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How We Negotiated Chibok Girls’ Freedom, by Shehu Sani

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Shehu Sani
  • How We Negotiated Chibok Girls’ Freedom, by Shehu Sani

A key player in the negotiation that led to Thursday’s release of 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls spoke yesterday on the effort that went into the deal.

Vocal civil liberty activist,Senator Shehu Sani drafted the master plan for the negotiation and facilitated the involvement of Switzerland in the talks as well as the Internantional Red Cross in transporting the girls to safety.

He told The Nation yesterday that with the confidence built on both sides,it might not be long before the remaining girls joined their families.

His words: “I believe that this government has achieved what has never been achieved and there I have the confidence that the other girls will also be released through the same process that was taken for these ones to be released.

“ The confidence has been built on both sides and the parties have agreed to do more. I can tell you that there was no prisoner swap. There was none.”

Explaining his role in the release of the girls,Sani said : “Well I actually did not take part in the negotiation but I was the one who drafted the master plan for the negotiation, and I was also the one who invited the Swiss and the RCRC into it, and I was also the one who linked the Swiss with the person who negotiated .

“This master plan started from 2014 but it was followed through with the effort of the person who negotiated ,who happened to be Mustapha Zanna, a lawyer in Maiduguri. I was the one who brought Mustapha Zanna in with Switzerland and the RCRC.

“So this effort ,this success , could be said to be the joint effort of Mustapha Zanna,Switzerland RCRC and the Department of State Security (DSS).

“But I was the one who drafted the master plan for this. The reason for bringing Swiss into it was because we needed to have a different country that would offer guarantee to both the insurgents and the government because previous talks crashed because there was lack of trust between the government and the insurgents.

“But now, we needed a country that would offer guarantee to both sides. Switzerland offered to assist after I had encountered fellows from some of the countries which we had contacted. “Swiss offered to facilitate the negotiation and I linked them up to the negotiator and the master plan was for the government and the insurgents to negotiate.

Continuing,Sani said: “The agreement was reached through Mustapha Zanna and the Swiss offering the guarantee. RCRC was not part of the negotiation team. All they did was to ensure the implementation of the rescue of the girls.

“This is why you see some accusations and counter accusations between the government and the RCRC.”

Asked how he was involved in the 2014 process when he wasn’t sure that his party (All Progressives Congress) would form the government, Sani replied: ” I was the one who took (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo to Maiduguri to go and work out the possibility of ending the insurgency.

“It is simply my patriotic zeal to contribute to ending the insurgency. The last government was not as committed as this government as you could see many of them turn the issue of the insurgency into a big business. But this is a new government that kept its own promise of addressing this very problem.”

On how the girls should be handled now that they are out of captivity,the snator said: “These girls need a lot of psychological rehabilitation for the trauma which they have passed through for all this period of time.

“If you live with the insurgents, you need to b rehabilitated to lead a normal life again. They have been filled with different ideas, so we need to detoxify their minds for the very fact that they felt abandoned; some of them have been brainwashed and indoctrinated. This is why we need to de-worm them. It is very necessary.

“We should all help the parents of these girls to be able to cater for their daughters because at the end of the day, no matter what we do to these girls, they will still need to go back to their homes.

“ It will not be unwise for every state of the federation to at least name one street in honour of these girls so that next generation will not forget the names of these girls who have fallen victim of insurgents.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Oyo State Budgets N330M Monthly To Support Community Policing In LGAs

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State

Oyo State Governor, Seye Makinde has said that the state has set aside a monthly budget of N330 million to be spent on security across the 33 local governments in the state.

The governor who disclosed this in Ibadan said each local government in the state is expected to spend N10 million to support the security of lives and property in their domain.

He said part of the measures was the instruction to local government chairmen to involve traditional rulers as well as other voluntary residents in policing their areas.

Each local government is to spend N10 million monthly on this security arrangement.

Makinde explained that the initiative amounts to spending N330 million in the 33 local government areas, besides other efforts the state government had put in place to tighten security.

