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119 Civilians, security personnel killed by gunmen in South East in 3 months – Report



An independent study conducted by Nextier SPD Violent Conflict Database into the activities of dissident groups in Nigeria’s South East region, particularly between 2021 and 2022, revealed how Non State Armed Groups, dubbed “unknown gunmen,” killed 83 civilians and 36 security personnel in the first half of 2022.

Aside from the death, another 73 people were said to have been kidnapped in 28 kidnapping incidents in the South East during the same time period.

According to the independent study, at least three civilians and one security personnel are killed each week as a result of the activities of the unknown gunmen in the region.

The situation is described as worse in Anambra State, where the total number of UGM-related deaths exceeds the South East regional average.

According to the report, Anambra state accounted for 31.5 percent of all kidnap victims and 40.9 percent of all civilians killed by the UGM in the first half of 2022.

According to the report, the NSAGs’ violent activities and subsequent deployment of state security personnel across Anambra State have caught civilian communities in the crossfire of NSAGs and state security forces, both of which are willing to punish civilians with violence if they suspect civilian collaboration with the opposing side.

“At first, some perceived the UGM as radical secessionist groups because they targeted and killed members of state security forces. Their activities were romanticised by some social media users who recorded and spread scenes of their attacks on state security forces on social media.

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“A trend analysis of killings by the UGM as documented by Nextier SPD Violent Conflict Database shows that the targets of the UGM appear to have shifted to focus more on civilians. For instance, in 2021, security personnel accounted for 70.7 per cent of the total killings by the UGM, while civilians accounted for 29.3 per cent of total killings by UGM in Anambra State.

“However, by the first half of 2022, civilians accounted for 80.9 per cent, while security personnel accounted for 19.0 per cent of total killings by UGM in Anambra State.

“The same trend is observed in the larger data for the South East region. This suggests that more civilians are being targeted and killed by the UGM in the South East. The governor of Anambra State recently alleged that many of those parading as UGM are known persons indulging in self-serving criminal activities, including human organ harvesting,” Dr Chukwuma Okoli and Dr Ndu Nwokolo both key resource persons who carried out the study on behalf of Nextier SPD, submitted.

Both researchers agreed that since 2015, civilian communities in Anambra State, like other South East states, have found themselves victims of both the NSAGs and state security agencies, highlighting the limited autonomy of civilian communities in the ongoing violence in Anambra State.

They claimed that while the NSAGs extort the communities through the imposition of illegal taxes/levies on some communities, kidnapping for ransom, and murder, some state security personnel commit various forms of human rights violations in an attempt to decimate the NSAGs.

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The report also revealed that many of these civilian communities have been unable to protect themselves from the violence of both armed groups, as well as maintain independent decision-making over their daily livelihood and conflict outcomes.

According to the research experts, “For instance, in addition to the kidnapping and killings by the NSAGs, the persistence of Monday sit-at-home in Anambra State even when the IPOB has announced its cancellation and despite an attempt by the state government to put an end to it attests to the limited autonomy of the civilian communities in the ongoing violent conflict.

“More so, a recent Nextier SPD Policy Brief reveals that civilian communities experience human rights abuse by some security personnel deployed to engage the UGM and cannot hold the security agencies accountable for such abuses by the security personnel.

“The recent discoveries of hideouts of some NSAGs, particularly the kidnappers in some locations within Anambra State and the allegation that some community members, particularly native doctors, were aiding the NSAGs indicate that there are persons in the communities collaborating with the NSAGs who have hideouts in the communities from where they operate.

“The inability of the civilian communities to expose or even expel the NSAGs who use their communities as hideouts in the communities even though civilians are increasingly falling victims to the self-serving criminal interests pursued by the NSAGs is another evidence of the limited autonomy of the civilian communities in the ongoing violent conflict”.

As a result, the report concluded that Anambra State is experiencing unprecedented violent conflict, and civilian communities are caught in the crossfires of the NSAGs and state security agencies due to their limited autonomy in the conflict.

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It suggested that using nonviolent strategies to strengthen civilian communities’ autonomy would improve social cohesion and contribute to the de-escalation of violent conflict in Anambra State. (Daily Sun)

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Supreme Court to deliver judgement on Kogi APC guber primary Oct 23



• Usman Ododo and Smart Adeyemi
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, adjourned an appeal filed by Senator Smart Adeyemi against the judgments of the lower courts, on the Kogi APC Governorship primary election, to October 23, 2023, for judgment.

