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Niger Republic troops kill scores of ISWAP, lose two soldiers 

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Niger Republic troops kill scores of ISWAP, lose two soldiers 

By: Zagazola Makama

The Niger Defense Military has killed scores of ISWAP terrorists in an encounter near Abadam Faransa along the River Komadugu in Lake Chad.

It was gathered that the troops recorded the feat on Friday, 2023, intercepting the terrorists that had been causing havoc within its territory.

Intelligence sources told Zagazola Makama that the encounter triggered a heavy gunbattle, leading to the killing scores of the terrorists, with around 100 fleeing to the tumbums.

The troops chased the terrorists towards the Tumbun Jaki and Tumbun Rago areas of Lake Chad. No further details were reported.

The troops lost two soldiers, while five others were wounded in action.

Meanwhile, the troops of the 68th Battalion launched heavy artillery fire throughout the night to prevent the infiltration of the terrorists into Nigeria.

Niger Republic troops kill scores of ISWAP, lose two soldiers 

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Capital Punishment to Drug Offenders May Not Reduce Level of Crime, UNODC Warns

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Capital Punishment to Drug Offenders May Not Reduce Level of Crime, UNODC Warns

By: Michael Mike

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that the move by the Nigeria’s Senate to give capital punishment to drug trafficking offenders may add little or nothing to reducing the crime.

Country Representative, UNODC, Oliver Stolpe, gave the verdict at a two-day Media Personnel Training on Ant-Corruption, Police Accountability, Wildlife Crime and Sensitization on Drugs Prevention, Treatment and Care, (DPTC), organized by the UNODC, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other partners, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said: “The deterrent effect of death penalty as never convincingly be proven. There is no proof of the effectiveness of death penalty.

“Our stance as UN is clear on the death penalty we are principally and categorically against it. And from a very practical viewpoint, I have to say, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Stolpe insisted that the UN has always advocated for clear distinction between crimes of drug trafficking as opposed to the issue of drug use which it considers primarily to be a health issue,”and that should be dealt with as such. addiction is a health condition, it is not a choice.”

On the need for an updated drug data for Nigerians, he observed that the current national drug survey for Nigeria was last done six years ago, (2018), and therefore does not reflect the current situation for Nigeria.

He noted that: “The drug use survey of 2018 remains as far as I can tell the most cited study in the media, this data is outdated and I think a very critical question that media could ask at that point is really well, how can we still refer to 2018 data to describe today’s levels of drug use?

Speaking on the importance of the training,, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Brigadier General Buba Marwa, (Retired), said the media remains an indispensable partner in Nigeria’s drug war .

Represented by the Secretary NDLEA, Shedrach Haruna, he said “For us in NDLEA, the media is a valued partner on whom we rely to foster a friendly ecosystem that aids anti-illicit drug abuse and trafficking in society.

“This is well-thought training for media professionals, given that the media is a crucial link between the public and law enforcement and a potent tool for the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in the law enforcement process.”

Capital Punishment to Drug Offenders May Not Reduce Level of Crime, UNODC Warns

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West African Traditional, Faith Leaders, Others Gather in Abuja Against SGBV

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West African Traditional, Faith Leaders, Others Gather in Abuja Against SGBV

By: Michael Mike

Traditional and faith leaders from across West Africa, government officials, and representatives from international organisations have gathered in Abuja for the inaugural Annual High-Level GBV Prevention Summit.

In Africa, many instances of GBV are justified under culture and tradition. Harmful gender norms and practices rooted in traditional customs and religious misconceptions perpetuate violence against women and girls.

It is believed that the authority and platforms of traditional and religious leaders can be instrumental in addressing the root causes of GBV, such as patriarchy and gender stereotypes, by mobilizing communities towards change. Recognizing this, UN Women, with support from the Ford Foundation, organized a GBV prevention summit to take stock of achievements made by leaders in their respective jurisdictions and facilitate a space for sharing critical and inspiring insights.

In her opening remarks, the UN Women Representative to Nigeria & ECOWAS, Ms. Beatrice Eyong expressed her profound appreciation to the Ford Foundation for their unwavering partnership on the Traditional and Cultural Leaders for Ending GBV by Advancing Advocacy, Policy, and Social Norms Change in Nigeria and West Africa (LEAP) program.

