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News Briefing for October 9, 2023

WHAT’S NEWS? Monday, October 9, 2023.
Top News Today
By Ezinwanne Onwuka

●     Tone-deaf Abuja foreign ministry won’t name Hamas massacres an attack on Israel

The Nigerian government stopped short of acknowledging the historic sneak attack on civilians in southern Israel as an actual attack. The Foreign Ministry, headed by Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, instead expressed it is “deeply concerned about the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the early hours of Saturday,” in a Foreign Ministry press statement.   In language parallel to the government’s official narrative that attributes the Christian genocide in Nigeria’ s Middle Belt to “intra-communal violence” and “farmer-herder conflict,” the statement called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israel and Hamas,” a few hours after hundreds of Hamas terrorists murdered up to 1,000 men women and children at music festivals and in their homes.

 Saturday was the deadliest day in decades for Israel. Hamas – an Islamist militant group – launched an unprecedented and highly coordinated surprise assault on Israeli territory. More than 1,100 Israelis have been killed, 2,150 injured and multiple hostages taken since the fighting broke out, Israeli Defence Forces said in an update on X. The Gaza death toll is at 558 with more than 2,800 injured. At least 9 US citizens were slain, the US National Security Council reports.

 Yet, rather than condemn the mass murder, a “deeply concerned” government of Nigeria wants “both sides to exercise restraint, prioritize the safety of civilians and give room for humanitarian considerations”, according to foreign affairs minister Yusuf Tuggar. The Minister said Israeli and Palestinian authorities should cease fire and parley to halt “an unending cycle of pain and suffering for the civilian population.”

●     Bandits kill 4 as police foil kidnap attempt in Kaduna

Bandits killed four persons and injured four others at Uguwan Dankali village in Zaria district of Nigeria’s northwestern Kaduna State on Friday [Oct. 6], police said on Sunday. The bandits arrived at the small community at about 10:30 p.m. local time on Friday night and started shooting sporadically, according to the village head Malam Sunusi Yusuf. Stray bullets hit eight persons; four persons died at the spot and four sustained bullet wounds.

Police spokesperson in Kaduna Mansur Hassan said cops were mobilized to the community following a distress call. A gun duel ensued between the police and the bandits, who fled into nearby bushes, abandoning five abducted residents. A member of the gang is in police custody and is cooperating with the authorities to identify other gang members, Hassan said

●     Southeast separatist group mounts pressure on government for referendum

 Pro-Biafra agitators. Credit: Facebook.

The Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB], a pro-secessionist group in southeast Nigeria, the homeland of the Igbo ethnic group, has urged the Nigerian government to pick a date for negotiations on the Biafran referendum. “The earlier the Nigeria government schedules a referendum date for Biafrans to decide their fate, the better for everyone,” the group said.

IPOB ‘s political goal is to create an independent country out of the Southeast (Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi States) and some parts of the South-South region (Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River States). More than a million people died, mostly of starvation, during a three-year civil war that began in 1967 when the region attempted to break away from Nigeria under the name “Republic of Biafra”. The agitation for the secession of the southeast region from Nigeria was reignited in 2012, leading to the arrest of the group’s leader Nnamdi Kanu. IPOB was proscribed and labelled a terrorist organization in 2017.

The group said “It is practically impossible for Biafra and Nigeria to coexist as one nation” while citing that over six million of its members have lost their lives since the self-determination struggle started in 1967. IPOB is demanding a United Nations-supervised referendum.

●     4 die in highway auto crash

A fatal scene unfolded on a highway linking Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos State and Ibadan, a densely populated city in Ogun State, in the early hours of Monday. What was supposed to be a smooth journey for several travellers turned fatal as four persons died when their driver bumped into a heavy-duty truck. Three other persons sustained varying degrees of injuries in the crash.

Authorities said 21 persons, 13 men and eight women, were involved in the devastating accident. All four of the unfortunate fatalities were adult males. One male and two females suffered injuries. The corpses were deposited in a morgue while the casualties were rushed to a nearby hospital.

There have been many recent road mishaps on the Lagos-Ibadan highway, which authorities say were avoidable if caution had been put in place and simple road rules obeyed. A crash on Sept. 30 led to the loss of two lives.

●     Trigger-happy cop gets death sentence

Photo collage of Ms. Bolanle Raheem, left, and Mr. Drambi Vandi, right. Credit: Facebook.

A high court in Lagos State Nigeria has sentenced Drambi Vandi, a suspended assistant superintendent of police [ASP] to death by hanging for the murder of one Mrs Bolanle Raheem. The court convicted Vandi of a one-count charge of murder. 

Raheem, a practising lawyer in Lagos, was shot dead by Vandi on December 25, 2022 – last Christmas Day. After firing the bullet which hit Raheem inside the car, the trigger-happy cop, alongside his colleagues who mounted a roadblock, fled the scene. The lawyer was pregnant.

Raheem’s death generated a nationwide outrage. Nigerians called for the prosecution of the killer cop and justice for the deceased. Vandi pleaded “not guilty” when he was arraigned on a charge of murder on January 16. But Justice Ibironke Harrison, on Monday [today], said “The court finds the defendant guilty on one count of murder. You will be hanged by the neck till you are dead.” the Judge ruled.

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