NAF Fighter Jet Destroys ISWAP Meeting Venue Near Baga

 

A building used as a meeting venue for Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, has been destroyed by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE.

The building being used by ISWAP fighters near Baga in Borno State was destroyed on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

According to a spokesman for the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the attack was carried out after “series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions confirmed that the building was being used as an assembly point by the terrorists”.

 


RELATED: 

Air Force Destroys Boko Haram Camp In Borno

Army, Air Force Kill Boko Haram Terrorists In Borno


 

Air Commodore Ibikunle said in a statement on Wednesday that the ATF “consequently dispatched a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the building”.

He said a direct hit was recorded on the target leading to significant damage to the structure and neutralization of the occupants.

NAF Aircraft Goes Missing

Ibikunle also noted on Wednesday that a combat helicopter of NAF has gone missing while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State.

He said the incident occurred about 7:45 pm on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

“Details of the cause of the crash are still scanty. As soon as the details of the crash are known, they will be made available to the public,” Ibikunle said.

Frustrating Night For Sarri As Southampton Hold Chelsea

 

 

Chelsea wasted a chance to cement their place in the Premier League’s top four as a superb display from Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn gave his struggling side a 0-0 draw on Wednesday.

Maurizio Sarri’s team remain in fourth place, but they are now just three points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

It was a frustrating evening for Chelsea, who dominated possession but lacked any cutting edge, maintaining a worrying sequence for Sarri.

His side failed to score for the third time in their last five Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, raising more questions about Chelsea’s need for a top-class striker in the January transfer window.

With Olivier Giroud sidelined after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s win at Crystal Palace, Sarri opted to recall misfiring striker Alvaro Morata.

READ ALSO: Guardiola Hopeful De Bruyne Fit For Crucial Liverpool Clash

Morata has played so badly this season that Sarri had used Belgian winger Eden Hazard in the central forward’s role recently rather than turn to the Spaniard, who had managed only seven goals this term and none in the league since November 4.

But, once again, former Real Madrid star Morata looked completely bereft of touch and confidence.

It was no surprise Morata wasted a golden opportunity to open the scoring when he met Cesar Azpilicueta’s long pass with a tame header straight at 22-year-old Gunn — the son of ex-Norwich stopper Bryan Gunn.

Southampton avoided a third consecutive defeat with a well-drilled performance, but they still dropped into the relegation zone.

Having announced the signing of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic earlier in the day, Chelsea are planning ahead following a season of inconsistent displays from Willian and Pedro on the right flank.

United States international Pulisic will return to Dortmund on loan before completing his move to Chelsea in the close-season.

For the moment, Sarri continues to use Willian, but the Brazilian’s bid to prove his worth was ruined when he was forced off with an injury late in the first half.

– Mounting frustration –
Hazard hinted several times that he preferred to play wide rather than up front during Sarri’s experiment with the Belgian as a ‘false nine’.

Looking more vibrant back in his favoured role, Hazard made a fine run that opened up the Southampton defence, yet his fierce drive was well saved by Gunn, making his Premier League debut after his close-season move from Manchester City.

But Hazard couldn’t do it all on his own and, while successive away wins at Watford and Palace made it a happy Christmas for Chelsea, their first home game of the new year was a lot like their last in 2018.

Despite dominating against Leicester, Sarri’s team were beaten 1-0 as they paid the price for lacking the incisive passing and movement needed to break down the visitors’ obdurate defence.

It was exactly the same story against Southampton.

The Blues monopolised the ball but Morata squandered another opportunity when Yan Valery blocked his shot.

Chelsea’s frustration grew at the start of the second half when Stuart Armstrong’s curling effort forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into action for the first time.

Although they controlled the game, chances were few and far between for Chelsea until Hazard burst down the left for a shot that Gunn beat away at his near post.

Morata’s luck was out when he slotted home from a Cesc Fabregas pass, only to see a tight offside decision deny him a goal.

