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Kaduna Village Bombing: Death Toll Rises To 120, Villagers Allege Military Bombed Twice

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  • One family loses 32 members, culprits must be punished, survivors, ACF, JNI tell military
  • Army chief begs victims, says soldiers mistook villagers for bandits, Tinubu, Atiku mourn

Survivors of the Tuesday unintentional bombing of Tudun Biri in Kaduna State’s Igabi Local Government Area reported the Nigerian Army bombed them twice.

It was also learned that the death toll from the incident had risen to 120, as Amnesty International officials who visited the impacted villages confirmed the rise in the death toll.

On Sunday night, an air attack designed to flush out terrorists accidentally hit civilians during a religious gathering in Tudun Biri.

While the Army claimed responsibility for the event, the National Emergency Management Agency estimated the death toll at 85 on Monday night, adding that 66 people were injured.

However, the unintentional blast on Tuesday drew harsher condemnation from the pan-Northern political and cultural association, the Arewa Consultative Forum, and the Jama’tu Nasril Islam, who said those found guilty should face punishment.

President Bola Tinubu and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar both expressed condolences to the victims of the incident.

Survivors of the blast recalled their stories as the nation grieved the dead.

Forty-five-year-old Saudatu Alamagani, in an interview (with The Punch), said the community was bombed twice.

Alamagani, who narrowly escaped being killed in the attack, said the incident started like a Nollywood movie around 10pm when a large number of Muslims celebrating Maulud, the birthday of Muhammad, were bombed.

She said while celebrating the Maulud, “The military started raining bombs on us’’, adding that at first, the worshippers mistook their attackers to be bandits.

She stated that while everybody scampered for safety, dead bodies littered “everywhere.”

She stated that while members of the community went in search of motorcycle operators to convey the critically injured to the nearest medical facilities for treatment, the military bombed the community again.

“They bombed us twice,” she said, adding that “it all started around 10pm when the military started bombing our community. We were celebrating the Maulud, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

“While we were looking for motorcycles to convey those that critically needed medical attention to the hospital, the military returned with the bombardment. Many villagers including women, men, children, and even pregnant women were killed during the attack.

“Four members of my family were killed in the attack. Some of the bodies of the dead littered the ground.”

Saudatu appealed to the government to assist members of the community, especially victims’ families to cushion the effect of the bomb attack.

Another survivor, 60-year-old Sulaiman Umar, told our correspondents that the village was bombed twice.

He stated, “I was eating that night when we were bombed. Many people died. We could hardly identify our children; some with their intestines out. They bombed us twice. After the first round of bombs, they came back to bomb us again.

“I ran into a deep forest where I slept till daybreak. We covered the dead with leaves. We separated the males from the females and covered them with leaves.”

  • 120 Dead

Giving an update on the tragic incident, The Country Director of Amnesty International, Isah Sanusi, said officials of the organisation were on the ground at the affected communities and counted over 120 persons who died in the bombing.

He said, “I can confirm to you that the current number of casualties in the affected areas is more than 120 persons.”

He explained that there were at least 77 bodies buried in each of the mass graves, insisting that the casualty figure was higher than what NEMA stated.

“According to our contact who was at the scene of the mass burial, there were at least 77 dead bodies in each of the mass graves. There also 17 other persons who are from adjoining villages who lost their lives in the ugly incident,” he stated.

But the NEMA Chief Information Officer, Kaduna State, Halima Suleman, told one of our correspondents that the casualty figure of 85 persons released on Monday by the agency had not been updated when contacted on Tuesday.

She, however, stated that NEMA was intervening in the affected communities, as it took some of the injured persons to hospitals and was providing relief items to others.

“We are, of course, intervening in the communities, because our officials are on the ground there today. They took some persons to hospitals, provided relief items and gave moral support,” she stated.

But the pan-Northern socio-political organisation, ACF, and the Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar lll led Jama’atu Nasril Islam, called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the military bombing.

Reacting separately to the incident, the ACF described it as “horrific”, noting that the northern organisation was highly disturbed that such an operation could be contemplated and executed in the densely populated area, “suggesting an inexcusable, scandalous and plausibly incompetent failure of intelligence.”

In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Tukur Muhammed-Baba, on Tuesday, the forum commiserated with the state government and families of victims, praying that “God grant the dead peace.”

The forum noted that efforts must be put in place to avert such “avoidable” loss of lives and property in the future, adding that communities in the Northern states had had enough problems with banditry and should not in any way be further inflicted with more pains.

Consequently, the ACF demanded an apology from the Nigerian Army as well as a full, thorough, honest, and open investigation of the incident, to establish what exactly happened.

According to the ACF, any and all those found guilty of professional or operational incompetence must be severely disciplined, and transparently so.

It also noted that the investigation must be undertaken with the full participation of the people of the affected community (who must not be intimidated into keeping quiet about the gory details of their losses).

