Insecurity: Parents anxious as NYSC continues to deploy corps members in N-East

 The lingering security  challenges in the Northeast region is taking a heavy emotional toll on parents and guardians of serving and incoming corps members, as many have appealed to the management of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Scheme to redeploy them to more secure and peaceful states, Vanguard findings have revealed.
Expressing great fears over the safety of their children in the volatile region, they have also pleaded with the Federal Government to save the young Nigerians from being killed by terrorists. However, the NYSC appears to be unrelenting in its resolve to deploy corps members to troubled states in the far North for the one-year mandatory national service.
Eastern Herald investigation revealed that no fewer than 7,846 corps members mobilised to the six states in the Northeast are currently undergoing the 2021 Batch B, Stream I, orientation course amid lingering security concerns that have led to the murder of at least 163 civilians by Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents between January and June this year. At the onset of the Boko Haram insurgency, the management of the NYSC had taken the decision to suspend the posting and conduct of orientation programme in affected states in the region.
But the NYSC management came under pressure from governments of the affected states for the return of the posting and hosting of the orientation of the corps members in their domains. However, investigation revealed that while some governors took the NYSC management up and demanded the immediate return of the scheme’s activities in their states, the NYSC resumed the posting of corps members to the troubled region, albeit with the three-week orientation exercise conducted in more peaceful states.
According to some parents who spoke to Vanguard, the NYSC while insisting that it partners effectively with the security agencies on the safety of prospective corps members and corps members, it has often turned down the applications for relocation of their wards to relatively safer states.
But with the continued Boko-Haram/ISWAP attacks, even on security formations in the Northeast, the parents are still left to worry over the safety of their children serving in the region.
However, top sources in NYSC claim there is  more to the numerous requests from parents for the relocation of their wards from the Northeast than security threats. NYSC officials who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja, said many of those requests for relocation have to do with seeking, in other parts of the country, undue economic opportunities and advantages for their wards.
In a chat, a top official at the national directorate of the scheme, who chose to speak on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said, “The major problem when corps members who are deployed to serve the nation in states or communities other than their own, is the relentless lobbying by parents, especially those privileged in the society, for their children and wards to serve in selected states, urban areas and places where the corps members would find contacts to secure jobs after their national service.
“It usually has little or nothing to do with  security threat because we have strong collaboration with the intelligence agencies who provide updates on the security and safety of corps members wherever they are posted for service in the country. We also provide the corps members regular security advisory.
 Parents narrate ordeal: A parent, Mrs Florence Agudiegwu, who is a businesswoman, said the NYSC failed to process her daughter’s request for relocation from Borno State on the grounds of insecurity, a situation that forced her daughter to remain at home for about two months.
She said, “My daughter is willing to serve the country, but we are not ready to risk her life in order to do so. For over one month, the NYSC could not process the request; there was no communication from the scheme. We became worried and frustrated to the point that we had to start calling the people we know. Eventually, a relative in Lagos spoke to a top NYSC official who eventually revealed that relocation has been temporarily suspended.”
Agudiegwu wondered why she would labour to see her daughter through school and still needed to be subjected to enormous stress in a bid to get her to serve the nation in safety.
Another parent, Mrs Mary Effiong, whose son is a foreign trained economist, said she had also been experiencing what she described as “deep frustration” to get him redeployed from Adamawa State to Ogun State.
Effiong, a widow, said her son who is 22, suffers from sickle cell anaemia and is also finding it difficult to cope with his national service due to the same difficulty in securing redeployment to a state closer home.
She told our correspondent that the struggle to get her son redeployed was excruciating.
She said, “My son has put in his application for redeployment online on health grounds. It was initially approved, but two days later, it was cancelled and his account became suspended. We kept checking his portal dashboard almost every two days to know if the initial approval would be restored since June but up till August 14, there was no success. There was a day I wept openly in the market because the calls I was getting from my son was affecting me psychologically.”
Mrs. Effiong appeal to the Federal Government to intervene in the matter
A corps member, simply identified as Funmilayo, said the stress and delay associated with getting the approval for her redeployment from Yobe to Abuja after about three months since she applied was demoralising.
“As we speak, I am still a Yobe ‘corper’, but I am not really happy here because every other day, we here stories of attacks in nearby villages where most of us are posted to serve as teachers or health workers.” lol
Asked if she receives regular advisory from the scheme, she said: “Only those in the state capital (Damaturu) enjoy relative safety and security.”
Nigeria’s unity negotiable, says Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday said declaring Nigeria’s unity as fixed and non-negotiable amuses him.
He added that a marriage cannot be declared as non-negotiable, while doing everything to sow seeds of discord in that same marriage.
Atiku spoke at the national dialogue and public presentation of a book, ‘Remaking Nigeria: Sixty years, sixty voices,’ in Abuja.
He said, “I find it amusing when people declare Nigeria’s unity as fixed and non-negotiable while doing everything in their power to destroy that fragile unity.
“Nothing in the relationships among peoples is fixed for eternity. You cannot declare your marriage as non-negotiable while doing everything to sow seeds of discord in that same marriage.
“You can whip groups of people into forming a country but you cannot whip them into forming a nation.
“Nations are built through conscious or even unconscious agreement by peoples who believe that being together is, on balance, more beneficial than being apart.”
Atiku also said the government at the federal level had not done enough in nation building, accusing them of undoing the achievements of previous administrations in that aspect.
He added, “Over the past six years, the leadership of this country at the federal level hardly embarked on nation-building. They may have been making (utterly confusing and unproductive) efforts at economic development.
“However, it can be rightly argued that they have been un-building the nation by taking conscious and deliberate actions that not only make nation-building more difficult but also undo the achievements made in that regard by previous administrations.”
On the insecurity ravaging the country, Atiku said bandits, kidnappers and insurgents have been allowed to operate boldly.
He, however, said there was the need to fix the country to prevent it from sliding into disaster.
Atiku said, “It is obvious that we need to fix Nigeria in order to avoid sleep-walking our way towards disaster. We seem to be sprinting full speed towards disaster.
“Yes, the Chibok girls had been kidnapped and held in captivity seven years ago. Yes, conflicts between herders and farmers had been with us before 2016.
“But who would have thought that our country would become a haven for kidnappers and all manner of bandits to the extent that their nefarious activities would become a major industry?
“They have been allowed to operate so openly and brazenly that it would surprise no one if they applied for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission and listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“Five years ago, the Abuja – Kaduna Road was not a virtual no-go area. The South-East was not a virtual war-zone, and Amotekun was not needed to protect lives and property in the South-West.”
He also blamed the Northern region and the country for not doing enough to check the encroachment of the Sahara Desert and the drying out of Lake Chad, saying that this was responsible for trajectory of the insurgency in the North-East and the banditry across the Northern states.
He urged that the call for restructuring should be heeded, stressing that the country must be restructured in a manner that allows various segments develop at their own pace and not be held back by the centre or other segments.
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Police confirm killing of man at Rivers varsity, arrest suspect

