2023 census beyond population counting – NPC

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By Abbas Bamalli
National Population Commission (NPC) says the planned 2023 population and housing census is not only targeted at the number of people and houses in each locality but also, to measure citizens’ level of development.

NPC Coordinator in Katsina State, Alhaji Ishaq Lawal, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Katsina.

According to him, the 2023 planned exercise is coming with lots of unique features compared with the previous ones, one of which is to know the living conditions of Nigerians.

This, he said, would assist government in its planning for better life for the people.

“The series of questions to be asked during the exercise will determine how government will be able to know the situation of the people in order to provide more social amenities for them.

“It will also help in knowing how many people are sleeping at homes, their ages, gender and educational levels of people in some particular areas as well as what they are doing for survival and other things.

“Government will be able to know the level of development in every locality across the country.

“In fact, the census will tell us who we are and where we are going as a nation, and help our communities determine where to build schools, supermarkets and hospitals, among others.

“It will also help government in deciding how to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities.

“Its purpose is to gather information about the general population, the housing conditions as well as other demographic, social and economic characteristics,” Lawal said.

He said that the exercise would provide reliable, credible, acceptable and successful census so as to help government in its planning for development and in bolstering the social security programme for vulnerable Nigerians.

Lawal said that simple and straightforward questions would be asked, adding that there would be no questions on religion and ethnicity.

He further called on the people of Katsina who are eligible and interested in serving as NPC ad-hoc staff during the forthcoming exercise to apply online.

Lawal said that NPC officials, in collaboration with National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Katsina, recently carried out a sensitisation walk on the importance of the exercise. (NAN)

MEDIA ADOPTS NEW CO-REGULATION, CODE OF ETHICS 

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The Nigerian media industry has adopted the new co-regulation and code of ethics to address ethical and professional concerns in the industry.

The decision was reached at the end of a media roundtable organised on Monday, November 14 by the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) in conjunction with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP).

Media chiefs and operators at the roundtable also noted that the success of the co-regulation would be achieved via a workable enforcement mechanism.

To achieve co-regulation, the Nigeria Press Organisation (NPO) comprising NPAN, NGE, and NUJ, along with BON, would work together to make the co-regulation system effective, particularly through the establishment of the ombudsman at local and central levels.

This is contained in a communique issued at the end of the media roundtable convened within the context of the imperative of a strategic response to the challenge of institutionalizing self-regulatory mechanisms by the media for the media. 

The communique was jointly signed by the president, NPAN/NPO, Mal. Kabiru A. Yusuf, FNGE, president, NGE, Mustapha Isah, president, NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, MFR, president, GOCOP, Maureen Chigbo and the executive secretary, BON, Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose.  

The communique noted that efforts must be made to avoid the creation of bureaucratic structures that may have high-cost implications and therefore constitute obstacles to the efficient operation of the ombudsman.

The communique reads in part: “That sanctions for the violation of ethical codes and professional standards shall be determined by the Ombudsman, guided by the regulation.

“That media professional bodies and associations shall partner with media organisations to give wide publicity to the decisions of the Ombudsman,” the communique said.

On the revised Code of Ethics of Journalists in Nigeria, the communique noted that a bill of rights would be incorporated into the revised code to address concerns over some industry practices that tend to undermine the welfare and safety of journalists.

The communique also said: “That the revised code shall protect investigative journalism by making the public interest exception to instances where undercover methods may be used to obtain information.

“That the revised code shall distinguish between paid content and editorial content to preserve editorial integrity; and a new clause would be inserted to obligate journalists to promote the right of the people to know, freedom of the press and responsibility.” 

The roundtable had two technical sessions in which presentations were made on “Pathway to Co-regulation through an Ombudsman Framework”.

Speaking at the event, the Editor-in-Chief/Senior Vice Chairman of LEADERSHIP  Group Limited, Mr Azu ISHIEKWENE, based his presentation on the report of the committee of the NPO comprising NPAN, NGE and NUJ instituted in May 2021. 

The committee was mandated to develop a framework for a generally acceptable, workable, and trusted self-regulatory platform for the industry, both at the local and central levels. 

The second presentation was on “A Guide through the Revised Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists” by the editor-in-chief, Diamond Publications/founder of the Diamond Awards For Media Excellence (DAME) Trust Fund, Mr Lanre IDOWU , FNGE. 

The revision of the existing code was predicated on the observation that the existing 1998 code is “outdated, not robust enough, (and) too general in nature.”

The committee was mandated to develop a framework for a generally acceptable, workable, and trusted self-regulatory platform for the industry, both at the local and central levels.