“For emphasis, the Kaduna State Government has a duty to act to protect the interest of the victims and not the Nigerian Army personnel that perpetrated the incident.

“Full compensation must be paid for the dead in accordance with current Islamic diya value for individual lives.

“The injured must not only be fully treated free of charge but must also be rehabilitated on full recovery, as well as fully compensated for losses of livelihoods and incomes while on the road to full recovery,” the statement added.

On its part, the JNI in a statement by its Secretary-General, Prof. Khalid Abubakar-Aliyu, reiterated the organisation’s commitment to seeking justice for the victims’ families.

The statement partly read, “The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, representing the collective voice of the Ummah, stands in profound consternation and grief over the tragic incident that unfolded at Tudun-Biri village in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, during a Maulud celebration, as was reported.

“It is thus with heavy hearts that we express our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families, as well as the loved ones of the deceased victims, and we fervently pray for the swift recovery and healing of those injured.

“JNI therefore vehemently condemns this tragic incident in its entirety and calls for a thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the devastating and most unfortunate event. We urge authorities to ensure that those responsible are held accountable in accordance with the subsisting laws.”

  • Tinubu Grieves

Tinubu described the accidental bombing of locals in Kaduna State by the Nigerian Army as “very unfortunate, disturbing, and painful,” expressing indignation and grief over the tragic loss of lives.

This was as he sympathised with the families of victims, the people, and the government of Kaduna State.

Tinubu’s grief was conveyed through a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled ‘President Tinubu condoles with Kaduna State Government, families of victims over bombing mishap.’

Tinubu directed a thorough and full-fledged investigation and called for calm.

He also directed swift and comprehensive medical attention for surviving victims while praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased.

Mourning the dead, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, said that the incidence of miscalculated air strikes was assuming a worrisome dimension in the country.

Atiku, who said this in an X post on Tuesday, stated, “I am grieved by the news of the drone airstrike that killed dozens of people and left scores of others with various degrees of injury in the Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Ironically, the victims of this unfortunate incident were celebrating the Maulud anniversary.’’

The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum and Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, expressed deep sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the families of the Maulud celebrants.

Yahaya, on Tuesday, extended his condolences to the government and people of Kaduna State, describing the loss of innocent lives as a heartbreaking tragedy.

The governor emphasised that while the fight against banditry and terrorism remained crucial, “it must be executed with the highest level of professionalism and care to prevent such heart-wrenching accidents.”

On his part, the Chairman of the Transparency International, Auwal Rafsanjani, said all security agencies involved in the bombings should be sanctioned. He faulted security agencies’ failure in intelligence gathering and sharing.

He further stated that identifying members of terrorist groups should ideally not be the job of the military, but the job of the police, the Department of State Services, and other relevant intelligence agencies, noting that some of the said agencies were grossly underfunded by the government.

Also, the Head of the National Coordinating Secretariat, United Action Front for Civil Societies, Olawale Okunniyi, said the military should rather be reoriented and re-jigged to operate on the side and in the interest of the masses.

“It is an unfortunate incident. Our military should be more revolutionary than reactionary. But presently they are reactionary and so they are not on the side of the people. They have to upgrade. We think that they must improve”, he said.

The Chairman of the Centre for Accountability and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, while lamenting the errors of the military, said those responsible must be held accountable and punished accordingly, as a deterrent for others.

  • DHQ Panel

Meanwhile, the military high command at the Defense Headquarters, on Tuesday, said it would be investigating the accidental bombing and would establish a panel for this.

Responding to an inquiry from one of our correspondents, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. Edward Buba said the military would probe the incident.

He said a panel would be instituted to look into the matter, adding that the details would be communicated.

Buba said, “Yes, the military will probe the incident. When the panel is set up, the details will be communicated accordingly, please.”

Also speaking on the issue, the Director of the Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu stated that with the on-the-spot assessment done by the Chief of Army Staff, he would be able to assemble the right persons to make up the panel.

He said, “From what the COAS has done now, which was to visit the scene of the incident, he would be able to gain insight into the expertise that would be required to carry out the inquiry. This will help in guiding us on the kind of persons that will be in that panel. I can’t speak on how long the investigation will take.”

 

Credit: The Punch

BIG STORY

Report Nigerian Officials Who Demand Bribes — Tinubu To Qatari Investors

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Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has asked Qatari investors to bring their investments to Nigeria, encouraging them to report any public officials who demand bribes.

Speaking at the Nigeria-Qatar business and investment forum in Doha on Sunday, Tinubu told the investors that Africa’s largest economy and its systems are being reformed and upgraded.

According to a statement on Sunday, the president assured the international business community that Nigeria is ready for serious business, pledging to remove all bottlenecks hindering profitable and legitimate enterprise.

