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Posts Tagged ‘NIGERIA’

ECOWAS TO DEPLOY ELECTION OBSERVERS FOR MALI RUN-OFF LEGISLATIVE POLLS

Posted by African Press International on December 15, 2013


ECOWAS TO DEPLOY 50 ELECTION OBSERVERS FOR MALI RUN-OFF LEGISLATIVE POLLS

 

ABUJA, Nigeria, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ ECOWAS is deploying 50 election observers to Mali for the country’s second-round Parliamentary polls today 15th December 2013 following an inconclusive first-round balloting on 24 November 2013.

 

The regional Observation Mission will be headed by Prof. Amos Sawyer, former President of Liberia’s Interim Government of National Unity, who also led the 100-strong ECOWAS observers to the first round voting. He will be supported this time by Ambassador Leopold Ouedraogo, a Member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise.

 

Provisional results from the first-round elections which featured more than 1,140 candidates fielded by the ruling and opposition coalitions and independents, showed that the country’s three main political parties secured less than 20 seats out of the 147 available in the National Assembly. Turnout was put officially at 38.4 percent.

 

Mali’s electoral law provides for a run-off to be decided by a simple majority vote in a situation where no independent candidate or list of coalition candidates secured the mandatory 50 percent plus one vote in the first round.

 

In its Preliminary Declaration, the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission which observed the first round balloting across Mali’s eight regions and the Municipalities of the capital, Bamako, adjudged the conduct as credible and transparent.

 

The Mission also noted the low turnout, saying the shortcomings it observed, including the inadequate sensitization of voters and late display of Voters Lists at several polling stations “did not in any significant way, affect the conduct of the election in line with globally acceptable standards.”

 

Following the July/August successful presidential elections, the deployment of the ECOWAS Observation Mission for the legislative polls, is in furtherance of efforts aimed at helping Mali conclude the ECOWAS-facilitated transitional road map for the restoration of full constitutional order and the country’s territorial integrity in the aftermath of last year’s military coup and separatist insurrection in the north.

 

SOURCE

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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UN’s Amina Mohammed in a meeting with Erna Solberg of Norway

Posted by African Press International on December 14, 2013

Amina Mohammed og Erna Solberg

Amina Mohammed og Erna Solberg. Foto: Statsministerens kontor

The Norwegian Prime Minister today met Amina Mohammed, special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon responsible for UN development goals by 2015.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, is the leader of the Secretary General advocate group to meet the MDGs with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

– This work is an important starting point when new development for the years after 2015 shall be designed and was a key topic of conversation, the Prime Minister said.

– Education for all, especially girls’ right to education, is another important issue. This is a high priority in the government’s development policies, as well as the MDGs and to work with the new development targets for the years after 2015, said Solberg.

Amina Mohammed has broad international experience in the work on the MDGs, women’s education and development., including experience having worked for Nigeria‘s president and the Gates Foundation.

 

end

source MFA norway

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STRENGTHENING COLLABORATION – Regional Economic Communities

Posted by African Press International on November 23, 2013

ABUJA, Nigeria, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Senior officials from the African Union Commission (AUC), Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) are meeting in Abuja on the effective implementation of legal and policy instruments towards the strengthening of their cooperation.

The consultative meeting, which opened on Tuesday, 19th November, 2013 will also discuss the implementation of the AU Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) Protocol and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), defining the modalities for strengthening relations among the institutions.

It is also expected to make recommendations to enhance collaboration on evolving issues of common interest, new configurations and arrangements in the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which comprises the Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise, the African Standby Force and the Peace fund.

Participants will also discuss cross-cutting issues including the AU’s Programme on Counterterrorism, Border Programme, and Security Reform Strategy, among others.

In an opening remark, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman reaffirmed ECOWAS’ commitment to collaborating with the AU and the rest of the international community in regional and international efforts to stabilize the security and political situation in the ECOWAS space.

The Commissioner’s address was read by the Head of ECOWAS Liaison Office to AUC, Ms. Raheemat Momodu,

The AU-PSC Secretary, Dr. Admore Kambudzi emphasized the importance of the Council as the pillar of the APSA which has asserted itself on several peace and security challenges on the continent. He therefore called on participants to ensure “we achieve desired results, in accordance with the MoU signed between the AU and the RECs/RMs.”

The workshop themed: “Towards Enhanced Partnership between the AU and RECs/RMs on Peace and Security,” is part of week-long back-to-back high-level meetings on collaboration involving the AUC, the eight RECs/RMs and key developing partners.

SOURCE

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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ECOWAS SALUTES REGION’S NATIONAL TEAMS

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

ABUJA, Nigeria, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The President of the ECOWAS Commission His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has congratulated “Teams ECOWAS” – Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire – for winning three of Africa’s five slots for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil.

In a goodwill message to the three countries, the President said it is gratifying to note that ECOWAS national teams consolidated their sterling exploits at the Africa Nations Cup tournament earlier this year in South Africa, where they dominated the 16-nation competition with Nigeria emerging the continental Champions.

With their impressive performances in the just-concluded World Cup Africa qualification series, Teams ECOWAS have confirmed the region’s reputation as the soccer powerful of Africa.

The President assured them that the entire Community and its more than 350 million people are solidly behind them as they fly the region’s and Africa’s flags in Brazil 2014.

President Ouedraogo also wished Cameroon and Algeria, Africa’s two other World Cup qualifiers good luck and enjoined all the continent’s representatives to surpass Africa’s quarter-final record in the global football tournament.

Through hard work, discipline and dedication, he said they can bring the coveted trophy to the African soil for the first time in the World Cup history.