The round table is coming against the background of attacks on press freedom and media independence including through legislation by the government following the wrong perception that the media is unwilling to regulate itself; the poor state of compliance with ethical and professional standards by some journalists and editors; and the pollution of the information sphere by disinformation and misinformation.

The aim of the roundtable, supported by Daria Media and the MacArthur Foundation, was to obtain media stakeholders’ buy-in of the Ombudsman framework and the revised Code of Ethics of Journalists in Nigeria. 

The roundtable was well attended by eminent media-industry leaders.

Signed

FEYI SMITH

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

UBTH, NLNG Unveil $500,000 15-Bed ICU Center

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The University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) in collaboration with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) have commissioned a 15-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for patients seeking care at the hospital.

Commissioning the project in Benin, UBTH Chief Medical Director, Darlington Obaseki, said the facility consist of anti microbial epoxy coating, central monitoring system, oxygen alarming system, ventilators, infusion pumps among others.

According to him, the project was part of the Nigeria LNG hospital’s support programme geared towards reducing the healthcare challenges of patients in critical conditions.

“We are one of the busiest hospitals in this country. Every week, we see close to 6,000 patients in a week; every week, we admit about 450 patients and we see about 430 emergencies in this hospital.While noting that the ICU would complement the existing seven-bed ICU in catering for the hospital’s growing numbers of patients, Obaseki explained that the initiative followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with NLNG.

Obaseki however commended the LNG for the project which he said would open up more space to accommodate more physically ill patients.

“When the opportunity came for us to benefit from the Nigeria LNG hospital support programme, they asked us to identify a problem, we offered that we wanted our ICU to be upgraded and expanded.”

On his part, NLG Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Philip Mshelbila, said the approved cost for the project was $500,000 per location while the entire programme cost $6 million.

Represented by the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Andy Odeh,, said the hospital support programme was conceived on the back of Covid-19 pandemic in order to reduce the pressure medical institutions would experience In managing ill patients.

“The program consists of health intervention projects across 12 federal university teaching hospitals in six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” he said.

I Will Use Oil Field In Gombe To Campaign For APC – Gov

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Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has said that he will use the oil field in the state to campaign for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Yahaya stated this during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

Earlier Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari kicked off the oil drill on Kolmani site in the north.

Kolmani OPLs 809 and 810 are located in Bauchi and Gombe states.

The governor added that the development was purely for business, and not politics.

He said, “Nobody can say this is because of politics. Several governments had past, but we can see the political benefit of it, no doubt; but this is not politics this is business.”

The governor stated that the state government was in talks with investors, saying the government was doing everything possible to improve the lives of the citizens of the state.

When asked if he would use the new oil field for campaign, Inuwa said, “Definitely why not? We take credit for the activities that are happening now because it happened under the leadership of Mr President, President Muhammadu Buhari. And myself and Buahri are all APC. Distinguish Senator (Ndume) is APC also. Why shouldn’t we take the political credit of it?”

Nigerians with expired passport can return home – NIS

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Tuesday said that Nigerians in the diaspora with expired passport would no longer require visas to visit home.

The Service, however, stated that they must show their expired Nigeria passport to ensure they were truly from Nigeria.

Mr Tony Akuneme, the NIS Public Relations Officer, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Akuneme was reacting to inquiries about the new visa policy of the Federal Government which said that Nigerians with dual citizenship don’t need visas to visit home.

“The status of the new policy is that Nigerians with dual citizenship are free to come to Nigeria but with their Nigeria passport even if it’s expired.

“You have to show that you are a Nigerian, that is why we say they can come with their expired passport. Dual citizenship means carrying two passports.

“Unlike before that when your passport is expired you will not be allowed to come to the country, now we can allow them to travel in with their expired Nigeria passport”, he said.

Akuneme further explained that although the essence was to allow them to return home, they will be required to renew their passport before returning to their destinations.

“The whole essence is that when they arrive, they must renew their Nigeria passport before going back,” the NIS spokesman added.

Ignore Wike’s group at your peril, Kwankwaso warns

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Presidential candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has warned that persons undermining the capability of Governor Nyesom Wike and his Integrity Group do so at their peril.

Kwankwaso spoke just as Wike, yesterday, pledged logistics support for his presidential pursuit.

They spoke at the inauguration of the Mgbuitanwo internal road in Emohua Council of the state, performed by Kwankwaso.

The governor, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, expressed concern that  the  diversity of the country had been  threatened by persons campaigning on ethnic and regional sentiments.

