My tour of the six Area Councils has galvanized the populace and reassured them that they are not alone in this fight to safeguard their lives and property.
“Nevertheless, our work is far from over. As we gather here today, let us reaffirm our collective commitment to safeguarding our nation’s security and advancing our development agenda.

He concluded saying he would like all and sundry to leverage the insights shared during the conference to formulate robust policies, forge strategic partnerships, and mobilize resources toward a safer, more prosperous future for all Nigerians.

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