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Five children suffocate to death inside abandoned car in Niger

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• The unused car in which the bodies of the five children were found in Minna, Niger State

Three children of the same parents and two others whose ages ranged from five to 10 years died in an abandoned Honda Civic with Registration No. GO 778 ABC in Niger State following suffocation after they locked themselves inside the car for hours.

It is a common sight to find children in large numbers throwing caution to the wind and playing on the streets of Minna, the state capital.

The incident happened on Sunday in the Gurara Albishir area located on Bida Road when the children mistakenly entered the vehicle which had been abandoned for two years before the incident and locked themselves inside for over five hours.

An eyewitness in the neighbourhood who gave his name as Bala Usman said the children were playing in a large compound when they hopped into the abandoned car which refused to open.

“They tried to open the car and it refused to open and so they gave up trying. The car had been parked there for about two years by the owner.

“They might have mistakenly locked themselves up from around 11 am while the parents were searching for them only to discover their dead bodies in the car around 4 pm after fruitlessly looking everywhere around the vicinity,” Usman said.

The victims, which included four females and a male, comprised three siblings and two victims of different parents including the owner of the car. Their names and ages were given as Zahra, 10; Aisha, seven; Fati, five, and Isah, seven.

Our correspondent could not ascertain the identity of the fifth victim.

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In his reaction, the chairman of Chanchaga Local Government Area, Aminu Ladan, confirmed the incident, describing it as unfortunate.

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“This is a very unfortunate incident, I must tell you. We pray for the families to be comforted at a time like this,” he said.

Aminu, whose residence is located around the neighbourhood where the incident occurred, immediately visited the scene and condoled with the bereaved families.

The Niger State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Wasiu Abiodun, who also reacted to the incident said the owner of the vehicle had been invited for questioning while the matter was under investigation.

“On 21/4/2024 at about 6.30 pm, based on information received at Kpakungu Division, five children of about five to 13 years of age were found trapped in a Honda Civic vehicle with Reg No. GO 778 ABC at Albishiri area of Minna.

“They were found to have suffocated in the vehicle, while their bodies were later removed by the various parents, as the police visited the scene.

“However, the owner of the vehicle was invited for questioning, as the unfortunate incident is under investigation,” he stated in a WhatsApp message sent to our correspondent. (Punch)

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Group urges FG, States to memorialise Nigeria/Biafra war, honour victims, veterans

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Group urges FG, States to memorialise Nigeria/Biafra war, honour victims, veterans
• Biafra veterans

The Federal, State and Local Governments as well as relevant stakeholders have been urged to institutionalize memorialisation of the 30-month Nigeria/Biafra War (July 6, 1967-January 15, 1970).

This formed the thrust of the communique of the second edition of Nzuko Umunna monthly dialogue on the topic: “Memorializing the Nigerian – Biafran War- A Catalyst to Better Civic Engagement and Sustainable Development in Southeast Nigeria.”

In the monthly Webinar held on 30th May, 2024, stakeholders from different sectors including academics, traditional, civil society organizations, community leaders and policymakers, reflected on memorialising the Nigeria-Biafra War and its implications for civic engagement and sustainable development in the region.

A communique by President of Nzuko Umunna, Professor Chinedu Nebo and Executive Secretary, Dr. Uju Agomoh said participants deliberated and reminiscence on the devastating effects of the war on Igbo land as a whole including the lives lost, people displaced along with economic devastation.

They extolled the resilience and determination of the Igbo people of Nigeria in the face of all the adversity which brought about the significant progress made in rebuilding and reconstructing Igbo land despite all the social, economic, and political challenges that tried frustrating sustainable development in the region.

The session called on the government and stakeholders to establish memorial museums, digital archives and online platforms dedicated wholly to the history of the Nigerian-Biafran War, showcasing personal stories, artifacts, photographs and historical documents with interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations to engage visitors and educate them on the impacts of war.

⁠As part of the memorialisation, they called for the erection of monuments in key locations to honour the victims and veterans of the war.

Other recommendations by the session were to “develop school curriculum that includes comprehensive lessons on the Nigerian-Biafran War with emphasis on the importance of peace and reconciliation.

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“Organize workshops and seminars with historians, survivors and scholars to facilitate deeper understanding and dialogue.

“Annual commemorative events in forms of memorial services, peace walks and cultural festivals on significant dates related to the war.

