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Army authority warns soldiers on work conflict with police

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The Nigerian Army has warned soldiers to exercise discretion in their duties anywhere they sight police officers in the coming weeks.

This development followed ensued anger over the killing of police officers in Taraba last week.

The officers were on a covert operation to nab a suspected kidnap kingpin when soldiers from 93 Battalion suddenly opened fire on them, killing three officers and a civilian on the spot.

The suspect was also set free by the soldiers in the August 6 incident.

The police identified the suspect as Hamisu Wadume, expressing grave disappointment that soldiers would set free a man that had been on detectives’ radar for several years before they finally had a chance to take him into custody.

Although the army admitted soldiers killed the police officers and a civilian in a bus the police team was riding in along a major Taraba road, it blamed the incident on communication gap and disclosed its readiness to cooperate with investigation.

The police, however, took serious exception to the military’s description of the police officers as suspected kidnappers due to the manner they conducted themselves during the operation.

President Muhammadu Buhari sued for calm amongst the services and urged a thorough investigation of the violence.

On Sunday evening, an August 9 advisory that alerted soldiers to public statements of the police was leaked online.

“Inciting and inflammatory comments are being made by the NPF on the regular and social media platform,” the advisory said, adding that it was “capable” of “inciting” police officers “to exhibit aggressive tendencies” towards soldiers.

Felix Omoigui, a brigadier-general who circulated the alert on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said soldiers should avoid being in uniform if necessary to prevent the situation from escalating.

“Formations and unit commanders are to educate troops to be cautious in their dealings” with police officers in the aftermath of the killings, Mr Omoigui said.

Troops travelling on pass were urged “to do so in mufti.”

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IBB calls for inclusive unity

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Former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda, IBB, has called for collective effort aimed at uniting all segments of the country.

Speaking on the occasion of his 78th birthday on Saturday in Minna, the former leader said it is when there is unity that the country can move forward, adding that every Nigerians had a role to play in the matter.

“We don’t have any other country except Nigeria. So, we must all work today, young and old to ensure that this country survives.

“The unity of the country is sacrosanct. We must make sure we identify ourselves as Nigerians before talking of tribe, religion and region we come from,” adding that Nigerians must strive to ensure that the nation remained one indivisible entity.

IBB expressed gratitude to God for sparing his life long enough to attain the age of 78.

“I want to thank Almighty Allah for sparing my life to witness this day. Allah has been very kind to me and I remained grateful to Him,” he said.

Our reporter said that the Uphill residence of the former leader was filled with guests among whom included a former Chief Justice of the Federation, Alfa Belgore; lawmakers from the National Assembly, former governors and military administrators, including Col Habibu Shuaibu

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FAAN announces day to close Enugu airport runway

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saturday notified airlines and passengers that the runway at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu will be closed on August 24, for major repairs.

FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, made this known in a statement issued in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the closure of the airport is coming three months after the immediate past Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the airport would be closed over the state of the runway.

Sirika had said that the airport would be degraded for international operations because the runway length is not ideal for such operations.

Mrs Yakubu explained that the closure was aimed at resolving the existing safety and security concerns to flight operations.

She said the closure of the runway would took effect by 12 a.m. on August 24.

She noted that a date to reopen the runway would be communicated in due course.

Mrs Yakubu said FAAN remained committed to its core values of safety, security and comfort of the airport users in the country.

Meanwhile, the management of Air Peace has commended the Federal Government for the decision to close the Enugu International Airport for proper repair and maintenance of the airport’s runway.

The airline’s Chairman, Allen Onyema, who made the commendation in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos, noted that the runway had been given stakeholders serious safety concerns.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Air Peace is fully and totally in support of this decision. Though the decision will affect the traveling public.

“However, the airline, place the safety of the flying public, our crew and equipment above any commercial benefits.

“The government should go all out to put everything in place, within the period of the closure, that will make the airport rank among the best international airports in the country.

“We plead with the federal government to make the airport a 24-hour flight operations airport by improving the night landing infrastructure,” he said.

(NAN)

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El-Zakzaky: Falana asks FG for new medical plan

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Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), the lawyer to Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, has called the Federal Government to provide an alternative and adequate treatment for the couple in Nigeria.

The Senior lawyer also said that he would file a fresh application for El-Zakzaky and his wife to be re-flown abroad for treatment if his demand was not met.

The leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky on Friday returned to Nigeria, after refusing treatment in India.

Recall that El-Zakzaky, who is facing an 8-count charge in a case of homicide filed by the Kaduna State Government, was granted leave for medical treatment by a Kaduna High Court on Aug. 5.

Subsequently, El-Zakzaky and his wife travelled to India via Dubai for medical treatment after the Federal Government and relevant agencies took steps to comply with the order in spite of protestation by Kaduna State Government.

Falana, in a statement yesterday, said: “It is disturbing that the planned medical treatment of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife in India was aborted and that they have since returned to Nigeria.

“However, in view of their critical health conditions, the El-Zakzakys and the Federal Government should urgently reach an understanding to facilitate their medical treatment in Nigeria.

“In other words, since the Federal Government is apparently not prepared to allow the couple to seek medical treatment abroad for fear that they may seek political asylum, the authorities should provide adequate medical equipment for their treatment in Nigeria without any further delay.

“The unfortunate episode had embarrassed the Federal Government and that Nigeria has become a laughing stock to the extent that her leaders and citizens (who have the financial wherewithal) have to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“For goodness sake in what way was the Indian Government offended by the insistence of the El-Zakzakys to be treated by doctors of their choice”.

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