A huge mango plantation belonging to former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been burnt down by unknown hoodlums at Howe community in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue state.
Vanguard gathered that the 140 hectares plantation was torched at about 2 pm on Saturday by the arsonists following probable disagreements with the locals over compensation for the piece of land that originally belonged to the state government.
Confirming the indigent, the Gwer East Local Government Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ortsega, said it was deliberate sabotage by hoodlums.
He said: “the fire on the 139 hectares farm was started at about 2 pm on Saturday by hoodlums and nearly half of it is gone. It was clearly a sabotage.
“It was strange that there was fire outbreak in the farm because the farm was properly safeguarded, so it was obvious that it was sabotage.
“We summoned a meeting of stakeholders and leaders over the matter in order to fish out the perpetrators and by the grace of God we have already apprehended four persons and investigation is still ongoing to fish out more culprits.”
When contacted, the Director of the State Fire Service, Mr Donald Ikyaaza, said his office received a call from the police Saturday afternoon and successfully put out the fire late at night.
“When we received the call from the Police in Aliade the Local Government Headquarters I dispatched my men to the place immediately and we were able to put out the fire outrightly.
“In fact, my men while coming back to Makurdi that night were caught by armed robbers who beat them seriously and collected all the money they hand on them including their handsets. So that was the compensation we got for fighting the fire at the Obasanjo farm.
“As for the exact cause of the fire, the men who went there said the people were fighting for compensation for land.
“Maybe the land was not adequately compensated so that is why they decided to set fire on the farm. That is the only information I got from them.
“But it was not all the farm that was burnt. Some trees are still there, the seeds were also saved,” he said.
Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene confirmed the incident.
The former President had in 2019 when he visited the farm said over 1,000 workers would be employed in the farm when fully operational.
Coups: Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso alliance won’t weaken ECOWAS resolve for democracy — Tinubu
President Bola Tinubu on Sunday said the Sahel Alliance by Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso which are under military dictatorship would not lessen the resolve of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to uphold its primary objective.
President Tinubu also said that the regional bloc will re-engage member countries under military rule based on realistic and short transition plans that would deliver democracy and good governance.
He said the new approach will help to achieve a quicker return to constitutional democracy in some of the West African Countries.
Speaking in his opening address at the 64th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Nigerian President, who said that there is no place for military rule in Africa, explained that the objective of the ECOWAS in insisting for democracy is to prioritise good governance for West Africans, as it catalyzes socioeconomic transformation and development.
He told heads of state that, “It is important that we also review some development in our sub-region, including the move by some of our members under Military rule to float an Alliance of Sahel States.
“This phantom, push back-alliance appears intended to divert attention from our mutual quest for democracy and good governance that will impact the life of our people.
“We refuse to be detracted from pursuing the collective dreams, aspirations and the noble path of ECOWAS integration as laid out in our institutional and legal frameworks.”
Recall that in September 2023, Mali’s Assimi Goita, who seized power in a military coup in 2020, explained that the “Liptako-Gourma Charter” forms the building block for an “Alliance of Sahel States to establish a collective defence and mutual assistance framework for our populations.”
This is coming on the heels of months of diplomatic row in the wake of the coup d’état in Niger that overthrew the Mohamed Bazoum-led government in Republic of Niger that attracted anger, sanctions and even the threat of military intervention from the ECOWAS.
But in his address at the Extraordinary Session in Abuja, the regional body Chairman maintained that the sanctions on the countries that overthrew the democratically elected leaders were meant to protect the fundamental liberties of the citizens.
According to him, “While the imposition of punitive sanctions may pose challenges, it is important to underscore that the struggle to protect the fundamental liberties of our Community Citizens must be upheld and respected.
“To this end, I would like to reiterate the imperative of re-engaging with the countries under military rule on the basis of realistic and short transition plans that can deliver democracy and good governance.
“On our part, we should be prepared to provide them with technical and material support to ensure the achievement of these strategic goals.
“We must pay attention to protect the institution and protect democracy I wish to underscore the fact that we stand against the unconstitutional change of government in our sub-region and we will continue to do so.”
He reiterated that Military rule is an aberration that subverts the popular will of the people hence it no longer has a place in Africa.
He said, “The message must go out loud and clear military rule has become an aberration that subverts the popular will of the people. It no longer has any place in Africa.
“Our people must be allowed to exercise their freedom of choice without let or hindrance. For democracy to endure in our sub-region, we must improve on good government and respect human rights and the rule of law.”
