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Controversy As ‘Released’ Abducted Kagara Schoolboys Failed To Arrive Minna, Governor, Parents Panic

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There was controversy on Sunday over the release of 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, who were abducted on Wednesday,

Earlier on Sunday, officials of the state government said the victims, who were abducted when gunmen invaded their school on Wednesday, had been released.

Also, a top security source told one of our correspondents at 11 pm on Sunday that the abductees were around Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State on their way to Minna, the Niger State capital.

The state Governor, Sani Bello, other top officials of the state government, and parents of the abductees, were at the Government House Minna, waiting to receive the abductees.

But while addressing the parents at 11:40 pm on Sunday, the governor said the abducted students and workers were still in captivity.

“We still have the students of Kagara in the hands of the bandits and everything is being done to secure their release soonest,” the governor said.

Earlier on Sunday, 18 passengers of the Niger State Transport Service, who were abducted on February 14 at Yakila village in the Rafi Local Government Area of the state, were released.

Recall that a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi had in an interview with Sunday PUNCH on Saturday said the students and other abductees would be released on Sunday.

One of the 18 passengers of the state transport service, who spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity, narrated her ordeals, adding that the bandits threatened to start killing them on Sunday (yesterday) if their conditions were not met.

The 18 passengers, who are members of the same family, were abducted on Sunday last week on their way to Minna from Kontagora, where they went for a wedding.

The passenger, who spoke to The PUNCH, said she and other abductees were made to trek a long distance to a forest in Zamfara State.

She said where the abducted travellers were kept was not far from the place 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, who were kidnapped on Wednesday, were kept.

She also revealed that the bandits as a way of protecting themselves from any form of airstrike gave the military uniform they wore in exchange for students’ uniforms in order to disguise.

She said, “They threatened to start killing us today (Sunday) if our family did not fulfill their agreement, but thank God everything is now history.”

The Head of the family, Isa Kadir, had earlier in an interview with journalists on Sunday, confirmed the release of 18 family members.

Also, the state Governor, Sani Bello, in his tweets page this evening, wrote “We are pleased to announce to the general public the release of the NSTA passengers abducted a week ago while returning to Minna along the Minna-Zungeru road.”

It was learnt that the bandits demanded N50m but later reduced it to N30m, but it could not be confirmed if the government or the family made the payment.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Boko Haram Frees Abducted Pastor 24hrs Before Execution Deadline

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Pastor Bulus Yikura, who was kidnapped by Boko Haram, has regained freedom 24 hours before the deadline set for his execution of the abductors.

A security source informed The Nation the cleric was set free on Wednesday evening on the outskirts of Maiduguri metropolis.

He was sighted with a few family members and the Nigerian Secret police.

Yikura’s freedom is coming one day before the dateline for his execution in a widely circulated video to seek help.

He was sighted in the video kneeling and begging the Federal Government and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to intervene as his life was left hanging for a few days.

He was quoted in the video pleading: “I have been given only seven days to appeal for assistance that will help me out of this torture.

“If truly you want to rescue me from this untold suffering and threat to life, then you have to act fast.

“I am also calling on the EYN president to help mobilize help that will rescue me, and also pray for me so that God will make things easy for me here”.

It is not clear what transpired before the release of Pastor Yikura as details are still being kept under wraps.

Recall that Yikura was abducted on Christmas Eve last year when Boko Haram attacked Pemi village in the Chibok local government area of Borno State and has since been with the captors.

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Northern Traders Agree To Resume North To South Movement of Food Stuff

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After about six days, the Leadership of Cattle and Foodstuff dealers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, on Wednesday, agreed to resume the movement of food supplies from the northern part of the country to the southern region.

It was gathered that the agreement was reached when the leadership of the trade union met with Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State in Abuja. Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode was also at the meeting.

About a week ago, northern traders had embarked on strike over the alleged killing of their members in the southern part of the country. Prices of food commodities like pepper, tomatoes, beef, yam, garri, amongst others, had gone over the roof with many southerners groaning and complaining about the increase.

The General Secretary, AUFCDN, Ahmed Alaramma, had said the President of the association, Mohammed Tahir, was with the Department of State Services over the blockade.

The northern traders had also called on the Federal Government to pay them billions in compensation while Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere; Activist Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, and others had threatened to launch a campaign against cows in protest against the development.

 

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Sanwo-Olu Threatens To Name Beneficiaries Of Apapa Rot

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has threatened to name those benefitting from the perennial traffic gridlock and disorderliness experienced along the Apapa corridor in the state.

Sanwo-Olu stated this on Wednesday in Lagos while commending the Nigerian Ports Authority for the new E-Call Up system for trucks going to the ports.

The Apapa area of the state is notorious for chaos over the haphazard operations of container-laden trucks around the seaports.

At an event in Lagos today, the governor said, “We will name and shame them. We will bring out their names, be it a corporate organization, be it a company, be it a Lagos State officer, be it a police officer, whoever it is, be it a union that will say that the solution that we have brought about will not work.

“They will go and answer to the citizen of Nigeria and the citizen of Lagos State and the citizen of Nigeria. We will bring them to the public courts for them to see that we are about seriousness; we cannot condone the recklessness and the carelessness that our citizens have gone through.

“And I want to use this opportunity to commend the Management of NPA because they have worked with us on this agenda. So, my challenge is to others who have not signed on to this wonderful column system.”

NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman, had assured port users that the e-call up system would address irresponsible parking of trucks on port access roads in Apapa.

The e-call up system was designed for the management of truck movement and access to and from the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa.

The Apapa corridor had been a nightmare for road users and Sanwo-Olu had last year said the Lagos State Government had started the process of taking over the operations of the Presidential Task Force on Port Decongestion that had been managing the traffic gridlock in the area.

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