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“Implement policies and programmes that address the lingering effects of the war.

“Support initiatives that promote civic engagement and sustainable development in the region.

“Encourage community participation in these events to foster a sense of collective memory and solidarity.”

Government was also urged to collaborate with non-governmental organizations like Nzuko Umunna, Ohanaeze Ndigbo etc, international bodies to fund and implement memorialization projects, ensuring that initiatives reflect the experiences and perspectives of all affected groups to foster inclusivity and ownership.

Government should identify and preserve significant sites related to the war, such as battlefields, refugee camps and historical buildings; to support initiatives that will bring solutions to the root causes of conflict and encourage sustainable and remarkable development in Alaigbo.

Participants said the communique when implemented will not only help in memorializing the dead war veterans but also help to promote healing and educate the future generations and bring about sustainable development and peace in the Southeast and Nigeria in general.

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Continuing, the communique noted the resolve of participants to nurture a culture that enhances peace, tolerance, and understanding in the midst of the diverse communities in Alaigbo.

Other resolutions taken were: “To sponsor and encourage a participatory and inclusive governance to ensure that all citizens have a voice.

“Encourage massive investment in vital areas of the economy like health, infrastructure and education which will lead to massive human capital and economic growth.”

The keynote speaker, Barrister Adaeze Anah, the Managing Principal at The Anah Law Practice, made an incisive and engaging presentation where she highlighted human rights violations especially genocide committed against the Biafra side by the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agents.

According to her, despite the intense agitation discourses on the war rouses, there has been a reluctance to examine violations suffered by the people of the defunct Biafra through a human rights lens.

Anah said: “In essence, analysing Nigerian – Biafran War through the human rights lens is the most viable way to disrupt the denialism of the Nigerian Government and the International System regarding the violations suffered by the people of defunct Biafra. It opens up the possibility of reparations and remedies for victims of violations and gives room for demand for accountability. With this being said, two pertinent questions beg to be answered; “Did the Federal Government of Nigeria commit acts constituting violations of humanitarian and human rights laws against the people of the defunct Biafra? And is there a legal basis for the Nigerian Government to be held accountable for these violations?

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“The Federal Government of Nigeria committed acts that unequivocally violated humanitarian and human rights laws. These violations trigger an obligation on the part of the Nigerian Government to provide remedies. These obligations are anchored on remedy as required by Article 2 (3) of the ICCPR. These obligations remain undischarged and the violations against the people of the defunct Biafra continue to date producing a more complicated problem that stunts the corporate growth of the region.”

Citing the Genocide Convention, Anah stated that the actions of the Nigerian Government and its military amounted to genocide against the Igbo people in the war. It does not matter that the heavyweights do not acknowledge it, it is what it is.  Fifty-two years later, the Rwandan Genocide which happened more than three decades after the Genocide in the Nigerian-Biafran War and recorded considerably lower casualties (800,000 as opposed to the about 2,000,000 deaths in defunct Biafra) have not only received massive attention from the global human rights system and the International Community at large and has become the ultimate symbol of justice, it has become the universal symbol of the fight against genocide.

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“Whilst I find this certainly questionable, it would be dishonest not to give the Rwandan people for this “success” because we can all agree that they have done a good job of memorializing that genocide,” she opined.

The Nigerian – Biafran war ended in 1970 but the effect of that war continues to rear its head and affect the experiences of Ndigbo as Nigerians. She listed some of the ways the politics and violations from the war continue to affect the lives of Ndigbo to include stigmatization, marginalization, crime and misplacement of the Igbo moral standards, displacement of Ndigbo as well as undying secessionist agitation.

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“Another profound manifestation of this stigmatization is the reluctance and, in some cases, outright refusal of some Igbo communities in the minority in the south-south to identify as Igbos. This is against unimpeached history showing that these communities are of Igbo descent. These disassociations became popular after the war showing how inelegant it is perceived to be Igbo in the Nigerian space…

“One of the legacies of the Nigeria-Biafra war that does not get as much attention as it should be is the displacement of many children during the war. For this discussion, I specifically highlight the children who were airlifted and sent to different African countries to save them from dying of starvation during the war. Some of these children were air-lifted by the Joint Church Aid, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the French Red Cross, and Caritas and were taken to countries like Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Ivory Coast. etc. Many of these children never returned. This is one of the sad yet seldom talked about legacy of the war,” Anah stated.

