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My SSS ordeal, by Sambo Dasuki

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The former National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki on friday raised the alarm over what he saw as plot by the State Security Service (SSS) to implicate him in alleged security breaches.

He said Nigerians should know that the invasion of his house by the SSS was a sheer witch-hunt. He said it was sad that the operatives of the security agency broke into his ailing father’s house in Sokoto and broke his safe.

Dasuki, said he does not deserve such treatment because as the National Security Adviser he did not maltreat any Nigerian.

He said he was subjected to a 12-hour ordeal from 6pm on Thursday till 6am on Friday.

“The SSS operatives came in two trucks with a search warrant from a Magistrate Court. The warrant gave them the power to search for ‘illegal weapons and any incriminating item.’ You can imagine what that is supposed to mean.

“I left office on Tuesday and they got the warrant on Wednesday and executed it by 6pm on Thursday.

“From 6pm on Thursday, throughout the night till about 6am this morning (Friday), they were searching my house looking for incriminating items.

“They restricted my movement. I cannot go out and no one can visit me. All those who attempted to see me were stopped from doing so.

“In fact, my son was blocked from entering my residence. My two cooks, who used to come from their homes to prepare my meals, were also disallowed from leaving my house.

“The only person allowed was the man who feeds my dogs. And he only related with the dogs.

“By Friday morning, they packed away all the nine cars in my residence. I could not go out to perform the Eid-el-Fitr prayer because of the restriction.

Even when I sought permission to go to Eid Praying Ground, they promised to provide a vehicle but they never did.”

Responding to a question, Dasuki said: “This is just a witch-hunt; they are desperately looking for something to implicate me.

“They went to my father’s house including breaking into the ceiling to look for incriminating documents. They broke a safe in my father’s house.

“Also, my sister kept a 20-year old box in my father’s house, they also forced it open. What has my father got to do with this?

“And the old man is in hospital in London. He was shocked to hear that they broke into his house. The good thing is that they did not find anything.

“They brought the photocopy of a 2007 draft by my brother, Ahmed, and asked me to comment on it. Was I in office in 2007 as NSA? You can see the extent to which they are ready to go to implicate me,” he said.

The State Security operatives  also seized his international passport and $40,000 cash found in his house.

They retrieved three rifles which were being used by members of the protective team while in office.

The disengagement of the Protective team was yet to be completed yesterday but the SSS asked him to explain how he came about the rifles.

At about 6 pm yesterday. the SSS operatives were withdrawn from his residence.

Dasuki’s movement remains however restricted to the country as his traveling documents are now with the SSS.

According to findings, the SSS team obtained statement from him from about 5pm till some minutes to 6pm.

A source said: “They seized the ex-NSA passport and raised issues on how he came about the $40,000 in his house. They went to the extent of asking him to give the details of how he came about the cash.

“On the rifles, they repeatedly questioned him on what he was doing with them. He took time to explain that they belong to members of the Protective Team guarding him. They became excited as if they had found an evidence against him.

“I think by the time the case gets to a court, Nigerians will know the truth or otherwise of their findings.

On the allegations against him, especially the ones bordering on purchase of arms, funds for counter-insurgency and the seized $15million in South Africa , Dasuki said: “I read some of these allegations in The Nation but nobody has asked me some of these things they are saying. I was not even in charge of some of these things. How do I account for all?

“And if you want me to respond to these issues, you have to give me access to relevant documents. You do not need to restrict my movement. You can see that they are just out to set me up. Even if they find a knife in my house, they will say it is incriminating.”

“There are some who should account 10 times for some of these allegations they are raising but they are walking about freely, ” he added.

Dasuki, who sounded confident on the phone, said as a retired senior military officer and ex-NSA, he ought to be better treated.

“Everybody should know what is happening. They sent some low-level officers, looking for something to implicate me.

“It is just a witch-hunt. If you want me to make clarifications on any issue, in the spirit of democracy and the rule of Law, have the courtesy to invite me and as a gentleman, I will honour the invitation. Sending two trucks to lay siege on my house and restrict my movement is just abysmal.

“For a man who left office on Tuesday, where will I run to? I have nothing to fear.”

The former NSA said he was unfairly treated by the SSS because when he was in charge of the nation’s security, he was “cautious, careful and fair “in his approach.

He added: “I was fair to all as NSA. Even when I had security cause to act on some issues, inflammatory comments and actions against the government of the day by those in the opposition, I exercised restraint. I did not restrict anyone’s movement, I never asked security agents to occupy anybody’s house.

“But that is the new change we have, this is our own definition of democracy. All I know is that everything has a beginning and an end in a democracy. I gave my best for this transition, which led to the victory of the opposition over the ruling party.

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Dangote’s wealth surges by $1.3 Billion in three weeks, nears Senegal’s GDP

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Aliko Dangote recorded a boost of as much as $1.3 billion in his fortune in the year to January 21, a period that was a blessing to investment for shareholders of his cement firm, Dangote Cement Plc.

At $20.4 billion according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index on Friday, the wealth of Africa’s richest man now approaches the value of the economy of the entire nation of Senegal, which the World Bank estimates to have a gross domestic product of $24.9 billion.

Dangote owes the latest rise in its fortune to the execution of the second tranche of the share buyback of his cement firm this week, which investors are betting will lift the valuation of the company further.

Dangote Cement has so far yielded 11 per cent since the turn of the year, firming up its reputation as Nigeria’s biggest company by market value at a market capitalisation of N4.9 trillion as of Friday.