 

SOURCE

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

 

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Securing over €7million in new export sales to Sub-Saharan Africa a major boost for Irish companies

Posted by African Press International on November 17, 2013

DUBLIN, Ireland, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Minister Costello welcomes the success of Irish companies on Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa and Nigeria

Irish companies participating in this week’s Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa and Nigeria, led by Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., have secured new contracts totalling over €7m and agreed significant business alliances across the financial services, telecommunications and education sectors. These announcements underline the growing opportunities for Irish companies in the developing sub-Saharan Africa region.

The five-day trade mission, which involved 37 Irish companies, was organised by Enterprise Ireland in close cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassies of Ireland in Pretoria and Abuja, and focused on Financial Services in Johannesburg, Telecommunications in Cape Town and Financial Services and Education in Lagos.

Minister Costello described the trade mission as very important in terms of deepening Ireland’s trade and economic ties in the region, as well as supporting the aims of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Africa Strategy. Speaking from Lagos Minister Costello said:

“This was a highly successful mission both in terms of business secured and introductions and connections made. It is truly encouraging to see Irish companies continuing to win new business in South Africa, and deeply satisfying to watch Enterprise Ireland working with innovative Irish companies to help them break into developing markets like Nigeria.

“Enterprise Ireland’s new office in Johannesburg will act as a hub for supporting Irish companies in growing their trade relationships and export sales, not just in South Africa but also in other key economic growth areas in the wider Sub-Saharan Africa market of over 900 million people. This is the first time Enterprise Ireland has organised a trade mission to Nigeria which is the most populous country in Africa. Based on the initial success of Irish companies in this enormous market I have no doubt that a second trade mission to the region will quickly follow.

“My Department, the Embassy network and the State Agencies are working closely together to ensure that Irish exports to these increasingly important markets continue to grow – sustaining and creating jobs in Ireland”.

The Minister’s intensive five-day schedule included seven major networking events with South African, Nigerian and Irish businesses and other key contacts, as well as 12 individual company meetings with Irish companies and their sub-Saharan Africa partners and customers. Minister Costello also took part in high-level meetings with major international companies and participated in numerous media interviews. All activities were aimed at promoting the capabilities and strengths of Irish companies in key sectors and highlighting the opportunities for bilateral trade between Ireland and Southern Africa.

In South Africa Minister Costello opened Enterprise Ireland and ESB International’s new offices which are co-located in Johannesburg, and visited the Ireland Pavilion at the Africa Com expo where six Irish companies were participating for the second consecutive year.

While in Nigeria the Minister opened Wexford company Chevron Training and Recruitment’s new training centre, and Kerry Group’s new Nigerian office, and launched Enterprise Ireland’s “Access Nigeria” Guide.

Among the contracts and alliances agreed during the trade mission were:

Digisoft.tv (Cork) signed a development and agency agreement with Discover Digital (South Africa). The Discover Digital and Digisoft.tv program promotes OTT (Over The Top) Video supporting the distribution of TVOD educational and entertainment content in hard to reach and less connected environments. Digisoft.tv will manage this development effort from their headquarters in Cork.

Sentinel Fuel Products (Mayo) signed an initial contract worth €500k with South African company Lebone Engineering (Pty) Ltd. Lebone will distribute Sentinel’s Oilguard 9000 product range and provide front-line support across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Sentinel Fuel Products is a start-up business targeting global markets for the manufacture and supply of fuel anti-theft devices and fuel management systems.

SourceDogg (Galway) signed a partnership agreement with Resolve Solution Partners (South Africa) to deliver their cutting-edge e-procurement solution to the South African market. Resolve Solution Partners, a subsidiary of the Imperial Logistics Group, has identified a strong need for effective e-procurement among public and private organisations in South Africa where uncompetitive procurement practices and non-compliance are longstanding problems.

Nasctech (Dublin), the leading provider of Field Operation Support Systems for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) announced that its STREAMLINE™ solution has been deployed by Vodacom in the Democratic Republic of Congo. STREAMLINE™ is a unique solution that enables CSPs to reduce their network field OPEX spend while increasing visibility and control over their field operations, including fuel management.

Chevron Training and Recruitment (Wexford), specialists in the provision of construction skills training to international learners, officially opened their new Training Centre in Lagos. In February 2013 Chevron Training & Recruitment partnered with Nigerian company ETIWA Vocational Training to provide construction workers in Nigeria with international best-practise training. The partnership will see Chevron Training and Recruitment train 1000 constructions workers in Nigeria in a deal worth €3m over three years.

Hybrid Energy Solutions Ltd. (HES) announced details of a deal with Airtel Nigeria – the world’s 3rd largest mobile phone provider – to improve its network availability and massively reduce operating costs. HES and Airtel, along with HES’ local partner on the ground – ‘Eureka Power’ will invest up to $50m to upgrade and optimize the power supply to Airtel’s Nigerian network over the next 24 months.

Dublin International Foundation College (DIFC) and Professional Global Training Institute (PGTI) (or Greenville Schools) signed an agreement to run education programmes in Nigeria and Ireland for Nigerian students who want to progress to Irish and other EU universities to study Medicine, Business and Engineering. The first programme will concentrate on Medicine and will start in Lagos in January 2014 with an initial intake of 50–100 students. These students will transfer to DIFC Dublin in September 2014 to complete their Foundation Course and then progress on to medical-related courses in Ireland, the UK and Central European universities.

Waterford Institute of Technology announced a MOU with Yaba-Tech University in Lagos.

Brendan Flood, Divisional Manager with Enterprise Ireland, who is accompanying Minister Costello on the trade mission, commented:

“The trade mission has been a significant success for the participating Irish companies. They are carving out a strong reputation for Irish products and services, confirming that there are significant opportunities for increased trade and partnerships between Irish and Sub-Saharan Africa companies. The market growth is in sectors where Enterprise Ireland’s client companies are particularly strong performers – financial services, telecommunications and education. Enterprise Ireland will continue to provide every support to Irish companies to secure more business in this developing region”.