She noted that this initiative acknowledges the critical role of traditional and religious leaders in challenging harmful social norms perpetuating GBV, particularly violence against women and girls.

She emphasized the importance of challenging societal norms that condone violence, noting Africa’s rich cultural heritage while acknowledging the imperative to confront practices that deny human rights and dignity. Ms. Eyong also highlighted the pervasive nature of GBV, stating that “GBV is not just against our women and girls, it’s against our economic growth, stability, and our emergence to become a continent that has all it takes to be great and prosperous.”

Also speaking at the event was His eminence, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic affairs beckoned the traditional and religious rulers to work hand in hand to end all harmful practices against women and girls, adding that: “We are 100% behind you in this fight.”

Echoing his commitment, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni Of Ife, urged the traditional rulers to ensure that the outcomes of the summit are implemented in their various communities.

Ford Foundation President, Mr. Darren Walker, who was also present at the summit, expressed the need to continue investing in the prevention of GBV to create a more equitable society for women and girls in Nigeria. Mr. Walker was also decorated as a He4She for his commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria and West Africa.

Despite some progress, disparities persist, with West Africa grappling with high rates of child marriage and female genital mutilation. There is therefore a need for radical shifts in mindsets to end violence against women and girls, which can be achieved through dialogue and knowledge sharing among distinguished leaders from Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana.

The summit marks a critical moment in the ongoing efforts to combat GBV in Nigeria and across West Africa. It builds upon the momentum generated by initiatives like the Spotlight Initiative and the LEAP project, focusing on enhancing traditional leaders’ skills and partnerships to prevent and shift harmful social norms and practices.

West African Traditional, Faith Leaders, Others Gather in Abuja Against SGBV

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Borno: From ashes of insecurity to agric revolution

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Borno: From ashes of insecurity to agric revolution

By Hamza Suleiman

Prior to the Boko Haram insurgency Borno was one of the most agriculturally advanced states in Nigeria with more than two-third of its population engaged in cereal crops, livestock, fishery, and poultry production.

This contributed significantly to Nigeria’s food supply chain, making it a crucial player in feeding the country’s vast population.

However, the insurgency had a devastating impact on agriculture, similar to its effects on the economy and social sectors and residents took refuge in other parts of the country.

The damage was monumental, leading to malnutrition in children and breastfeeding mothers, as well as hunger and starvation among the population, ultimately culminating in a humanitarian crisis in the entire North-East region.

The aftermath of the devastation was estimated to be in the billions of dollars, leaving a significant portion of the population without livelihoods and dependent on food aid from the government and humanitarian organizations.

In 2019, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum assumed office as the elected governor of Borno State, inheriting one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world at the time, with approximately 2.5 million displaced persons.

These individuals, who previously engaged in rain-fed and irrigation activities, cultivating thousands of hectares of arable land across the state’s 20 local government areas, also lost their livelihoods as fishermen and animal breeders.

This significantly reduced the state’s food production capacity to almost zero.
As a result, citizens faced hunger and starvation, and the supply of well-bred animals, dried fish, and other fishery products to markets across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon Republics was severely impacted.

Notably, the Federal Government established the Lake Chad Basin Development Commission (LCBDC).
This was in recognition of Borno’s significant contribution to agriculture. There was also the establishment of Lake Chad Basin Research Institute in Maiduguri, to enhance studies and innovations in various fields of agriculture.

Zulum also built on the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement program initiated by his predecessor, Vice-President Kashim Shettima. This programme prioritised agriculture, which received significant attention.

During the launch of the Renewed Hope Initiative Women Agricultural Support Programme (RHI-WASP), Zulum emphasised the importance of agriculture in Borno’s development.

“Our government has made agriculture a top priority, and we are committed to mobilizing resources to boost its growth.
“To achieve this, we have procured essential agricultural machinery and inputs like tractors, chemicals, and fertilisers.

`This will significantly enhance our farmers’ productivity. Our goal is to support our farmers in every way possible to increase their agricultural output and promote food security.