He encouraged Qatar’s captains of industries to report any government official who demands a bribe or any form of inducement at any point in their business endeavour, assuring them of direct access to his office.

“I am here to give you the assurance that reforms are going on; forget about whatever you heard in the past. Whatever is the obstacle or problem that some of you might have experienced; it is in the past, because there is no obstacle in the future,” he said.

“Do not offer a bribe to any of our people, and if it is requested or taken from you, report to us. You will have access to me.

“Nigeria will no longer be defined by the past, but by what we do now and moving forward. Do not let perceptions become a hindrance to your will to invest. Nigeria is serious about revolutionizing investment promotion.

“We are removing obstacles today and we are going to continue to remove all obstacles. We have done so much within nine months. And I am assuring you, it is free entry, and free exit. Your funds will flow smoothly into and out of our country. Bring your investments.”

He said Nigeria possesses vast opportunities in various fields, telling his host that the West African nation is rich in mineral resources.

“We have oil and gas; we have solid minerals. I do not see why we cannot become prolific partners in exploring iron ore, as well as steel production, and energy across the board,” he said.

“I am here to give you assurances in all spheres: tourism, hospitality, healthcare, and in many other opportunities that abound around us. Do not be the investors who miss out on the golden opportunity we present.”

Tinubu also said the war against corruption and insecurity in Nigeria has been significantly strengthened with the appointment of Nuhu Ribadu as the national security adviser (NSA).

“We have a man who has won many global awards for anti-corruption as an anti-corruption czar,” he said.

“My responsibility is to tell you that Nigeria is open for business, and to assure you that your investments are safe in our hands. We have men and women of great reputation here. And we believe we can forge a good committee that will advance our discussions to fruitful conclusions.

“A nation is an artificial entity unless there are good people to drive it. People build great nations and we have great people. We are ready.”

Welcoming the Nigerian delegation, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani, Qatar’s minister of commerce and industry, said his country looks forward to exploring opportunities in Nigeria, owing to its population demography and market, as it seeks to prioritise new investments in low carbon initiatives, mineral products, petroleum chemicals, industry, and consumables.

Accompanying the president to the Nigeria-Qatar business forum were Babagana Umara Zulum, Borno governor; Uba Sani, Kaduna governor; Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor; Wale Edun, coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance; Dele Alake, minister of solid minerals development; Muhammad Ali Pate, coordinating minister of health and social welfare; Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of marine and blue economy; Doris Uzoka-Anite, minister of trade, industry and investment; Jamila Bio Ibrahim, minister of youth; and Ekperipe Ekpo, minister of state for petroleum resources (Gas).

Others include Nuhu Ribadu, national security adviser; Olu Verheijen, special adviser on energy; and Dele Kelvin Oye, president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

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BIG STORY

Olori Omo Oba Hit 67 And Still Waxing Stronger By Seun Oloketuyi

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Alhaji Wasiu Omo Gbolahan Olasunkami Adewale Ayinde is a man of destiny, focused and passionate about what he wants.

Or, what do you call a man, who rose from the streets of Isale Eko chasing his dreams to be a musician highly insipired by Islamic beliefs before trying out as an actor and then going back fully to Fuji, a genre of music that has blessed him and vice-versa.

Over the years, the princely singer from the Fidipote family has remained focused with his eyes firm on the crystal balls.

Despite his royal status, the Ijebu people, humanity, building bridges and indeed the entertainment industry have been the better for it as he remains one of the biggest act from Africa as at today.

KWAM 1 or K1- de Ultimate as many love to call him, loves his root – the Yoruba people – and undoubtedly, he loves his Ijebu root more and that’s why he has moved back home for about a decade.

Since moving back to Ijebu, he has established businesses and continues helping the development of the land.

Little wonder, the Awujale of Ijebuland, the highly respected Monarch, sees KWAM 1’s efforts and contribution to the growth of the revered Ijebuland and decided to reward him by bestowing upon him the important title of Olori Omo Oba – a position formerly occupied by banking doyen Otunba Subomi Balogun until his demise.

Alhaji Wasiu is 67 today in good health and we pray his tenure is peaceful and brings progress.

Long May you live Olori Omo Oba

Long May you live Awujale

Long May Ijebu prosper

 

Seun Oloketuyi is the Producer of Awujale Biopic

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BREAKING: Veteran Nollywood Actor Mr Ibu Dies At 62

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Nollywood veteran actor, John Okafor, popularly known as Mr. Ibu is dead.

It was gathered that the Nollywood Legend who was amputated in both legs last year reportedly passed away on Saturday evening at Evercare Hospital.

Recall that there had been speculations about his demise following his absence from limelight for over three years before the news of him being bedridden went viral.

Mr Ibu, in 2019, alleged that his kinsmen paid some of his domestic workers to poison him because of his successful career.

In May 2022, the comic actor again alleged that he was poisoned for the third time.

 

More to come…

 

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