The Nigerian Army on Tuesday said four passengers were killed and six others wounded when Boko Haram insurgents attacked travelers on Banki-Maiduguri road.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Kukasheka, who disclosed this in a statement issued in Maiduguri, however, said troops had killed countless number of the insurgents in a gun duel.
Kukasheka said that two members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and six soldiers on escort duty sustained injuries during the attack.
He said that one of the vehicles conveying the passengers hit an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted on the road, adding that the blast killed some of the passengers and injured others.
He said the troops engaged the insurgents in heavy fire fight as result of which one of them detonated the IED strapped to his body and killed himself, while several other insurgents escaped with gunshot wounds.
The Army spokesman noted that the attack was coordinated by the insurgents to deter troops’ movement on the road.
According to him, the troops recovered dead bodies of the insurgents and ammunition from the scene of the attack.
“Troops of 152 Battalion, 21 Brigade Nigerian Army on Operation LAFIYA DOLE on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017; encountered suspected Boko Haram terrorists ambush along Banki- Bula Yobe Road in Bama Local Government Area of Borno while on escort duty of some civilians from Banki to Maiduguri.
“Although the troops successfully cleared the ambush after a heavy fire fight, regrettably 4 persons lost their lives when their vehicle stepped on a buried Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the road.
“Similarly, twelve persons comprising 6 soldiers, 2 Civilian JTF and 6 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) sustained various degrees of injury.
“The terrorists who laid an IED on the road to deter troop’s movement had among them a suicide bomber who could not bear the troops heavy volume of fire which made the terrorist to detonate the explosive killing only himself.
“The Troops displayed high level of gallantry by swiftly engaging the terrorists which neutralised the large number of the terrorists while some of them escaped with gunshot wounds.
“During the exploitation process, they also discovered bodies of some of the Boko Haram terrorists and recovered 2 Fabrique Nationale Rifle magazines, 50 Belted 7.62mm special and a Detonating Cord 33 used by the terrorists in detonating Improvised Explosive Device”.
Kukasheka said the wounded soldiers were evacuated by a Nigerian Air Force helicopter to the 7 Division Hospital and Medical Services for treatment.
Bill To Strip The President Of Powers To Order For Forfeiture Of Assets Of Accused Persons, Scales Second Reading
A bill seeking to strip the president of the powers to order for forfeiture of assets of accused persons has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.
The discretionary power previously granted to the president to order for forfeiture of assets was on Thursday, July 2, transferred to the judges of a High Court.
The bill, which was passed in plenary, yesterday, July 2, is sponsored by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Ahmed Wase and is entitled “a bill for an act to amend the currency conversion (freezing orders) act cap. C.43, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to give discretionary powers to the judge of a High Court, to order forfeiture of assets of affected persons and for related matters.”
Presenting the bill, the deputy speaker said, “It is noteworthy that the provision for forfeiture in our laws is geared towards ensuring that persons found guilty of offenses do not benefit from the proceeds of those offences.”
He said the discretionary power previously granted to the president by the Principal Act is hereby being replaced by that of a High Court Judge to bring it in line with the spirit of the constitution.
Wase argued that the provision, which vest in the president the power to order forfeiture of property (both movable or immovable) “is not in spirit with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and hence the need for its amendment.
“Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees the fundamental right of individuals to movable and immovable properties, which shall not be deprived except in specified circumstances which include the ‘imposition of penalties or forfeiture for the breach of any law whether under any civil process or after conviction for an offence’. (S. 44 (2) (c).
“Mr Speaker, colleagues, it is our submission that such breach, can only be determined by the judge of a court and should never be at the discretion of the president.
“It is further noted that the discretion of the president to order the forfeiture of property of an accused person can be subjected to executive abuses and recklessness. Section 9 in the Principal Act does not provide any mechanism (whether legal or administrative) through which the President may exercise this power. Instead the power is left solely at the discretion of the President.
“In a country that has witnessed reckless abuse of political and administrative powers, it will be dangerous to allow such unchecked arrogation of powers to determine the forfeiture of a person’s properties.”
“Such discretion to be exercised by the president can be contrary to the natural doctrine of fair trial as it amounts to the executive being a prosecutor and a ‘Judge’ in its own case.
“This negates the spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) specifies the conditions under which a person can be deprived of movable or immovable properties and that is: ‘under any civil or after conviction for an offence’ after a fair trial.
“The president cannot therefore, usurp the powers of the courts for such will run foul of the doctrine of Separation of Powers.
“Vesting in the president the power to make forfeiture order smack of the era of military dictatorship where the Head of State and Head of the Supreme Military Council and unilaterally order the forfeiture of properties of persons without recourse to any judicial mechanism. This cannot be allowed to exit in a democracy. I therefore urge you all to support this amendment bill.”
NCDC Blames Youths For Rapid COVID-19 Spread In The Country
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has blamed youths for the rapid COVID-19 spread in the country.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the NCDC Director-General stated this during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday, July 2, in Abuja.
He said youths between the ages of 20 and 40 were responsible for the spread of COVID-19, while the majority of those who succumb to the killer disease are older people from 50 years and above.
He said, “As more people are infected across the world, you would have seen the numbers; it is increasingly obvious that transmission among younger people really, not children, but people aged between 20 and 40 as far as we know, are really driving the spread of this virus, but those that are bearing the brunt of it are people age 50 and above.
“Three out of five people who died from COVID-19 are 50 years and above; so we have to work harder, all of us collectively, to protect our elderly. We are on the verge of opening our airports, we have relaxed intercity travel.”
As of July 2, there are 27,110 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country. 10,801 patients have been discharged and 616 deaths have been recorded.
US COVID-19 Assistance To Nigeria Hits N15.5 Billion
The United States’ COVID-19 emergency aid to Nigeria rose to 41.3 million dollars (N15.5 billion) as of Thursday, according to the Department of State.
This represents an additional 11.3 million dollars (N4.2 billion) compared with the 30 million dollars (N11.2 billion) assistance to Nigeria announced by the U.S. in May.
In a statement on Thursday, the department said the amount was part of a 1.3 billion dollar (N488.8 billion) COVID-19 aid so far announced by the government for 120 countries.
It gave a breakdown of Nigeria’s share to include 3.3 million dollars (N1.2 billion) for health assistance.
According to the statement, 34 million dollars (N12.7 billion) is meant for “humanitarian funding for risk-communications, water and sanitation, infection-prevention, coordination and emergency food assistance”.
It added that 4.1 million dollars or N1.5 billion is reserved for humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people, including internally displaced persons.
“This assistance joins more than 8.1 billion dollars (N3 trillion) in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years, including more than 5.2 billion dollars (N1.9 trillion) for health”, it said.
The department said the total 1.3 billion dollar package was in addition to not less than 100 billion dollars (N37.6 trillion) in global health funding by the U.S. in the last 10 years.
It added that the country had also dished out nearly 70 billion dollars (N26.3 trillion) in “overseas humanitarian assistance” within the period.
As of Tuesday, Nigeria had 26,484 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 603 deaths and 10,152 recoveries, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
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