Top Stories This Morning

May 29 handover: Again, military warns saboteurs, Gowon counsels petitioners

The military has again warned against plans to sabotage the handover of power to the President-elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29. The high command said the armed forces were on standby and would ensure a smooth transition process scheduled to take place in 24 days.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Musa Danmadami handed down the warning on Thursday as a former military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, advised candidates challenging the outcomes of the last election to accept the court verdict.

Danmadami’s caution came a month after the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, vowed that the military would resist anything that would truncate democracy in the country.

Also, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, had threatened to crack down on potential threats to national security and warned the Indigenous People of Biafra, Eastern Security Network and other fringe groups not to test the will of the military.

Some aggrieved candidates had kicked against the planned inauguration of the president-elect and called for the interim national government but addressing defence correspondents at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Danmadami stated that the military would ensure that the inauguration was not derailed.


Source: Punch



Escape From Sudan: Gunshots everywhere, we thought we’d never return home — Returnees

It was wild jubilation as 376 Nigerians, the first batch of evacuees from war-torn Sudan, arrived in Nigeria late Wednesday night. The returnees, who were first evacuated to Egypt, touched down at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja about 11.30p.m., and 11.54p.m., respectively and were received by aides of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Faruk, officials of the National Emergency Management Agency and Nigeria in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, among others.

Others were the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Nasir Gwarzo; Director General, National Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Habib; and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa. The returnees were airlifted back by Air Peace, which brought back 282 persons and C-130 aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, 94 returnees.

The evacuees had encountered numerous encumbrances following stringent formalities issued by the Egyptian authorities to enable their airlift back to Nigeria. Vanguard had earlier reported that the Federal Government’s plan to evacuate Nigerians from Sudan was almost completely ruined when more Nigerians smuggled themselves onto the flights.


Our ordeals

Evacuees, who spoke to Vanguard at the airport, said they experienced sporadic gunfire and thought they would not see another day in Nigeria. Among them is a 32-year-old woman, Zainab Haruna, who said she had lost hope of survival in Sudan, adding that she went incommunicado and without water for days. “My experience in Sudan was horrible. Things were going fine, although we had rumours of a looming crisis but we didn’t take it seriously, only to wake up to gunshots and people running everywhere to save their lives,” she said.

Another returnee, Clement Mustapha, had arrived Sudan to study for a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Studies, a few weeks before the war started. Mustapha said Sudan was like hell for him, adding that at some point, he had to say his last prayers and waited for the worst to happen.


I said my last prayers and waited for death

His words: “Sudan currently is not where your worst enemy should be. Have you seen war movies and how terrible they are? We just went through that. I am sure some people here may end up using drugs to stabilise their mind because it was draining and scary. We spent days walking to safety, hiding and explaining ourselves to gunmen, whose minds are in their guns. We begged for water. There was no electricity to charge our phones, because there was tension everywhere. We trekked under the sun and I heard that some of our ladies were molested.”

I didn’t know I’d ever return to Nigeria

Also speaking, Margaret Dauda, while expressing gratitude to the Federal Government for coming through for them, said they had given up hope of returning to Nigeria. Her words: “Many other people from different countries are experiencing pain but I thank God for how Nigeria has come through for us because we literally saw the face of death in war. We saw a bullet. That’s something I have never seen or even heard before. “We woke up on Saturday morning with heavy bombings and fire everywhere. It was that bad. I don’t know how to describe it, it is something that we have not seen before, we only saw it in the movies.”


We were sexualy harrased, broke, stole to survive — students

Recounting their ordeals, some students among the returnees said that some females were sexually harassed and were so broke to the extent of picking things from shops and running away. A returnee female student told journalists on arrival that they faced humiliation and slept in the open. “We spent all the money we had. We were so hungry and thirsty. They were harassing us sexualy. There was no food, no water to drink. It got to the point we picked things from shops and ran away,” she said. Another female student told the BBC Hausa Service in an interview, that their legs were swollen due to long hours of stay in the buses.


Source: Vanguard