 

SOURCE

Ireland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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NTV Journalists win TV features category at CNN Africa Journalist of the year awards in a ceremony held in South Africa

Posted by African Press International on October 14, 2013

Kenya Nation TV reports that their two journalists “Rose Wangui and Wambui Kurema have been honoured on the World stage among their peers in what is arguably the most prestigious and respected award for Journalists across the African continent;” and that the pair, “took home the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the year awards in the Television features category in Cape Town South Africa.”

Related story:

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School destruction in the wake of Boko Haram attack

Posted by African Press International on October 6, 2013

School destruction in the wake of Boko Haram attack

KANO, 4 October 2013 (IRIN) – Thousands of students and teachers across northern Nigeria have been forced to abandon their schools due to increasingly brazen attacks by radical Islamist group Boko Haram (BH), officials say.

In the latest school attack, on 29 September, BH gunmen on four-wheel-drive vehicles and motorbikes stormed student dormitories at a college of agriculture in the town of Gujba, in the northern Yobe State, opening fire on sleeping students and killing 40, according to police and government officials.

“They just opened fire indiscriminately on students in their hostels. They all wore army uniforms and were heavily armed. One of them stood by the door, shooting at students who made for the door to escape,” Musa Bade, who works at the college, told IRIN.

Officials are unable to give the exact number of students forced out of school by the attacks, due to lack of access to remote parts of Yobe and Borno states where BH insurgents are active.

However, Abdullahi Bego, Yobe governor’s spokesman, told IRIN that BH has destroyed 209 schools in Yobe. In Borno, governor Kashim Shettima said in August that the Islamist rebels had destroyed 825 classrooms. A Bono education official told IRIN in May that some 15,000 were out of school in that state alone.

In a 4 October report, Amnesty International said that at least 70 teachers and more than 100 school children and students have been killed or wounded.

“The attacks have generally crippled the education system in northeastern Nigeria. There is a lot of fear among students, teachers and parents. Teachers are not only targeted in schools, but also at home. We know of a case where a teacher was killed at home before his children,” said Makmid Kamara, Amnesty International’s researcher for Nigeria.

“Parents are afraid to send their children to school because they fear that their children may not return home,” Kamara told IRIN. “If these attacks continue, they will further cripple the education system in that part of the country.”

Rising toll

BH began attacking schools in February 2012, when its gunmen burned down three schools in Maiduguri town using home-made bombs. Abul Qaqa, the group’s spokesman at the time, claimed responsibility, saying it was in retaliation for the indiscriminate arrests of students in Islamic schools by government forces.

Initially, the gunmen carried out attacks on schools at night or in the early morning hours before classes so as to not “kill innocent pupils,” according to Qaqa.

But the strategy changed this year. In March, BH killed four teachers and gravely injured three students in three separate attacks on schools in Maiduguri.

On 6 July, the Islamists opened fire and threw explosives into dormitories in a boarding secondary school in Mamudo Village in Yobe, killing 41 students and a teacher. In a 16 June attack on another boarding school, also in Yobe, BH gunmen shot dead seven students and two teachers, according to Lt Lazarus Eli, the state’s military spokesman.

BH also carried out attacks on schools in Kano City, including arson in at least three schools and the targeted shooting of teachers in two others. But the Kano attacks stopped following a heavy security crackdown that drove the rebels from the city, according to security sources.

Security measures

Bego said the Yobe government would not be intimidated into closing schools following the Gujba student killings, as it did following the July slaughter in Mamudo.

“These terrorists want to intimidate us into closing schools and stopping children from attending school. We will not be intimidated, and Yobe State will not be defined by criminals, insurgents or terrorists,” the governor’s spokesman said.

“The attacks have generally crippled the education system in northeastern Nigeria. There is a lot of fear among students, teachers and parents. Teachers are not only targeted in schools, but also at home.”

The government deployed soldiers to all boarding schools in the state to guard against BH attacks.

But Musa Idrissa, a school teacher in Damaturu, told IRIN the troop deployment to schools could not effectively counter the BH attacks or its emotional and psychological effects on students.

“The presence of soldiers in schools only heightens fear among teachers and students because it is a constant reminder of the danger they are in, which affects them psychologically and emotionally and negatively affects teaching and learning. No effective learning takes place in an atmosphere of fear and anxiety,” Idrissa said.

Idrissa noted that BH gunmen dress in military uniforms, which makes it difficult distinguish them from troops. “How can the students differentiate between BH and soldiers in the event of an attack on their school?” he asked.

“We are fighting an unconventional war and an unconventional enemy, which shifts form and strategy and is very mobile. We need public support in reporting any suspicious movement in the community to effectively tackle the terrorists,” Eli said.

Why attacks on schools?

In a video message on 12 August 2013, BH leader Abubakar Shekau said he backed the Mamudo school attack, but fell short of claiming responsibility.

“We did say we were going to burn down schools offering Western education because they are not Islamic schools. They are schools primarily established to wage war on Islam. We fight teachers who teach Western education. We will kill them before their students, and we will tell the students to henceforth go and study the Koran. This is what we do. We will continue carrying out such school attacks till we breathe our last breath,” he said.

However, military authorities say that BH resorted to attacking schools as soft targets following military operations launched in May of this year that they say have weakened the group. The school attacks are also an attempt to scare off youth vigilante groups fighting the Islamists, particularly in Borno State, which BH considers its stronghold and birthplace, says the military.

New military strategy

President Goodluck Jonathan said in 1 October national broadcast that the government would employ new strategies against BH following the deadly school attacks, but did not divulge details. Nigerian troops responded to the latest school raid with aerial bombardments and a ground offensive against a BH camp near Gujba where the gunmen retreated to, military spokesman Eli told IRIN.

The Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in northeastern Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states on 14 May and heavily deployed troops to neutralize BH and dislodge them from areas they had taken over, especially in northern Borno on the border with Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

The strategy has failed to stop the attacks, which have become more frequent and deadlier despite the shut-down of telephone signals to prevent BH from coordinating attacks.

“Although there is increase in troop movement and military hardware deployment in the northeast, people were yet to see the kind of action on the ground that effectively nips criminal and terrorists activities in the bud,” Bego said in a 29 September statement.

Amnesty International’s Kamara called on the Islamists to unconditionally halt school attacks and urged the government to provide better protection for schools. “Attacking schools and killing teachers and pupils is a crime against humanity. The government of Nigeria has a responsibility to protect the right to life and to education.”

aa/ob/rz  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Nigeria: Boko Haram – like the Al Shabaab target innocent people

Posted by African Press International on October 5, 2013

School destruction in the wake of Boko Haram attack

KANO, 4 October 2013 (IRIN) – Thousands of students and teachers across northern Nigeria have been forced to abandon their schools due to increasingly brazen attacks by radical Islamist group Boko Haram (BH), officials say.

In the latest school attack, on 29 September, BH gunmen on four-wheel-drive vehicles and motorbikes stormed student dormitories at a college of agriculture in the town of Gujba, in the northern Yobe State, opening fire on sleeping students and killing 40, according to police and government officials.

“They just opened fire indiscriminately on students in their hostels. They all wore army uniforms and were heavily armed. One of them stood by the door, shooting at students who made for the door to escape,” Musa Bade, who works at the college, told IRIN.

Officials are unable to give the exact number of students forced out of school by the attacks, due to lack of access to remote parts of Yobe and Borno states where BH insurgents are active.

However, Abdullahi Bego, Yobe governor’s spokesman, told IRIN that BH has destroyed 209 schools in Yobe. In Borno, governor Kashim Shettima said in August that the Islamist rebels had destroyed 825 classrooms. A Bono education official told IRIN in May that some 15,000 were out of school in that state alone.

In a 4 October report, Amnesty International said that at least 70 teachers and more than 100 school children and students have been killed or wounded.

“The attacks have generally crippled the education system in northeastern Nigeria. There is a lot of fear among students, teachers and parents. Teachers are not only targeted in schools, but also at home. We know of a case where a teacher was killed at home before his children,” said Makmid Kamara, Amnesty International’s researcher for Nigeria.

“Parents are afraid to send their children to school because they fear that their children may not return home,” Kamara told IRIN. “If these attacks continue, they will further cripple the education system in that part of the country.”

Rising toll

BH began attacking schools in February 2012, when its gunmen burned down three schools in Maiduguri town using home-made bombs. Abul Qaqa, the group’s spokesman at the time, claimed responsibility, saying it was in retaliation for the indiscriminate arrests of students in Islamic schools by government forces.

Initially, the gunmen carried out attacks on schools at night or in the early morning hours before classes so as to not “kill innocent pupils,” according to Qaqa.

But the strategy changed this year. In March, BH killed four teachers and gravely injured three students in three separate attacks on schools in Maiduguri.

On 6 July, the Islamists opened fire and threw explosives into dormitories in a boarding secondary school in Mamudo Village in Yobe, killing 41 students and a teacher. In a 16 June attack on another boarding school, also in Yobe, BH gunmen shot dead seven students and two teachers, according to Lt Lazarus Eli, the state’s military spokesman.

BH also carried out attacks on schools in Kano City, including arson in at least three schools and the targeted shooting of teachers in two others. But the Kano attacks stopped following a heavy security crackdown that drove the rebels from the city, according to security sources.

Security measures

Bego said the Yobe government would not be intimidated into closing schools following the Gujba student killings, as it did following the July slaughter in Mamudo.

“These terrorists want to intimidate us into closing schools and stopping children from attending school. We will not be intimidated, and Yobe State will not be defined by criminals, insurgents or terrorists,” the governor’s spokesman said.

“The attacks have generally crippled the education system in northeastern Nigeria. There is a lot of fear among students, teachers and parents. Teachers are not only targeted in schools, but also at home.”

The government deployed soldiers to all boarding schools in the state to guard against BH attacks.

But Musa Idrissa, a school teacher in Damaturu, told IRIN the troop deployment to schools could not effectively counter the BH attacks or its emotional and psychological effects on students.

“The presence of soldiers in schools only heightens fear among teachers and students because it is a constant reminder of the danger they are in, which affects them psychologically and emotionally and negatively affects teaching and learning. No effective learning takes place in an atmosphere of fear and anxiety,” Idrissa said.

Idrissa noted that BH gunmen dress in military uniforms, which makes it difficult distinguish them from troops. “How can the students differentiate between BH and soldiers in the event of an attack on their school?” he asked.

“We are fighting an unconventional war and an unconventional enemy, which shifts form and strategy and is very mobile. We need public support in reporting any suspicious movement in the community to effectively tackle the terrorists,” Eli said.

Why attacks on schools?

In a video message on 12 August 2013, BH leader Abubakar Shekau said he backed the Mamudo school attack, but fell short of claiming responsibility.

“We did say we were going to burn down schools offering Western education because they are not Islamic schools. They are schools primarily established to wage war on Islam. We fight teachers who teach Western education. We will kill them before their students, and we will tell the students to henceforth go and study the Koran. This is what we do. We will continue carrying out such school attacks till we breathe our last breath,” he said.

However, military authorities say that BH resorted to attacking schools as soft targets following military operations launched in May of this year that they say have weakened the group. The school attacks are also an attempt to scare off youth vigilante groups fighting the Islamists, particularly in Borno State, which BH considers its stronghold and birthplace, says the military.

