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NIGERIAN FORCES CLASH OVER LAPSES IN SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS.

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Nigeria’s army and police on Monday publicly disagreed over the security arrangements that were in place in the northeastern town where 110 girls were abducted by suspected Boko Haram militants.

In the wake of the abduction, Ibrahim Gaidam, the Governor of Yobe State said the withdrawal of the military from Dapchi town was responsible for the Boko Haram attack and abduction of female students from Government Girls Science Technical College.

The army, keen to ‘set the record straight for the benefit of posterity’ issued a statement in which it acknowledged that soldiers were indeed withdrawn from Dapchi, in Yobe state, before the girls were seized from their school in the town by armed insurgents on Feb. 19.

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Troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama, following attacks on troops,” army spokesman Onyema Nwachukwu said in an emailed statement.

Kanama is a town near the border with Niger some 120 km (75 miles) from Dapchi.

“This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria police division located in the town,” he said. No details were given of when the redeployment took place.

However, Yobe state police commissioner, Sumonu Abdulmaliki, later issued a statement saying the claim of a handover was “untrue, unfounded and misleading”.

“There was no time that the military informed the police of their withdrawal, consulted or handed over their locations in Dapchi town to the police,” he said in the emailed statement.

The attack was one of the largest abductions since the Chibok kidnappings of 2014 in which more than 250 girls were taken by the Islamist militant group. It has prompted questions about the ability of security forces to fight insurgents which the government has repeatedly said have been defeated.

President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged on Monday that the girls had been abducted and said the government was determined to rescue them. The authorities had previously referred to the girls, not seen since the attack on their school, as missing.

“Let me clearly reiterate the resolve of this administration to ensure all persons abducted by the insurgents are rescued or released safely,” Buhari said in comments broadcast by state television.

He said security agencies had been ordered to make every effort to return “the abducted girls to their families”.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Ghana draws African-American tourists with ‘Year of Return

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US preacher Roxanne Caleb blinked away the tears as she emerged from a pitch-dark dungeon where African slaves were once held before being shipped across the Atlantic to America.

“I wasn’t prepared for this. I’m heartbroken,” she told AFP as she toured the Cape Coast slave fort on Ghana’s ocean shore.

“My mind still can’t wrap around the fact that a human being can treat another worse than a rat.”

Caleb is among the African-American visitors flocking to Ghana as it marks the “Year of Return” to remember the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing in Virginia.

The West African nation is banking on the commemorations to give a major boost to the number of tourist arrivals as it encourages the descendants of slaves to “come home”.

Cape Coast Castle, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the capital Accra, is a major magnet for those visiting

The white-washed fort lined with cannons was one of dozens of prisons studding the Atlantic coast where slaves were held before their journey to the New World.

A string of prominent African-Americans have headed to the site this year to mark the anniversary since the first slave landing in 1619.

Among them was a delegation of Congressional Black Caucus led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that toured last month.

– ‘Can’t forget history’ –

For those visiting it is an emotional rite of passage.

“This has been understanding my history and my roots where I came from,” Caleb said.

“I am very thankful I came here as part of the Year of Return.”

Sampson Nii Addy, a corrections officer with the Montgomery police department in Alabama, said he and his family had found the tour an “education”.

“I think every black person needs to come around to learn history; how people were treated,” the 52-year-old told AFP.

“We can’t forget history but we can always learn something from it.”

Ghana, one of the continent’s most stable democracies, has long pitched itself as a destination for African-Americans to explore their heritage and even settle permanently.

In 2009 President Barack Obama visited with his family and paid homage at the Cape Coast Castle.

The “Year of Return” has added fresh impetus and the country is hoping it will increase visitor numbers from 350,000 in 2018 to 500,000 this year, including 45,000 African-Americans.

Kojo Keelson has spent nine years guiding tour groups around the Cape Coast Castle and says 2019 has seen a surge in interest as Ghana looks to rake in tourism revenue of $925 million (830 million euros).

“It’s like a pilgrimage. This year we’ve a lot more African-Americans coming through than the previous year,” he told AFP.

“I’m urging all of them to come home and experience and reconnect to the motherland.”

– ‘Love to come again’ –

Akwasi Awua Ababio, the official coordinating “Year of Return” events, pointed to high hotel occupancy rates as he said “enthusiasm is very high and we’ve got huge numbers coming from the US and Caribbean”.

He insisted that beyond the major economic boost, Ghana was also looking to use the new connections it is forging to convince the descendants of slaves to resettle for good and help the country develop.

“Human resource is always an asset and we need to see how we can welcome them home to utilise their expertise and networks,” the director for diaspora affairs at the presidency said.

The African American Association of Ghana brings together those who have moved to West Africa and offers help to integrate them into their new surroundings.

President Gail Nikoi praised the “Year of Return” initiative by Ghanaian leader Nana Akufo-Addo and said the country was “setting the stage for future engagements and involvement of African-Americans and other Africans from the diaspora in the development of this country.”

But she said the authorities could still be doing more to help attract arrivals and convince them to stay.

“Dialogue and engagement is the first step,” she said.

While most of those visiting Cape Coast were not thinking about settling back permanently — they said the trip had opened their eyes to both their own history and what Ghana has to offer.

“It has broadened my horizons about how we came to be here and what our ancestors went through,” said William Shaw, 57, from Montgomery.

“I would love to come again. There is a lot more to see here in Ghana… at least once in a year I’d advise African-Americans to come back to their native land and learn about their history.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria: Woman arrested over Outrageous Viral video of her abusing a child

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Police in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos have arrested a woman filmed abusing a child and then locking him in a caged kennel with dogs.

It is not clear when the footage was shot, but it went viral on Twitter earlier this month.

In the video clip, a woman is seen beating a boy, stripped to his waist, with a belt. She then drags him into an empty kennel and locks it before walking away. Two dogs can be seen in other neighbouring kennels.

The video caused outrage on social media, where shocked users offered rewards to anyone that could track down the woman.

On Thursday, a police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, tweeted that the woman in the video had been arrested.

“The suspect is in custody and will be charged to court… The boy, who happens to be an orphan, has been rescued and kept in a shelter provided by Lagos state government,” she said.

Her tweet links to a video filmed by police showing the dog kennels where the boy was locked up:

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