Adeyemi had filed a suit at the Federal High Court seeking to nullify the primary election of the All Progressive Congress, which produced Usman Ododo as the party’s flagbearer for the state’s governorship election slated for November 11.The case was dismissed by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal for lacking in merit.

The apex court, while hearing his appeal, on Thursday, told his lawyer, Musibau Adetumbi, SAN, that his client was appealing against concurrent findings of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which stated that primary elections were held in Kogi State but that he had failed to challenge these concurrent findings.

However, the appellant’s counsel said he would go ahead to argue the appeal.

The Supreme Court therefore adjourned the appeal to October 23, 2023, for judgment.The representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission, All Progressives Congress and Usman Ododo include Chief Anthony Adeniyi (SAN) Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN) and M.Y. Abdullahi, SAN; respectively.

The Court of Appeal had, on August 18, 2023, held that the appeal argued by Adekunle Otitoju on behalf of Adeyemi was completely bereft of merit.

In a unanimous judgment of a 3-man panel of Justices of the Court, Adeyemi was said to have failed to establish all grievous criminal allegations made against the conduct of the primary election by APC and its leaders.

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50 poisoned at wedding party



No fewer than 50 people were poisoned at a wedding in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk due to spoiled food, local media reported.

According to the report, the incident occurred in the town of Hawija, west of Kirkuk, the capital city of the cognominal province.

The provincial health chief, Ziyad Khalaf, said some of the cases were mild while some were serious.

He added that all the patients have received the necessary medical treatment in the hospital.

The incident came a day after a deadly fire ripped through a wedding hall in a predominantly Christian town in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, killing 114 people and injuring more than 200. (Xinhua/NAN)

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Make a difference in Niger Delta, Ogbuku charges new directors



The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, has enjoined the newly promoted Directors of the Commission to make a difference in the discharge of their duties and take the Commission to greater heights.

Ogbuku, who gave the charge at the closing session of a two-week course on Leadership and Performance Management for directing staff of the NDDC in Abuja, said that the provision of quality services to the people of the Niger Delta was a collective responsibility and should be given priority.

According to him, the reason for sending the new Directors for training was to ensure they took the administrative knowledge acquired back to the Commission in order to make a difference for the overall benefit of the region.

He said: “We are supposed to be training and retraining our staff. This is just the beginning. I want the directors to take back the knowledge they have gained to others in the NDDC to better appreciate their roles and understand the expectations from them.

“We want to do things differently. We want to improve on our services. We want to take up challenges. We want to start with the staff first to ensure that all the staff are properly trained and they understand their roles.”

Ogbuku urged the directors to ensure they utilised the experiences gathered from the training to improve the administrative processes in NDDC to ensure that things were done differently.

He said further: “As new directors, you need to understand your roles and understand your boundaries. You also need to understand your strengths and understand when to use them and when not to.

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“You need to understand that you are public servants and not civil servants. So, these are some of the things we thought you ought to be equipped with.”

“Over the years we have seen a situation where the staff of the NDDC seem to act as politicians, but as directors who have been inducted into Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), I believe that you are not only going to be ambassadors of NDDC, you are also going to be worthy ambassadors of ASCON,” he said.

He stressed that his expectation was to work with directors who understood that they were career civil servants, and aspiring to get to their peak as professionals, not those who want to be nepotic or tribalistic.

Ogbuku noted that directors should be wary of their actions, adding that some of their actions could mislead their subordinates who are looking up to them as role models.

In her address, the Director General of ASCON, Mrs. Cecilia Gayya noted that training was essentially an activity that was designed to make an employee more efficient and productive in the performance of their functions.

She said that the focus of training was to ensure efficient and effective application of knowledge, skills and attitude for improved performance, noting: “The programme was carefully designed and implemented to provide the needed knowledge, skills and capacity to adequately and promptly discharge their responsibilities and thus, make meaningful contributions towards the attainment of the mission and vision of the NDDC.

“The conscientiousness with which you participated in this programme for the past two weeks is a testimony to your preparedness for the challenges ahead and thus gives us hope that this training will impact positively on your performance, especially as you rise higher in the strategic realm of the management of the Commission.

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