New military strategy

President Goodluck Jonathan said in 1 October national broadcast that the government would employ new strategies against BH following the deadly school attacks, but did not divulge details. Nigerian troops responded to the latest school raid with aerial bombardments and a ground offensive against a BH camp near Gujba where the gunmen retreated to, military spokesman Eli told IRIN.

The Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in northeastern Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states on 14 May and heavily deployed troops to neutralize BH and dislodge them from areas they had taken over, especially in northern Borno on the border with Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

The strategy has failed to stop the attacks, which have become more frequent and deadlier despite the shut-down of telephone signals to prevent BH from coordinating attacks.

“Although there is increase in troop movement and military hardware deployment in the northeast, people were yet to see the kind of action on the ground that effectively nips criminal and terrorists activities in the bud,” Bego said in a 29 September statement.

Amnesty International’s Kamara called on the Islamists to unconditionally halt school attacks and urged the government to provide better protection for schools. “Attacking schools and killing teachers and pupils is a crime against humanity. The government of Nigeria has a responsibility to protect the right to life and to education.”

aa/ob/rz

source http://www.irinnews.org

end

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AFRICAN LEADERS, POLICYMAKERS AND YOUTH ASSEMBLED, TO ‘RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCE’ IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA ON SEPTEMBER 19-20 AT THE SECOND CHILD AND YOUTH FINANCE INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL MEETING FOR AFRICA

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2013

LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA – On 19-20 September the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa was held in Livingstone, Zambia. The meeting gathered some of Africa’s top leaders and policymakers in financial inclusion and economic citizenship education as well as youth representatives. The leaders were expected to address cutting-edge and high-impact financial inclusion and economic citizenship education strategies and initiatives as well as to get insights from young people from across the region, under the theme of the meeting: “Reshaping the Future of Finance”.

Children and youth in sub-Saharan Africa make up 47.30% of its population. However, only 16.8% of those between ages 15-25 hold accounts at formal financial institutions. Similarly, many children in the region lack access to financial education creating cyclical patterns of uninformed financial practices.
The Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will bring together some of Africa’s finest leaders of government institutions, international and regional bodies, academia and research, the IT sector, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to show their support for financial inclusion and economic citizenship education, and help the Child and Youth Finance movement’s progress. The meeting will have 165 participants from 22 countries. It is organized by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) and the Bank of Zambia, in collaboration with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) and CareersExpo Zambia.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Reshaping the Future of Finance’. In addition to the distinguished keynote speakers, action-oriented workshops and plenary sessions that will take place, a unique feature of the meeting will be the active participation of children and youth. Young people from across the continent will come to share their views on Child and Youth Finance issues and engage with delegates in panel sessions.

The event hashtag for the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa is #CYFIZambia .

Previous CYFI Regional Meetings in Africa

The First Annual CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa took place in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2012. It was held under the distinguished patronage of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and jointly organized by the CYFI Secretariat, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Nigeria. Participants from 19 African countries participated in this groundbreaking event.

About the Child and Youth Finance Movement

CYFI is a non-profit organization that launched its global movement in April 2012. CYFI focuses on increasing financial inclusion and financial education for children and youth, so that every child can graduate from primary school with financial education and a savings account which they can own and operate. Its target is to reach 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015.

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AFRICAN LEADERS, POLICYMAKERS AND YOUTH ASSEMBLE, TO ‘RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCE

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2013

AFRICAN LEADERS, POLICYMAKERS AND YOUTH ASSEMBLE, TO ‘RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCE’ IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA ON SEPTEMBER 19-20 AT THE SECOND CHILD AND YOUTH FINANCE INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL MEETING FOR AFRICA

LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA – On 19-20 September the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will be held in Livingstone, Zambia. The meeting will gather some of Africa’s top leaders and policymakers in financial inclusion and economic citizenship education as well as youth representatives. The leaders are expected to address cutting-edge and high-impact financial inclusion and economic citizenship education strategies and initiatives as well as to get insights from young people from across the region, under the theme of the meeting: “Reshaping the Future of Finance”.

Children and youth in sub-Saharan Africa make up 47.30% of its population. However, only 16.8% of those between ages 15-25 hold accounts at formal financial institutions. Similarly, many children in the region lack access to financial education creating cyclical patterns of uninformed financial practices.
The Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will bring together some of Africa’s finest leaders of government institutions, international and regional bodies, academia and research, the IT sector, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to show their support for financial inclusion and economic citizenship education, and help the Child and Youth Finance movement’s progress. The meeting will have 165 participants from 22 countries. It is organized by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) and the Bank of Zambia, in collaboration with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) and CareersExpo Zambia.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Reshaping the Future of Finance’. In addition to the distinguished keynote speakers, action-oriented workshops and plenary sessions that will take place, a unique feature of the meeting will be the active participation of children and youth. Young people from across the continent will come to share their views on Child and Youth Finance issues and engage with delegates in panel sessions.

The event hashtag for the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa is #CYFIZambia .

Previous CYFI Regional Meetings in Africa

The First Annual CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa took place in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2012. It was held under the distinguished patronage of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and jointly organized by the CYFI Secretariat, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Nigeria. Participants from 19 African countries participated in this groundbreaking event.

About the Child and Youth Finance Movement

CYFI is a non-profit organization that launched its global movement in April 2012. CYFI focuses on increasing financial inclusion and financial education for children and youth, so that every child can graduate from primary school with financial education and a savings account which they can own and operate. Its target is to reach 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015.

 

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Nigeria’s preparedness tested – Lessons learned

Posted by African Press International on August 29, 2013

LAGOS,  – Heavy rains have unleashed floods in parts of Nigeria, testing the country’s emergency preparedness one year after its worst flooding in decades.