According to him, such parochial tendency will make Nigerians more divided along religious and ethnic lines than ever before.

He said: “It is not to say don’t vote for a Yoruba man, don’t vote for an Igbo man. That is not what we require in this country now; what we require is a man that will put Nigeria together. We, of integrity group, will continue to support whatever that is right, whatever will help this country.”

The governor explained that he tried in vain to persuade leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to allow Kwankwaso to leave the party because of the strategic importance of Kano State.

Performing the inauguration, Kwankwaso commended Wike for engaging Julius Berger Nigeria PLC to deliver the best quality of road in a rural community.

He described Wike as a leader, who loves his people and doing his best to better the lots of the people across the state, including the provision of quality educational infrastructure.

Kwankwaso stressed that those undermining the capability of the PDP G-5, particularly Wike are doing so at their peril politically because Rivers State, like Kano, and Lagos is critical to wining any election.

The NNPP presidential candidate stated that members of the Integrity Group, led by Wike, are good people and will continue to do the right thing and will be judged by posterity based on what they do.

Commissioner for Works, Dr. Dakorinima Alabo George-Kelly, said the Mgbuitanwo Internal Roads is 39,300 square metres, has 200 milimetres thickness, with 50 milimetres binder course, and fitted with streetlights and drains.

Regional Manager, South-South of Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Jergen Fitcher, said they had continued to deliver standard infrastructure in support of Wike’s development policy.

Buhari re-ignites politics of oil in North close to another election

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• Stakeholders demand transparency, accountability as NNPC spends state fund for exploration
• ‘There’s oil in Gongola basin, but one billion barrel elusive’

With 95 days to the 2023 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari, who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, is today returning with key members of his cabinet to Gongola Basin, bordering Bauchi and Gombe states to search for crude oil in a development that pits the politics of oil against the economics of hydrocarbon. He had done a similar thing close to the 2019 general elections.

Industry watchers believe that the development, if pegged on timing, transparency, accountability and global practices, show that President Buhari and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited will need to come clean, as most explorationists and geologists insist the development is buried in secrecy and against global practices.

Stakeholders who spoke to The Guardian noted that diversifying the country’s hydrocarbon sources, increasing existing reserves and boosting daily production remain sacrosanct even as the future of hydrocarbons faces pressure from climate change with a fast depleting funding options.

Coming as confusion persists over a one billion barrel crude oil initially said to be discovered in Kolmani well, some experts specifically noted that the return of President Buhari to the location was unnecessary, adding that a ground-breaking of a drilling activity, which would mark the second in the location should not require the presence of the President and his cabinet members.

This discovery and exploration of crude oil up North will be the first after an attempt in the Lake Chad, Borno region was aborted by insecurity.

Recall that in 2016, NNPC launched a search for oil in some Northern states. The search led to the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Bauchi, Gombe, Borno and Niger states.

In February 2019, President Buhari, flanked by the former and late Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, flagged off the Spud-In of Kolmani River 11 Well, where it was later announced about a year after that one billion barrels of crude oil was discovered.

Today’s return would mark the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Kolmani Oil Prospecting Licenses (OPLs) 809 and 810 at the Kolmani field site. The oil field is to be developed by an Indian oil firm, Sterling Global Oil, New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), which belongs to the 19 Northern states and NNPC.

While oil majors had ventured into the basins without success, activities came on stream across basins in the Northeast, especially Lake Chad and Gongola basin as soon as President Buhari returned for a second term in office but met with criticisms by stakeholders and civil society organisations.

The criticisms were not primarily against prospecting for crude oil but timing, political undertones, secrecy and the general handling of the plan.

Divergent opinions have trailed the search for hydrocarbon in the inland basins, with one of the primary worry being that, the Buhari-led administration is only focusing on exploring the basins, which are within Northern corridor as efforts have been within Chad basin and Gongola basin despite the insecurity at the detriment of others like Anambra basin and Benue Trough (which is segmented into Upper, Middle and Lower parts).

Another concern was that the process is clouded in secrecy under an NNPC, which had pledged to be transparent and accountable, and currently partnering the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to publish its spending on such activities.

Also, for most explorationists, the practices ought to be science-based, where results of findings are open and tested for global acceptability and further research, but NNPC’s Frontier Exploration Services (FES) have not been able to explain to geologists and researchers the breakthrough that led to its one billion crude oil discovery.

“Can someone discover a cure for HIV and hide the discovery? The person will be everywhere talking to researchers in the medical field. FES has not been able to explain to all of us who have been practicing in the industry for decades,” a source, who pleaded to remain anonymous, told The Guardian.