The Police Command in Rivers says it has arrested a suspect, in connection with the killing of a man at the Rivers State University (RSU) Port Harcourt on Thursday morning.
The command’s Spokesman, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the killing of the unidentified victim to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
According to him, the incident occurred in the early hours of Thursday, leading to panic among residents and business owners in the area.
He said: “Information reaching me is that someone was shot dead at the premises of RSU in the morning hours of today.
“Upon hearing the gunshots, the police mobilised and arrested a suspect on the scene of the incident while other suspects took to flight,” he said.
Omoni said that the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, had ordereed investigation into the incident with a view to arresting all the people that were behind the killing.
“Currently, information is still sketchy but we will inform members of the public about the situation as soon as we know more,” he added.
The Public Relations Officer of RSU, Dr Harcourt Whyte, who could not confirm the identity of the deceased, told NAN that one of its students was also attacked by the gunmen.
He said the unnamed 300 level student sustained injury and was currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Port Harcourt.
The university spokesman said that the incident was a clash between rival cult groups in RSU.
“The incident which happened at about 9a.m. this morning was not a cult clash but as a result of an altercation among some young men.
“The university is still investigating the matter as the state police command had arrested some suspects involved,” Whyte said. (NAN)
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PIA: NNPC workers to earn more, says petroleum minister