“We said each local government should set up a security committee, which should include traditional rulers and voluntary people willing to police their areas.

“I encouraged them to budget N10 million to service the committee every month. For the entire state, that’s N330 million per month by all local governments, excluding what we are doing generally at the state level,” the governor told a group on a visit to him during the recent Muslim festival.

“On security, most of the data in the past months shows that things are now improving. The Igangan incident, some days ago, was only falsified by some people who were saying that Fulani herdsmen had invaded Igangan again. The truth is actually about the NCS and smugglers. They know each other.

“Customs officials were accused to have entered Igangan, which is not a border town. But we are working with Federal authorities and they have arrested most of them.

“The gun that was collected is still with us. I said I won’t release it until I get the attention of the Federal authorities.

“In the Constitution of Nigeria, Oyo State is a federating unit. We are not saying Federal agencies should not carry out their operations here. But they must tell us; they must inform us. They may not disclose the details of the operation to us, but we must know about it.

“If we had known about the operation, we would have pre-informed the security detail in the town and those who died could have been alive. The Amotekun Coordinator that died in Igboora would have still been alive today.

“How can you go operating in an unidentified vehicle in a town where the security tactics have been heightened? As they wanted to enter the town, they were confronted because we have heightened security in all of those places.

“So, we will keep appealing to them and to our people that false information won’t help anybody. Nobody will profit politically from the security issues we are faced with. It is our collective responsibility. The people will play their part and the government will play its own part,” Makinde said.

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Security Operatives Arrest Sunday Igboho in Cotonou, Benin Republic

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The security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic have arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.

An anonymous source privy to the arrest disclosed on Tuesday morning.

According to the source, Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou while trying to travel to Germany from the West African nation.

President Buhari-led administration is now working with the Benin government to repatriate him to Nigeria.

The source said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.

“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.

“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”

It would be recalled that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.

DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in to the nearest security.

“Those cheering and eulogizing him may appeal to or advice him to do the needful,” Afunnaya said. “He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law.”

Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers representing Igboho and others arrested in his House, told SaharaReporters he had not confirmed the news of Igboho’s arrest in Cotonou.

“I will contact Yomi Aliu (SAN) to verify the news,” he said.

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IOM Ethiopia Appeals for USD 40 Million to Assist Additional 1.6 Million People in Northern Ethiopia

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Northern Ethiopia - Investors King

Nearly two million people affected by the crisis in northern Ethiopia desperately need life-saving assistance, including water, medicine and shelter, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today as it issued an urgent appeal for USD 40 million to help internally displaced men, women and children, including newborn babies. 

Since the outbreak of the conflict eight months ago in Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State, millions of people are enduring unimaginable suffering, including forced displacement, hunger, death, and destruction of private and public property.

In Tigray, IOM has been providing support to more than half a million people, including displaced children, women, men, and vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and persons with disabilities. This includes shelter and provision of essential items such as food, water, clothing, medicine and supplies for babies, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.

IOM has also been supporting camp coordination and management efforts, providing mental health care to those in need, and producing Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports to shed light on the evolving situation.

Nearly USD 70 million (USD 69.3M) is needed to respond to the needs of internally displaced populations in northern Ethiopia but only USD 28.7 million has been received this year. IOM needs an extra USD 40.6 million for the remainder of 2021 to be able to continue and further expand its response to help the displaced.

“The nearly two million people displaced by this crisis continue to live in inhumane and undignified conditions and require critical and urgent support,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA. “IOM Director General António Vitorino said it before, and we say it again: we must act without delay to meet the needs of people in the region.”

The situation in Tigray remains volatile. In partnership and coordination with other UN agencies, IOM is committed to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance, to continue reaching people in need. IOM is planning to significantly scale up response programming and increase the deployment of senior IOM staff in the region despite the severe shortage of funding.

IOM’s response is aligned with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group’s (ICCG) – a cooperative effort among sectors and the Humanitarian Country Team to improve the national response – Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, which estimates that 5.2 million people are in dire need in the worst-case scenario of this escalating humanitarian crisis.

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