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Kidnapping of five sisters sparks outcry in Nigeria

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Kidnapping of five sisters sparks outcry in Nigeria
The violent abduction of five young Nigerian sisters near Abuja has sparked a national outcry and raised fears about insecurity in the country’s capital.

The sisters were kidnapped at the start of the year by armed men who burst into their home just 15 miles (25 kilometres) from Abuja city centre, a family member told AFP.

She said the attackers killed one of the sisters, 21-year-old Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, when a ransom deadline passed. Negotiations were ongoing for the release of the others.

Kidnapping for ransom has been a major problem in Nigeria with criminal gangs targeting highways, apartments and even snatching pupils from schools.

After public outrage over the sisters’ case this week, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu condemned what he called the “recent spate of kidnappings and bandit attacks”.

First Lady Remi Tinubu also voiced concern, while politicians and the media questioned the government’s strategy after gangs targeted parts of the heavily guarded Federal Capital Territory, which is as big as some states but run by a minister rather than a governor.

One tabloid declared at the weekend that Abuja was “under siege”.

The Nigerian risk consultancy SBM Intelligence told AFP it had documented 283 people abducted in the Federal Capital Territory alone over the past year.

Some experts believe the country’s economic crisis is driving a rise in kidnappings as desperate Nigerians turn to crime for income.

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SBM analyst Confidence MacHarry said insecurity around the capital has been growing for years.

“It’s been getting worse for some time,” he said, citing a 2022 attack on a prison on the outskirts of Abuja as a landmark moment.

SEE ALSO:  Gunmen kill popular Imo lawyer

Gunmen bombed their way into Kuje jail and freed hundreds of inmates in the raid claimed by Islamic State-allied jihadists.

The minister for the Federal Capital Territory has urged residents not to panic and promised to find a solution.

MacHarry said the government needed a consistent approach and warned periodic crackdowns on criminals in Abuja’s satellite towns were not working.

“All the bandits have to do is lie low and buy themselves time,” he said.fea

Nigerian law bans paying ransom to kidnappers, but many families have little faith in the authorities and feel they have no choice.

On the night the sisters were abducted, they were at home in Bwari inside the Federal Capital Territory, according to a cousin.

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Asiya Adamu, 23, described how the attackers known as “bandits” in Nigeria struck at around 9 pm on January 2.

They demanded cash but the sisters’ father Mansoor had nothing to give and offered his belongings instead.

The attackers rounded up his daughters along with a cousin and tied their hands. They also took Mansoor captive and beat the seven family members before leading them away, Adamu said.

They shot Mansoor’s brother dead when he tried to help, and several police officers were killed in a gun battle, she said.

Mansoor was released on condition he raise a large ransom within days but the struggling family could not meet the deadline and the bandits killed Nabeeha, returned her body, and increased the fee, Adamu said.

The family is still trying to negotiate, even after raising the new total thanks to an online crowdfunding campaign and the intervention of a former minister.

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Adamu said the youngest of the sisters is just 14.

Her account has been confirmed by politicians. Police acknowledged the “abduction of six young girls” and said a rescue was underway, but told AFP they could not provide details for security reasons.

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Tinubu came to office last year vowing to tackle Nigeria’s insecurity, including jihadists in the northeast, criminal militias in the northwest and a flareup of intercommunal violence in central states.

But critics say the kidnapping crisis is out of control.

Opposition politician Peter Obi said, “The fact that these kidnappings, killings and other reported cases of armed robbery and violent attacks are now taking place in Abuja, the nation’s capital, is a clear pointer to how insecure the rest of the country now is.”

“The trauma being experienced by this family and the blood of this innocent child should prick our conscience as leaders,” he said.

The president said he plans to address the root causes of the violence through education, but did not outline a precise strategy.

Abductions became a major problem in Nigeria in the 2000s and are now a lucrative industry.

The kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram jihadists made global headlines in 2014, but daily abductions rarely gain attention.

“Every day now you hear about a new kidnapping, even whole families,” said Adamu.

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She described Nabeeha as “smart, sweet and kind,” saying she had just finished university and was looking forward to her graduation.

“Nobody deserves this,” Adamu said. “It shouldn’t be happening to anyone.”

SEE ALSO:  Nabeeha: Police arrest ‘deadly kidnapper’, destroy bandits camp in Kaduna

AFP

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10 ways to ensure safe and healthy foods for family during economic hardship

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10 ways to ensure safe and healthy foods for family during economic hardship
• Foodstuff in Nigeria
Nigeria is currently grappling with a significant economic downturn characterised by spiraling inflation which has significantly impacted the purchasing power of Nigerians.

The economic hardship has made it tough for many families to provide healthy food for their loved ones with protests against hunger now a constant news item in recent times.

However, with some planning, resourcefulness, and creativity, you can provide healthy meals without breaking the bank. Here are 10 ways to help you navigate these difficult times:

1.     Planning and prioritisation: This is the period to plan meals. It helps you avoid impulse purchases and food waste. You can also create a tracker to understand your baseline and set a limit you can comfortably stick to.

2.     Be friends with your local farmers’ market: Look for deals at the end of the day and consider “ugly” produce that’s perfectly edible. Seasonal options are often cheaper and fresher. You can also join a buying group to purchase larger quantities of seasonal produce at wholesale prices, benefiting from economies of scale.

3.     Master one-pot meals: “One-pot” meals like jollof rice, beans, and plantain, or yam pottage are affordable, filling, and packed with nutrients. Cook them more.

