Boko Haram Insurgency: We Lost Over 847 Soldiers From 2013 To Date, Says Ndume

 

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has said that Nigeria lost over 847 soldiers fighting in the North East to Boko Haram from 2013 to date.

Ndume, who stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja on the findings by his colleagues who recently returned from Maiduguri, explained that the figures are for only soldiers buried in the Military cemetery located in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

“From the record, we saw in the cemetery, by their record, I think we lost over 847 soldiers from 2013 to date that is their record.

“And they have other cemeteries elsewhere in Abuja and other places where they bury their victims.”

READ ALSO: Senate Asks FG To Declare Emergency On Federal Roads

He also debunked allegations that a mass burial is conducted for soldiers by the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, stressing that the military ensures the bodies of victims are retrieved.

“The allegation that there is a mass burial; when I saw it there, it is not true.

“Nigerian Army will never do that; In fact, if any of them is missing, they go out to search, to get that person to declare whether he is dead or alive; even if he is dead, they try to retrieve the body.”

Mr. Ndume also said that a panel has started investigating allegations that some Non-Governmental Organisations operating in the North-East, were providing useful information to the Boko Haram leaders.

“Another area of concern which the senate will look into is this allegation that the various NGOs in that area are conniving with the insurgents, providing them with information, logistics, and so many things.

“Well, I have been critical about this from the beginning, but it has come out now that a few of them operating there are actually aiding, abating and supporting the insurgents.

“But, we will do an investigation and you will hear if we have the evidence. So far, we have evidence, we just want to make it credible,” he added.

Ndume Demands Action As Boko Haram Terrorists Ambush Travellers In Borno

 

The Senator representing Southern Borno at the National Assembly, Ali Ndume, has lamented over continued attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the state.

Ndume told journalists on Thursday that the spate of attacks carried out by the terrorists in the last two months is worrisome.

The latest attack in the state according to humanitarian workers, was an ambush of a passenger bus along Gwoza-Pulka road, Warabe village on Tuesday.

At least seven women were reportedly abducted in the attack, while some of the male passengers who fled into the bush are yet to be seen.

Senator Ali Ndume who is a native of Gwoza confirmed that attack, he added that he received distress calls from relatives of some of the victims.

He urged the Federal Government to intervene and find a lasting solution to the renewed attacks in the state.

“It is worrisome. There was attack in Gwoza, there was a suicide attack bombing, all these within a gap of two months. As a representative of the people, I am worried.

“I hope that the security agencies and the people responsible are equally worried and trying to do something. I appreciate the fact that changes were made last time in response to such attacks but that is not enough. The government must do more to bring an end to this issue of insurgency,” he said.

The lawmaker noted that he agrees that insurgents have been defeated but some black spots  – the Sambisa axis, Lake Chad area, the Mandara Mountains – must be paid prompt and adequate attention to.

Aim Of Defectors Is To Stop Buhari’s Re-election – Ndume

 

The senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has taken a swipe at some of his colleagues who defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri on Saturday, he explained that most of them have corruption questions to answer and are therefore doing everything they can to stop the president’s re-election in 2019.

“This is a gang up which is targeted to Buhari by politicians that are afraid.

“The war against corruption is not going to be compromised by President Muhammadu Buhari and people feel that this war is going to get to them if he gets another term.

“So, that’s why you see a conglomeration of people of the same character saying, “let’s get rid of this man first”.

Ndume also mocked the PDP calling it a dead party with 12 people jostling for the presidential ticket in their desperation to oust Buhari.

“There is only one presidential slot in the PDP and right now there are 12 people going for the same presidential ticket. But the strange thing is that they are working together and their objective is to get Buhari out,” he said.

RELATED

Ndume Accuses Saraki Of Shutting Down NASS Over Personal Issues
2019: Saraki’s Defection Not A Threat To APC, Buhari’s Chances – Ndume

The senator had in an earlier interview with Channels Television, described the PDP as a “dying party” adding that although some issues may not have been handled properly within the APC, the PDP was not any better.