And the hapless Spaniard endured more misery when his took Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s pass and shot straight at Gunn to groans from the crowd.

Capping a forgettable game for Chelsea, Marcos Alonso had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the closing moments.

-English Premier League results on Wednesday-

Bournemouth 3 (Ake 34, Wilson 37, Fraser 40) Watford 3 (Deeney 14, 27, Sema 38)

Chelsea 0 Southampton 0

Huddersfield 1 (Mounie 33) Burnley 2 (Wood 40, Barnes 74)

Newcastle 0 Manchester United 2 (Lukaku 64, Rashford 80)

West Ham 2 (Arnautovic 66, 68) Brighton 2 (Stephens 56, Duffy 58)

Wolverhampton 0 Crystal Palace 2 (Ayew 83, Milivojevic 90+5-pen)

Played Tuesday

Everton 0 Leicester 1 (Vardy 58)

Arsenal 4 (Xhaka 25, Lacazette 55, Ramsey 79, Aubameyang 83) Fulham 1 (Kamara 69)

Cardiff 0 Tottenham 3 (Kane 3, Eriksen 12, Son 26)

Playing Thursday (2000 GMT)

Manchester City v Liverpool

We Have Recorded Remarkable Improvement In The Fight Against Boko Haram – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari is pleased with the work his government has done in securing the North East
President Muhammadu Buhari is pleased with the work his government has done in securing the North East

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the fight to liberate the North East from the shadows of terror has been remarkable despite the myriads of challenges his government has faced. 

The president on Wednesday noted that regardless of all aspersions cast on his government’s effort to restore tranquility to the embattled region, the people know that there have been great improvements since the APC came into power.

President Buhari made the assertion via his twitter page.

He said, “In spite of the challenges we’ve had, people in the North East know that we have recorded remarkable improvement in the fight against Boko Haram”.

“There is no doubt that we will fully overcome these challenges and win the war against terrorism in Nigeria,” the president added.

READ ALSO: TraderMoni: Buhari Is Relooting Abacha Loots — Fayose

President Muhammadu Buhari has consistently defended his performance and that of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), since he rose to power in 2015.

The President said at the national convention of the APC in Abuja after he was affirmed as the party’s presidential candidate that the change which Nigerians have longed for in the past, have come.

Listing his achievements to party members, the president who is seeking re-election said, “We have arrested and checked the slide to anarchy on the security and economic front. Boko Haram is reduced to dastardly attacks on soft targets. Normalcy has returned to much of North East and neighbouring North West states”.

IGP Redeploys Imo CP, 14 Officers

Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris

 

The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has redeployed the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Dasuki Galadanchi.

Galadanchi was redeployed to Bauchi State with the Police Commissioner in Kogi State tapped to take over from him in Imo.

Galadanchi was removed along with three deputy commissioners of police and 11 assistant commissioners of police in the command.

READ ALSO: Ribadu Hands Over Cars For Buhari’s Re-Election Campaign Amid Controversy

Confirming this development to Channels TV, police spokesperson Orlando Ikeokwu said the Command is expecting CP Ali Janga from Kogi state to take over from the outgoing CP.

Janga

 

Mr Ikeokwu maintained that transfer is not out of place, neither does it have any political undertone.

According to him, it is the routine activity in the Nigerian Police force, especially as elections draw closer.

He urged all Imo citizens to continue with their lawful duties and avoid any action that might cause chaos in the state especially during this Yuletide.

VIDEO: Dino Melaye Goes Spiritual As Police Insist On His Arrest

Senator Dino Melaye Quotes scriptures against his enemies

 

Senator Dino Melaye has resorted to prayers, even as the Nigerian police have insisted on arresting the lawmaker. 

In a new video posted via social media, the statesman could be heard reciting verses of the bible, saying God will deliver him from his enemies, those who he claims have gathered with “Horses, chariots and guns”.

