Week In Review: Armed Forces Remembrance, More Benue Killings, Fresh Boko Haram Attacks

Week In Review: Armed Forces Remembrance, More Benue Killings, Fresh Boko Haram Attacks

 

2018 Week Three: January 15 – 21

A new week, same issues. The third week of the year continued a dominant trend with reactions to the killings of several persons in Benue State by suspected herdsmen. The issue got the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari who met with a delegation of Benue leaders led by Governor Samuel Ortom on Monday in Abuja. Addressing the leaders, President Buhari said: “ I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your countrymen. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation.” Meanwhile, Nigeria joined the rest of the world to honour fallen heroes and members of the military who have fought and are still fighting in various theatres of conflict. At various events across the country to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and Senate President Bukola Saraki, as well as state governors paid tributes to fallen soldiers by laying wreaths.

L-R: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, and President Muhammadu Buhari walk during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony in Abuja.

 

On the tragic side of the day, the people of Lagos woke up to what some tagged a ‘sad morning’ after an explosion occurred at a gas station in Magodo area of the state, killing at least two persons. The popular gas station is located on a residential estate and has been the destination for cooking gas users in the axis and neighbouring areas. Far from the southern part of the country, Taraba State was thrown into mourning following the death of one of its lawmakers, Honourable Hosea Ibi. Late Ibi, the member representing Takum II Constituency in the State House of Assembly, was found dead about two weeks after he was kidnapped by gunmen in December 2017.

The educational atmosphere in Osun State turned controversial as hundreds of public school students were sent home over unpaid tuition fees. In a swift reaction, the state government denied the claim as it said the students were only asked to show evidence of payment of taxes and education trust levies by their parents or guardians.

Osun Public School Students Sent Home Over Unpaid Fees
Students reported sent home by school authorities

 

In Abuja, the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Nigeria Police Force, for the second time, to unseal the head office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria. Justice John Tsoho also directed police and other security agencies laying siege at the premises vacate immediately, as well as hand over possession of the office to the organisation.

The second day of the week also had more reactions to the Benue killings both from the government’s side and that of the citizens’. Reports had emerged that Governor Ortom warned Professor Osinbajo while President Buhari was on medical vacation against the imminence of the killing in Benue State. The Presidency, however, denied the report while Mr Ortom, on his part, warned those raising false alarms and making inflammatory statements to desist from such acts or face arrest.

File photo: Yemi Osinbajo

 

While the Senate leadership briefed President Buhari about their decisions and resolutions regarding the Benue crisis, the Upper House issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim Idris, to investigate and arrest the perpetrators of the attacks that led to the death of over 73 persons in the state. Also reacting to the attacks, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Mr Aliko Dangote, believes increasing rate of unemployment was responsible for herdsmen and farmers’ crisis; while a former IGP and Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr Ibrahim Coomassie, blamed state governors for the spate of killings occasioned by conflicts.

Away from Benue matters, security continued to be a major concern as not less than three persons were feared killed when Boko Haram terrorists attacked Pallam village in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State. The attack was reported on Tuesday, although it took place on Monday, as residents fled the community after some houses were burnt down by the insurgents. On the anti-corruption war, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) requested a Federal High Court in Lagos to grant an order of interim forfeiture of the sum of $3,645,013.73 allegedly linked the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience. Similarly, the anti-graft agency re-arraigned a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide, before a Federal High Court in Lagos. Mrs Akinjide was accused of conspiring with some persons to directly take possession of N650million which the EFCC claimed forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

Patience Jonathan, Court, EFCC
File photo: Mrs Patience Jonathan

Renewed Attacks In Northern Nigeria

Fresh terrorist attacks and litigations dominated January 17, 2017. It was a sad day for the people of Borno State when at least 12 persons died after two suicide bombers attacked a market in Muna Garage in Maiduguri. The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Damian Chukwu, who confirmed that the assailants were among the 12 who died, told reporters that 48 people got injured during the attack. Benue State got in the news again following renewed attacks in which six people were killed in Logo, Guma and Okpokwu local government areas of the state. Confirming the attacks, Governor Ortom said Guma and Logo LGAs were attacked on Tuesday while that of Okpokwu LGA took place on Wednesday.

The Kaduna State Police Command also confirmed the abduction of four foreigners – two Americans and two Canadians – by gunmen who killed two of its personnel during a gun duel. Meanwhile, a militant group in Nigeria’s southern region Niger Delta Avengers threatened to resume fresh attacks on oil installations in the region. The group, through its spokesman Murdoch Agbinibo, vowed that the round of attacks would be the ‘most deadly’ and would be targeting the deep-sea operations of the multinationals.

