Why We Held Town Hall Meeting On National Security - Lai Mohammed - IReporteronline
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Why We Held Town Hall Meeting On National Security – Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the recent town hall meeting on national security in Kaduna was to address the nation’s security challenges and the call for secession.

Mohammed said this while fielding questions at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship interview programme, NANForum, in Abuja.

NAN recalls that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Information had on April 8 convened the town hall meeting on national security.

Mohammed said apart from the security challenges being experienced in the country, the call for secession had become more pronounced and there was the need to take drastic measures to address it.

He also said the town hall meeting was aimed at building elite consensus on the indispensability of the unity of the country, its security and peaceful coexistence.

“Nigeria is facing security challenges, we have been battling with Boko Haram for 10 years, we have been battling with herdsmen-farmers clashes for about six years.

“We have also been handling the issue of banditry, cultism and the likes but why we became concerned and felt we had to organise a town hall meeting was as a result of these security challenges.

” The call for secession became more and more pronounced, at that point in time, we felt it was necessary to have a town hall meeting and see if we can build an elite consensus on the indispensability of the unity, security and the peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.

“When Nigeria has been on this kind of crossroad, we have always tried to get elite consensus to agree on the unity of Nigeria, agree on its security and agree on the need for all of us to live together peacefully,” he said.

The minister noted that though the last town hall meeting was the 18th his ministry had held since he came on board the Kaduna forum on national security was unique.

He said the meeting was well attended by people from all walks of life with panellists drawn from the academia, private sector and civil society.

The minister added that the town hall meeting, which was robust, gave government the opportunity to hear from the other side of the society.

“Another unique thing is the colour of the attendees in attendance; not just eight ministers, there were governors of Kaduna State and his deputy and governors of  Zamfara and Ekiti sent representatives.

“We had representatives of Miyyeti Allah, we had representatives of PANDEF, security chiefs were there, traditional rulers, bishops and Imams.

“We also had women organisations and all major stakeholders that you will expect when discussing the issue of security and national unity,” he said.

Mohammed said it was made clear from the beginning that the town hall meeting would not be a talk shop.

He stated that all discussants were tasked to come up with implementable resolutions, adding that stakeholders did not only highlight security challenges but also proffered solutions.

NAN recalls that the discussants at the event included Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, Prof. Saka Nuru, Ibukun Awosika, Prof. Chudi Uwazuruike and Prof. Kokunre Eghafona. (NAN)

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JUST IN: 15 Die In Niger Boat Mishap

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At least, 15 people have died in a boat mishap in Tijana, Munya Local Government Area of Niger State while several others are still missing.

The boat mishap occurred at about 6:00 pm on Saturday when the villagers were returning from a local market in Zumba, Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

The Sarkin Kasuwan (Head of the Market) of Zumba, Mallam Adamu Ahmed, who confirmed the incident to Daily Trust, said the local boat was carrying over 60 people, including women and children when it capsized due to a heavy windstorm.

Among the victims were some returnees who had earlier fled their homes with their children due to bandits’ attacks.

Ahmed said 17 people have been rescued alive through the efforts of local divers who swung into action immediately after the incident was reported.

The local divers had defied the heavy downpour to continue their rescue operation as at the time of filing this reports as no help yet from the government.

It could be recalled that a similar boat mishap in the area claimed 13 lives in 2017 when a boat carrying 30 people capsized midway into their journey to the same Zumba market.

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BREAKING: Abducted ABSU Student Regains Freedom

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The only student of Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu, still left in the custody of a criminal gang, which abducted some persons while journeying along the Okigwe-Uturu Road, has been released.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu made this known this evening via his official Twitter handle@GovernorIkpeazu.

Governor Ikpeazu, who thanked God, security agencies and the management of ABSU for the release of the abducted student, expressed joy at the development and vowed that he will surely take justice to those involved in the kidnap and will not share the State with criminal elements.

His full tweet reads:

“It is with exceedingly great joy and a very pleasant sense of relief that I announce that the only kidnapped ABSU student who was still in the custody of the hoodlums that abducted some people a few days ago along the Okigwe-Uturu Road has been freed. I spoke with her and …her mother minutes ago and want to thank God, our security agents and the management of ABSU for a job well done leading to this good news.

“Our administration has since taken measures to strengthen the security around the area where the incident happened and even beyond it ensure the security of lives and property which remains my number one assignment as Governor and it is one duty I will never take lightly. We will surely take justice to those who abducted our student as we will not cohabit this state with criminals”.

DAILY POST gathered that the yet-to-be-confirmed number of students were kidnapped while transiting on a bus on Okigwe-Uturu Road.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the Abia State University, Professor O. M Ogbulu confirmed that two of the students escaped from the hoodlums while one student was still being held by them.

Addressing journalists in a press conference held in Umuahia, on Friday, Vice-Chancellor had assured that the school authority was working assiduously with security agencies to ensure the release of the students and prosecution of the culprits.

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Kogi Miyetti Allah Chairman Damina Regains Freedom

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The Chairman of the Kogi Chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Wakili Damina, who was allegedly kidnapped on Tuesday, has been released.

The state Secretary of the association, Mr Adamu Abubakar told newsmen in Lokoja on Saturday that Damina was released in Abuja late night of May 7.

Adamu said from Damina’s account, he was released by men suspected to be from one of the security agencies and not kidnappers as earlier suspected.

He said that Damina arrived at his Chikara home in the Kogi Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Saturday to reunite with his family.

Adamu had announced to newsmen in Lokoja on May 4, that Damina was taken away from his house by eight men dressed in military camouflage.

He said that the men forcefully took him away in a white bus.

He also said that all efforts to get across to him proved abortive as his telephone lines were switched off.

However, the secretary, said that the national body of the association had taken the matter up to ascertain why Damina whisked away in such a manner.

He also said that the group had instructed a lawyer to take the matter up.

Adamu then expressed the gratitude of the association to the state government, police, media and members of the public for their support and concern during the period.

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