The Senator in the video which he tweeted on Wednesday, said, “The rulers of Nigeria have set themselves against the Lord and his anointed, but you know what, the Lord shall laugh at them in a sour displeasure”.

Below is the video which the lawmaker titled, ‘I Trust The Lord God Of Host’.

The lawmaker representing Kogi West in the Senate is expected to turn himself over to the police this week, following the siege of his Abuja home by operatives of the Police Force.

The siege on Melaye’s residence has lasted for about six days, with no one certaian about the whereabouts of the Senator.

Though there have been claims that the lawmaker is in his Abuja residence, no one has seen the outspoken parliamentarian.  He has only appeared in short clips posted on social media.

Police have vowed to remain at Senator Dino Melaye’s residence until he turns himself in.

In a statement on Sunday, three days into the siege by the police on the Abuja residence of the Senator, the force said he is wanted for a case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide committed on July 19, 2018.

15 ‘Game Changers’ Rewane Says Will Shape 2019


Against the backdrop of the just ended topsy-turvy 2018, popular economist Bismarck Rewane has listed fifteen people who he believes will shape the socio-political and economic landscape of Nigeria in 2019.

In conversation with Channels Television’s Boason Omofaye, Mr. Rewane described the New Year, as a year of “anxiety and uncertainty” after a turbulent year in 2018.

The CEO of Financial Derivatives Company, however, noted that the difference between the past year and the present is that we have “game-changing personalities both at the global, regional and domestic” level.

On the special edition of Business Morning which held on Tuesday, Rewane listed 15 persons who he described as the 2019 “Game Changers”, even as he put the passing year into better perspective.

Below are the 15 “Game Changers” as selected by Bismarck Rewane.

1. Aliko Dangote 

The richest man in Africa needs no introductions. Rewane believes that with this business tycoon constantly investing across sectors and employing many, he will continue to be a game changer in every sense of the word.

2. Seni Sulyman

Sulyman makes the 15-man list of Rewane’s ‘Game Changers’ on the basis of his role at Andela. Technology will be a key driver of most transactions in 2019 and as such Sulyman will be one of those positively disrupting the system through innovative software development.

3. Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

Jeff Bezos Photo: AFP

With a company (Amazon) worth about I trillion dollars, one cannot but agree that Jeff Bezos will be part of those who will shape 2019 not only in Nigeria but across the world.

4. Vladimir Putin

Looking at 2019 from a political angle at the global stage, we can be sure that Vladimir Putin will play a key role in shaping 2019 with his control of OPEC, as well as the gas pump into Europe.

5. Xi Jinping 

With its great numbers, China can never be looked down upon politically and economically. China’s growing demand for oil and its large economy makes it highly impossible that they will be ignored in 2019.

6. Theresa May

File Photo of Theresa May

Whether it be functional or dysfunctional, Theresa May and the Brexit agenda remains a key issue, as Brexit is upon all of us.

7. Oby Ezekwesili

I Will Provide Affordable, Uninterrupted Electricity If Elected President – Ezekwesili

According to Rewane, Ezekwesili is a game changer in the political space, especially with regards to Nigeria.

“She has been saying the right things, addressing policy issues which she understands very well,” Rewane says.

While it remains uncertain what will be the outcome of the presidential election this year, still Oby Ezekwesili remains a defining voice.

8. Prof Yemi Osinbajo

Why FG Is Uplifting Poor Nigerians Through SIPs – Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo addressing an audience in August 2018.

The Vice President is and will be key in the process of fashioning appropriate policies and strategies that will improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

9. Peter Obi

Armed with data, Peter Obi brings to the table a different approach to discussing the issues in Nigeria, making projections and informed inferences, he is one of those who will shape the socio-economic and political narratives of Nigeria in 2019.

10. Abubakar Suleiman  

In the financial service sector, Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank is one to reckon with. The bank’s affinity with technology makes it a bank to watch out for in 2019 and by inference, makes Suleiman a leading figure that will shape things in the financial sector.