The EFCC also continued its anti-corruption fight with the arraignment of Justice Mohammed Yinusa before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja, Lagos. Justice Yinusa was arraigned alongside one Esther Agbo work reportedly works with the law firm of a senior lawyer, Rickey Tarfa, on five counts of financial impropriety.

Justice Mohammed Yinusa

 

The Commission also arraigned Mohammed Adamu, son of former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, alongside one Felix Ojiako on five counts of money laundering before Justice J. K. Dagat of the Federal High Court in Kano. However, the Lagos High Court in Ikeja adjourned the arraignment of the Chairman of Innoson Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma, over allegations of fraud after the businessman failed to show up in court.

As part of efforts to find a permanent solution to lingering fuel challenges, the House of Representatives summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru.

Both men were directed to appear before a Joint Committee of the House to explain the rationale behind the payment of fuel subsidy and to account for the funds spent on subsidy payment since January 2017.

Tackling Herdsmen-Farmers Crisis

On Thursday, the killings triggered by the crisis between herdsmen and farmers seem not to be worrisome for the Federal Government only but also state governors. In a bid to address the numerous conflicts, the National Economic Council constituted a 10-man working committee to check the spate of killings across the country. The committee is headed by Vice President Osinbajo while governors of Kaduna, Zamfara, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Edo, Plateau, Oyo, and Ebonyi states are members. Meanwhile, the police said they have confirmed the existence of militia groups in Benue State which they said investigations would reveal soon. Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Jimoh Moshood, told Channels Television on Sunrise Daily that they have evidence of members of the group who are armed with AK-47 rifles. Also on police matters, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, decried the inadequate annual budgetary allocation to the Force. Mr Ibrahim, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, noted that the allocations make it difficult to meet the current security needs of the country.

Killings: 'Mischievous Politicians Are Worsening Situation'
File photo: Jimoh Moshood

 

Also on security issues, the Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the application by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) challenging its proscription as a terrorist organisation. Justice Abdul Kafarati held that the application was properly brought before the court as an ex parte motion by the Attorney-General of the Federation. Elsewhere, Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku asked security agencies in the state to arrest the killers of a slain lawmaker in the state. Until his death, Honourable Hosea Ibi was the member representing Takum II Constituency in the State House of Assembly. He was found dead about two weeks after he was kidnapped by gunmen in December 2017.

In the education sector, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kaduna State of called off its indefinite strike which began on January 8, 2017, in protest of the sack of 21,780 teachers in the public primary schools who failed a controversial competency test in June 2017. The union said the decision was taken after the government offered the sacked teachers another opportunity for consideration under the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) programme of continuous recruitment. Far in the South-East, the Ebonyi State government directed schools to close following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state. The government said the directive was given as part of measures to contain the spread of the disease after the death of four persons.

Controversial Friday

Friday was clouded with controversy when President Buhari’s wife, Aisha, reposted the videos of two senators criticising her husband’s administration with her official Twitter handle @aishambuhari. In the said videos, Senator Isah Misau – who represents Bauchi Central – faulted the appointment of the Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), while Senator Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East) lambasted government over what he termed Nigeria’s ‘lawlessness’. Meanwhile, the President explained why he doesn’t make decisions hurriedly in addressing burning national issues. “I decided to drop the uniform and come back here (to be President of Nigeria), so I have gone through it over and over again. This is why I am not in a hurry to do anything. I will sit and reflect, and continue to (operate) with my clear conscience,” President had told some APC chieftains in Abuja.

President Buhari stands while addressing APC chieftains at a dinner in Abuja

 

Somewhere in the North East, at least five people were reported killed when suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked Kaya village in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State. The attack, which took place on Friday morning, was swiftly reacted to by local hunters who killed one of the terrorists and apprehended three others. Another death was recorded in Nasarawa State but as a result of the resurgence of Lassa Fever disease in the state. The state government said relatives of the deceased have all been tested and placed under surveillance.

News of suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, might have been fading away but his trial alongside five others continued on Friday at the Ikeja High Court in Lagos. After series of proceedings, the court adjourned hearing till March 2 for the continuation of trial and ruling on a bail application brought by the sixth defendant. In Oyo State, the installation of 21 kings by the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, was nullified by a State High Court. The court declared as null, void and unconstitutional, the review of the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration as well as other Related Chieftaincies in Ibadan land by the Justice Akintunde Boade Review Commission set up by the state government.

