The herdsmen on Monday killed 19 persons, including children, in fresh attacks on some communities in the Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State.
The communities attacked included Tse Amgbem, Udam near Aondoana and Agbanu Seghev/Ukuse all in the Gwer West LGA area of the state.
Groups, including the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Middle Belt Forum, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union and a Tiv group, condemned the killing in Benue State and the threat by bandits to kill students of Greenfield University, Kaduna State.
Recall that 23 students and a member of staff of the privately-owned university, located along the Kaduna-Abuja highway were abducted from the school on April 20, 2021. Few days later, five of the students were killed by the bandits.
Jalingo, in the interview with the Hausa service of the VOA, demanded a ransom of N100m and ten motorcycles.
We cannot continue to watch while terrorists and
bandits continue to levy war on our nation, through our porous borders. This border force should be equipped with reconnaissance, intelli- gence gathering and preven- tion enforcement. It should, therefore, have air, sea, and land capability.”
The opposition party demanded that all the perpetrators of violence be punished according to the law.
“All culprits who have levied war on Nigeria should be brought to book. It is unfathomable that several mass kidnappings have been successfully staged with the culprits not being held to account.
It is a shameful irony that a few bandit leaders that have been taken out were killed by rival gangs and not our security agencies,” he said.
According to him, security agencies should have been able to track, arrest and prosecute bandits if Sheik Gumi could detect and engage with them.
“The administration of President Buhari should completely shed weight on arrogance, lack of respect for Nigerians and its pretenses of being an island of integrity.
“He should begin to engage the citizens directly. He should address the nation on the various issues escalating tension in the land and pushing the nation farther to the tips of precipice,” he said.
On the economy, the PDP chairman told the go- vernment to stop borro- wing, adding that future generations are being mort- gaged and railroaded into an avoidable debt trap.
He called on the APC to do away with nepotism and hire experts that will “help to creatively navigate the nation through the dire eco- nomic challenges they have led the nation into.”
“The country is bleeding economically and the opera- tions of the NNPC must be investigated and over-sighted by the parliament,” he said.
On politics, Secondus said it was worrisome that the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC, which finished its work since February 2021, is yet to lay the report in the two chambers of the National Assembly.
“We are, therefore, alarmed at the decision of the APC-led leadership of the National Assembly to sit on such an important report, contrary to their promise to pass the Electoral Act by March, which has now been shifted to June.
“It is imperative to state that INEC and the government of the United Kingdom have equally raised concerns over these undue delays, as it appears this current amendment is going the way of the Electoral Act amendment in the 8th National Assembly that was ultimately not signed by Mr. President,” the party chairman stated.
Corroborating the PDP chairman’s statement, Taraba State governor Darius Ishaku said the party had decided to put opposition aside and work with government to find lasting solutions to the security crises.
”We at the states are having it worse. We find it difficult to explain to our people why we cannot protect them – because security is not under our control,” he said.
Ishaku decried the use of the military as the first resort in internal security crisis, noting that the police should be properly equipped to place its role as the lead security outfit in internal matters.
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki also urged the federal government to listen to the demands of Nigerians on ensuring the protection of lives and property.
Israeli: The End of the Netanyahu Era Israel’s president picks Lapid to form government
Israel’s president on Wednesday chose Yair Lapid, a centrist politician and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest rival, to try to form a new government, but his path to success was still uncertain.
Israel’s longest serving leader, Netanyahu, 71, has been fighting to hold onto office through four inconclusive elections since 2019 and corruption allegations that he denies.
President Reuven Rivlin, in a televised address announcing his choice of Lapid, said the former finance minister had the pledged support of 56 of parliament’s 120 members, still short of a majority.
“It is clear that parliament member Yair Lapid could form a government that has the confidence of the Knesset, despite there being many difficulties,” Rivlin said.
In a statement accepting the nomination, Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party, said he aimed to establish a government of the left, right and centre “that will reflect the fact that we don’t hate one another”.
But Lapid, 57, has ruled out serving in a government with Netanyahu, citing the criminal indictment against the prime minister.
Appearing to hold out hope he could still stay in power, Netanyahu appealed to ultranationalist Naftali Bennett to join him and form a “solid right-wing bloc” controlling 59 seats in parliament, a number still short of a majority.
An embrace by Bennett, of the Yamina party, would persuade other right-wing legislators currently pledged to Lapid cross back, Netanyahu said in remarks following Lapid’s nomination.