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, says workers in the oil sector will earn more benefits with the commencement of the implementation of the newly signed Petroleum Industry Act.
The minister, who spoke on Wednesday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme, also said with the new Act, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation could be sued.
Recall that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had assented to the Petroleum Industry Bill after it stalemated for about 20 years. The bill, now known as the PIA, will regulate all matters in the oil sector.
The President had also appointed Sylva to head a steering committee to oversee the process of implementation of the PIA.
Speaking on the television programme monitored by Eastern Herald, the minister said the President gave the committee 12 months to achieve the implementation of the PIA “but for the NNPC, the provision of the law is that within six months, the new NNPC should be incorporated”.
“NNPC today is a corporation, it is more or less a parastatal of government. The NNPC of tomorrow will no longer be a parastatal of government; it will be a CAMA company operating commercially. So, it is a major difference. The shareholders of the company will then be the Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated and the Minister of Finance Incorporated and it will be registered as a company in Nigeria and will operate according to the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
“Today, for example, NNPC cannot be taken to court. Today, for example, NNPC is not operating under the laws of the Companies and Allied Matters Act but the new NNPC will be a CAMA company and that means it can be sued and because of that, we expect that there will be a lot more seriousness in the NNPC,” he explained.
The minister also said “no job will be lost as a result of the Petroleum Industry Act, all jobs in the oil industry will be preserved”.
Sylva added that oil workers would enjoy more benefits with the privatisation of the NNPC.
Southern Nigeria with the Pan-Niger Delta Forum and other groups in the South-South, South-West and South-East describing its provisions as “unjust, satanic and provocative”.
The Eastern Herald had earlier reported that Southern governors last month in Lagos rejected the proposed allocation of at least 30 per cent of the profit generated by the proposed Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for the exploration of oil in ‘frontier basins’ as identified by Section 9 of the PIB.
The 17 governors, in a communiqué signed by the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, at end of their July meeting in Lagos, said, “The Forum rejects the proposed 3% and support the 5% share of the oil revenue to the host community as recommended by the House of Representatives;
“The forum also rejects the proposed 30% share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.
“The forum rejects the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited. The Forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority since all tiers of Government have stakes in that vehicle.”
The frontier basins include: Chad Basin, Gongola Basin, Sokoto Basin, Dahomey Basin, Bida Basin, Benue Trough, amongst others.
Currently, crude oil is obtained from eight states in the Niger Delta region which include: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States.
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PIA: You are no longer welcome to Niger Delta, Ijaw youths tell Buhari, Sylva

Ijaw youths from the states in the Niger Delta region have declared that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.); and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, are no longer welcome to the region over their perceived roles in the passage and signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, despite the wide condemnation that greeted the bill from Nigerians.
While conceding that the duo of Buhari and Sylva have the constitutional rights to move to any parts of the country, the youths insisted that “their movement into the six states of the Niger Delta will be welcome with boos and disgraceful jeers due to their show of disregard to the plights and cry of the people of the region over the years”.
Recall that the Ijaw Youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council Worldwide, had on Tuesday rejected the signing of the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill by the President, arguing that signing of the PIB into law was tantamount to “a total affront to the outcry of the people of the Niger Delta region against the 3 per cent provision for the oil producing communities”.
The Ijaw Youths Council, in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Ebilade Ekerefe, said the decision not to welcome Buhari and Sylva to the region was “a further show of disdain to their drop in the ratings of the Niger Delta people and should not expect any accolades and congratulatory messages from the region”.
areas that requires urgent attention of his government,” the Ijaw youths stated.
According to the statement, the best course of action to have been taken by the President was to send the Bill back to the National Assembly for upward review of the 3 per cent equity share to host communities whose environments had suffered decades of oil exploration activities by the oil companies.
“Therefore, a substantial percentage to the Hostcom would’ve helped to address this age long criminality. Until that is done, there’s nothing to celebrate,” the statement added.
The statement further described as an afterthought an explanation offered by Sylva on the 3%, saying that what the minister should have done, as a son of the soil, was to apologise and appeal to the conscience of our people, rather than justify an act which is politically tailored to favour the North and its allies in the industry.
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President Buhari vows to tackle widespread hunger among citizens

