A convoy carrying Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, came under fire from militants last week, forcing him to cut short a trip to the northern town of Malam Fatori, Reuters reported citing unnamed military and security sources. The attack, which raises questions about the governor’s pledge to close displaced person camps and send those in them back to their villages, took place on Thursday, the sources said. “Troops battled for nearly an hour,” one military source said, adding that all those in the convoy laid on the ground during the fighting. Malam Fatori sits near the border with neighbouring Niger. Spokespeople for Zulum and for the military did not respond to requests for comment. Zulum said earlier this month that he would shut the camps that hold thousands of internally displaced persons in the state capital, Maiduguri, by the end of the year, citing improved security. Borno is the centre of Nigeria’s 12-year battle against Islamist insurgents, including Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province. The fighting has killed nearly 350,000 people and displaced millions more, according to United Nations Development Programme estimates.
A former President of the Senate, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, has emerged as the new National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party. Senator Ayu, a consensus candidate for the position, took over the leadership of the main opposition party alongside 20 others elected into various positions within the PDP National Working Committee. The new set of leaders were elected at the party’s national convention which began on Saturday and lasted till the early morning of Sunday. Hundreds of party delegates participated in the election of the new national officers at Eagle Square in Abuja. According to Adamawa Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, who announced the results of the elections, “Very significantly is for me to have the privilege as the Chief Returning Officer of the 2021 PDP National Convention Election Chairman to announce and declare His Excellency, Senator (Dr) Iyorchia Ayu as duly elected and returned National Chairman of our great party.” Shortly after he was announced as the new chairman, Senator Ayu said “When we started this party 23 – 24 years ago, we never in any way imagined that the journey will get us to this stage – a stage where we ruled for 16 years, we went into rough times but for anybody who will bother to see, PDP is back. He added that the party “is back to rescue Nigeria from the terrible mess we have been in the last six years. I want to appreciate all of you who have taken time as delegates, as observers, as supporters, as members of the media, as members of the security services, who have made this event such a wonderful event.” Following the crisis that rocked the Uche Secondus led National Working Committee of the party, the PDP had announced a special convention to elect a set of new national officers. This decision by the party, however, did not go well with Secondus – the suspended PDP National Chairman – who believes the conduct of the convention will abruptly end his tenure that is due to expire in December. He, thereafter, went ahead to file an application at the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to stop the PDP from proceeding with the convention as planned, as part of the processes in the ongoing litigation over his suspension from the party. But Secondus lost the bid to stop the convention from taking place as the ruling delivered by the appellate court on Thursday clear the coast for the party to go on with the exercise. He vowed to challenge the ruling. While Bayelsa State Governor served as the Co-Chairman of the PDP National Convention Election, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is the Secretary.
About 18,524 disengaged workers withdrew ₦9.45 billion from their Retirement Savings Accounts with the Pension Fund Administrators between January and June this year, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) said on Friday in its quarterly report titled, ‘Withdrawal due to temporary loss of employment.’ The report revealed that during the first quarter of 2021, “The commission granted approval for the payment of ₦5.02 billion to 10,619 RSA holders under the age of 50 years, who were disengaged from work and unable to secure jobs within four months. It added that in the second quarter of the year, “The commission approved the payment of ₦4.43 billion to 7,906 RSA holders under the age of 50 years, who were disengaged from work and unable to secure jobs within four months.” According to the Pension Reform Act 2014, employees who either left or lost their jobs and could not get another paid employment after four months could access 25 per cent of the balance in their Retirement Savings Accounts. PenCom said its efforts to enhance compliance with the Contributory Pension Scheme during the second quarter saw it hold sensitisation workshops, capacity-building programmes and stakeholder engagement meetings in Bayelsa, Edo, Kwara Ondo and Osun.
Unidentified armed men killed five police officers in an attack on security forces in northern Burkina Faso in the early hours of Sunday, in which around 15 of the attackers died, the security ministry said in a statement. The incident occurred in Sourou province in the borderlands near Mali, where Islamist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have increased attacks in recent years despite international efforts to stamp them out. The attackers struck at 5 a.m. and around 15 of them were killed in the ensuing fight, the ministry said. Islamist attacks have surged across Africa’s Sahel region, killing thousands and driving millions from their homes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. About 1.2 million people have been displaced by the violence in Burkina Faso alone.