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Islamic cleric, three others feared killed in Kogi attack

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•Aregbesola regrets N’West banditry, Borno Assembly recognises police officer
No fewer than four persons, including a Chief Imam, were reportedly killed yesterday in an early morning attack on Okofi community in Kogi State.

The gunmen supposedly launched the onslaught while the worshippers were observing their prayers.

The latest violence comes few months after a similar one claimed an Imam and a good number of indigenes. The traditional ruler fled during the incident.

There have been reports of alleged misunderstanding between the Bassa and Ebira. A militia backing one of the groups is being fingered for the assault.

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Seven lives were lost and several others injured when unidentified hoodlums invaded same council area few days back.They had ambushed a vehicle conveying Bassa people back from the Lokoja market along the Kpareke-Agbudu- Agaga highway last weekend.

It is being speculated that the incident might be a reprisal. Consequently, the Government Secondary School, (GSS), Kotonkarfe had been shut down, according to reports.

Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, DSP William Aya, said CP Ayuba Ede had deployed security operatives to restore normalcy in the settlement. He was however silent on the casualty figure.

“The DPO of the area is in the bush with his men. I have not been able to reach him to be able to ascertain the actual number of casualties. But I have it on good authority that the Chief Imam was killed also,” he clarified.

“The commissioner has already ordered investigation into the matter with a view to apprehending the perpetrators and making them to face the consequences of their action,” the spokesman added.

IN a similar vein, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aragbesola, has regretted the loss of over 8,000 lives to banditry in the last 10 years in the North West and parts of Niger State.

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Citing independent statistics, the immediate past governor of Osun State bemoaned the harm the nefarious act had caused farming and other economic activities in the affected areas.

The minister spoke yesterday at the Katsina State Government House during a stakeholders’ engagement on internal security and conflict resolution.

He said the Federal Government was not unmindful of the wanton destruction of lives and property by the bandits, threatening an “unprecedented” federal against the outlaws.

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Also speaking, the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, appealed to Nigerians to see the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as government’s commitment to deepen relations between the force and the citizenry, adding that erring officers would be sanctioned appropriately.

Also yesterday, the Borno State House of Assembly recognised CSP Ibrahim Mohammed for diligently fighting insurgency and related ills in the North East.

Presenting the award at plenary in Maiduguri, the Deputy Speaker, Abdullahi Askira, said the senior police officer had displayed gallantry in the counter-terrorism war and similar projects.

BESIDES, founder of Love of God Evangelistic Association Inc., Lagos, Evangelist Joshua Adegboyega, has implored President Muhammadu Buhari to galvanise hope among Nigerians and form what he termed government of national redemption based on recommendations of the last National Conference to meet the expectations of the citizens.

Giving the charge yesterday during the organisation’s 53rd anniversary thanksgiving in Lagos, the cleric charged the Nigerian leader to stop the killings in Southern Kaduna and rescue Leah Sharibu and others in captivity.

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