“Everybody knows that PDP is a dying party, in fact, it is a bad brand and that’s why I think they’re rebranding.

“I heard that they want to even change the name after apologising to Nigerians. So if people are going to that place that is apologising to Nigerians or thinking about changing their name, then so be it”.

He further stated that the defections, even that of key figures like the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, would not affect the chances of the APC or President Buhari in the 2019 general elections.

“When you lose even one person, especially a senator or the Senate President, you’re losing a key figure but that is not to say that anybody is indispensable in any way.

“You can’t say Saraki is not important but I’m saying that he cannot do irreparable damage to the APC or the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

2019: Saraki’s Defection Not A Threat To APC, Buhari’s Chances – Ndume

 

The senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has said that Senate President Bukola Saraki’s defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC), to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not a threat to the party’s chances or that of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, he admitted that although Saraki is a key figure in the party and every member is significant to its success, the defections would have little effect on the party.

He said, “When you lose even one person, especially a senator or the Senate President, you’re losing a key figure but that is not to say that anybody is indispensable in any way.

“So just because of the defection of certain individuals, which is not new in the political scene, you can’t write off or hang the future of anybody – not even the president but anybody – and I can say authoritatively without fear of controversy that the president, especially because of his integrity and the type of person he is, we need him more than he needs us.

“So, the political fortune of Mr President specifically cannot be questioned by the gale of defections,” he said.

The senator further explained that “Yes, when you lose people, you’ll be concerned. At the time we left the PDP, five or six governors left with us and about 10 or 25 of us were senators then.

“At one time, Vice President Atiku left, so this is not a new thing and it’s not a real big deal, it’s not a real threat.

“You can’t say Saraki is not important but I’m saying that he cannot do irreparable damage to the APC or the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari”.


RELATED

Ndume Accuses Saraki Of Shutting Down NASS Over Personal Issues
Saraki Reserves The Right To Reconvene Senate – Kola Ologbondiyan


Ndume, however, admitted that some issues within the APC, may not have been handled appropriately and some members may have been treated unfairly.

“I want to equally say that, that is not to say that the people have been fairly treated because I know that some of my colleagues have issues that would have been handled better.

“Even Saraki’s case would have been handled better,” he said.

The Senator, however, took a swipe at the PDP, saying that the party was not a better option for the defectors.

“Everybody knows that PDP is a dying party, in fact, it is a bad brand and that’s why I think they’re rebranding.

“I heard that they want to even change the name after apologising to Nigerians. So if people are going to that place that is apologising to Nigerians or thinking about changing their name, then so be it”.

Saraki Reserves The Right To Reconvene Senate – Kola Ologbondiyan

 

The Spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiyan, has said that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, reserves the right to reconvene the Senate.

He said this on Wednesday in response to comments by the senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, that Saraki had shut down the Senate abruptly and therefore, asked that it be reconvened.

Quoting section 12 of the Senate’s Standing Rule, the PDP spokesperson explained that “It is the responsibility of the Senate President to determine when the Senate will reconvene.

“Senator Ali Ndume was on the floor the day the Senate adjourned the sitting and as such, it is wrong and amounts to a blackmail to say that he shut down the Senate.

“Senator Bukola Saraki did not shut down the Senate,” Ologbondiyan said.

Ndume had accused the Senate President of shutting down the National Assembly over personal issues.

He said he was shocked at the manner with which he (Saraki) acted and therefore, asked that the Senate be reconvened in order for it to resolve some critical national matters.

He said, “What I want to do personally is to call on the Senate President Bukola Saraki, to reconvene the Senate because we have critical matters of urgent national importance before the National Assembly.

“His closure of the National Assembly that day was unbelievable. I was shocked by the way he acted.

