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WHAT’S NEWS? September 12, 2023

By Ezinwanne Onwuka

●      Mitchel Ihezue to represent Nigeria at Miss Universe 2023 in El Salvador

Mitchel Ihezue has been crowned the winner of the Miss Universe Nigeria (MUN) 2023 pageant, becoming Nigeria’s candidate for the upcoming 72nd Miss Universe beauty pageant in El Salvador.

Ms. Ihezue faced stiff competition, triumphing over 36 other talented contestants, each representing a Nigerian state and the nation’s capital, Abuja, to secure the coveted automatic passport to El Salvador. She represented Imo, a state in Southeast Nigeria.

The 26-year-old model is no stranger to the spotlight. Back in 2017, she snagged the ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN)‘ crown and rocked the ‘Miss World’ beauty pageant in China the same year where she placed in the top 15. She also earned the ‘Miss World Top Model‘ title in 2017.

●      10 commuters abducted as armed men attack Lagos-bound commercial bus

American drivers worry about higher rates of carjackings these days, but their challenges on the road are a far cry from what Nigerian travellers face on their highways.

Ten persons travelling to Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos State, in two buses belonging to Benue State government-owned transport company, Benue Links, were whisked away by armed bandits on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 10).

The buses took off from Makurdi, the Benue State capital, only to run into an armed gang lying in ambush at the Ajaokuta–Okene highway in Kogi State, which is about 150 miles from Makurdi. Other passengers escaped though some sustained injuries during the attack.

Road banditry in Nigeria has been on the increase in the last 10 years. Motorists once identified the most insecure and dangerous roads across the country. Amongst these roads include the Birnin–Gwari Road that connects Niger and Kaduna states, Kaduna–Kano Road, Abuja–Kaduna Road and Keffi–Lafia Road in Nasarawa State.

Yet bandits are bold enough to derail whole passenger trains and capture scores of captives. An unusual train attack was witnessed on March 28, 2023. The train was headed for the northern city of Kaduna from Nigeria’s capital Abuja when it was intercepted by bandits who bombed its tracks. Several persons were killed, and injured, and more than 60 others were abducted. The prevailing opinion of citizens is that law and order is breaking down.

●      Nigerian General’s ultimatum to Bandits: Surrender or be eliminated

For years Nigeria’s military has been overwhelmed by armed insurgencies in multiple states and as many as 30,000 bandits in its North-western states. According to security tracking websites, more than 50,000 citizens have died from warfare or crime since 2009.  But under the new administration of President Bola Tinubu, the top brass is throwing down. The top general, Christopher Musa, Chief of Defence Staff, has warned all terrorists and bandits attacking communities across the country that this year the army “really means it.”

“Our adversaries must surrender, or the Armed Forces would keep going after them,” Gen. Musa said on Monday in Kaduna State.

The CDS said that “going forward” Nigerian armed forces will team up to protect lives and property. He assured Nigerians of the readiness of the military to surmount the current security challenges. He noted that criminals doubting the capability of the armed forces would not live to tell the story.

●      Security Forces Arrive Too Late to Save 10 lives in Plateau village

A raid by Fulani-speaking masked gunmen in Kulben community, Kombun District, Mangu County of Plateau State on Sunday evening took the lives of ten persons with several others injured.

Sources said the gunmen, on entering the village, fired shots sporadically. The villagers ran helter-skelter for safety. By the time the bandits, who spoke the Fulani language, fled into nearby hills, 10 dead lay among the injured and wailing. Buildings were razed to the ground. Victims included citizen volunteers on patrol to guard the community.

“We alerted the security personnel, but before they got there, the attackers had moved from the community,” Jerry Datim, a resident in the community, told TruthNigeria. A mass burial of the casualties was conducted on Monday. Police said they are on the trail of the assailants.

●      Police fire shots to disperse factions of Nigeria’s transportation union during clash

A deafening sound of gunshots boomed from the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Abuja on Tuesday morning as two rival factions of the group engaged themselves in a free-for-all fight because of a leadership tussle.

The trouble in the association began when the faction led by Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede usurped the power of the union’s elected president, Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa, on August 28. Agbede, guarded by gun-wielding thugs, took over the union’s national office in Abuja as the so-called caretaker president.

Running out of patience with Agbede’s illegal occupancy of the secretariat, the group loyal to Baruwa launched a counterattack on Tuesday aimed at driving him out of the office. To restore normalcy, police shot recklessly which proved effective in dispersing the mob with no record of casualties.


Ezinwanne Onwuka, an independent writer in Abuja, covers politics, culture, and entertainment for TruthNigeria. Reach her on X: @OnwukaEzinwanne.

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