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Buhari Should Listen, Bandits Don’t Kill Along Party Lines- Saraki

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Former Senate President Bukola Saraki has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the advice of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and other concerned Nigerians as the solution to the crisis does not come from only one source.

Mr Saraki spoke at a world press conference of the major opposition party in Abuja on Monday as he made it known that the bandits do not kill among party lines as they kill those they know to be in the opposition.

He made the submission that the opposition PDP would continue to put pressure through constitutional means in telling the government what they need to do right for the nation to get back on its winning ways.

In his words: “When we talk about security, it’s not about political party. It affects all Nigerians, People who are losing their lives, I am sure some of them do not belong to any political party. We will not get tired because when we see changes in the world, it has come through constitutional means, It might look like a long journey, but eventually, the truth will prevail, and the right thing will be done.”

“So, that responsibility of government is to all of us as Nigerians, and we are speaking on behalf of all Nigerians that the right thing needs to be done. We will continue to do that through conscious constitutionally agreed procedures.” he added.

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Reports That Freed Afaka Students Were Sexually Molested By Bandits False, Irresponsible —Parents

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Parents of the abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in Kaduna State recently released by their kidnappers have debunked reports that they were sexually molested while in captivity.

The parents described the reports as a fabrication that is unfortunate and irresponsible.

The reports had claimed that the students were sexually molested and that some of male victims were sodomised and disfigured by the bandits while in their captivity.

According to the reports, one of the parents gave the information on condition of anonymity.

However, a statement made available on Sunday and signed by the Chairman of the parents’ forum, Abdullahi Usman, said a bandit who only expressed an intention to do something like that, paid dearly for it with his life.

The statement was titled, ‘Re: Revealed: 27 Afaka Students were Sexually, Homosexually molested by bandits.’

The statement said, “While we were basking in the joy of having reunited with our precious children, who were released unharmed after 56 gruesome days in captivity, our attention was drawn to a May 11th, 2021 error-ridden online publication by Reuben Abati and some online media, including Daily Times to the effect that an unidentified parent of one of the 27 students released on May 5th, speaking on the condition of anonymity, had disclosed that the students, both male and female, ‘were sexually, homosexually molested by the bandits’ while in captivity. Other online media outlets (not SaharaReporters) also published the self-same report.

“On behalf of the parents of the Forum of the 37 abducted students (now released), we wish to set the records straight and hope that this will end the circulation of the fabrication which the story is. We state in unequivocal terms that none of the 37 kidnapped (now freed) Afaka students was sexually or homosexually molested by the bandits. In fact, by divine providence, according to the testimony of all the released students, one bandit lost his life on the mere mention of the desire to sexually molest a student.

“To be sure, the students confessed that ‘He did’t even actually attempt it; he was just saying it, and yet he was killed and we were asked to take his corpse and deposit it in a nearby bush because they said he was not worthy of a proper burial.’

“As parents of the released students, our primary focus now is the rehabilitation of our treasures whom God has brought back to us alive and miraculously unharmed. Distractions such as occasioned by this false report, purportedly a revelation by an anonymous parent, is unfortunate and irresponsible and should be retracted as it does nothing but aggravate the trauma we and our released children are working hard to overcome.

“We wish to call on Nigerians, who stood by us from the time our children were abducted to the date the last 27 were released, to disregard the story and continue to pray for us as we continue with the rehabilitation of our children so that they may get back to normal life again very soon.”

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Gunmen Attack Police Station In Delta, Kill Three Officers, Suspect

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Gunmen have attacked the Nsukwa Divisional Police Station in the Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta state, killing three officers and a suspect.

It was gathered that the incident which occurred around 2am on Sunday sent the people of the area into panic as gunshots rented the air for hours, forcing the residents to stay awake throughout the night.

It was learnt that the building and vehicles parked in the station were razed while the gunmen carted away their ammunition.

Some of the suspects detained at the station were also said to have been freed by the hoodlums.

Calls put across to the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Bright Edafe, were not answered nor returned.

There has been a spate of attacks on security agencies in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of the country in recent times, which has compounded the security challenges in the two regions.

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Firm Action Need To Reverse Massive Attacks On Jobs In Kaduna – Femi Falana

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Falana

The Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and beyond (ASCAB), Femi Falana, has reacted to the planned strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), saying a firm action is needed to reverse the massive attacks on jobs in Kaduna State.

NLC had vowed to down tool on Monday to press home its demand to the general public, especially the Kaduna State Government which disengaged some civil servants.

In April, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai announced his intention to sack some workers in the state, citing fiscal reasons.

But Falana, who is also a human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), backed NLC’s decision to embark on a five-day strike.

He also called on well-meaning Nigerians to provide support for the industrial action, which he described as essential.

“Firm action is needed to reverse the massive attacks on jobs and poverty-induced insecurity in Kaduna State,” he said via a statement issued on Sunday.

“Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and beyond (ASCAB) fully supports the call from the NLC for a five-day strike across Kaduna State in the week beginning 17th May. We call on all our affiliates and supporters to provide support for this essential strike.”

Read the full statement issued by Falana below:

Solidarity and Unity Against Retrenchments in Kaduna State

Alliance On Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond (ASCAB) fully supports the call from the NLC for a five-day strike across Kaduna State in the week beginning 17th May. We call on all our affiliates and supporters to provide support for this essential strike. Firm action is needed to reverse the massive attacks on jobs and poverty-induced insecurity in Kaduna State.

The economy of Kaduna was traditionally built around textile factories and the public sector. In the decade before the current Governor came to power, the last four major textile factories were closed with many of the workers not receiving any terminal benefits (despite two of the factories being mainly owned by the Governments of the Northern states). Rather than seeking to address this economic decline, Governor Rufai has retrenched perhaps 60,000 public sector workers and many have not received their due payments.

Kaduna State is now a dangerous state in Nigeria to live, work or visit in terms of the regularity of bloodshed, kidnappings and killings by bandits and ethnoreligious inspired violence. The level of insecurity in Kaduna State today is a function of unprecedented, cruel anti-workers policy of the Kaduna State Government including repeated mass layoffs. The uncontrolled insecurity is therefore the ’harvest’ or product of the State’s anti-labour policies.

The downward spiral of lay-offs and increased insecurity

In 2016, over 13,000 workers considered to be ghost workers, were dismissed. The following year another 40,000 public sector workers were retrenched. Around half of these were teachers. The state arbitrarily pegged the pass mark for their competency test at an unprecedented 75 percent. Many of these teachers did not receive any redundancy money.

From April of this year, the State Government has been dismissing perhaps as many as another 17,000 workers. This includes 6,000 local government and primary health care workers who have all received their marching orders. The remaining 11,000 workers from the state ministries have been listed for dismissal on account of having spent 30 years and above in service and/or being on level 14 and above.

Pensioners who have earned pensions for between 5 and 10 years and have ‘refused to die’ are no longer to be paid. The State Government maintains that their children should take care of them. The Governor claims that these policies are necessary due to declining revenues, but this is far from the truth.

The State has plenty of money – ‘borrows’ from workers. Kaduna State Government has significantly increased its internally generated revenue (IGR) over the last five years. IGR has increased by about 16% a year in real terms (after taking into account inflation). So IGR is now about half the total income of the state despite the fact that the monthly FAAC allocations are now increasing again as crude oil prices have recovered from the Covid-19 dip.

In fact actual spending on wages and salaries in 2019 (the last available audited accounts) was about a third the level that was spent on capital. In addition, the monies owed in salaries, pensions etc grew massively in 2019. At the end of the year, 40% of the state debt was borrowed from workers’ wages. Similarly, N132 bn of the N152 bn capital spent by the state during 2019 was borrowed from wages! That is nearly 90% of capital spending by the state was financed from unpaid salaries, pensions etc. The State may be borrowing from China, the World Bank etc to fund urban renewal, but the state is also illegally ‘borrowing’ from its workers to fund almost all of its capital expenditure. They are then rewarded with repeated waves of retrenchments. The mass retrenchments and ‘borrowings’ from wages have almost certainly had a detrimental effect on security in the state. It cannot be a coincidence that the state with the highest level of sackings also has one of the worst insecurity records. Loss of income and livelihoods makes people desperate. Several reports previously demonstrated the direct link between loss of textile employment and a rise in criminality and drug-taking.

A modern state needs satisfied workers. A modern state can only be built by a well-motivated workforce. Decent health and education services can only be provided by nurses and teachers who have confidence in the Government, know they will be paid at the end of the month, are not living in

fear of losing their jobs and believe that they will receive their pensions when due as they retire. Governor El-Rufai seems to have fully accepted the ethos of Neoliberalism. The State Government believes the rich and business people have to be handsomely rewarded and incentivised to ‘invest’ in the state. In contrast, the workers have to be paid the lowest possible salaries, beaten into submission and periodically terrorised by mass sackings.

ASCAB supports the strike action to stop retrenchments. ASCAB believes that the strike action is necessary to force Governor El-Rufai to stop his policy of retrenchments and job losses. We welcome the work that the trade unions have undertaken to embark on the strike action. We call on all trade unionists in Kaduna to ensure the success of the strike actions. ASCAB calls on all our supporters, all trade unions and unionists across Nigeria to support the strike action in Kaduna State. We contend that halting job losses would be a major contribution to reducing insecurity across the state.

Support the strike in Kaduna from 17th May!

Say no to retrenchments!!

Retrenchments breed insecurity!!!

Femi Falana, SAN

Interim National Chair, ASCAB.

16/5/2021

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