It contributes roughly half of Dangote’s wealth, reaching its peak level of N265.7 per share since 2010 on Friday.

The mogul, Bloomberg reported, is among the 35 billionaires of the top 100 in the world that recorded an increase in their wealth in January. The most phenomenal advance was the jump by $13 billion to $89.5 billion in the riches of India’s most affluent man, Gautam Adani.

Dangote’s wealth is on course to see a much greater boost later in 2022 when his $19 billion petroleum refinery project is expected to be delivered.

The 650,000 barrels per day capacity refinery is said to be the largest single-train refinery in the world and is located on a vast expanse of land, about six times the size of Victoria Island.

The refinery is expected to wean Nigeria off its almost absolute dependence on imported fuel and transform it into a net exporter, helping the government to conserve scarce forex.

Dangote’s investment ambition knows no bounds, and the industrialist has told the Financial Times his intention to buy an English football club when his refinery project is done and dusted. David Pilling, the Financial Times journalist who interviewed him on the subject in 2018, said Dangote talked of buying Arsenal “as though discussing (buying) the latest model of iPhone.”

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Herdsmen from Libya, Mali, others still killing people in Benue- Governor Ortom

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Cabals have taken over Nigeria – Gov Ortom raises alarm

Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom has raised the alarm that herdsmen from Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Libya and Senegal were still maiming and killing the peace-loving people of his state.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to crush terrorists across the nation before he hands over power in 2023.

Buhari’s reassurance is coming as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called on governments at all levels to take urgent steps to stem the menace of anti-social and criminal acts going on in schools nationwide.

Also as part of the efforts to tackle banditry, the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), maintaining peace in Plateau and parts of Kaduna and Bauchi states, has trained 103 youths on armed combat and intelligence gathering.

Speaking on ARISE NEWS Channel, Ortom however, disclosed that the strict enforcement of the state’s 2017 Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law has reduced the level of insecurity, pointing out that herdsmen now comply with the provisions of the law.

The state government had enacted the anti-open grazing law on May 22, 2017, to curb the nefarious activities of herdsmen carrying AK-47 rifles about the state, maiming peasant farmers, killing them and taking over their parcels of land.

But following the failure of the law to deter herdsmen from destroying farmlands and killing farmers, the Benue State House of Assembly amended the law, which was signed by the governor on Thursday with stiffer penalties against violators.

Speaking on the amended legislation, Ortom acknowledged that all “is going well with the enforcement of the law except for the notorious criminal elements of Fulani herdsmen, who came from Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Libya and Senegal.”

Ortom noted that the intention of the criminal elements “is not for grazing or doing cattle business, but to send people away and take over their land.

“Currently, as I talk to you, those people who come around with AK-47 rifles, AK-49 rifles and other associated sophisticated weapons are not just here with cattle. These notorious elements come to kill or maim our people.”

The governor cited the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs), who attempted to return to their homes and continue with their farming activities, but were attacked, maimed and killed.

He lamented that the activities of the notorious criminal elements “are part of the reasons we have still over 1.5 million IDPs in our camps across the state.

“The children, who are not going to schools, are not happy. The old men, who are forced to stay in these camps, are not happy. The camps we established here are not even standard. Sometimes, the camps are sited in the school environment.

“The one close to a standard camp is what we have in Makurdi here. The General Theophilus Danjuma Committee constructed it to rehabilitate people. No person wants to live in this camp. But they are forced to live there.

“They want to go back. I am ready to provide logistics for them so that they can go back. But those who attempted to go back were maimed, killed and raped. These terrorist Fulani herdsmen amputated women’s hands.

“The security personnel posted to Benue State have also done their best. But over 100 of them have been killed since 2017. If security personnel, who were trained with sophisticated weapons, were killed, what do you expect averaged farmers, who were displaced and in distress, to go back and do?”

The governor, thus, commended all security agencies including Operation Whirl Stroke, the Army, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the agro rangers for working hard to ensure compliance with the anti-open grazing law and maintaining relative stability in the state.

The governor disputed claims that the legislation “is targeted at Fulani herdsmen in the state. This amendment came as a result of those who felt they have enough money to pay fines or demurrages.

“The issue of the cattle business, as it is today in Nigeria, is not just being done because they have collected enough money. So, they are always ready to pay those meagre sums,” noting that the Tiv, the Igede and the Idoma are equally affected.

Within five years that it had been experimented, Ortom clarified that the law “is not targeted at Fulani herdsmen, Hausa, Jukun or Igbo. It is targeted at every person, including the indigenous people of Benue State.”

He noted that the state’s livestock guards have done well by arresting over 50,000 heads of cattle, while over 600 people were arrested for carrying out open grazing.

“These include the Fulanis, the Hausas, the Tiv, the Idoma and the Igede,” he added.

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Lagos declares end of COVID-19 fourth wave

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The fourth wave of COVID-19 is over in Lagos, the state government has said.

Commissioner for Health in the state, Prof Akin Abayomi, said that consistent decrease in COVID-19 case positivity was an indication of the end of the fourth wave in the state.

Abayomi in an update on his Twitter account said there was a reduction in positivity rates of COVID-19 infection from 29.3 per cent recorded on December 21, 2021, to 1.9 per cent on January  20, 2022.

He put bed capacity utilisation at only two percent and fatality rate at 0.71 per cent.

But the commissioner asked Lagosians to get vaccinated and continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions to further reduce the spread of the virus.  

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