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Terror threat: FG still furious over US advisory *Says signal causing needless panic

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The Federal Government still appears furious over the security advisory released early this week, by the United States (US) warning of possible terror attacks in Nigeria, and which saw the State Department, authorising the evacuation of “non-emergency” employees and their family members in Nigeria “due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks.”

The government, which had quickly rebuked Washington over the development, upped the ante on Wednesday, maintaining that the advisory was ill-motivated, especially where the nation’s security formations were on top of their game in keeping the situation under control.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information, Minister of Information and Culture, told reporters at the Presidential villa in Abuja, Lai Mohammed, that there was no cause for alarm, as security agencies were working to keep the country safe.

“This so-called travel advisory, as far as we’re concerned as a government, we have, in the last few months, taken a firm handle of security. What I said is that clickbaiting, which is you find a story which is not verified and you immediately share it, always causes panic. But I want to reassure both citizens, non-Nigerians, Nigerians living in this country, that security agencies are on top of this matter.

“Of course, the terrorists would not stop to try to embarrass or intimidate government but what I’m saying is that this country is safe. And there’s no cause for alarm. No cause to panic.

“Unfortunately, because of that travel advisory on Sunday, many schools were closed, shops were closed, travel plans were disrupted. We don’t need it. The security, our soldiers, our police are working round the clock to contain any terrorist attack. This is where we stand.

“I read it that those on non-emergency should leave Nigeria. You see, just like if Nigeria mission in the US also sends a travel advisory and warning in Houston and says ‘look, don’t go; don’t take your children to school, because there could be mass shooting tomorrow’. I mean, it is within their rights to say that their people should go home if they want to.

“But we, as a country, have a responsibility to keep our country safe, and we’re not going to be, you know, stampeded at all by whatever any government decides to tell his people.

“The concrete step is that people should stop spreading unverified news. You see, look how many school shootings happen in the US? How many senseless killings happened in the US? So, have they been able to predict what’s going to happen next; which school is going to be a victim next? Do Nigerians in the US also feel safe?

“I think you should stop demarketing your home country. Every country has its security challenges. We have ours and we are facing them. Which side are you? American side?”

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Nobody is funding my campaign – Obi *Why I can’t condemn IPOB

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Two key issues were cleared by Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), on Monday, one dealing with his campaign financing and the other the current killings in the South East, attributed to the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the brain child of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Dismissing the story that he offered N40billion to Rabiu Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), for him to step down and join him as running mate, Obi, said: “I cannot be talking about being transparent about managing public money without starting with my campaign.

“I do not pay people to work with me. Nobody will say he is funding Peter Obi’s campaign. I am funding it myself. All those things happening everywhere are just that people believe in our cause and give whatever it is from their little resources. I am encouraged, and I assure them that they are doing it for the right cause and I will never disappoint them.”

Elsewhere, Obi refused to throw a blanket condemnation of the ESN on the ground that he had to understand the group, find out their culpability to the alleged campaigns and the reasons behind them.

Obi, told Kadiria Ahmed, host of The Candidates, a presidential town hall series, a programme aired on the Nigerian Television Authority, that agitations in parts of the country were a result of leadership failure, adding that he would adopt dialogue to address the issue.

“The first of our seven-point agenda is to ensure the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians, and to show a united and one Nigeria by ensuring that there is equity, justice, and doing things following rule of law. Everywhere in the country is full of agitation. It is the effect of leadership failure. There is nothing wrong with agitation. You dialogue and discuss with everybody.

“I can’t condemn ESN because I’m not sure who is doing what. You can only condemn people when there is a process in which they have said this person has done something.”

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Ikpeazu cries out, as DSS operative butchers PDP chieftain

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The brutal attack on former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Chinedum Elechi, has drawn the ire of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who described the incident as unacceptable, while calling for justice.

Expressing outrage over the brutal attack in which the former lawmaker, now Director General of the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Organisation reportedly received multiple machete cuts, the governor, pointedly accused personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The personnel of the secret police, were said to have carried out the onslaught last Sunday in Umuahia, the state capital, according to Ikpeazu, who in a statement dripping with anger declared that the attacker must not go scot-free.

The statement signed by his spokesman, Onyebuchi Ememanka, said: “The campaign director-general was attacked by an individual who is alleged to be an operative of the DSS in Ebonyi State Command with a sharp machete, leaving him with multiple machete cuts all over his body.”

Demanding “a thorough investigation into this inexplicable display of murderous barbarism,” the governor urged the Abia State Commissioner of Police “to ensure that the assailant is made to face the full weight of the law.”

Ikpeazu commended the courage of the members of the public and men of the Nigeria Police who helped to overpower the assailant and recovered the instrument of attack.

The spokesman of Abia State Police Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, who said the attacker was arrested immediately after the ugly incident and kept in police custody, assured the public that investigation has commenced to enable the police determine the next line of action.

Meanwhile Elechi has taken to his verified Facebook account to narrate his ordeal in the hands of his attacker, saying he escaped death by the whiskers.

According to him: “The DSS operative wanted to machete me to death yesterday at Azikiwe Road in Umuahia in a broad day light (and) his excuse is that I scratched his car, which is not true. He chased after me; blocked the car I was driving in, came out of his car, used the machete to break the glasses of my car and commenced to butcher me in this way.”

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Terrorism: Nigeria won’t rely on foreign powers – military *Soldiers raid Abuja camps again

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Another raid on parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and areas surrounding it, being marked as currently endangered by some foreign countries, has indicated the determination of security operatives to once again take the war to rid Nigeria of terrorists to the camp of perpetrators.

Soldiers were said to have combed an illegal mining site located at Tukashara Wasa, Apo, in Abuja Municipal Area Council of the FCT, according to Director, Defence Media Operations, Musa Danmadami, who told reporters at Defence headquarters, Abuja, on Thursday, that 60 suspected illegal miners were also arrested.

Danmadami, a Major General, explained that the troops of Guards Brigade raided the illegal mining site upon getting credible intelligence, adding that two trailers loaded with illegally mined items were impounded during the operation, adding: “The troops recovered four Dane guns, one locally fabricated gun, 14 cutlasses, four sledge hammers, 25 motorcycles, one vehicle and other items. Troops on the same day also arrested two trailers loaded with illegal mined items.”

Stressing how its troops repelled an attack jointly carried out by the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists at Wawa Cantonment in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State last Saturday, Danmadami, stated that the attack was repelled in coordinated land and air operations, and no fewer than six terrorists were killed while 18 of them were captured and their equipment destroyed.

He said: “Following the engagement, troops neutralised three terrorists, captured five and recovered one HK 21 gun, nine PKT gun, 598 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 676 rounds of 7.62 special, 3,902 rounds of AK49 ammunition, two RPG tubes, seven RPG bombs, one grenade and three cartons of Improvised Explosive Devices accessories.

“Other items recovered include two vehicles, two motorola radios, two radio chargers, cartons of drip, motorcycles, cell phones and other sundry items. Equally, a follow up and exploitation operation was conducted by troops in conjunction with vigilantes at Tungan Gagara and Damala villages where contacts were made with the terrorists. After a fire fight, 13 terrorists were arrested while several others jumped into the river.

“Consequently, similar operation was carried out on November 1 at Babusara village where troops neutralised three terrorists while other fled in disarray.”

On the terror alert by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, the Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said the Nigerian military and other security agencies were not relenting on their responsibilities to protect the citizens, adding that they were not oblivious of the security situation in the country, but that the country did not rely on any foreign power to safeguard its citizens.

He urged the media to support the military and security agencies in feeding the public with the right information as they emanated from the security agencies.

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