Some 35,000 people have been affected, most of them in five states, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The 2012 floods affected around 7 million people.

According to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), this year’s floods have displaced some 600 people and caused one fatality in the northern Kano State, and about 20 bodies were unearthed at a cemetery in the state’s Yan Kaba area. In Katsina State, also in the north, 55 farms were inundated by heavy rains.

NEMA spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye said early warning and rapid relocation of communities helped prevent greater loss of lives.

Forty communities in flood-prone areas in southeastern Benue State have been relocated by authorities, who have also urged people in other vulnerable areas to move. Farinloye said the Borno, Adamawa and Taraba states in the northeast were flashpoints.

“We have been able to contain any adverse humanitarian effects. All the affected states have been able to respond adequately. So far the response has been positive, but we cannot say we have a perfect system,” Farinloye told IRIN.

“The southern states, especially the coastal states, are at risk. We are not only looking at the states [predicted to experience flooding]. We are working on all the states, and all the areas that need [assistance] will be covered by NEMA,” he said.

The flooding has thus far been containable and has occurred only in localities that have seen similar flooding in the past.

More rains than 2012

This year’s flood-hit states are still recovering from last year’s flooding, which was Nigeria’s worst in more than 40 years.

The Nigerian meteorological department has predicted more rains this year than in 2012.

“Last year they [authorities] took us to a camp, but after the water subsided, they just let us go,” said Niger Delta University student Victor Losaride. “I’m worried about what will happen this year. If it [floods] again, I don’t know what will happen … I hope there won’t be flooding this year.”

Kabiru Usama Bakare, who lives in the northern Jos region, said he received little government assistance when he was displaced by the 2012 floods. He also says no flood preparations are being undertaken in his locality.

“I lost my wife and five children to the floods last year. I lost my entire family. I’m still trying to build my house all by myself,” he told IRIN. “We have not seen any work going here in anticipation of the flood. People are already moving out of the area so as not to be caught unawares.”

Lessons learned

The Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) said it had improved its emergency response with lessons learned from last year’s disaster. Spokesman Nwankpa O. Nwankpa told IRIN that NRC had trained 22,000 volunteers across the country and stocked warehouses with relief items.

“Most people who suffered in 2012 was because they did not know what to do during flooding. We have educated and trained them on what do to,” he said. “Everybody in Nigeria has better awareness of flooding than last year.”

Farinloye said NEMA has urged dam management officials to lower water levels early enough to minimize flooding risks.

“They shouldn’t wait until the level of the water has got to the level of [breaching the dams] before they release the water. We told them to release it on a gradual basis once it goes beyond the normal level,” he said.

Communities along the river banks have been relocated to higher ground, said Farinloye, explaining that flood-prone communities have been trained and provided with basic equipment to aid quick evacuation.

ni/ob/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

 

 

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Human rights groups insist that peace without justice is unsustainable and are urging Nigeria not to implement a blanket amnesty.

Posted by African Press International on July 16, 2013

DAKAR,  – As Nigeria attempts a ceasefire with militan t Islamist group Boko Haram (BH), analysts warn against a blanket amnesty and urge that an expanded International Criminal Court (ICC) probe include alleged abuses by the military.

The ceasefire is being negotiated by a government panel set up to develop an amnesty for BH, but details as to when the truce will be signed, whether all the BH factions have agreed to it, or if the amnesty has played a role in the planned ceasefire, remain sketchy.

Human rights groups insist that peace without justice is unsustainable and are urging Nigeria not to implement a blanket amnesty.

“War crimes, crimes against humanity, torture should not be subject to an amnesty. That is part of international law and part of ensuring a durable peace,” Elise Keppler, senior counsel in the international justice programme at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told IRIN. “There could be an amnesty for taking up arms or committing lesser abuses, but the key is that it doesn’t extend to the gravest crimes.”

Nigeria has forgiven rebels in the past – most notably in the Niger Delta where militants who surrendered arms were pardoned.

Last year the ICC, which opened preliminary investigations into the BH unrest in 2010, found that there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that the militia had committed crimes against humanity, citing widespread and systematic attacks that killed more than 1,200 Christian and Muslim civilians in Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe and Kano states in the north as well as Abuja, Kaduna and Plateau states in central Nigeria.

BH is accused of killing thousands across northern Nigeria since 2009. Militants have attacked churches, murdered civilians and carried out suicide bombings against security forces, newspapers, a UN office, markets and schools.

ICC urged to widen its scope

Analysts have urged the ICC to widen its scope to include the Nigerian security forces, which HRW and others accuse of killings, burning homes and ransacking towns including Baga, a remote community in the northeastern state of Borno.

“At the moment the ICC investigation is great for the Nigerian government as it’s just about BH,” said Kevin Jon Heller, associate professor and reader at Melbourne Law School.

“But the court is going to be essentially useless if it becomes the ICC for rebels. The biggest challenge for the court is how to investigate government officials and military officials that are associated with government when that government is still in power. I don’t think they have a very easy solution for that.”

Claus Molitor, a situation analyst with the Office of the Prosecutor, pointed out that the court has previously targeted top government officials including Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

“We follow the facts and we follow the law,” he said. “We base our decision on the legal requirements of the Rome Statute. It has nothing to do with policy. It has nothing to do with preferring rebels over government forces.”

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that BH did launch a systematic and widespread attack on civilians, but we can’t say the same for the state forces,” he added. “We’re not closing the door on anything at this stage. Should there be new information we will assess that.”

Mixed messages

Atta Barkindo, an expert on BH and researcher in political Islam, conflict and transitional justice in post-conflict societies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, however, believes that an amnesty could end the “continuous bloodletting and killing” and is important for reconciliation.

