News Highlights for August

Nigerian News
ICON publishes this weekly news bulletin to share brief updates and links on the conflict and increasing violence in Nigeria.


Soyinka Criticises Plans To Review Grazing Routes
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka on Friday criticised ongoing plans by the Federal Government to reopen grazing routes across the country. Soyinka, speaking at a press conference in Lagos, said many experts have identified ranching as the solution to the perennial farmer-herder conflict. “Virtually the whole nation is screaming (that) we do not want any open cattle grazing. Whether they go by the name of cattle routes or grazing reserves,” Soyinka said..…READ MORE

“Buhari Is Chief Commandant Of Terrorists, He Sits And Eats With Them”— Nigerian Cleric Says
The Senior Pastor of Awaiting The Second Coming Of Christ Ministry, Adewale Giwa, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as the chief commandant of terrorists Giwa, in a statement on Monday, alleged that the President is against the progress of Nigeria and that he sits and eats with terrorists. Giwa said, “The enemies of Nigeria are shying away from what can permanently solve the challenges facing the country. Why do they think they can have us under control? No, impossible! .…READ MORE
Kidnappers Invade Kogi Church, Abduct Members
Three members of the Living Faith Church Worldwide have been kidnapped at Osara community along the Lokoja-Okene road in Adavi Local Government Council of Kogi State. Daily Trust learnt that the kidnapers invaded the church when some of its members were rehearsing during the weekend. It was gathered that the kidnappers shot sporadically into the air to scare away residents and security personnel while whisking the victims into the forest……READ MORE


65 Bethel Baptist Students Still In Captivity As 15 Regain Freedom
There is a relief for the families of 15 students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, after their release from captivity on Saturday night, but not so for 65 others who are still in the kidnappers’ den. They had been abducted from their school on July 15, 2021 by bandits. Kaduna State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend John Joseph Hayab, who confirmed their release, said the students will be handed to their families without fanfare. He said, “We thank God another set of 15 students have been released and will be handed over to their parents without any ceremony,” he said. “We have learnt our lesson from the experience of the last release of 28 of the abducted students. It turned out to be that of mixed feelings, particularly for those whose children are still in captivity.

Plateau Killings: ASUU decries regular attacks on students, staff of UniJos
The University of Jos chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has decried what it calls consistent attacks and killing of students and members of staff of the university during most civil unrest in Jos, where it is located. The Chairman of ASUU in the university, Lazarus Maigoro, who also condemned the recent violence in Jos and environs, said this in a statement on Sunday in Jos. The chairman, who described the recent attacks on students of the university as “sad and unfortunate”, wondered why the institution, which is a citadel of learning, had remained a major target for criminals during every unrest in Jos.
Southern Kaduna Senator condemns Zango Kataf attack, killing of 15 persons
The Senator representing Kaduna South, Danjuma La’ah, has condemned the killing of 15 persons by suspected bandits at Ungwan Doo Village, an extension of the Mabushi community, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Recall that bandits stormed the community with weapons on Saturday night and killed scores of people, burnt several houses and wounded many others. The bandits upon sighting troops ran into the bush. In a statement on Monday morning, Senator La’ah said the bandits invaded the village in the early hours of Sunday, in large numbers, shooting sporadically. According to him, they burnt four houses and left 15 people dead, mostly women and children, who were running for safety. .…READ MORE

Chibok schoolgirl freed in Nigeria seven years after Boko Haram kidnap, governor says
One abducted girl from the Nigerian town of Chibok has been freed and reunited with her parents seven years after Boko Haram militants kidnapped her and more than 200 of her classmates, Borno state’s governor said on Saturday. The raid on the school in the north-eastern town one night in April 2014 sparked an international outcry and a viral campaign on social media with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. Governor Babagana Zulum said the girl and someone she said she married during her captivity surrendered themselves to the military 10 days ago. Zulum said government officials had used the time since to identify her and contact her parents. About 270 girls were originally abducted by the Islamist group but 82 were freed in 2017 after mediation, adding to 24 who were released or found. A few others have escaped or been rescued, but about 113 of the girls are believed to be held still by the militant group.…READ MORE
Nigeria experiencing religious genocide under Buhari –Report
A newly-launched joint report by the International Committee on Nigeria and the International Organisation for Peace Building and Social Justice has asserted that Nigeria is currently experiencing genocide, describing the nation as “a failed state.” The report, titled, “Nigeria’s Silent Slaughter,” stated that no fewer than 43,242 Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State insurgents while 18,834 others lost their lives in the hands of killer Fulani herdsmen over a 20-year period. It added that 34,233 other Nigerians met their deaths through extrajudicial killings by other actors, including the police, military and others. The report lamented what it described as the “breakdown of the rule of law, spiraling violence, atrocities against targeted religious groups and innocent civilians and the apparent impunity of the perpetrators” in Nigeria. According to the report, the combination of these factors contributed to transform Nigeria into “largely a failed state and regional epicentre for terrorism.” The authors of the report added that their assertion found support in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide.…READ MORE
Bethel Baptist students: Parents raise alarm over fate of 80 victims still in captivity
Parents of the abducted Bethel Baptist High school, Kaduna are confused and helpless on the continued captivity of their children in the hands of their abductors. Recall that in the early hours of Monday. 5th July, 2021, bandits stormed Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna and abducted 121 students of the school. Some students of the school have regained their freedom while others ran away and another set, freed on health ground. DAILY POST reliably gathered that at least, 80 students are still in the hands of their abductors, while about N60 million has been spent as ransom by parents in getting the release of some of the students. However, the state chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. John Joseph Hayab, in an interview with Reuters, explained that the bandits are now asking each parent to pay N1 million on the 80 remaining student under their care, making it a total of N80 million as ransom for their release. One of the parents of the abducted students who pleaded anonymity said it is the parents of the school that are facing the heat of students’ abductions in the state.…READ MORE

Nigeria has highest number of child trafficking, sex slavery victims in Africa, IOM raises alarm
IOM’s Chief of Mission in Nigeria Frantz Celestin made the call in a message to commemorate the 2021 International Day Against Trafficking in Persons which is celebrated on July 30. Mr Celestin also charged the United Nations community and other stakeholders to support similar action. According to him, Nigeria’s role is very crucial considering that it accounts for the highest number of trafficked victims in Africa, and also serves as a transit and destination country. He said a 2018 Walk Free Foundation report had estimated that more than million people were living in modern slavery in Nigeria, with most of them being victims of domestic trafficking. He added that criminals of such a highly profitable business model had devised ways to cover their tracks and increase gains, thus underscoring the need for the right actions to be taken. For the UN representative, top on the list of actions that could help curb the menace is to give voice to victims and survivors, a charge which he said resonated with the theme of the 2021 commemoration: “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way”.…READ MORE
Four killed, 10 houses burnt in fresh Plateau attack
Residents of Nche-Tahu community in Bassa Local Council of Plateau State were, on Friday, thrown into mourning, following gunmen’s attack, which left three persons dead. Also, 10 houses were set ablaze in the early morning attack. Similarly, The Guardian also learnt that one person was shot dead in another attack, which occurred in Gwa Rim community in Riyom Local Council of the state same day. The Publicity Secretary of the Miango Youth Development Association, Nuhu Bitrus, who confirmed the Bassa killings, gave the names of the victims as Timothy Yakubu, Audu Dara, and Irimia David. According to him, two other persons identified as Francis Ayuba and Anah Dick, who sustained gunshot injuries, were rushed to Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH). Bitrus said: “It was last night that the gunmen attacked Nche–Tahu community in Miango, Bassa Local Council. They killed three of our people and injured two others. Ten houses were burnt in the same Nche- Tahu Village and valuable items, including domestic animals were carted away by suspected Fulani herdsmen.”.…READ MORE
How kidnap-for-ransom became the “most lucrative industry in Nigeria”
Since December, more than 1,000 Nigerian students and staff have been abducted and held for ransom by criminal gangs in the dense forests of the country’s remote northwest. These gangs, locally called bandits, have been operating in northwestern Nigeria for more than a decade, but when they were infiltrated by members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in December, the abductions and violence escalated. There are still 300 students who have not been returned to their families. Earlier this month, officials in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna took the drastic step of suspending all schooling out of concern for students’ safety. So why do these mass abductions keep happening? Well, for starters, “kidnap-for-ransom is the most lucrative industry in Nigeria today,” Bulama Bukarti, senior analyst in the extremism policy unit of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, said. Not only has Bukarti studied violent extremist groups in sub-Saharan Africa, including Boko Haram, for over a decade, he also hails from the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, just a mile away from where Boko Haram originated.…READ MORE


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