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FG denies persecuting Christians, earmarks N13b for community policing

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Garba Shehu

• Military kills, arrests terrorists, rescues 20 kidnap victims
• CNG seeks action on politicians sponsoring terror

Abuja has dismissed allegations from the west that it was persecuting Christians in Nigeria.

This came as it urged the Commonwealth Action Group to assist the country to proffer lasting solution to herders-farmers clashes and terrorism besetting the nation.

United Kingdom lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners had expressed concerns over the killing of Christians by bandits and the Federal Government’s seeming laid back attitude to the development.

But the Presidency said yesterday that it would welcome inputs that would halt any threat to peaceful co-existence of Nigerian citizens.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said: “The President and government of Nigeria welcome the seriousness of the letter from UK lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners. We ask our British colleagues to visit Nigeria, whether formally or informally, to discuss all the points raised in their letter.”

According to him, N13 billion has been earmarked for community policing.

SEVERAL Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists and other bandits have been killed in military operations in the North.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations (DMO), Maj-Gen. John Enenche, who disclosed this to journalists yesterday in Abuja, added that troops also arrested several bandits and rescued 20 people, including women and children, kidnapped in the regions.

According to Enenche, in the North West, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji, on September 17, 2020, rescued eight kidnapped victims at Fankama and Sabon Layi area of Faskari Council of Katsina State.

The army spokesperson revealed that the Air Component of Operation Thunder Strike killed several armed bandits at their meeting venue, arrested a bandit on a motorcycle to Dandalla, Maru Council of Zamfara State.

MEANWHILE, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has called for the arrest of some politicians linked with sponsoring armed bandits.

It pointed out that unless the presidency directs the immediate re-arrest and return to custody of the politicians and their collaborators for proper investigation and prosecution, it risked a serious dent on its integrity.

Leaders of the group made the call in a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, signed by the spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, and its Zamfara State coordinator, Bilyaminu Aliyu.

The letter, which was sent through Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, noted that the security situation in Zamfara, which had hitherto improved, was literally deteriorating by the day, with disturbing reports of bandits and their internal collaborators exploiting a huge vacuum in political will to undermine security efforts.

CNG, which quoted Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), said, from the beginning of March to April 6, there were 169 civilian deaths in Zamfara alone, 28 in Borno and 14 in Adamawa.


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