11. Yaw Nsarkoh

Rewane says that with the very interesting work which Unilever has done in the northeast, Nsarkoh cannot be left out of the 2019 dialogue.

12. Pat Oniha 

Nigeria has a debt problem and how Pat Oniha manages this will be a determinant of our future, thus making her a key ‘Game Changer’ for 2019.

13. Wizkid

Wizkid, artist of the year

In the social scene, “Wizkid is moving very fast and gaining great traction” says Rewane. The Economist argues that the Dolce & Gabbana ambassador is doing wonderfully well and is going places, hence will continue to be a big topic in 2019.

14. Kemi Adetiba

 

From the wedding party to King of Boys, Adetiba’s curriculum vitae is solid. The filmmaker and music video director has worked her way into the heart of the Nigerian entertainment industry, making herself a priceless gem for an industry that is taking the world by storm.

15. Viola Davis

Viola Davis

With the movie “Widows” getting a 90 percent approval rating on rotten tomatoes and complimentary reviews from many respected critics, this multi-award winning actress and producer is yet again at the centre of attention and this will linger deep into 2019, as fans all over the world continue in awe, to build dialogues around this “triple crown acting” queen.

Ribadu Hands Over Cars For Buhari’s Re-Election Campaign Amid Controversy

 

Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu has said he is committed to mobilising the people and stakeholders of Adamawa state to ensure the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Ribadu announced his commitment in Yola while presenting 40 vehicles donated by his support group for the mobilization of voters in Adamawa state for President Buhari

Speaking at the ceremony to unveil the Black Cap Revolution Movement for President Buhari and his running mate, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Ribadu said, “Adamawa is 100 percent in support of Buhari”.

The former EFCC boss said he will make sure Buhari is re-elected because he (Buhari) deserves another term to continue the work he has started for Nigeria.

He said his appointment as Director General Field operations is to campaign for Buhari, adding that his support group promised the president a hundred percent support in Adamawa state.

READ ALSO: 12 Killed, 7 Injured In Multiple Auto Crash In Ibadan

“We have decided to convert everything we had for Buhari’s campaign, the meeting here is a dedication and a donation of everything – officers, vehicles and good committees for the campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari,” Ribadu said.

The former anti-graft chief said the presidential election in 2019,  is a referendum between a past “that should forever be forgotten and a new chapter of probity and accountability”.

Patriotism Meets Controversy

Meanwhile, some members of the Nuhu Ribadu Organization have distanced themselves from the organisation’s decision to campaign only for President Buhari.

The aggrieved members decided not to attend the event at the Nuhu Ribadu campaign office in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.

Represented by Yusuf Danumma, the stakeholders said Ribadu’s action was against their position, arguing that they will campaign for all candidates of the APC, not President Buhari alone.

“By our meeting, our position on which I stand to be corrected is that we are going to vote for the entire candidates of the party,” Danumma said.

Also reacting to Ribadu’s decision to campaign for Buhari alone, Ahmed Lawan said the former EFCC chief was going against the will of the party.

Lawan. the organizing secretary of the APC in Adamawa said, “If you say you are only working for Mr. President, then you are committing anti-party, and we have it in our constitution that anyone commits anti-party, the party will take actions against him.”

20 Afghan Forces Killed As Taliban Attacks Cities

 

Taliban fighters killed more than 20 Afghan security forces in simultaneous raids on a provincial capital and district in northern Afghanistan, an official said Tuesday, as the city braced for further violence.

Hundreds of militants were outside Sar-e-Pul city, which provincial governor spokesman Zabihullah Amani said was at risk of falling to the Taliban if reinforcements were not sent.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks on security forces across the country, slaughtering police and soldiers in record numbers, as the threat of a US drawdown complicates American-led efforts to end the 17-year conflict.

“The enemy is still amassing forces outside the city,” Amani told AFP.

