The Nigerian Army has been allocated 500 hectares of land by the Borno State Government, for the establishment of a military university.
The university would be an upgraded version of the Army’s already existing Institute of Technology and Environmental study in Borno State, north-east Nigeria.
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, said this at the opening ceremony of the Quarterly Chief of Army Staff Workshop in Maiduguri, the state’s capital.
General Buratai noted that year 2017 in perspective, is lined up with activities tailored towards capacity building of personnel and implementation of the Nigerian Army’s reviewed Order of Battle 2016.
He added that the Army intends to invest in research and development, in order to encourage personnel to come up with indigenous ideas and innovations.
“The NA Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies is being upgraded to NA University. The university is being conceived as a unique university that would be different from other conventional universities in Nigeria.
“The concept is to make it a solution provider and a centre of excellence for a variety of technical related ventures, such as power generation and armament production.
“Pursuant to this, the Borno State Government has approved 500 hectares of land located at Biu for this,” the Army Chief said.
The workshop centres on the activities carried out in the first quarter, and further briefing for the second quarter in the Nigerian Army forecast for the year 2017.
The event, which took place at the newly constructed Command Guest House along Baga road in Maiduguri, had in attendance Brigade Commanders and General Officers Commanding.
Troops of Eight Task Force Division, Nigerian Army, on clearance operations under the auspices of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in Northeast Nigeria had an encounter with Boko Haram terrorists at Chikun Gudu.
During the encounter in northern part of Borno State, the gallant troops neutralised quite a number of the terrorists, while others escaped with gunshot wounds.
According to a statement issued on Saturday by spokesman for the Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman, the troops also captured gun trucks, arms and ammunition, as well as 14 terrorists.
“The troops captured two Toyota Gun trucks stolen from Niger Republic Defence Forces, two Toyota Hilux Gun trucks, one of which was taken by the Boko Haram terrorists from 153 Task Force Battalion location sometime back, a 25 HP Yamaha Outboard Engine, two solar panels and five empty Belts of Anti-Aircraft Guns ammunition links.
“Others include one Gun bipod, 12 pairs of Boko Haram fighters’ uniform, five flags, 37 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 84 copies of Holy Quran and 270 books on Islamic literature.
“The troops also recovered and destroyed over 70 motorcycles used by the terrorists to launch attacks, three shops stocked with medical supplies, three other shops with provisions and three wooden boats.
“They also recovered two Niger Republic Drivers’ Licenses, two mobile telephone handsets and two Wooden Slates,” the statement read.
The statement also revealed that four of soldiers were wounded and have been evacuated to a medical facility where they are receiving treatment.
The Nigerian Army says it has arrested three suspected Chadian Boko Haram terrorists in Gombe State, northeast Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, the arrest was carried out in conjunction with the Department of State Services (DSS), after a painstaking effort of tracking the suspects.
The suspects, Bilal Muhammed Umar, Bashir Muhammed and Muhammed Maigari Abubakar, were arrested at Arawa and Mallam Inna areas of Gombe metropolis.
They were reported to be members of Albarnawi faction of the Boko Haram that operates in Chad and mostly northern part of Borno State.
During the operation, Bilal Muhammed Umar attempted to escape and was shot on the leg, apprehended afterwards and presently receiving medical treatment.
The suspects, who were also arrested with Improvised Explosive Device (IED), are currently in custody undergoing preliminary investigation.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, says at least 100,000 persons have been killed in the seven years of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria.
The governor added that over two million people were displaced by the violence, noting that most of those affected were women and children.
He stated this on Monday at the Murtala Muhammed Memorial Lecture in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
“While it took South Africa’s apartheid 42 years to take 21,000 lives, it took Boko Haram only seven years to cause the murders of 100,000 lives of innocent people, he said.
Governor Shettima noted that the conflict was fueled in its early stages by official laxity and the initial willingness of the former administration to believe the terror campaign was supported by the Muslim-majority in the northeast.
He also defended the decision of his administration to close all IDPs’ camps in Borno State by May 2017, stressing that their continuous existence poses threat to the state.
“The IDP camps that we have right now are pregnant with lots of challenges.
“Early child marriages, child prostitution, drug abuse (and) gangsterism are very common in those IDP camps.
“If we allow them to pester (and) to continue existing for the next two years, we might have bigger problems at hand.