But he thinks the government of President Goodluck Jonathan has sent the rebels mixed messages. In April it offered an amnesty, then a month later declared emergency rule in the northern states and launched an air and ground campaign against BH.

“It’s like a war zone,” said Barkindo, who recently travelled to the region. “Soldiers are all over the place. There are checkpoints every 45 minutes and a curfew.”

Recent violence suggests that the military crackdown may not be working.

An attack in early July on a school in northeastern state of Yobe, one of the three under emergency rule, killed dozens of students. Some were reportedly burned alive and others shot. It is not yet clear who is responsible for the attack, but BH has previously targeted schools in the region.

SOAS researcher in conflict and identity in northern Nigeria Bala Mohammed Liman says determining exactly which crimes BH may have committed is difficult as its members are hard to identify.

“They are a shadowy group and apart from (leader) Abubakar Shekau no one is sure who the other members are,” he said. “Every act of criminality in the north is attached to BH, and the security forces are so inept that they haven’t been able to figure out who committed some of these crimes. So in the end everything that happens is said to be BH.”

ICC assessing judiciary

The ICC is now assessing whether the Nigerian government is investigating and prosecuting those who committed the most serious crimes. Under ICC rules, it can only intervene when the domestic authorities are unable or unwilling to prosecute.

Four members of BH were recently sentenced to life imprisonment for the bombings of an electoral commission office and a church.

ICC’s Molitor said that as part of its preliminary examination the court is monitoring the national proceedings. This includes speaking to people who monitor BH trials to determine fairness and whether the rights of the defendants are being respected.

“We haven’t come to any conclusions as yet,” he said, adding that Nigeria is cooperating with the ICC and that a team from the prosecutor’s office may visit this year to follow up on previous missions to Abuja.

Nigeria capable of prosecuting BH crimes, say some

Melbourne Law School’s Heller, however, said Nigeria was capable of prosecuting alleged BH crimes.

“Nothing is preventing Nigeria from prosecuting members of BH other than their inability to get their hands on them,” he said. “Nigeria has a functioning judicial system and has every interest in capturing and prosecuting high-level members of BH so why should the ICC waste its precious resources on prosecutions that the government is perfectly willing to do?”

SOAS’s Barkindo believes that Nigeria should take the lead on BH prosecutions to end the culture of impunity. “Nigeria needs to prove to its citizens that you cannot do these things and go free,” he said.

He also argued that neither amnesties nor prosecutions will work if the government does not address the fundamental problems in the north that give rise to militancy.

“If you don’t deal with these structural problems you will leave it open to another group coming up,” said Barkindo. “The government must address the issues of poverty, unemployment and particularly the issue of education. A lot of young people remain illiterate in northern Nigeria compared to the south.”

lc/ob/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

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Pre-Trial Chamber II requests Nigeria to immediately arrest Omar Al Bashir

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2013

Situation: Darfur, Sudan

Case: The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir

On 15 July 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, on visit to Abuja (Nigeria) and to surrender him to the ICC. Omar Al Bashir faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, allegedly committed in Darfur (Sudan).

The Chamber recalled that Nigeria is a State party to the Rome Statute since= 2001, and has the obligation to execute the Court’s orders. The Chamber also noted that the situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by resolution 1= 593 of the United Nations Security Council and that, according to article 87 (7) of the Rome Statute, “[w]here a State Party fails to comply with a request to cooperate by the Court contrary to the provisions of this Statute [… ] the Court may make a finding to that effect and refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties or, where the Security Council referred the matter to the Court, to the Security Council”.

The Chamber instructed the ICC Registrar to immediately transmit the decision to the Nigerian authorities, and to prepare a report to the Chamber concer= ning Omar Al Bashir’s visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Background

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir is alleged to have committed five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape), two counts of war crimes (intentionally directing attacks agains= t a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities, and pillaging), and three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. Two warrants of arrest ha= ve been issued in this case. The suspect remains at large.

The ICC has informed the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of= States Parties to the Rome Statute of Mr Al Bashir’s visits to Djibouti, Ch= ad and Kenya, as well as of the non-cooperation of Malawi and Chad in arresting Mr Al Bashir. It is for the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to take any measure they may deem appropriate to ensure the full cooperation with the ICC.

 

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source ICC

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JSO INTERVIEW, with PIUS NYAMORA, PART 1 and 2: Kenyan man’s spirited struggle for democracy and freedom of speech

Posted by African Press International on June 28, 2013

A JSO interview with Pius Nyamora, a Kenyan journalist who, with the help of the US embassy in Kenya, managed to escape from Kenya to the United States during the time Kenyans were struggling for democracy and freedom of speech.

Part 1:

Part 2:

This is a touching story of a man who had it all, lost it all and recovered – but had to live far away from his home country Kenya.

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Nigeria: Displaced Fulani families in Birnin Gwari district due to bandit attacks

Posted by African Press International on June 19, 2013

Displaced Fulani families take shelter in a school in Kaduna‘s Birnin Gwari district

KANO,  – Incessant deadly attacks on Fulani settlements and villages in northern Nigeria by armed bandits – made up partly of disgruntled Fulani who themselves have lost cattle – are threatening herds and upping tensions in northern Nigeria.

Gangs of heavily armed bandits prowl the vast Dajin Rugu forest which spans several hundred square kilometres across Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states and Niger State in central Nigeria, according to Fulani leaders.

In February 2012 alone, over 23,000 Fulani herders poured into Cameroon from Nigeria’s northeastern state of Taraba, following deadly clashes with farming communities, according to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), an umbrella association of Fulani herders. The gangs steal herds, loot and burn homes, and assault women in the attacks, according to Fulani leaders.