In his opening remarks, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogidi) who chaired the event, urged Ndigbo to always do a retrospection of their trajectory, noting that he who did not know where the rain started pouring on him might not know where it would stop.

Describing Ndigbo as creative, enterprising, industrious, and God-fearing, the monarch urged them not to let down the guard but continue to keep the Igbo spirit alive.

The two panel discussants-Dr. Okey Anueyiagu and Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, harped on the need for Ndigbo to always ‘know themselves’ given their peculiar situation in Nigeria which calls for eternal vigilance and tact.

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Enugu announces date for Local Government Elections

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Enugu State Independent Electoral commission has fixed Saturday October 5, 2024 for Local Government Elections in the State.

A statement signed by the Chairman of the commission, Prof Christian Ngwu urged all registered political parties to work with the date.

It further directed that election guidelines and other details can be collected from the Headquarters of Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) at Independence Layout Enugu.

“The Enugu State Independent Electoral commission wishes to inform all registered political parties and the general public that local government elections in the State will be held on Saturday, October 5th, 2024

“Election guidelines and other details can be collected from the Headquarters of Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) at Independence Layout Enugu,” Ngwu stated.

The Advocate reports that the commission had shifted the election earlier fixed for 24 February this year following a court order requesting the commission to adjust its original guideline and timetable published in the official gazette of Enugu State on 26 September 2023.

“The postponement was pursuant to a High Court Enugu State judgment delivered by his lordship Justice C. O. Ajah in the case of Action Alliance vs Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission in suit no E/682/2023.

“The Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission has been ordered to make the following adjustment to its original guideline and Time Table published in the official gazette of Enugu State and dated 26 September 2023.

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“The Enugu State Local Government Election 2024 originally scheduled for 24 February has been shifted to 5 October 2024,” former Chairman of ENSIEC, Mike Ajogu had explained.

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BREAKING: Tension heightens in Kano as Gov Yusuf orders arrest of deposed Emir Ado Bayero

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• Deposed Emir Aminu Ado Bayero

• Reinstated Emir Lamido Sanusi arrives palace

The Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has ordered the immediate arrest of the deposed Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero.

The order was contained in a statement on Saturday by the Director General, Media and Publicity, Government House, Kano, Sanusi Tofa.

The governor said Bayero should be arrested for allegedly creating tension in the state.

The statement titled ‘Gov. Yusuf Orders Arrest of Deposed Emir of Kano Aminu Ado Bayero,’ read, “The Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has ordered the immediate arrest of the former Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, for creating tension in the state.

“The former Emir was smuggled into Kano city last night in an attempt to forcefully return to the palace two days after being deposed by the Governor.

“In a statement issued by Mr. Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, the spokesperson to the Governor, it was confirmed that the new Emir, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, arrived at the palace in the company of the Governor, the Deputy Governor, the Speaker of the State Assembly, and other top government functionaries at about 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, 25th May 2024.

“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has directed the Commissioner of Police to arrest the deposed Emir with immediate effect for disturbing public peace and attempting to destroy the relative peace the state enjoys.”

Bayero, whose whereabouts had been unknown since he was deposed on Thursday returned to Kano on Saturday.

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The state House of Assembly repealed the law that ex-Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had signed on December 5, 2019.

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After signing the law, Ganduje split the emirate into five and appointed Emirs to each.

Upon signing the repealed Kano Emirates Council Law, Yusuf gave all the Emirs affected by the law 48 hours to vacate their palaces and hand over to the Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

He subsequently announced the reinstatement of Muhammadu Sanusi, whom Ganduje had deposed in 2020 as Emir of Kano.

The governor issued a reappointment letter to Sanusi on Friday, and Sanusi led Jumat prayers at the Government House, Kano.

In the early hours of Saturday, Ado Bayero returned to Kano into the waiting hands of a crowd of supporters, according to a video sighted by Daily Trust.

On Friday, Governor, Abba Yusuf reappointed Muhammadu Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of Kano.

Sanusi received his letter of reinstatement at the Government House in Kano.

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The governor said, “By the powers conferred on me by the Kano Emirate Council Law of 1984 and 2024, and supported by the recommendation of the kingmakers, I have the singular pleasure of confirming the reappointment of Muhammadu Sanusi II as the Emir of Kano and the head of the Kano Emirate Council.”

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