He said, “We must shift our focus from short-term humanitarian support to medium and long-term sustainable solutions, and that is agriculture”, Zulum said.

RHI-WASP is the initiative of the wife of the President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, designed to encourage women to engage in agricultural activities and contribute to the food sufficiency agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Zulum’s administration has empowered 120 women farmers from the North-East region with N500,000 each, and 100 persons with disabilities from Borno with N100,000 each, to support their agricultural endeavors’’, the document said.
The Borno government recognises the importance of logistics support to farmers hence it has taken to meet some of their challenges.

For instance it procured one million liters of petrol which was distributed at a subsidized rate to farmers across the state and distributed 20,000 bags of fertilisers to them.

The government also provided 1,000 solar-powered water pumps and 5,000 water pump machines to farmers in the three senatorial districts.

Among others, the state government established modern, innovative and climate-smart irrigation schemes at Bokkoiri in Konduga; Kulunnam in Magumeri, Jaffi in Kwaya Kusar, Mafa in Mafa, Bulabulin, Shuwari and Gajibo in Dikwa and Logomane in Ngala LGA, respectively.

Similarly, the Zulum administration is investing hugely in drip irrigation to accelerate cash crop production such as maize, cassava and sesame seeds, even as it has inaugurated a 20-hectare sesame plantation at Koiri pilot drip irrigation scheme.

“Let’s carefully put things in order. Borno State will start exporting sesame and other cash crops in the near future.
“We will subsequently change focus and invest our resources in irrigation farming or, rather, food production.

I assure you that we will provide the political will needed to achieve food sufficiency.

“We need to expand our scope; we should identify bigger lands, we can expand with another 100 hectares each in Borno Central, South and North Senatorial Districts.

“My predecessor has procured about 10,000 hectares of drip irrigation kits. After this year’s rainy season, we hope the state will be able to cultivate at least 1,000 hectares”, Zulum said.

The Zulum administration recorded significant success in enhancing extension and farmers support services as it distributed improved variety seeds, fertilisers, chemical and knapsack sprayers to 3,000 rice farmers at Ngala and Gwoza.

It also provided 250 water pumps, 250 tubewells, assorted seeds, and agrochemicals to 1,000 Dry season farmers in Baga resettled community, while 1,000 tubewells and 1,000 water pumps were distributed to rice growers at Damasak in Mobbar LGA.

Farmers in Tarmuwa-Banki also received 50 units of water pumps with accessories, 50 tubewells, seeds, fertiliser, and chemicals to dry season farmers.’’, among other initiatives.

The efforts of the administration have not gone unnoticed by experts and other stakeholders in the sector.

Executive Secretary of National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne urged all stakeholders to emulate Zulum in his agriculture sector revolution.

He spoke at the inauguration of projects executed by NALDA in Jere Local Government Area of Borno.
“I want to call on all stakeholders to quickly key into this agricultural revolution of Mr President (Bola Tinubu) by adopting the method of Borno State, the method of unconditional land donation and method of total commitment.

“I thank you, Mr governor, for your support for agriculture, your support for the development of Borno…NALDA will continue to partner Borno because Borno has the potential to develop food production and achieve food security in Nigeria’’, Ikonne said.
A social media influencer, Abudulla Ayofe, has also commended Zulum over his steps to transform the agric sector in Borno.

“Governor Zulum’s administration is turning desert into green fields in a bid to push the modern agriculture revolution in Borno State’’, he said in one of his verified social media posts.

Gaji Ngari, a grain farmer in Dille village in Askira/Uba Local Government Area, said Zulum had not only transformed farming but also the lives of farmers.
“The government has done a lot for us, particularly given our recent history; gradually, we are picking ourselves up’’, he said.

Agric experts say in spite of the achievements, more still needs to be done to position Borno in a position to reach its agric potential.

They say the state government should further explore technology in providing logistics for farmers. They say such tools can be used to predict weather and latest agriculture inputs.

They also call for strengthened security in the state, particularly around farmlands, which are still vulnerable to sporadic security breaches, as well as provide financial security for farmers through soft loans.

Hamza Suleiman is a Senior Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Borno: From ashes of insecurity to agric revolution

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