“It’s a simple truth: this (a Lapid-led coalition) will be a dangerous left-wing government,” said Netanyahu, who last lost an election before the turn of the century.
The most recent vote on March 23, held while Netanyahu is also on trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, yielded no majority for the incumbent or for a loose alliance of rivals from across the political spectrum aiming to topple him.
A 28-day mandate to put together a coalition ran out at midnight after Netanyahu failed to agree terms with potential right-wing partners, opening the way for Rivlin to assign the task to another member of parliament.
Lapid also has 28 days to try to form a coalition.
A power-sharing agreement to end the political stalemate has been widely mooted, in which Lapid would rotate in office with Bennett, 49.
Rivlin met the two separately on Wednesday, and each put his own name forward to lead coalition talks, the president said.
“I have just spoken to Yair Lapid and informed him that I am entrusting him with forming a government, whether this is a government that he will head at the beginning, or a government headed by someone else first in which he will serve as alternate prime minister,” Rivlin said in his address.
Lapid’s party finished second with 17 parliamentary seats to 30 for Netanyahu’s Likud in the March election.
Netanyahu and his opponents have both courted the support of parties representing Israel’s 21% Arab minority, potentially giving them a say over a cabinet for the first time in decades.
Five of the Joint Arab List’s six legislators threw their support behind Lapid in a letter the party sent to Rivlin on Wednesday, backing which the president noted in his speech.
Failure to break the deadlock would lead to a new election, adding to political turmoil while Israel faces challenges from Iran’s nuclear programme and pursues economic recovery after a swift rollout of COVID-19 vaccine.
BIOGRAPHY OF AN ICON OF IGALA KINGDOM, Prince Alhaji Matthew M. Opaluwa Oguche
_Prince Alhaji Matthew M. Opaluwa Oguche_ was born into the Royal family of late Chief Opaluwa Oguche Akpa.
He is the number nine (9) of the sixteen (16) surviving children and the forth (4) of the six (6) male children of Late Chief Opaluwa Oguche of the humble Aju- Ameacho Ruling Dynasty of Igala Kingdom. His mother was Late Mama Eke Opaluwa (nee Edicha).
Prince Alhaji Matthew M. Opaluwa Oguche started his early education at St. Boniface Primary School, Idah and obtained his first school leaving certificate in the year, 1975. He proceeded in the same year to St. Peter’s College, Idah and obtained his West African Schools Certificate (WASC) in 1980.
In his quest for education as his father advised him, in 1981 he gained admission into the School of Basic Studies, Ugbokolo and obtained “A” level papers in 1983.
Still in his quest for more knowledge, Prince Alhaji M.M. Opaluwa Oguche went back to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and acquired his Masters (MBA) degree in Business Administration in the year 1997.
The cognate working experience of this great man started with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 1988 as administrative officer and rose through ranks and now a Deputy Director. He has served in many Local Governments Areas of Kogi State as Electoral Officer which include; Idah, Ofu, Ankpa, Dekina, Bassa, Ibaji, Mopa/Amuro, Ogori/Magongo, and Okene respectively.
Prince Alhaji M. M. Opaluwa Oguche was transferred to Kaduna State INEC Headquarters and made in charge of Transport Unit. Still in Kaduna State, he has served in the following Local Government Areas as Electoral officer (E.O);
Sabon – Gari, Kajuru, Kaduna South, Kauru, & Kaduna North L.G.As respectively.
Prince Alhaji Matthew M. Opaluwa Oguche was again transferred to Katsina State INEC Headquarters in July,2009 and was made to take charge of Research and documentation Unit. There after, he was transferred to Dandume local government area as Electoral officer. After 2011 general elections, he was seconded to Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT as Electoral officer. He was transferred after back after the exercise to Katsina State and served in the following local government areas as Electoral Officer; Danja and Dutsinma respectively after 2011 general elections. Finally, he was moved to Katsina LGA in the same capacity during the 2015 general elections till date.
Prince Alhaji Matthew M. Opaluwa Oguche is a humane, generous and gentle easy going personality of impeccable character. A bridge builder who derives pleasure in creating peace. His passion for the Igala traditions, cultural value and unity cannot be over emphasised as such, engenders his willingness to always help the Igala sons and daughters and mankind generally. He has learned his helping hands to orphans, the less privileged and widows. He is a man with amiable personality and natural aptitude. He is happily married and blessed with children.