The source noted that while exploring for oil should be encouraged across all the inland basins, the current development has been politicised and compromised.

“What does the ground-breaking ceremony mean? What exactly is the activity going on there? Why does it require a whole President to do that? They have already told us that they have over a billion barrels discovered, which means they have appraised. Now they want to develop wells to bring it out.

“I do not think the President must be there since he had done the same ground-breaking of the first well in 2019. What should possibly take a whole President there again is when they want to build a refinery, gas processing plant or plant for oil and gas they discovered. This is political and possibly because of the election” the source said.

Respected energy expert, Henry Adigun noted that he had seen documents that supported that oil and gas exists in the basin but he was unsure of the commercial viability of the oil find.

Adigun noted however that a discovery of one billion barrels in the Gongola basin is more political than real, adding that he did not believe such volume of oil discovery in the region.

Insisting that the exploration may not be coming at the right time given the state of the oil market, Adigun stated that NNPC may need to become more transparent around the activities in the inland basins.

“There is oil there, that is what I can tell you. It may not be in commercial quantity but there is oil there. But looking at the oil market now, is it the best for us, may be no. The key thing is that the survey shows potential.

“Again, there must be clarity. There must be transparency on the why and what is going on there because now, NNPC is using government funds, which belong to the Nigerian state,” Adigun said.

Energy finance expert, Dan Kunle, noted that the move remained a good and long overdue development for the country, especially in strategically diversifying hydrocarbon base.

He noted that the inland basins should be explored for commercial reservoirs that would enable the country to not only have sweet crude but other blend of crude.

“We need strategic balance. The sweet crude has spoiled. If we find enough commercial oil and gas, we will plan what to do with it,” Kunle said.

According to him, the political decision being taken if it eventually leads to commercial discovery would be backed by calculated economic decisions.

Energy lawyer and former management staff at Shell, Ameh Madaki, said the secrecy surrounding the exploration and discovery of crude oil is something to worry about.

According to him, the development further heightens the concerns about opaqueness of the operations of NNPC.

“No serious minded oil and gas industry player believes in the viability of OPL 809 and 810, and in a post-Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) era, it is disheartening that the first commercial find by NNPC is a “quota system” discovery, to justify the frittering of NNPC profits on unviable frontier fields.

“It is obvious that it will take a long time for NNPC and the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria to be run on commercial terms. Geopolitics will continue to play a critical role, thereby making the passage of the PIA an exercise in futility,” Madaki stated.

Although the PIA created a fund where 30 per cent of NNPC profit is now going into frontier exploration, the over 40-year of spending, projected by some stakeholders to stand at above $3 billion has been kept away from the public.

Former President, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee, said the so-called frontier oil funding negates all business and ethical principles.

“Spending in searching for oil should be a risk by the oil company and not the government. Why wouldn’t the government also spend money to search for gold, for instance, in the Niger Delta region? The opaque nature of the spending for oil and gas in the North over these years speaks to its corrupt foundation,” he stated.

Partner at Nextier Group, Dr Ndu Nwokolo, said although the PIA led to the unbundling of NNPC, the change remained in name and a little in strategy and implementation.

“First, most of the core personnel are still there, and as it is said old habits die hard. It would be extremely difficult for NNPC to overnight change from its usual nature of not being open and overnight transform into a business that makes all its dealings open.

“There is a political economic angle to it. Is the government really willing to have a business cooperation that it has little control over, that is devoid of prebendalism and patrimonialism? Is the state ready to have a corrupt free cooperation with sound Nigerians who are dedicated to building an oil cooperation similar to what we have in other oil producing countries like us,” he noted.

Managing Partner, The Chancery Associates, Emeka Okwuosa, said the country has nothing to show for the years of exploration activities in the north.

At a time that the country is heavily indebted and struggling to survive, he expressed worries over what he described as a waste of the country’s scarce resource.

“Honestly, we need to prioritise on servicing existing oil infrastructure and refineries and encouraging the coming on stream of new refineries. We should discourage wasteful expenditure on unsubstantiated oil exploration. We need to be more prudent and imbibe the twin pillars of transparency and accountability. It is not by force we must discover oil in the North,” Okwuosa said.

ONGOING RECONSTRUCTION OF THE PROTOCOL LOUNGE OF THE MURTALA MOHAMMED AIRPORT, LAGOS

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In its bid to effect a complete makeover of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport at Ikeja, Lagos, do you know that the Buhari administration is now reconstructing the protocol lounge to give it a world class appearance?