“We have deployed all the forces available in the city, but no reinforcements have arrived from outside so far.

“The people inside the city are very worried.”

READ ALSO: Year In Review: From Killings To Kidnappings, 2018 Screamed For Security

Taliban fighters launched the attacks on Sar-e-Pul and neighboring Sayad district on Monday night, which Amani said were aimed at seizing control of several oil wells on the outskirts of the city.

At least 21 local forces, including police and intelligence, were killed and another 23 wounded in the attacks, Amani said.

“They have attacked the city many times in the past, but this time the threat is more serious,” he said.

A security official, who spoke to AFP on the condition of anonymity, put the death toll slightly lower at between 15 and 20 members of local forces.

Kabul-based interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi confirmed there had been casualties, but would not provide details.

He said reinforcements had been deployed to Sar-e-Pul and dismissed concerns that the provincial capital was at risk of falling to the insurgents.

The Taliban confirmed the attacks, saying their fighters had captured three checkpoints and killed or wounded 50 members of the security forces.

Afghanistan’s largest militant group made significant territorial gains in 2018, including overrunning Ghazni city — a few hours’ drive from Kabul — which they held for several days before being pushed back with the help of US airpower.

At the time, officials said Ghazni remained in government hands. But residents told AFP that the insurgents were in the streets, burning buildings and targeting civilians.

The Taliban’s increased aggression on the battlefield coincided with a flurry of diplomatic efforts aimed at bringing the group to the negotiating table.

In recent days, Taliban representatives have met with Iran, as Tehran makes a more concerted and open push for peace ahead of a possible US drawdown.

The Taliban delegation discussed with Iran “the post-occupation situation, restoration of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region”, the militants said in a statement posted on social media and emailed to journalists on Tuesday.

It signals growing confidence among the Taliban that US troops will pull out of Afghanistan, after US officials last month told various media outlets that President Donald Trump had decided to slash the number of boots on the ground.

Year In Review: From Killings To Kidnappings, 2018 Screamed For Security

 

When suspected herdsmen attacked parts of Benue and killed 73 persons on New Year’s day in 2018, sparking outrage, few expected that killings would become some sort of sordid soundtrack to the year.

However, not only did killings continue and spread to different parts of the country, several other issues emerged during the year that led to questions around the security architecture of the country.

With the year now confined to history, we look at some of the major security issues the country grappled with.

An Orgy of Killings

On the 1st and 2nd of January, 2018, people believed to be herdsmen attacked communities in Benue State, killing 73 and leaving several others injured.

The slaughter led to allegations and counter allegations with some accusing herders of pursuing an expansionist agenda, while herders claimed they were being unfairly targetted.

As the killings spread to other parts of Benue and other states, Benue and Taraba all enacted anti-grazing laws which led to further contention and disputes.

In all, the killings in Benue seemed to have paved the way for the more carnage with similar-style attacks in Taraba, Pleateau, and Kaduna.

Zamfara witnessed a killing spree, albeit with a different coloration. The bloodshed is believed to be the result of the activities of bandits, cattle rustlers, illegal miners and more.

Between January 2016 and October 2018, clashes between herders and farmers have led to the death of at least 3,641 people according to Amnesty International, with 57 percent of the deaths occurring in 2018 alone.

Dapchi Girls Kidnap

The nation had barely come to terms with the killings in Benue and the fallout before news broke on February 19 regarding yet another horrific incident far away in Dapchi, Yobe State.

This time the sour tale was the abduction by Boko Haram of about 110 girls aged between the ages of 11 and 19 years, a very bitter reminder of the outrageous Chibok abduction of 2014.

Initially thought to be an attack aimed at food items and fuel, the realisation that more than 100 girls had been snatched from their school generated a lot of anger and questioned.

This was aggravated by the complaint of Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Geidam that troops had been withdrawn from the area without informing either the police authorities or the state government in advance.

