President Muhammadu Buhari says Libya’s instability is the cause of illegal arms flow in Nigeria.
President Buhari has said as far as Libya remains unstable, illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow into Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel region. Adding that the closure of Nigeria’s land borders for almost one year did not stop the inflow of arms and ammunition into the country.
The president expressed his concern about security in Nigeria and the Sahel during a meeting in Abuja on Thursday, with the outgoing special representative of the United Nations secretary-general and head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
North-West governors also met in Abuja over the rising insecurity in the north. Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has charged states to evolve mechanisms for securing forest reserves, which fall under their purview, and have been turned into bandits’ enclaves.
Establishing a link between the ongoing insecurity in the Sahel and Libya, Buhari said the late president Muammar Gadaffi held a firm grip on power in Libya for 42 years by recruiting armed guards from different countries, who then escaped with their arms when the Libyan strongman was killed.
He said: “the armed guards didn’t learn any other skill than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today.
“we closed our land borders here for more than a year, but arms and ammunition continued to flow illegally. As far as Libya remains unstable, so will the problem remain.
“We have to cope with the problems of development, as we can’t play hop, step and jump. But we will eventually overcome those problems.”
Buhari while describing Chambas, who spent many years in Nigeria in different capacities, from Ecowas to UN, as “more of a Nigerian than anything else,” wished him well in his future endeavours.
Chambas thanked the president “for personal support i received from you, and from Nigeria as a country,” adding that the country will continue to play a leadership role on the continent.
On terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the lake chad basin area, Chambas said Nigeria was playing a yeoman’s role, particularly in supporting the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
In an interview with Arise News, Channel, Thisday broadcast arm, Buhari had in January 2019 blamed Gaddafi’s henchmen for terrorism in Nigeria.
According to him, the bandits who escaped from Libya after the death of their leader in 2011 took to terrorism, with Nigeria and some other african countries bearing the brunt.
Gaddafi, who led Libya for decades, was killed on October 20, 2011, during the battle of Sirte.
“The Nigerian cattle herder use to carry nothing more than a stick, but these are people with ak-47 and people refuse to reflect on the demise of Gaddafi.
“Gaddafi for 43 years in Libya, at some stage, he decided to recruit people from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, from the ceNtral African Republic and these young chaps are not taught to be bricklayers, electricians, plumbers or any trade but to shoot and kill.
“So, when the opposition in Libya succeeded in killing him, they arrested some and they did what they did to them. The rest escaped with their weapons and we encounter some of them in the north-east and they are all over the place now organizing attacks,” Buhari said in the exclusive interview with arise news channel.
Also while speaking with the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in April 2018, Buhari had said arms Gaddafi provided to his supporters had filtered into Nigeria and were being used to fuel killings in the north-central.
“The problem is even older than us,” Buhari said of killings.
“it has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the west African sub-region.
“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram,” Buhari had said.
Lagos Shuts All COVID-19 Vaccination Centres
Lagos has closed all COVID-19 vaccination centers across the state, after vaccinating more than a quarter of a million persons, completing the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. That makes Lagos the only state that has inoculated more than 200,000 residents during this period.
Authorities say the first vaccination exercise ended on tuesday and all vaccination centres have been shut down. Lagos State received from the federal government half a million of the nearly four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to Nigeria.
The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, had advised states to stop vaccination after administering half of the doses supplied to them. This is to ensure those who had already received the first dose would be able to get the second jab.
Lagos health commissioner, Professor Akin Abayomi says the remaining doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been reserved at the Lagos State cold chain store for the 2nd dose exercise, starting from late next month.
He urged Lagosians who have already received the first jab to keep their next appointment dates for their second dose at the same health facilities where they got the first jab.
Gunmen Attack Hospital, Kidnap Nurses In Kaduna
Two female nurses have been abducted by gunmen in Kaduna State after an attack in a hospital in north-western part of Nigeria, coming two days after gunmen abducted students and shot dead a member of staff at a private university near the state capital.
According to BBC quoting a nurse who escaped the attack said that the attackers had hurriedly entered the hospital in the village of Idon asking for medical staff.
Thinking it was an emergency, the nurses then rushed out only for the gunmen to fire in the air and seize them.
Kidnappings for ransom by criminal gangs have become common in the country but this is the first time a hospital has been targeted.
Also in another attack, gunmen on motorbikes attacked a village in Zamfara State in what is described as deadly village raids. Residents in Zamfara’s Magami area say they have counted more than 50 corpses. A number of homes have also been burnt down.
Authorities say this is yet another in a series of raids targeting remote villages in Zamfara and other northern states.
A police spokesperson confirmed the attacks but did not give any casualty figures.
A report says the gunmen first attacked the village of Yar-Doka on Wednesday, and several other communities when local vigilantes from neighbouring villages moved in to help.
Some of the victims are said to be displaced persons from previous attacks who were returning home to prepare their farmland for this year’s rainy season.
In recent months, armed criminal gangs have carried out deadly attacks, including targeting schools and kidnapping for ransom. Attackers have reportedly stepped up violence in the region.
Senate Probes Alleged Lopsided Appointments At NHRC
The senate has ordered its committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions, to probe the alleged lopsidedness in the appointments of board members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has requested the senate to advise president Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the commission’s board appointees.
Falana is asking the president to ensure compliance with section 14(3) of the constitution and section 4 of the federal character commission act in the appointments.
Falana’s petition came three weeks after the president sent to the senate and sought its approval of the names of 16 yet to be confirmed nominees appointed to the board and governing council of the commission.
Falana says three of the four nominees representing the north-east are from Kebbi State – including the chairperson of the governing council, Salamatu Suleiman.
He said the south-east and south-south zones have four representatives each while the south west and north-central zones have two representatives each.
He also said the north-east zone has no representative – even as the rate of human rights abuses in the region was higher than any other region in the country because of the counter insurgency operations being prosecuted there.
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