Weekend In Summary

Nigerians woke up to the cheery news of the freedom of the four foreigners – two Americans and two Canadians on Saturday – about four days after they were abducted by gunmen in Kaduna State. The Commissioner of Police, Mr Agyole Abeh, said the foreigners were rescued at Jere Area in Kagarko Local Government Area of the state. The Delta State Police Command, however, confirmed the kidnap of five oil workers by gunmen in the state. The Command’s spokesman Andrew Aniamaka told Channels Television on Saturday that the hoodlums seized the workers on Wednesday at an offshore location near Ajoki, a border community between Delta and neighbouring Edo State.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) asked the Federal Government to ensure the victims of herdsmen attacks get justice to convey the sense of equity and restore confidence among the people. Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, on his part, conveyed a meeting of stakeholders aimed at tackling the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in his state. The meeting followed an unfortunate incident which claimed the life of a young Tiv woman said to be eight-month pregnant in Ekiti.

NBA Seeks Justice For Victims Of Herdsmen Attacks
NBA delegation pays condolence visit to Benue State

 

Barely three days after five people were reported killed in Madagali Local Government Area (LGA) of Adamawa State, three persons were confirmed dead in an early Sunday morning raid on Kikon Village in Numan LGA. The attackers who were suspected to be herdsmen rode into the village on motorbikes, setting houses ablaze and carted away cattle belonging to farmers in the village. A farm belonging to a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Olu Falae, was also set on fire by suspected herdsmen in Ondo State. The Ondo State Police Command confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

Meanwhile, the leadership of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in the South East rejected the proposed plan by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies in states as a means to tackle the farmers and herdsmen clashes. Vice President of PFN in the region and former Chairman, Imo State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Cosmas Ilechukwu, stated this after the national leaders of PFN met in Owerri. However, the umbrella body of Muslims in Nigeria, Jamatu Nasril Islam (JNI), said it was absurd and wicked for CAN to blame herdsmen for the murder of more than 70 persons in Benue State and other parts of the country. Secretary-General of the group, Dr Khalid Abubakar, cautioned the Christian body against attributing crimes or criminals to religious and ethnic lines.

Isheri School Kidnap: Students’ Group Wants Security Upgraded

kidnapped, Isheri North, Isheri,The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has expressed concern over the kidnap of students and staff of Nigerian Tulip International College (formerly Turkish International School) in Ogun State.

The President of the MSSN in Lagos State, Dr. Saheed Ashafa, gave the group’s reaction to the abduction in a statement on Monday.

Dr. Ashafa also condemned the bomb attack at the University of Maiduguri early Monday morning.

His statement is coming four days after ten (10) people including students of the NTIC were abducted from their school premises.

According to Dr. Ashafa, the kidnap and bomb blasts should serve as a signal to the Federal Government and the Military that there should be no relaxation despite the fall of Sambisa forest.

While commending Nigeria security operatives for the recorded success so far, Dr. Ashafa lamented that students were the most affected victims of the horrible experiences of terrorism and kidnapping.

The MSSN Lagos leader said: “The act of turning students and educationists to money making avenue is condemnable and capable of discouraging people’s interest in education, if not properly addressed. We appeal to security operatives to do all they could to ensure the safe rescue of the victims of the kidnap incident at Turkish International school.

“The bombing of the University of Maiduguri mosque came to us as a shock. It is disheartening and incomprehensible, as it surprisingly happened at a point when many Nigerians are beginning to show confidence that terrorism is coming to an end in the country. Perpetrators of such act must be arrested and dealt with appropriately.

“However, the saddening current development is a caution to both Nigerians and security operatives. Though extremely painful, it is a bad signal that the fall of Sambisa forest, which is believed to be the headquarters of Boko Haram sect, does not automatically translate to the end of terrorism in Nigeria; so our security operatives need to do more.”‎

He feared that the incapacitation of Boko Haram to operate from Sambisa Forest could lead to the rise of terrorists’ incursion in many of Nigerian communities if government fails to act fast.

To avoid the incursion and further criminal activities, he suggested proper mobilisation of all security agencies for swift and robust internal security and surveillance.

He added, “‎School owners in Lagos have to increase their security consciousness. The frightening reports of arrest of Boko Haram suspects in the state and cases of kidnapping is discouraging and beginning to create fear among parents in the state.

“Our security operatives may also have to go and re-strategise against internal security threat that the success recorded by them in key places could cause.