READ ALSO: Year In Review: Scandals, Strikes Stifle Nigeria’s Educational Sector In 2018

A shocked nation, distraught parents and the traumatised girls, however, when on 21 March, 104 of the girls were released by the terrorists.

But it was a bittersweet development with no closure as five of the schoolgirls died and one – the only Christian among them was held back reportedly for refusing to convert to Islam.

Her freedom remains a major issue and calls continue to come from across the world for her release.

Offa Robbery and the roar of bandits

Emerging security threats did not stop regular criminals from operating in 2018 and the deadly Offa bank robbery of April 4 was proof of that.

It wasn’t just another robbery, however. The level of ruthlessness the robbers unleashed on Offa Local Government Area of Kwara on that day was considered unprecedented by many.

The robbers hit four banks with dynamites and bullets. By the time they were done and gone, over 33 persons including nine police officers had been killed.

So far, the police have announced the arrest of five key suspects. The alleged leader of the group that stormed the banks has, however, died in custody, according to the police. The case is still being heard in the courts.

The robbery is arguably at the top of the pyramid of other criminal acts and the level of banditry in the country this year. Talking about bandits, they operated in several places – along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, in Zamfara, in camps in Benue and more.

Shiites Vs Army/Police

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria otherwise known as Shiites has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army since 2015 when its leader Sheikh El-Zakzaky was injured and taken into custody after members clashed with the Army.

His continued detention has led to a series of protests. Prior to 2018, the protests had taken place mainly in Kaduna (where the group has been banned) and Kano.

In the course of the year, the Shiites took the protest to the streets of the Federal Capital Territory. The result? Clashes with security operatives and the police resulting in the loss of lives.

During one of the protests in May, the protesting IMN members clashed with the police, smashing vehicles.

Months later, on October 29, during another attempt to protest in Abuja, they had a run in with the military along the Nyanya-Keffi highway – on the outskirts of the nation’s capital.

According to the group, the military killed up to 50 of its members in the altercation. But the military said only three members of the group were killed that day and that the soldiers acted in self-defense.

The Shiites have said they will not stop their protests until the freedom of their incarcerated leader is secured.

More Rights Violation Allegations Against The Military

The year 2018, the operations of the military came under the spotlight with Amnesty International accusing the Nigeria military of infringing on the rights of different individuals, in the course of their executing their duties.

In a report in December, the group accused some military personnel of constantly used lethal force wrongly against innocent citizens.

Whiles accusing the government of negligence, A.I urged the government to investigate its claims and bring those found guilty to justice.

Replying to the accusations by A.I, both the Federal Government and the Army said the rights organisation was biased and that reports by the group are all inaccurate.

The Army said Amnesty International is working solely to destabilize the government, adding that it would make a case for the international rights group to leave Nigeria if they continue with their mode of operation.

Earlier, in March, a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant, General Theophilus Danjuma (retd), accused the Nigerian Armed Forces of complicity in the killings in Taraba, Benue, and other “riverine states” in the country.

Danjuma’s allegation, during Taraba State University’s convocation in Jalingo, came at the peak of the killings and in reaction to the resultant military operations in Taraba and Benue as a result of the bloodshed.

His allegations were denied by the military.

The onslaught on Aid Workers

The country’s security challenges during the year did not spare aid workers. On March 1, Boko Haram terrorists attacked an internally displaced persons’ camp in Rann, Borno State, killing three of them and abducting three others.

Not only did the terrorists ignore calls, including from the United Nation, for their release, it shocked the world by executing two of the three abducted aid workers later in the year.

Both of them worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Saifura Ahmed was executed in September and despite pleas by the ICRC, UN, and others for the remaining women to be spared, Hauwa Liman was executed in October.

The attack and killings added another dimension to Nigeria’s war against terror and the safety of aid workers who have helped to provide relief for the millions displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Also in 2018, the relationship between the Nigerian Army some global agencies and charities operating in the North-East, especially UNICEF, turned sour.

