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Nigeria Governors’ Forum counters Buhari Government, says no evidence ISWAP terrorists attacked Ondo Catholic Church

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Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi has described as mere speculation the claim by the national security council that the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists carried out the recent attack on a Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State.

Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, during an interview on Channels TV on Monday, said there was no concrete evidence linking the Sunday, June 5 attack in Owo to ISWAP terrorists.

The attack on congregants of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State led to the death of at least 40 people and injuries to several others.

“I’m not going to go into any speculations as far as I’m concerned. Statements about ISWAP or Boko Haram or whatever other institution is responsible for this are purely speculative at this stage.

“I haven’t seen any evidence that concretely puts this in the corner of any of these rouge elements that we have, but it really doesn’t at this stage matter; they have committed this crime, they have demonstrated capacity to cause maximum damage to our people, our duty as security officers is to ensure that this does not occur again and that we go after elements of this nature whichever organization they may represent within our domains and that’s precisely what is happening right now,” he said.

Fayemi described the incident as heinous and a war on the people, insisting that necessary steps will be taken to bring the perpetrators to justice.

He said, “This is a war on the people, there’s no other way to describe it and that’s why we are taking the steps we are taking by flying the flag at half-mast, just a symbolic indication of how much of a crisis of security that we are in and why an attack in Owo is an attack on all of us in Nigeria.

“We are all from Owo now and we must do everything to prevent a repeat of this. We hope the security institutions will cooperate with us to address this terrible tragedy that occurred in Owo.

“We’re privy to all manner of intelligence, security information but it’s not all intelligence that’s actionable intelligence. When intelligence is actionable, our duty is to pass it on to the relevant institutions responsible for this even when it comes to our attention.

“I don’t want us to jump a gun as far as this is concerned and that’s why I’m not going to go into any detail as to what intelligence we had and at what point we had it. Suffice it to say that the security institutions are conducting their own investigations now. We are also in our own way complementing that effort.”

Fayemi while speaking about a communique issued at the end of the southwest governors’ meeting held virtually on Sunday, said the review placed on commercial motorcycles in the region will determine whether they will be banned as most of the riders use them for criminal activities.

He continued, “A review doesn’t necessarily mean a ban, it says a review of their operations and it’s that review that will determine what we will do and it has to be taken on a state-by-state basis as well even as we try to have a regional outlook as far as that’s concerned.

“We have discovered not once or twice in the intelligence gathering that has consistently gone on in our various states that some of these elements purportedly undertaking commercial transportation are themselves agents of these criminals and bandits that are ravaging the whole of the country and clearly we need to balance the need for economic sustenance at the level of the citizens with the need for security of the citizens and I think that’s what that review would come out with.

He said southwest governors will meet physically soon to address the insecurity in the region.

The National Security Council (NSC) had accused ISWAP fighters of launching the attack on the Catholic church, which led to the death of at least 40 people.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this last Thursday while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting of the NSC chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

ISWAP and Boko Haram have been terrorising the North-West for years, killing and displacing many residents.

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War: China, India, Tajikistan, others to send troops to Russia

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China’s People’s Liberation Army will send troops to Russia to participate in the “East-2022” drills.

The East-2022 is also called the Vostok-2022 and this was disclosed by the Chinese Ministry of Defense on Wednesday, according to CNN.

“China’s participation in the exercise is aimed at deepening practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of the participating countries,” the ministry added.

It further explained that the Asian giants’ participation would enhance the level of strategic cooperation among countries involved.

The exercise would further strengthen the ability to respond to various security threats, according to the defense ministry.

It, however, added that the exercise is unrelated to the current international and regional situation.

Other nations to join in the exercise are India, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mongolia and other countries.

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Buhari approves three orthopedic hospitals in Edo, Plateau, Taraba

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of three additional orthopedic hospitals.

Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, made the announcement on Wednesday at the inauguration of the Primary Health Care(PHC) Leadership Challenge at the State House.

The event was organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in collaboration with development partners.

Ehanire disclosed that the President approved siting of the orthopedic hospital in three regions.

“North-East has one; the North-Central has one and the South-South has one; in Benin, Jos and Jalingo respectively”, NAN quoted him saying.

Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed said N471.9 billion had been disbursed to states under the $1.5billion World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme.

She added that all the 36 states had fully domesticated the fiscal reforms in their public financial management system.

Buhari approves three orthopedic hospitals in Edo, Plateau, Taraba

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BREAKING: Electricity workers call off strike

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National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has called off its nationwide strike.

The decision followed an emergency meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Wednesday.

The minister’s spokesman Olajide Oshundun, announced that Ngige intervened in the industrial action.

NUEE Secretary General, Joe Ajaero, assured that electricity would be restored across the country tonight.

The workers shut down all Transmission Companies of Nigeria (TCN) offices earlier today.

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