“The Senate is not Saraki, he is just a member of the Senate. Saraki is just a presiding officer that anybody can be, so for him to have just shut down the National Assembly because of personal issues, is very unfortunate and uncalled for especially when you have very important matters before the Senate,” he added.

According to Ndume, some of the pending matters include the approval of the FCT budget, budgets for INEC, the appointment of ICPC members among others.

Ndume Accuses Saraki Of Shutting Down NASS Over Personal Issues

 

The senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has accused the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, of shutting down the National Assembly over personal issues.

He said he was shocked at the manner in which he (Saraki) acted and therefore, wants the Senate reconvened in order for it to resolve some critical national matters.

Ndume said this on Wednesday in reaction to Saraki’s defection on Channels Television’s political programme, Politics Today.

He said, “What I want to do personally is to call on the Senate President Bukola Saraki, to reconvene the Senate because we have critical matters of urgent national importance before the National Assembly.

“His closure of the National Assembly that day was unbelievable. I was shocked by the way he acted.

“The Senate is not Saraki, he is just a member of the Senate. Saraki is just a presiding officer that anybody can be, so for him to have just shut down the National Assembly because of personal issues, is very unfortunate and uncalled for especially when you have very important matters before the Senate,” he added.

According to Ndume, some of the pending matters include the approval of the FCT budget, budgets for INEC, the appointment of ICPC members among others.

“We have five different critical items. We have the budget of the FCT before the Senate which has not been approved.

“We have the virement and supplementary budget for INEC which is necessary in order to conduct the 2019 elections and then we have the appointment and the confirmation of ICPC members, that of FERMA is lying there, that of judicial commission is there and in fact, the budget of 64 government agencies is before the Senate.

“Approval for the funding, external borrowing to fund the 2018 budget which has already been approved of about $2.8 billion is before the Senate,” he said.


RELATED

Senate Adjourns Plenary Till September
Why I Defected From APC To PDP – Saraki’s Full Statement


 

The comments come after the Senate President announced his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday.

He said he defected after extensive consultations and after efforts to ensure a harmonious existence in the APC proved futile.

Meanwhile, the move also came days after 14 other Senators defected from the APC.

The Senate subsequently adjourned plenary till September 25, 2018, when it will resume from its long vacation.

Senate To Probe Allegations Against Saraki, Dino Melaye

Senate To Probe Allegations Against Saraki, Dino MelayeThe Nigerian Senate is set to investigate the allegation against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, over the seizure of a bulletproof Sports Utility Vehicle by the Nigeria Customs Service.

The Customs was said to have seized the vehicle belonging to the Senate President for unpaid duties valued at 74 million Naira.

The Upper Chamber said it would also investigate the allegation that one of its members representing Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, did not obtain a degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as claimed in the document submitted to the Senate.

The lawmakers reached the decision to begin the investigations on Tuesday after the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, raised a point of order at plenary asking the Senate to look into the issues.

The matters have been referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for investigation.

Ndume Calls For Increase In Northeast Allocations

Ali Ndume, Northeast, Budget AllocationFormer Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, says more needs to be done to improve the humanitarian situation in Nigeria’s Northeast.

Speaking to journalists at the National Assembly in Abuja, Senator Ndume called for increase in the budget allocated to the region.

“In the budget proposal under consideration by the National Assembly (that is this year), only 45 billion Naira is allocated for the Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI).

“This is grossly inadequate to address the emergency humanitarian crisis we are faced with.

“We have made a case to the National Assembly; the PCNI has written to the Speaker, there’s a favourable response.

“I have personally raised the issue with the Senate President and there is a favourable response to increase the budgetary allocation for the humanitarian crisis in the northeast from 45 billion Nara to a reasonable amount,” he said.

The lawmaker said over 2.5 million children are malnourished in the region, not to mention other alarming situations while highlighting the need for decisive intervention in the region.

He also urged the Federal and State governments to work together to ensure efficiency in managing the crisis in the northeast.