In December, the army announced the suspension of the operations of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North-East.

In a statement by its Deputy Director of Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, accused the agency of abandoning its primary humanitarian role in the region.

He said, “This has become inevitable since the organization has abdicated its primary duty of catering for the wellbeing of children and the vulnerable through humanitarian activities and now engaged in training selected persons for clandestine activities to continue sabotaging the counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency efforts of troops through spurious and unconfirmed allegations bothering on alleged violations of human rights by the military.”

The move attracted criticism with Amnesty International describing it as an act of intimidation.

The Mysterious Murder Of General Alkali:

In September, troops of the 3 Division of the Nigerian army embarked on a search and rescue operation for Major General Idris Alkali, who went missing on September 3.

Many would have thought the army did not have to search too far before they would pick up the retired General’s trail and rescue him.

However, the case did not play out as one would have excepted, the trail lingered too long, casting a cloud of uncertainty over the General’s safety.

In the course of the military investigation, a major discovery was made which caused many to question the safety of travelers within Nigeria.

The army found the retired General’s car in a pond at Doi Du community in Jos. It was believed that residents conspired to overpower and kill the retired military officer.

Two other vehicles; one which was reported missing with the driver on 24 June 2018 and the other red which was reportedly buried along with its occupants on the 31st of January, 2013.

These discoveries raised red flags around the nation as regards the many who have gone missing without a trace and how much effort was put into trying to find them.

The General’s remains were discovered in Guchwet in Shen of Jos South LGA of Plateau State, sadly, some of the major suspects were never apprehended.

As if this incident was not enough to stir panic in the heart of those traveling within the country, a few weeks later the death of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh was announced.

Badeh was gunned down by unknown gunmen, and his aide was kidnapped, further raising questions as to the issue of insecurity in Nigeria.

The late General’s aide was later released and some suspects were arrested.

 

Resurgent Insurgents

One of the most troubling development as regards security in 2018, is the upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram, especially in the latter part of the year.

Though the army continues to assure Nigerians that the terror group has been utterly decimated, still the jihadists continue to strike and wreak havoc.

A recent attack on three military bases in Metele, Borno State, has forced many to reconsider statements by the army considering the state of affairs within the North East.

There have been reports that the terrorists had taken over some towns in Borno state, causing residents to flee to neighboring towns.

The army, however, has denied the claims saying the towns in question are still under the control of the military, urging Nigerians to be calm.

In conclusion, let it be known that this review does not in any way seek to undermine the efforts of our security personnel in keeping the nation at peace, however, it has been written in a bid to spur operatives towards more gallant strides.

Beyond herdsmen crisis and the insurgency, there are still cases of smuggling and contrabands coming in from porous borders, there are also issues of human trafficking that go unchecked.

As the nation heads to the polls in 2019 and the hope is that the citizenry is better protected than in the previous year, for if 2018 had a soundtrack when it came to security challenges, it might as well be titled ‘Killing Fields’.

Tens Of Thousands Protest In India Over Flashpoint Temple

 

Tens of thousands of women formed a human chain across a southern Indian state on Tuesday, in support of a court order overturning a partial ban on women entering one of Hinduism’s holiest temples, witnesses said.

The ‘Women’s Wall’ rally was backed by the communist government in Kerala state where the court order on Sabarimala temple has triggered weeks of protests by opponents and supporters of the ban.

Media reports and supporters of the initiative claimed hundreds of thousands of women formed a human chain across the 620-kilometre (380-mile) length of the state.

READ ALSO: Bashir Forms Panel To Probe Sudan Protest Violence

Government employees took part in the demonstration, while schools were given a half day and university exams delayed so that students could join the protest, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

A government statement issued before the event predicted five million women would participate in the protest.

Kerala has become the venue of an angry showdown between Hindu traditionalists and supporters of September’s Supreme Court ruling which ended a longstanding ban on women aged between 10 and 50 years.