President Muhammadu Buhari has again pledged to tackle widespread hunger among citizens across the country, assuring that he will not exit government as a failure.
The National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, said the president made the pledge during a crucial security meeting attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, security chiefs and some cabinet Ministers in Abuja on Thursday
He said the president was updated on security developments in various parts of the country since the last meeting of the security council was held on June 8.
Monguno said: “The last National Security Council meeting we had was on the 8th of June. From that time till now, a lot has happened within the security domain. Mr. President called for this meeting.
“It was actually supposed to be for next week, but he drew it back for today, for obvious reasons.
“We also address the issue of the prevailing situation, which is widespread, you know, issues of hunger.
“The President is not oblivious to the pains of the peopl and is working with the Vice President and other members of council, is going to employ the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to address this issue.
“As far as it’s concerned, it’s also an emergency situation that people should not be left to wallow in hunger and in despair, this is something that he’s also going to look into.
“And he’s going to use all the necessary all the relevant tools at his disposal to address the issue of widespread hunger.
“And then also the issue of insecurity in the northwest, which is still, even though for those of us who are within the security system, we have seen a significant drop in the number of incidents of kidnapping and banditry, nevertheless, a lot has to be done.
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President Buhari approves review of 368 grazing reserves in 25 states

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved recommendations of the committee which reviewed 368 grazing sites in Nigeria.
The reserves cut across 25 states and the review will determine the levels of encroachment.
The directive followed his approval of the report of the team chaired by Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari.
The committee proposed the collection of field data collection on the 368 reserves to assess encroachers as well as stakeholder engagements and sensitization.
The Committee also recommended production of maps and geo-mapping/tagging of sites, analysis of findings, report preparations and design of appropriate communication of grazing.
The number of the reserves and states were deduced from considerations of existing security concerns and other pre-existing socio-economic conditions.
Governor of Kebbi and Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu Governor of Ebonyi and Chairman of NEC Sub-Committee for National Livestock Transformation Plan, David Umahi, are members.
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INEC reinstates Soludo as APGA candidate

Ahead of its publication of the final list of candidates in the Anambra Governorship Election, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has released a list of substituted candidates, reinstating former Central Bank chief, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA.
According to the commission, Soludo’s reenlistment was as a result of a court order served on it.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Barr. Festus Okoye in a statement said INEC had met on Thursday and deliberated on a number of issues, including the nomination of candidates for the Anambra Governorship election holding on 6th November 2021.
According to him, the Timetable and Schedule of Activities approved by the Commission on 18th January 2021 provides for the withdrawal/substitution of candidates in line with Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“Accordingly, by the deadline of 30th July 2021 fixed by the Commission, seven Governorship and 11 Deputy Governorship candidates were substituted by 11 out of the 18 political parties.
“Similarly, the Commission was served with the judgement of the Court of Appeal (Kano Division) which set aside the judgement of the High Court of Jigawa State on the leadership of APGA and the nomination of its candidates for the Anambra Governorship election.
However, the final list of candidates will be published on 7th October 2021 as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election”, Okoye added.
Apart from APGA whose substitution was based on a court order, other parties which made substitutions are Accord, Action Alliance, African Action Congress AAC, African Democratic Party ADP, All Progressives Congress APC which substituted its deputy candidate, Allied Peoples Movement APM, Nigeria Rescue Movement NRM, Peoples Redemption Party PRP, Social Democratic Party SDP, Young Peoples Party YPP and Zenith Labour Party ZLP
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