Ndume Advocates Improved Allocation For Northeast Intervention

Ali Ndume, Northeast Intervention, Budget AllocationThe Senate Committee Chairman on Finance, Ali Ndume, says the Federal Government’s 45 billion naira allocation in the 2017 budget for intervention in Nigeria’s Northeast is not adequate.

Senator Ndume, a member of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI), made the observation after the PCNI visited the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa.

The group’s visit was to declare its donation of food items which were offloaded at the warehouse of the National Emergency Management Agency in Maiduguri.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the international community; and I have said this even on the floor of the National Assembly that the contribution of the international community and its commitment to the humanitarian crisis we have in the northeast is more than that of the government.

“We are now calling on the government using this medium to at least take the lead or match what the international communities do,” Ndume said.

The senator noted further that foreign aid and commitment to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have continued to dwarf government’s effort over the years.

“So far the humanitarian response plan under what we call UNOCHA is budgeting $1.05 billion for 2017 (and) if you turn that into Naira, it translates into over 300 billion Naira.

“As at December last year, $449 million was donated by the international community; that also represents about 130 billion Naira.

“Unfortunately last year, the Nigerian Government budgeted only 12 billion Naira. In this year’s budget, it budgeted only 45 billion Naira (and) that also is grossly inadequate.

“So we ask the Borno State government to join us and other members of the National Assembly that are crying out to the government and to the leadership of the National Assembly to increase the budget for the intervention in the northeast from a paltry 45 billion Naira to at least 108; that is our call.” Senator Ndume stated.

Mr Durkwa, on his part, thanked the PCNI for the food donations which he said would go a long way in complementing the feeding of the IDPs.

He, however, urged donors to consider providing building materials in subsequent interventions to speed up the resettling process of the displaced persons.

“We say we are grateful and we ask for more. Now that we are in the post-insurgency stage, it’s time to now carry out constructions and resettle our people back to their base.

“That means we expect more apart from the food security. We are still asking for building materials to complement the effort of the state government,” the deputy governor stated.

The Borno State government is presently carrying out rebuilding of homes destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists in Bama, Gwoza, Konduga and Kaga local government area of the state.

2017 Budget Will Fix Economy, Senate Leader Assures

2017 Budget Will Fix Economy, Senate Leader AssuresThe majority leader in Nigeria’s Senate, Mr Ahmed Lawan, says the 2017 budget will address most of the economic challenges bedeviling the country.

Answering questions from journalists in Damaturu, Yobe state, the lawmaker who represents Yobe North at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, said that the 2017 budget contains lots of provisions that will improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

“Let me tell you that bad economy is one of the development challenges we face as a developing nation and I can assure you that the 2017 budget was well planned to address some of these problems we face as a nation.

“The budget makes the economy better because so many provisions, suggestions and estimates that will make life better for ordinary Nigerians were reflected in it to bring relief to Nigerians,” the Majority Leader said.

Senator Ahmed Lawan also has cheering news for disadvantaged citizens, saying they are also well taken care of in the budget.

“I want to assure Nigerians that some social interventions are enclosed therein for those who are so disadvantaged, so that the most vulnerable in the society access some funds for agricultural purposes and employment opportunities for our teaming youths.”

Dr. Ahmed Lawan said that the Senate has no option to act differently than to support the President to actualise his transformation agenda.

“There is nothing the Senate will do differently than to make life better for the people.

“The Senate will ordinarily key into this laudable programme aimed at making life more meaningful for the people,” he stressed.

The lawmaker said that this can be done either by legislation or simply by enlightening Nigerians on the benefits of such policy which needs the support of all and sundry.

On his recent emergence as the majority leader of the Senate, the Senator said his appointment in that capacity “was the initial position of the party and it is done now to uphold the party supremacy as earlier agreed by the APC caucus”.

The appointment according to him would stabilize the party more and unify the APC caucus since that was their initial plan.

“This development will help us face real development challenges better and minority parties will have more focus and will work better, thereby making a more productive Senate.”

He described his appointment in that capacity as “an act of God” and will continue to work for the progress and development of the country.

While calling for the support of legislative arms to accord Mr. President the needed support in actualizing his dreams for the country, Dr Ahmed Lawan said that the act of legislation is very key and central in any administration.

He thanked his colleagues for the trust they have in him and promised to do the job to the best of his abilities.

Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan takes over the position of the majority leader of the Senate from Senator Ali Ndume who represents Borno South at the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

Senate Considers Magu’s Re-nomination As EFCC Chair

Senate, Inmates' BabiesThe Nigerian Senate has read a letter sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari re-nominating Mr Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, read the letter during plenary on Tuesday that began after a closed-door meeting that lasted for one hour 30 minutes.

It was earlier believed that the re-nomination of Mr Magu may have topped talks at the meeting, but the Senate President explained that the Senate simply discussed the issue of welfare of the Senate and National Assembly.

‘Satisfactorily Clarified Allegation’

When Plenary began, the Senate President then read the letter from the President, re-nominating Mr Magu for approval as the Chairman of the EFCC.

In the letter, which was sent to the Senate on Monday, President Buhari explained that the nominee had satisfactorily clarified the allegation, which led to the earlier rejection by the Senate.

Buhari Re-nominates Ibrahim Magu As EFCC Chairman
Mr Ibrahim Magu is currently the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

The President also rejected the recommendation of the Senate, asking for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation over allegation of corruption.

However, the Chairman of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on the Humanitarian Situation in the North East, Senator Shehu Sani, dismissed the president’s response, describing it as a distortion of facts.

The federal lawmakers had in 2016 turned down the President’s request for the confirmation of Mr Magu who is currently the acting chairman of the anti-corruption body.

They cited security report by the Department of Security Services (DSS) which the Senate claimed indicted Mr Magu.

The decision by the Senate had been a subject of controversy as former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, had insisted that Mr Magu was not rejected by the lawmakers but his confirmation was only stepped down for further consultation with the Presidency.

Explaining the reason behind the decision, the Senate said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu is not fit to be chairman of the body.

Addressing journalists at the National Assembly after that decision was taken, Senate Spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, said that based on security reports, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm the acting EFCC Chairman.

A lawyer, Daniel Bwala had earlier said that he expected the Senate to confirm the acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency, but stressed the need for the lawmakers to allow him respond to the allegations against him.

Senate Pushes For Harmonisation Of Humanitarian Efforts In Northeast Nigeria

Senate Continues Public Hearing On PIBThe Nigerian Senate is pushing for the harmonisation of humanitarian efforts in the northeast to ensure that all victims of insurgency in the region will benefit from the support.

During plenary on Wednesday, the Senate asked its committee on Special Duties to initiate the process of bringing together the United Nations, donor agencies Federal and State governments to work in harmony for the benefit of displaced persons and victims of insurgency.

This is in response to an alarm raised by the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, at plenary that there was no coordination between these agencies and government in helping the displaced persons and victims of terrorism in the northeast.

He told the Senate that donor agencies, international organisations and the Federal and State governments had spent colossal sums of money on the crisis, but highlighted that there was a gap between what was reported to be the level of funding response and the reality on ground in the affected areas.

Navy, Counter-terrorism, Lake chad
United Nations agency UNICEF says children with ‘skin over bone’ need more of nutritious food

The observation is coming months after allegations of mismanagement of items provided as relief for displaced persons were put forwarded against coordinators of different Internally Displaced Persons Camps in the region.

More than 1.6 million persons have been displaced in the region since insurgency began over seven years ago.

United Nations agency, UNICEF, has raised concerns over severe malnutrition cases in the region, saying that over 75,000 children risk death in the region.

It has called for aids in form of nutritious foods to be sent to the region.

But penetration of aids has been hampered by ongoing counter-insurgency operations and the activities of Boko Haram members.