“This is why we are determined to restore the dignity of our people by rebuilding their communities and taking them back home,” the governor said.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced plans to scale up food assistance across Borno and Yobe states from one million persons to 1.3 million beneficiaries monthly.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Executive Director of the WFP, Ertharin Cousin said that the programme aims to reach 1.8 million persons who urgently need food assistance in the northeast.
According to statistics from the World Food Programme, over 1.7 million people are displaced in northeast Nigeria, 4.4 million suffer food insecurity while 1.8 million people urgently need food assistance.
On November 7, 2016, the World Food Programme launched its special operation to support the federal government in addressing the humanitarian challenges.
The initial project duration of six months from November 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017 has now been extended to December 31, 2017.
This, according to the Executive Director of the programme will enable the programme meet its monthly target of providing food assistance to at least 1.3 million people on a monthly basis.
She also announced plans by the programme to provide cash assistance to Internally Displaced Persons to enable them purchase their own foodstuff.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked Nigeria’s anti-graft body to investigate allegations that the Safe School funds for Chibok girls is missing and cannot be accounted for.
The group’s request was contained in a petition SERAP sent to the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, requesting him to urgently begin a thorough, transparent and effective investigation into the issue.
The said fund of 500 million Naira was commissioned by former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to rebuild the Government Girls School in Chibok community in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.
SERAP, in a statement on Wednesday, urged the EFCC to “invite for questioning, and name and shame anyone suspected to be involved in the alleged diversion, including the contractors allegedly handling the project”.
In the petition dated December 27, 2016 and signed by SERAP’s senior staff attorney, Timothy Adewale, the organisation said: “The allegation that 500 million Naira has been lost to corruption has resulted in denying the girls access to education, and shows the failure of the former President Goodluck Jonathan government to live up to Nigeria’s commitments under the global Safe School Declaration”.
Monitor Government’s Spending
It further read: “SERAP believes that the diversion of the funds will expose the school to attacks in the future. This is a fundamental breach of the country’s obligations including guarantees of non-repetition, which contributes to prevention and deterrence of future attacks.
“SERAP urges the EFCC to work with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to set up a mechanism to monitor government’s spending of the safe school funds in order to ensure that the funds are spent exactly to prevent and deter future attacks, and to allow the girls to go back to school as soon as possible.
“SERAP is seriously concerned that the school has remained in a state of disrepair since the abduction of the girls, and students have remained at home.
“SERAP is concerned that the alleged diversion of 500 million naira meant for reconstruction of Government Girls School in Chibok has directly violated the right to education of the girls, as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.
Breach Of Anti-corruption Legislation
“The diversion has undermined the obligation of the government to take step to the maximum of its available resources to achieve the right to education. The alleged diversion also shows a serious breach of anti-corruption legislation including the EFCC Act, and Nigeria’s international obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption, and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption both of which the country has ratified.
“The EFCC should ensure full accountability and bring to justice anyone found to be responsible for corruption and diversion of safe school funds. The EFCC should also ensure that all proceeds of corruption are recovered and returned back to the treasury.
“This request is based on allegation by Governor Kashim Shettima that 500 million Naira set aside by the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is missing and cannot be accounted for.
“The funds were released for rebuilding of the Government Girls School in Chibok under the Safe School Initiative programme, which was commissioned former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala”.
Wife of Nigeria’s President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has commended the patriotism and resilience of the military in its sustained effort to rid the country of the Boko Haram insurgents.
Mrs Buhari gave the commendation when she visited about 50 soldiers who sustained various degrees of injuries in the battle field and were receiving treatment at the 44 Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.
Presenting some gift items to the wounded soldiers and officers, the first lady, who was represented by wife of the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mrs Ladi Bantex, commended them for their gallantry in protecting Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
She lauded their effort in ensuring that peace was restored in the troubled northeast region and prayed for their quick recovery with an assurance that their efforts would not be in vain.
Also, the delegation visited the Obstetrics/Gynecology wards to offer gifts to patients as well as pregnant and nursing women at the hospital.
The Medical Director of the Centre, Brigadier General Ikechukwu Okeke, who commended the gesture, revealed that the soldiers were injured during the Operation Lafiya Dole operations.
He added that some of them were responding to treatment, while those with critical cases had been flown abroad for further treatment.