During the inspection of the project by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu on the 5th of October 2022, it was noted that the reconstruction was going on at the required pace with many youths employed as skilled and unskilled workers.

ONGOING CONSTRUCTION OF NIGERIA’S DIGITAL INNOVATION CENTRE IN ABUJA

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To create a central hub for Nigeria’s seamless integration into the world’s digital economy, do you know that the Buhari administration is currently constructing a Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre in Abuja?

The centre, which will be operated by the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will serve as the focal point where all innovative ideas on digital technology from tech savvy Nigerians will be tested, harnessed, funded and integrated into the global market.

Airstrikes Kill Several Bandits, Destroy Camps In Kaduna, Zamfara

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The Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch has attacked bandits’ hideouts in Kidandan, Giwa LGA of Kaduna State, which has been confirmed as the hideout of a banditry kingpin, Alhaji Ganai.

Commissioner for Internal Security and Homes Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, on Sunday said several of the criminals were killed in the strike.

He explained that the hideout of a bandit, Ali Kawaje, in Birnin Gwari LGA was similarly destroyed, as well as those of Musa Pajelo and Kachalla Bello.

“Targets were also engaged and destroyed in Walawa area, Fadaman Kanauta and Kuduru. Bandits were sighted and neutralized in locations 4km southwest of Alhaji Ishiaka, 6km northeast of Maguzawa, and 2km west of Yelwa. Several bandits were sighted and neutralized at Dankero, Giwa LGA,” he said.

He added that areas covered in Chikun LGA included Gwagwada Forest, Kugosi, Godani, Twali, Gwagwada, Sarkin Pawa, Kabai, Kabusu Hills, Amara Hills, Sabon Gayan and Polewire.

He said an active location was engaged and destroyed about 4km south of Godani.

In another development, aircraft of the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has attacked the enclave of a notorious gun runner, Malam Ila, at Manawa Village in Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara State. A defence operative told PRNigeria that the gun runner was the major supplier of sophisticated weapons to the notorious terrorist, Bello Turji, in Zamfara. 

Another source told PRNigeria that Ila narrowly escaped but sustained critical injuries. 

When contacted, the NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the strikes and maintained that the military operations continued to curtail the excessess of bandits and terrorists  in the states. 

Meanwhile, bandits Saturday evening abducted 19 people, including three nursing mothers and their one-week-old babies, in Kobre community in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State.

Daily Trust reports that the abduction came barely 48 hours after more than 40 people were kidnapped from Kanwa village in the same LGA.

There lull after years of deadly attacks on communities in the local government but, in recent times, abductions and pockets of assault have resurfaced, leaving the residents apprehensive.

Residents fingered a banditry leader called Dankarami, who has been terrorising people in Zurmi-Birnin Magaji-Jibia axis in Zamfara and neighbouring Katsina states, as the mastermind.

“We were observing Ishai (night) prayer when suddenly we started hearing heavy gunfire from every angle of the community. We rushed out of the mosque and discovered that we were under siege by the armed criminals.

“Since it was dark, some of us managed to escape the assault. The armed men went from house to house, abducting whoever they found, including nursing mothers and children.

“Some of the residents who hid inside the surrounding bushes have started coming back home.

“We are pleading with the authorities to extend the military operations to our communities. More than 90 per cent of our farmlands have remained uncultivated for fear of abduction or killing,” one of the community leaders told Daily Trust.

Meanwhile, some locals have said they had started to witness intensive military operations in Bukkuyum-Gummi axis.

About 12 days ago, dozens of bandits were killed after days of military operation in a forest near a community called Gadar Zaima in Bukkuyum LGA of the state.

The successful operation, which led to the recovery of more than 100 motorcycles and about 600 cows, sparked jubilation across communities that have suffered a series of deadly raids and mass abductions.

The state commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara, said the security situation had significantly improved.

He said a survey conducted last week across the state showed that there had been little or no banditry activities in most of the LGAs of the state except for some isolated cases in parts of Bukkuyum, Gummi, Anka, Maru, Talata Mafara, Gusau and Maradun.

“The recent order by the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, to security agencies to decisively deal with bandits in the North West and Central states, coupled with the synergy amongst the security operatives have greatly helped in reducing the scale of the banditry in Zamfara State.

“The hitherto waves of attacks, killings, kidnappings and raping of women have drastically reduced and people are now seen carrying out their legitimate businesses in most parts of the state with relative ease, except those places mentioned above,” Dosara said in a statement.

Daily Trust