The Big 5: President Buhari links Muammar Gaddafi to the killer-herdsmen, Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed asks protesters for patience and other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today.

President Muhammadu Buhari while meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, on Wednesday, linked the killer-herdsmen to the late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, The Nation reports. 

Responding to Welby’s comment on the herdsmen and farmers’ clashes in some parts of the country, Buhari said, “The problem is even older than us. It has always been there but now made worse by the influx of gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.

They were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.

Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

Two weeks after the Nigerian Army withdrew troops from Benue, attackers said to be dressed in military fatigues stormed two communities in the state shortly on Tuesday, killing at least 10 villagers and wounding multiple others.

According to Premium Times, local residents who provided details of the killings Wednesday evening feared the death toll in one of the communities could rise three-fold by the time emergency services and security agencies finally arrive to properly access the situation.

An aide to the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has said the case with the Special Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property is only a ‘smear campaign’ and an ‘unfolding sinister agenda informed by the politics of 2019 elections’.

The Special Adviser (Media) to Ekweremadu, Uche Anichukwu, said the investigation was not about ownership of properties, but a deliberate effort by the All Progressive Congress (APC) to prosecute members of the opposition ahead of the 2019 polls.

A new university has been approved for the Nigerian Army.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave the approval on Wednesday at its meeting.

The university will be located in Biu, Borno.

The approval follows the presentation of a memo by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.

Adamu announced the approval while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting of the council.

The House of Representatives committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness has uncovered irregularities in the award of contracts by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

At an investigative hearing on violation of public trust in NEMA by the House Committee, it was discovered that the agency spent N1.6 billion on contract awards to companies that have no tax clearance and other prerequisite qualifications as demanded by Nigerian laws.

The amount was released to the agency by the Federal Government in July 2017 for relief intervention to flood victims in 16 states.

The huge sum was said to have been expended on contracts awarded to 216 companies.

And… stories from around the world.

The US says “all options are on the table” in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, as Western leaders continue to weigh up military action.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told newsmen that a final decision on military strikes had not been taken.

But she said the US holds Russia and Syria responsible for the incident.

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s injury-time penalty put holders Real Madrid through to the Champions League semi-finals after holding off an amazing Juventus comeback.

Ronaldo’s 97th-minute penalty into the top corner came after Medhi Benatia brought down Lucas Vazquez in the box.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, in what might be his last Champions League appearance, was sent off by English referee Michael Oliver after awarding the spot-kick, for foul and abusive language.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has visited the cradle of recent anti-government protests, promising that change will come if people are patient.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands at a stadium in the town of Ambo, the 42-year-old said the country was “on the path of change and love”, the AFP news agency reports.

Reuters quotes Abiy as saying, “You have expressed your grievances and have made demands. We give you our unwavering commitment to resolving them.

But for us to succeed, we also need your unwavering support.”

Yulia Skripal, the poisoned daughter of Russian former spy Sergei, has rejected Russian embassy help “at the moment“.

Yulia, 33, who was discharged from hospital on Monday, said her father is “still seriously ill“.

In a statement issued by the police, she said she was not yet strong enough to give a full media interview but “no-one speaks for me, or for my father“.

More than 300,000 people have pledged to attend “rapid response” protests across the US, should President Donald Trump fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

The activist website MoveOn said it had more than 800 “emergency” rallies around the country prepared if Trump dismisses Mueller, who is investigating whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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