4.     No to leftovers: Transform leftover food into other delicacies. Leftover rice could be transformed into fried rice while leftover vegetables can be used in soups.

5.     Shop smart: Instead of shopping from one place, you can compare prices across different markets to find the best deals. You can also explore options like buying directly from local farmers or patronising smaller stores that may offer competitive prices.

SEE ALSO:  Usman Ododo sworn in as new Kogi Governor

6.     Maximize savings: Learn effective storage techniques for different food items to extend their shelf life and prevent spoilage. To avoid wastage, cook only what you can consume at once.

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7.     Grow your food: You can also some food like vegetables, and even peppers on your balcony for a constant supply of fresh produce. If space is limited, consider joining a community garden to access shared resources and learn from experienced gardeners.

8.     Eat healthy as a family: Involve other family members in meal planning, You can discuss budget limitations and encourage their input on healthy and affordable meal options.

9.     Limit processed foods: They are often high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and added sugar, offering little nutritional value and can drain your budget. You can opt for brown rice, over refined white options for sustained energy and fiber.

10.  Eat more vegetables: Many local vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, offering a budget-friendly and nutritious alternative to imported options.

PUNCH

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Obi is not leaving Labour Party

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Obi is not leaving Labour Party
• Peter Obi 
The Peter Obi Media Reach (POMR) has said that its Principal, the Labour Party (LP) Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, is not quiting the party.

POMR, in a press statement on Friday, February 23, 2024 signed by its media aide, Michael Jude Nwolisa, dismissed trending news about Obi quitting the Labour party, adding that the “fake and fallacious news” emanated from mischief makers bent on destroying and disorganising the party.

“The Peter Obi Media Reach, POMR wishes to outrightly dismiss trending fake and fallacious news story suggesting that he was parting ways with the Labour Party.

“This is not true and it did not originate from Obi or the Obidient Movement but from mischief makers bent on sowing the seed of discord in the party.

“These rising misdemeanors on the party did not start today as they set out to destroy and disorganize the party all to get at Obi and derail the inevitable journey of rescuing Nigeria,” Nwolisa wrote.

He however said that Obi, on his part, is currently busy with making Nigeria work and focusing on creating an environment where democracy will thrive, adding that “the struggle to rescue Nigeria from the criminal gangs holding it down will not stop until it’s achieved through the will of the Nigerian people.”

The statement continues: “Presently our principal is preoccupied with making Nigeria work not on partisan politics which ended on October 26, 2023, when the Supreme Court of the land took their final decision on the general elections.

“Those bent on creating a crisis in the Labour Party are clearly enemies of democracy wishing for the failed status quo to remain.

SEE ALSO:  Nigeria needs divine intervention, says Adeboye

“Obi’s focus at the moment is on creating an environment where democracy is to be practiced according to the defined tenets not the rascality and all forms of impunity prevalent in the country today.

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“Peter Obi therefore would like to assure Nigerians, particularly the Obidient family that his way with Labour is unshaken and intact and that the struggle to rescue Nigeria from the criminal gangs holding it down will not stop until it’s achieved through the will of the Nigerian people,” he added.

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Ex-NBA President Akpata wins LP Gov primary for Edo

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Ex-NBA President Akpata wins LP Gov primary for Edo
 • Olumide Akpata
A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Olumide Akpata has clinched the Labour Party (LP) ticket for the September 2024 governorship election in Edo State.

Akpata scored 316 votes to win the exercise held in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Friday.

The Deputy Governor of Abia State Ikechukwu Emeta declared Akpata as the winner of the election.

“I hereby declare as follows: Mr Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata, having scored the highest number of votes and certified the provisions of the constitution of the party, is hereby declared the winner and the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party for the Edo State governorship election 2024,” Emeta who is also the chief returning officer for the election said.

After his emergence, Akpata paid tribute to a former governor of Ondo State and NBA president Rotimi Akeredolu who was buried on the same day.

He also thanked his supporters and members of the party for their backing, promising to work for the good of the state if he wins the governorship election.

His victory comes months after he declared interest in the Edo State governorship race under the Labour Party.

In October,  he had visited the Edo LP secretariat in Benin City to formally declare his interest in the race, pinning the decision on his love for the people.

“My interest is for the people of Edo State. And what I find out about politics and governance in Nigeria today is that the people have been taken out of the equation. Nobody cares about the people,” Akpata told the mammoth crowd that welcomed him.

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“So, when I look around, the only party I find to be people-oriented and interested in lots of our people is the Labour Party. So I have come here to express my interest and to carry the people along.”

SEE ALSO:  Nigeria needs divine intervention, says Adeboye

In August, the corporate lawyer, 51, resigned from the law firm Templars where he served as a senior partner.

“The Partners and management of TEMPLARS wish to announce that a Senior Partner at the Firm and the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olumide Akpata, has formally informed the Firm of his decision to participate in active politics,” the firm said in a statement.

“On account of this, and in line with the Firm’s governance protocols, Olumide Akpata and the Partners of the Firm have agreed that he disengages from the Firm with effect from 31st August 2023. This will enable him to fully focus on his project of contributing towards nation building.”

That same month, Akpata joined the LP, saying he wanted to play a more active part in the country’s political process.

“This was a major step for me and not one that I took lightly…but I simply got tired of complaining about Nigeria every day and bemoaning her fate and I decided to take the plunge and try to be part of the solution rather than agonising continually over the problem,” he said.

“This, for me, is the start of a very important journey and it is my prayer that I arrive safely at my destination.”

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