However, he said member states must “improve on good government and respect human rights and the rule of law” for democracy to endure in the sub-region.
Tinubu also commended his Liberian counterpart, George Weah, for conceding defeat at the just-concluded presidential elections and laying the groundwork for a smooth transition of power.
“By conceding defeat and congratulating his opponent, President Weah has left a legacy to be emulated by politicians in our region and beyond.
“On behalf of Members of the Authority, I express gratitude for his significant contributions to the Organization and wish him the very best in all his future endeavours,” said the President.
He assured the Sierra Leonean President, Julius Bio and Guinea Bissau’s Umaro Embalo of the bloc’s support in preserving democracy.
Tinubu said, “On the recent disturbances in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, let me express my solidarity with the People and Government of Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.
“I wish also to underscore our unequivocal stance against any form of unconstitutional change of government in our sub-region.
“I therefore urge all of us to stand strong and united in solidarity with the People and Governments of Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau in the face of these unfortunate incidents.”
On his part, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, lamented that while the Niger Junta continues to hold Bazoum and his family hostage, they are also interfering with the flow of humanitarian support to vulnerable populations.
“The military authorities have unfortunately shown little remorse as they hold onto their untenable positions, holding not only Mohamed Bazoum, his family and members of his government hostage but also the people of Niger.
“And in line with the provisions of our community texts, they granted humanitarian access to medical and humanitarian goods for the sake of the people
Guinness, FRSC task drivers on responsible drinking to avert accident
The Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC), Kaduna Sector Command says no fewer than 16 persons died and 27 sustained injuries in a road crash on Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
The Sector Commander, Mr Kabir Nadabo, said that the fatal road traffic crash occurred at Audu Jhangon village along the expressway on Sunday.
He explained that the crash occurred at 05:20hrs, when a vehicle (DAF TRAILER) with registration number KUJ 430XC, with overloaded goods, lost control and fell into a ditch.
”Initial reports indicate the driver was at high speed, probably due to fatigue.
“The combined rescue teams of RS1.114 Zhipe Unit Command and RS1.16B Dutse Outpost conducted the rescue operations.
“The crash involved 65 people, where 27 were injured and 16 people were deceased.
“The injured have been taken to the nearest hospital for treatment, “he added.
Nadabo said on receiving news of the crash, he visited the scene to have first-hand information as well as direct rescue team on the evacuation of the deceased to the morgue.
“I also directed the tow truck to remove part of the accidented trailer blocking part of the road. The operation is ongoing, and the road is free for movement, “Nadabo said
NAF kills most wanted terrorist ‘Yellow Jambros’, others in Niger
The Nigerian Airforce said on Sunday that air strikes undertaken by the its Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State have neutralized scores of terrorists including the dreaded terrorist and kidnap kingpin, ‘Yellow Jambros’.
Director of NAF Public Relations, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said, “The terrorists met their end while attempting to cross Jikudna River in Galadima Kogo District, heading towards Wurukuvhi axis of Chikun LGA.
“Prior to the strike, Yellow Jambros and his cohorts were trailed from Zamfara State into Niger State riding 13 motorcycles along the Kaduna-Niger State border, precisely heading towards Kusasu in Shiroro LGA of Niger State.
“At Kusasu, 5 other motorcycle-riding terrorists joined Yellow Jambros’ convoy, bringing the total number of motorcycles to 18, which then headed to the bank of River Jikudna.
“At the river bank, the terrorists and their 18 motorcycles boarded a large motor-powered canoe in an attempt to cross and link up with other terrorists across the river.
“It was at this point that the authorization to undertake a strike was given.
“The precision strike was adjudged effective as it neutralized Yellow Jambros and his colleagues.
“It destroyed their motorcycles and sank the boat.
Continuing Gabkwet said, “Though it was unusual for terrorists riding in a convoy of 18 motorcycles to travel in broad daylight, it was apparent that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts had assumed that air strikes were suspended following the unfortunate incident at Tudun Biri in Kaduna State and wanted to exploit the perceived window of opportunity.
“Yellow Jambros and his cohort have been responsible for several kidnappings and killings along the Abuja-Kaduna Road and in several communities in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina and Zamfara States.
“In October 2020, a kidnapped kingpin known as Mohammed Sani, arrested by the Police in Zamfara State for murdering over 50 of his victims due to their inability to mobilize ransom claimed that he worked for Yellow Jambros, who usually supply him with fake military and police uniforms, guns and other weapons needed to execute his operation.”
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