French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday paid tribute to the six French aid workers killed in Niger on Sunday, as their remains were brought back to Paris.
All of France“ mourns your children,’’ Castex told families of the victims before the six coffins, laid out in a row in a pavilion at Orly airport.
The six, along with their Nigerien driver and a Nigerien park guide, were killed on a visit to a reserve in the country’s Koure area, known for its rare West African giraffes.
“The attack bears all the marks of a terrorist murder,” Castex said.
He drew a parallel with attacks in France by Islamist extremists, such as the killing of 90 people in a gun attack on the Bataclan theatre in Paris in November 2015.
“It is very probably the same hatred, the same cowardice, the same inhumanity that was at work in Niger and at the Bataclan, even if we cannot put a name to the organisation that was behind this odious crime,’’ he said.
A source close to investigations by French anti-terrorism prosecutors earlier confirmed that the evidence seemed to indicate “a prepared and premeditated attack.’’
The French premier said humanitarian organisations must be able to keep working in Niger, and there was no question of ceding an inch of ground to criminal fanatics.
France is also militarily involved in Niger, one of five countries in the Sahel region where its 5,100-strong Operation Barkhane backs up local forces against jihadists.
Edited By: Halima sheji/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
Gov. Lalong celebrates Rochas @ 58
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has congratulated the former Governor of Imo, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, on his 58th birthday.
Lalong, in a congratulatory message issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham, on Tuesday in Jos, described Okorocha as compassionate.
He said the former governor was a kind and pragmatic politician who had deployed his resources and opportunities in life to serving the people.
He said Okorocha had endeared himself to the poor and vulnerable across the country, through his acts of generosity and sacrifices even before he got into public office.
The governor noted the contributions of the celebrant to the growth and development of Nigeria’s democracy, as well as the All Progressives Congress (APC) through his commitment and consistency with the truth.
He particularly commended Okorocha’s contributions to the development of Plateau in both economic, education and other sectors, saying he had continued to maintain his affinity with the State which he considers his home.
While wishing him well, Lalong urged Okorocha not to be deterred by challenges in the task of nation building, as his wealth of experience and knowledge would continue to be required.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf
Sports analyst cautions Rohr on Super Eagles’ upcoming friendly matches
A renowned sports analyst, Tayo Balogun, says Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, should be wary of the team’s opponents in their upcoming friendly matches.
Balogun told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Tuesday that both Cote d’Ivoire and Tunisia are formidable teams and the matches would be tough.
“He, of course, knows that Nigerians are sore losers and expect his team to perform well against Tunisia and Cote D’ivoire.
“Rohr has formidable opposition in these two opponents. So, there is the need for us to be serious and maximise this opportunity.
“It is important to note that this is the only FIFA window that allows the Super Eagles to play friendly matches. So, we have to take the matches serious.
“From the next one in November through to next year November, all available international windows will be for playing qualifiers either for the Cup of Nations or the World Cup.
“So, there may not be another opportunity to assess as many players as possible,’’ he said.
Balogun, while analysing the list of invited players, said Nigerians should expect the benefit of the main value derivable from inviting four new players to the team.
“This is for us to see who amongst them will have a chance to break into the main team.
“In this regard, I see Zaidu Sanusi of FC Porto who enjoys some current positive reviews and Cyril Dessers of Genk as two players who may be able to force a way in.
“It will be a big plus if either Chidera Ejuke or our former national under-17 player Samson Tijani snatches a break in.
“Also, Dele Alampasu and Maduka Okoye have a rare chance to seek a regular place in the Eagles,” he said.
Balogun pointed out that he expected Rohr to rest more of the team’s older players.
“But then, in a situation of playing two top-ranked teams in four days, you must be mindful of ensuring you use a team capable of getting results.
“All in all, the coach will have the privilege of having his players train together for five days,” he added.
The sports analyst advised Rohr to keep on injecting new players into the team and also seek out ways of discovering local talents who abound in the local league.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
PDP wants late Zazzau monarch immortalised
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the Federal Government to immortalise late Emir of Zazzau and Chairman of Kaduna State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Shehu Idris, by naming a national monument after him
The party made the call in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ologbondiyan said that the PDP had been grief-stricken over the death of the highly revered Emir, describing his death as an irreparable national loss.
He described the late emir as an extraordinary and exceptionally loved monarch, who served his people with utmost dedication.
Ologbondiyan added that the deceased spent his life in pursuit of people’s happiness as well as the wellbeing and peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians.
“The late Emir of Zazzau was a selfless leader and outstanding nationalist, who made immeasurable sacrifices in his relentless roles toward the development and stability of our dear nation.
“He demonstrated that the essence of statesmanship is in employing its values to the advantage of others rather than self.
“Our party calls on the federal government to take steps to further immortalise the late Emir, including naming a national monument after him,” he said.
Ologbondiyan commiserated with Gov. Nasir el-Rufai and the government of Kaduna State, family of the departed Emir as well as the good people of Zazzau Emirate.
He prayed the Almighty Allah to console them and grant the departed an eternal rest.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed
Gov. Buni mourns late Col. Bako
Yobe Governor, Mai Mala Buni, has expressed deep sorrow over the death of Col. Dahiru Ciroma Bako.
Buni made his feelings known in a statement signed by Mamman Mohammed, his Director General, Press and Media Affairs and made available to newsmen in Damaturu on Tuesday.
“It is with complete submission to the will of Allah (swt) that we receive the sad news of the death of this gallant officer, Col. DC Bako,” Buni said.
The governor described late Bako as a fearless and thoroughbred professional who committed his life to the service of his fatherland.
“This is a huge loss to the Nigeria army and the people of the North East Region in particular.
“He fought insurgency with exceptional commitment and vigour until his last breadth.
“Today, we join his immediate family, the Nigeria army and the nation to mourn this fine gentleman officer who laid his life for us,” he said.
The governor said the death had no doubt, created a vacuum but expressed optimism that many other Bakos would emerge to fill the vacuum.
“On behalf of the government and people of Yobe state, I commiserate with the late Bako family and the Nigeria army.”
He prayed Allah to forgive the deceased’s shortcomings and grant his soul eternal peace in Aljannatur Firdausi.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed