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General News of Friday, 19 February 2021

Source: Punch

Govs pledge to compensate farmers, herdsmen clashes’ victims

State governors have agreed to compensate victims of herders/farmers’ clashes in the various states.

The agreement was reached at a meeting of the National Economic Council held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

The council has all state governors, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor and relevant ministers as members.

The decision to pay compensation was contained in the communiqué read by Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, when he briefed State House correspondents alongside his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu.

Abiodun noted those who suffered losses in targeted attacks must be made to have a sense of compensation.

He also said the council resolved that there must be public condemnation of hatred against minority groups, as it advised that members of non-indigenous groups should be incorporated into local security groups.

Abiodun stated, “The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State updated the council on the security situation and community policing as follows.

“He stressed the importance of the protection of all residents of all states, including non-indigenous communities and religious and ethnic minorities within state jurisdictions.

“He stressed the need for the arrest and prosecution of all perpetrators of crime.

“It was agreed that in collaboration with federal authorities, the reconstruction of destroyed homes and payment of compensation, where appropriate by state authorities for damage to property and livelihoods sustained during targeted attacks on communities within their jurisdictions, must be done.

“It was also resolved that deceased victims of such violence be duly accorded dignified burial rites.”

Bagudu, on his part, said the council supported the Independent National Electoral Commission’s plans to convert existing voting points and settlements into polling units to enhance voter access during elections.

He said the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who briefed the council, reiterated the need to expand voters’ access to polling units, noting that there were only 120,000 polling units to serve a projected population of over 50 million voters.

“It was resolved that existing voting booths should be converted to polling units as proposed by INEC. Details should be worked out at the state level,” the governor said.

The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, noted that since the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), signed the regulation on COVID-19 protocols, state governments had enforced the protocols.

He stated, however, that while the nation was awaiting vaccines and there was the need to re-emphasise social distancing and wearing of face masks.

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