Many of the armed bandits are Fulanis who have joined gangs involved in cross-border armed robbery and cattle-rustling in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Senegal and Mali.

“Twenty years of conflict has bred criminals among the Fulani who have lost their cattle. All they know is herding, and without cattle, life is devoid of meaning,” said Saleh Bayeri, national secretary of MACBAN. “So they turn to highway robbery and raiding the herds of their kinsmen whom they begrudge for not coming to their aid in their predicament.”

“Ugly trend”

Thousands of herders in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State have fled their homes since 8 June 2013 following raids by cattle rustlers over May and June that killed at least 16 people, according to officials and local vigilantes. On 13 June armed bandits launched a pre-dawn raid on Kwasa-Kwasa village in Birnin Gwari District of Kaduna State, killing five people, including two soldiers and three local vigilantes guarding the village against possible attacks, Adamu Sarkin-Noma, head of a vigilante group in the village, told IRIN.

“This ugly trend is compounding the dilemma of the Fulani herders who are caught in a vicious cycle of conflict, with farmers over-grazing land that has forced thousands of nomads to flee into neighbouring Cameroon, along with their cattle,” Bayeri said.

The level of violence – both between these gangs and between Fulani nomads and farmers – has been stepped up over recent years as guns proliferate.

Timeline of recent raids
13 June 2013: Bandits raid Kwasa-Kwasa village in Birnin Gwari District of Kaduna State, killing five people, including two soldiers and three local vigilantes, Adamu Sarkin-Noma, head of a vigilante group in the village, told IRIN.
8 June 2013: Bandits attack three villages in Birnin Gwari District, Kaduna State, killing seven residents and carting away over 300 cattle , according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The attacks displaced 3,000 residents who are now sheltering in a primary school, NEMA’s northwest Nigeria spokesperson, Musa Illallah, told IRIN.
19 May 2013: Around 2,000 residents of six nomadic villages in Faskari District, Katsina State, abandoned their homes after raids by gunmen in which four people were killed and scores of cattle were stolen in the latest of a series of raids by cattle rustlers, according to Shehu Hammayidi, a community leader from Unguwar Tsamiya, a nomadic village in Katsina State.
5 January 2013: Thirty gunmen on motorcycles gunned down seven people in raids on Makera and Usi villages in Birnin-Magaji District, Zamfara State, in retaliation for killings of their gang members, according to government officials.
12 June 2012: Scores of motorcycle-riding bandits shot dead 23 residents of Dangulbi village in Dansadau District, Zamfara State, in an early morning raid which the authorities described as a reprisal killing for the deaths of suspected bandits by the village’s vigilante group.
14 October 2012: Following the killing of 20 people in an attack on Dogon Dawa village in Birnin Gwari District by bandits (in retaliation for killings of suspected bandits by local vigilantes), the Kaduna State government deployed a military battalion to seek out bandits hiding in the forest.

Some of the gangs have sponsors who supply them with arms in return for a share of the spoils, Ali Kwara, a local hunter in northern Nigeria involved in combating armed robbery and cattle rustling, told IRIN. Weapons are readily available on the black market in northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram (BH) leader Abubakar Shekau has, in several video messages, made reference to the ethno-religious killings in Plateau State, including the attacks on Fulani nomads, and has threatened to avenge the killings of Muslims in the region. Although BH has carried out bombings on churches and some Christian neighbourhoods in Jos (Plateau’s capital), none was linked to the nomads-farmers conflict.

However, BH claimed rersponsibility for the 8 July 2012 attack on a funeral of some 50 Christians killed in reprisal attacks by suspected Fulani nomads the day before in Gashis District, Plateau State. Many people, including the Nigerian government dismissed BH claims as cheap propaganda.

Vigilante gangs

Villagers in the affected areas, particularly Zamfara and Kaduna states, have formed vigilante gangs to combat the bandits. Kwara runs a vigilante outfit that hunts down bandits across the north alongside the police. “Looking at the sophisticated guns the Fulani bandits are using in their operations it is clear they have sponsors and some of them are among the elite in society, including MACBAN,” he told IRIN.

According to Kwara, much of the cattle rustling is controlled and funded by a cartel including chiefs, politicians and lawyers who can provide legal aid to the bandits in court when arrested.

Bayeri agrees with Kwara. “It is a fact that in some areas Fulani leaders are complicit. This is why we want to be involved in the government effort at combating this menace by exposing them.”

Kwara also accused police of supplying weapons to the bandits in return for money. “On many occasions armed robbers we arrested mentioned the names of their arms suppliers, including policemen who we reported to the police authorities.”

But some of the vigilante groups have also been accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings of suspected bandits, which in turn, lead to reprisal killings.

Call for joint military, police unit

More coordinated efforts by the local authorities and security forces is needed to try to temper the violence, said Kaduna State information commissioner Saidu Adamu. “A military battalion is grossly inadequate to patrol the vast forest. We are in touch with Zamfara, Katsina and Niger state governments to forge a common front in dealing with this security threat,” he told IRIN.

Shehu Hammayidi, a community leader from Unguwar Tsamiya, a village in Faskari District, Katsina State, urged the Nigerian government to establish a special joint military and police unit on cattle rustling as an effective approach to quelling the violence.

But any efforts that do not involve MACBAN will not work, warned Bayeri, saying that only it can mobilize community surveillance to track bandits on the scale needed.

“These criminals are a transnational syndicate of renegade Fulani nomads who know the forest very well, and no amount of military deployment can check their activities without the involvement of MACBAN,” he said.

MACBAN knows who some of the criminals are and is willing to expose them, he said, but has been rebuffed by local authorities whom, he says, mistakenly blame all of MACBAN for being complicit in the violence.

aa/aj/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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