Several women have since tried to reach the hilltop shrine but been forced back by opposing activists. Police have clashed with devotees supporting the ban and have arrested more than 2,000 people.

Hundreds of thousands of Hindus — men, young girls and elderly women — trek to the temple for an annual festival that usually falls around the end of the year.

The Supreme Court is to hear challenges to its landmark ruling from January 22.

Many Hindu groups and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) oppose the ruling. They argue that the court has ignored their beliefs that the deity Ayyappa was celibate.

#NewYear2019: PDP Assures Nigerians of Brighter Future

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) has urged Nigerians to step into 2019 with unwavering optimism, faith and hope of a new era of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity under a new President, Atiku Abubakar, that will be elected on February 16, 2019.

The PPCO congratulated Nigerians for their resilience in “surviving the almost four years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which has not been all positive for the nation.

The party called on Nigerians to avert negative projections by voting the opposition in the coming polls.

READ ALSO: There Is Hope For Nigeria, Jonathan Says In New Year Message

According to the PDP, “2019, as an election year, offers our citizens their much-desired opportunity to end the trajectory of economic hardship, hunger and starvation, strange diseases, untimely deaths, collapsed infrastructure, humongous unemployment figures, wanton killings and all the evils that have bedeviled our nation in almost four years”.

“Our citizens have made immeasurable sacrifices to keep the nation going in the face of very harsh policies, lies and fake promises of the Buhari administration. They now eagerly long for a breath of fresh air under Atiku as their next President”.

The PDP argued that if voted in as President, “Atiku will usher in a new era of a transparent and responsive government with the template for wealth creation, job opportunities and revitalization of our productive sector through tax cuts and direct empowerment of our hard-working entrepreneurs in a manner that increases our national productivity, reduce costs of goods and services, increase exports and shore up the value of our naira.”

 

Ajimobi Presents N285 Billion Budget For 2019

 

The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has presented a budget of two hundred and eighty-five billion Naira (N285bn) for the 2019 fiscal year.

The budget, borne out of the need to sustain the tempo of development in the state had the economic sector gulping the highest vote with 61.5%, while the social sector took 30.19% of the budget.

Noting that capital receipt shall be ring-fenced in line with federal governments’ fiscal sustainability plan, Gov. Ajimobi added that a more aggressive drive to generate revenue internally would evolve.

He expressed appreciation to both the legislative and judicial arms of government for their support so far and urge them not to relent in order to achieve a totally viable state economically.

READ ALSO: TraderMoni: Buhari Is Relooting Abacha Loots — Fayose

The appropriation bill christened ‘budget of sustainability’ has n163.47 billion representing 57.36 % as capital expenditure and n121.53 billion representing 42.64% as recurrent expenditure.

Ajimobi, who listed other priority sectors as administration, law, and justice, said the government would focus more on internally generated revenue (IGR) to finance the budget.

The governor admitted that the 2018 budget performed below expectation as government was unable to meet up with the projected revenue.

He said the 2018 revenue performed at 27.26% instead of 75% of the approved budget and 36.34% on pro-rata as at September, while expenditure for the same period, performed at 25.24% instead of 75% on approved budget and 33.66% on pro-rata.

He stressed that his administration would ensure the completion of ongoing road projects, while others will be left for the incoming administration to complete.
Ajimobi added that the government has paid all salaries of civil servants up to date as at the last day of 2018.

Stressing that Oyo is a very challenging state to rule but his administration is leaving Oyo state much better than they met it.

Meanwhile, the speaker, Oyo state house of assembly hon Olagunju Ojo commended the governor for returning the state to the path of glory in the last eight years.

Ojo said the Ajimobi-led administration has put in place several people-oriented policies that restored peace and economic growth to the state.

He noted that the 8th assembly had considered 84 bills out of which 59 were passed into law while other bills are at the state of consideration.

The speaker charged members of the state executive council to double up their efforts toward ensuring that ongoing projects were completed.