We’ll starve schoolboys to death – Niger abductors

Abductors of the 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, have threatened to starve them to death if the ransom they are demanding is not paid on time.

One of the abductors stated this in an audio recording made available to one of our correspondents on Wednesday by a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi.

In the audio recording, the abductor, who spoke in Hausa, was heard conversing with a negotiator, identified by Gumi as a top official of the school.

He rejected N2.7m offered him as ransom for the 27 abductees.

The bandit stated, “I don’t have food for them. If anybody dies among them, we will tell you where to go and pick the corpse.

“You know these children are hungry. I don’t have food to give them, only water if they are going to die, let them die.”

The negotiator said it would be difficult for him to get the phone numbers of all the parents as requested by the bandits.

The bandit responded that he was aware that many security agents and vehicles had been deployed in Kagara, vowing they would not succeed in rescuing the abductees.

He asked, “You think I don’t know what you people are doing? I can tell you how many security vehicles are in Kagara as we speak.

“It is with the help of the people of the city that intruders can overrun the city. Don’t you know that? The person who gave us this business is there among you. He is there with you. Wherever you go, he is watching you. If you want to do this deal, go ahead. From God we come and to him we will return

“Even if you put together the entire security forces of Nigeria in Kagara, I have eyes all over Kagara. Whichever step you take in Nigeria, I swear, I will know. You people are saying they should not pay us, that if they pay us, we will use to money to buy weapons.With whose money did we buy our weapons? If we don’t have weapons, you will just send security agents to kill us and take the children.”

Appealing to the bandit, the negotiator stated, “They (parents) have agreed to pay N2.7m. Each parent will pay N100,000 .”

But the abductor rejected the offer threatening to unleash terror on Kagara.

The abductor stated, “If I want Kagara to be in peace, it will be in peace. If it is not going to be in peace, it will go in pieces from here until Ilorin. If I die in this process, I have children that I have instructed that if I die that I don’t want Kagara to be peaceful if you don’t do as I say. Even if I die, nobody will come into Kagara.”

He also berated governors, who said they should not be paid ransom.

He added, “Governors are saying we should not be given money because we are going to use it to buy guns; guns that Allah provides and you are boasting about.

Niger won’t know peace until it disbands vigilantes, abductor vows

“In all of your (Niger State) madness, you are not up to Zamfara. It was compelled to accept our terms and talk less of small fries like you. You see, if you want to seek peace, seek peace and if you don’t stop the activities of vigilantes in Niger you will not know peace forever.”

“Your deploying security officials in Kagara is a waste of time. Is there a fence in this forest? You know we are not in the cities, we are in the forest.”

Appealing to the bandit further, the negotiator stated, “I pray that you assist me the way Allah has helped you. In fact, one of the parents has been on admission in hospital since the abduction.”

Gumi, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said efforts were being intensified to identify the group holding the victims.

He said he had an audio recording of a conversation between the abductors and a top official of the school.

Gumi stated, “There is a crisis really. The abductor is saying he cannot feed the victims and he’s demanding money. He’s saying the money (they are offering) is too small for him.”

Asked on what happened to the negotiation between the bandits and the government, the cleric said, “There was never any negotiation. The bandits we met said they knew the group that took the bus (which carried the victims), but they did not know the ones who took the children. They said they would investigate and call us.”

Efforts to get the state government’s reaction to the audio recording on the negotiation did not succeed as the Commissioner for Information, Sani Idris, did not pick calls to his telephone nor responded to an SMS sent to him.

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Five People Arrested Over The Death Of Four Officers In Calabar | Akahi News

Five People Arrested Over The Death Of Four Officers In Calabar

The Cross River State Commissioner of police, Sikiru Akande has revealed that 5 persons were now in their custody following the killing of four police officers in the early hours of Thursday along with MCC -Idungdung road, Etab Ayip axis, Calabar Municipality Local Government Area.

Akande who also confirmed the incident in his office to Journalists said that the four policemen on mufti were killed and that five persons have been arrested already in connection with the tragic killing.

He said:” Their target is to dampen our spirit. But we are resolute and we are going to strike back at them. It is often said, he who laughs last laughs best; Let Cross River People wait for that last laugh. It will make us happier.”

“We have arrested five persons who are connected with the development. We will still arrest more. We had an inkling that it is a group of suspected cultists that are working hard to get weapons for their initiation that is coming up very soon. So, in four days maximum, we will get all of those involve in this dastardly act,” Akande said.

Speaking further, Akande that the Police has recovered some of the weapons that were taken at the spot.

He also revealed that the checkpoint that was attacked was not known to the State Police command headquarters.

His words: “If it was known to us we would have found a way of giving them cover. That checkpoint is not this Command’s arrangement. If you were there you will see that they were in mufti.”

“By God’s Grace, we will get all our guns back. It is only the lives we will not get back. For the names of the officers, we have to inform the family first before making the names public.

“I want to assure you that our spirit is not dampened. In fact, we are going to continue to work very hard after the incident,” Akande assured.

Vanguard learned that two guns were carted away by the gunmen while two were also recovered by the police.

Source:- Vanguard

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Facebook Pledges $1 Bn In News Investments Over 3 Years | How Africa News

Facebook on Wednesday pledged to invest at least $1 billion to support journalism over the next three years as the social media giant defended its handling of a dispute with Australia over payments to media organizations.