I present to you, men and women of Igala Kingdom
*Prince Alhaji Matthew* *M. Opaluwa Oguche*
Explosive-laden ‘drone’ boat targets Saudi port of Yanbu
A remotely piloted boat packed with explosives targeted the Saudi port of Yanbu in the Red Sea on Tuesday, the kingdom said, with the blast sending black smoke into the sky off the coast.
Saudi Arabia claimed to have intercepted and destroyed the attack boat. However, private security firms suggested commercial traffic near the port may have been hit in the assault.
Details remained scarce, but the incident comes after a series of attacks on shipping in the wider Mideast region amid a shadow war between Iran and Israel and against the backdrop of ongoing negotiations between Tehran and world powers over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal.
The incident also comes amid the kingdom’s yearslong war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Houthis have in the past used bomb-laden drones and explosive-packed boats in attacks targeting the kingdom.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki saying the port was targeted by the drone boat.
“The booby-trapped boat was dealt and destroyed according to the rules of engagement,” the report quoted al-Maliki as saying, without providing evidence to support his claim.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, run by the British navy, simply said it was “aware of reports of an incident” and that investigations were ongoing. Private maritime security firm Dryad Global said it had reports that a ship had been “attacked,” without elaborating.
Maritime security firm Neptune P2P Group reported that black smoke was seen billowing near the south entrance of the Yanbu port.
British maritime security firm Ambrey reported an “incident” off western Saudi Arabia, between the ports of Yanbu and Rabigh. Earlier Tuesday morning, smoke was seen rising from a vessel off the Saudi oil-shipping port of of Yanbu, the firm said. Multiple tankers remain anchored or drifting in the area.
Yanbu port control broadcast a message by marine VHF radio, warning vessels to increase their level of alertness and monitor for any suspicious activity, Ambrey said.
The U.S. Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet declined to immediately comment on the incident.
Yanbu, 870 kilometers (540 miles) west of Riyadh, serves as the end point of the kingdom’s crucial East-West Pipeline. It allows crude oil pumped in its eastern fields to be shipped directly via the Red Sea, avoiding the Persian Gulf’s chokepoint at the Strait of Hormuz. Yanbu is also home to an oil refinery that can process 400,000 barrels of crude per day.
In May 2019, then-U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton claimed that Yanbu had been targeted in an attack never acknowledged by the kingdom.
Meanwhile, American and Iranian warships had a tense encounter in the Persian Gulf earlier this month, the first such incident in about a year, the U.S. Navy said Tuesday.
Footage released by the Navy showed a ship commanded by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard cut in front of the USCGC Monomoy, causing the Coast Guard vessel to come to an abrupt stop with its engine smoking on April 2.
The Guard also did the same with another Coast Guard vessel, the USCGC Wrangell, said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a 5th Fleet spokeswoman. Such close passes risk the ships colliding at sea.
Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident in the southern reaches of the Persian Gulf, which resulted in no injuries or damage.
“The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns, and while the (Iranian) Harth 55 responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, they continued the unsafe maneuvers,” Rebarich said. “After approximately three hour of the U.S. issuing warning and conducting defensive maneuvers, the (Iranian) vessels maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and opened distance between them.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the incident, which involved the Iranian Harth support ship and three Iranian fast-attack craft. The Coast Guard units operate out of Bahrain as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, its biggest unit overseas.
The interaction marked the first “unsafe and unprofessional” incident involving the Iranians since April 15, 2020, Rebarich said. However, Iran had largely stopped such incidents in 2018 and nearly in the entirety of 2019, she said.
In 2017, the Navy recorded 14 instances of what it describes as “unsafe and or unprofessional” interactions with Iranians forces. It recorded 35 in 2016, and 23 in 2015.
The incidents at sea almost always involve the Revolutionary Guard, which reports only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Typically, they involve Iranian speedboats armed with deck-mounted machine guns and rocket launchers test-firing weapons or shadowing American aircraft carriers passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all oil passes.
Some analysts believe the incidents are meant in part to squeeze President Hassan Rouhani’s administration after the 2015 nuclear deal. They include a 2016 incident in which Iranian forces captured and held overnight 10 U.S. sailors who strayed into the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters.
“U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense,” Rebarich said.
The incident comes as Iran negotiates with world powers in Vienna over Tehran and Washington returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, talks due to resume Tuesday. It also follows a series of incidents across the Mideast attributed to a shadow war between Iran and Israel, which includes attacks on regional shipping and sabotage at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.
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