Nick Clegg, head of global affairs, said in a statement that the company stands ready to support news media while reiterating its concerns over mandated payments.

“Facebook is more than willing to partner with news publishers,” Clegg said after Facebook restored news links as part of a compromise with Australian officials.

“We absolutely recognize quality journalism is at the heart of how open societies function — informing and empowering citizens and holding the powerful to account.”

Facebook and Google have both devoted money to supporting journalism in the past, citing its critical role in democracies.

Clegg defended the California titan in a blog post titled “The Real Story of What Happened With News on Facebook in Australia.”

The social media platform came under fire after it blanked out the pages of media outlets for Australian users and blocked them from sharing any news content, rather than submit to the proposed legislation.

Clegg contended in his post that at the heart of the controversy is a misunderstanding about the relationship between Facebook and news publishers.

News groups share their stories at the social network, or make them available for Facebook users to share with features such as buttons designed into websites, Clegg noted.

Facebook drove some 5.1 such “free referrals” to Australian news publishers last year, worth an estimated 407 million Australian dollars, according to Clegg.

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“The assertions — repeated widely in recent days — that Facebook steals or takes original journalism for its own benefit always were and remain false,” Clegg said.

“We neither take nor ask for the content for which we were being asked to pay a potentially exorbitant price.”

‘Erred’ enforcement

Clegg said that to comply with the law as originally proposed in Australia, “Facebook would have been forced to pay potentially unlimited amounts of money to multi-national media conglomerates under an arbitration system that deliberately misdescribes the relationship between publishers and Facebook.”

He maintained that in blacking out all news in the country, “we erred on the side of over-enforcement” and acknowledged that “some content was blocked inadvertently” before being restored.

After two decades of light-touch regulation, tech giants such as Google and Facebook are coming under increased government scrutiny.

In Australia, regulators have zeroed in on their online advertising dominance and its impact on struggling news media.

According to Australia’s competition watchdog, for every $100 spent on online advertising, Google captures $53, Facebook takes $28 and the rest is shared among others.

To level the playing field, Australia wants Google and Facebook to pay for using expensive-to-produce news content in their searches and feeds.

“It is understandable that some media conglomerates see Facebook as a potential source of money to make up for their losses, but does that mean they should be able to demand a blank check?” Clegg asked rhetorically.

“It’s like forcing car makers to fund radio stations because people might listen to them in the car — and letting the stations set the price.”

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee recently warned that introducing the precedent of charging for links could open a Pandora’s Box of monetary claims that would break the internet.

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Ransom: Kagara schoolchildren’s abductors threaten to starve them to death

The abductors of 27 schoolchildren, 3 staff, and 12 family members at Government Science College (GSC), Kagara in Niger State have threatened to starve them to death if their ransom demands were not met.

Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has been involved in efforts to free the victims, made available an audio recording of one of the abductors issuing the threat on Wednesday, The Punch reported.

The audio recording was said to have been of one of the bandits negotiating with a top official of the school.

According to the conversation conducted in Hausa language, the bandit rejected the sum of N2.7 million ransom offered for the release of the 27 students.

“I don’t have food for them. If anybody dies among them, we will tell you where to go and pick the corpse.

“You know these children are hungry. I don’t have food to give them, only water if they are going to die, let them die,” the bandit said.

The negotiator however said it was difficult for him to get the telephone numbers of the parents of the abductees as requested by the abductors.

Responding, the bandit explained that despite heavy deployment of security forces in Kagara, they would not succeed in rescuing the victims.

The bandits said they would be difficult to catch because of a network of informants giving them information on the movement of the security forces.

“You think I don’t know what you people are doing? I can tell you how many security vehicles are in Kagara as we speak.

“It is with the help of the people of the city that intruders can overrun the city. Don’t you know that? The person who gave us this business is there among you. He is there with you. Wherever you go, he is watching you. If you want to do this deal, go ahead. From God we come and to him we will return

“Even if you put together the entire security forces of Nigeria in Kagara, I have eyes all over Kagara. Whichever step you take in Nigeria, I swear, I will know. You people are saying they should not pay us, that if they pay us, we will use to money to buy weapons. With whose money did we buy our weapons? If we don’t have weapons, you will just send security agents to kill us and take the children,” the bandit said.

The negotiator then informed the bandit that the parents of the abducted children have raised N2.7 million, amounting to N100,000 per student.

However, the bandit rejected the offer, saying that, “If I want Kagara to be in peace, it will be in peace. If it is not going to be in peace, it will go in pieces from here until Ilorin. If I die in this process, I have children that I have instructed that if I die that I don’t want Kagara to be peaceful if you don’t do as I say. Even if I die, nobody will come into Kagara.”

He further berated the governors that have advised against paying ransom to the bandits.

“Governors are saying we should not be given money because we are going to use it to buy guns; guns that Allah provides and you are boasting about.

“In all of your (Niger State) madness, you are not up to Zamfara. It was compelled to accept our terms and talk less of small fries like you. You see, if you want to seek peace, seek peace and if you don’t stop the activities of vigilantes in Niger you will not know peace forever.

“Your deploying security officials in Kagara is a waste of time. Is there a fence in this forest? You know we are not in the cities, we are in the forest,” the bandit boasted.

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