“They should also begin to pay more attentions to border strips, and other states and areas that some of the fleeing terrorists could want to operate or hide”.

Resident Doctors Threaten Strike From January 2

Resident Doctors Give FG 21 Days UltimatumMembers of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) have issued a 21-day ultimatum to the federal government to address the issues of the state of health in the country, as well as the doctors’ welfare or face a total indefinite withdrawal of services.

The National Executives of the Resident Doctors held a press briefing led by the National President, Dr. Ugochukwu Onyebueze, on Monday after their meeting in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria.

They observed that the health of Nigerian citizens is not being given the attention it deserves due to worsening health indices and dilapidated infrastructures in health institutions in the country.

They also noted the undermining of staff welfare in tertiary health institutions, selective and vindictive non-payment of members who agitate for their dues, epileptic pension and remittance deductions and enormous burden of unpaid salaries among other issues.

The association lamented that despite assurances from the federal and state governments, nothing has been done and they have resolved that the federal government should as a matter of urgency institute mechanism to check the rot in the heath sector and ensure that quality healthcare is accessible to all Nigerians

They also demand that Resident Doctors’ Welfare be made a priority.

In the absence of addressing these issues, the association has vowed to ensure a total and indefinite shut down of services from January 2, 2017.

The press briefing follows the communiqué issued at the end of the Extraordinary National Executive Council Meeting of the association held at the National Trauma Centre of the National Hospital, Abuja, on December 11, 2016.

At that meeting, pertinent issues affecting the quality of healthcare delivery to Nigerians as well as the welfare of its members, were discussed.

Doctors Commit To Efficient Healthcare For IDPs

Resident DoctorsThe Borno State chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) has reiterated its commitment to delivering efficient healthcare services to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.

The ARD President, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Ibrahim Shettima, made the pledge during a scientific conference in Maiduguri.

Shettima said the ARD would continue to provide optimal health services to the vulnerable and victims of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region.

“The health challenges in the state especially in the IDPs’ camps remain a challenge to the health sector in the state. Our mother union the Nigeria Medical Association, has so far conducted some outreach in Bakkasi IDPs’ camp,” he told reporters.

According to him, the members of the group have conducted outreaches in some orphanages where some 200 children were examined.

He said that the group is determined to extend its outreach to the IDPs in seven liberated local government areas.

The aim of the ARD is to provide a congenial environment for laying the foundation for efficient and effective residency training that would have a legacy for the younger ones to emulate.

Black Friday: Kano Governor Visits Victims Of Blast

Kano-BlastKano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has visited the victims of the ‘Black Friday’ attack at a border town between Kano and Kaduna State.

The Governor also visited the site of the blast and sought the cooperation of the Shi’a group in the investigation of the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility of the attack, but Boko Haram is largely suspected for it.

Governor Ganduje said that even though the Shi’a leadership had refused to hand over the suspect they arrested to the police, investigation showed that over 30 people were injured.

Be Vigilant

The suicide bomber had attacked the Shiates procession on Friday, leaving at least 21 dead.

They trekked almost 21 kilometres away from Kano city not knowing that the suicide bomber had disguised in black only to blow himself up while they walked.

Mr Ganduje, who expressed worries over the increasing number of attacks in Kano, also called on Kano residents to continue to be vigilant, as the government would continue to do its best in the protection of lives and property of the residents.

The Governor further stressed that it may be hard for security operatives to analyse the attack since members of Shi’a group were not ready to cooperate with security agencies.

At Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Governor Ganduje greeted some of the victims and directed the State Ministry of Health to ensure a free medical treatment for the victims at different hospitals.

Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Health Dr. Kabiru Getso, told the Governor that victims brought in Friday were treated of injuries sustained during the blast, confirming that no death has been recorded at the hospital.

More Parents In North-east Nigeria Embracing Girl Child Education – UN

Northern SchoolGirlsThe United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) says the Chibok girls’ abduction over a year ago in Borno State, north-east Nigeria, have now motivated parents to send their girls to school.

The country representative of the UNFPA, Ratidzai Ndhlovu, said several communities in the troubled region ‘no longer fear kidnappings by the Boko Haram sect’ to advance the struggle for girls’ education.

States in northern Nigeria have the country’s worst girl child education and health risks.

The latest scorecard by the UNFPA showed high female illiteracy, highest adolescent girl marriage, under 15 child bearing as well as risk of maternal death.

‘Billed For Marriage’

Several communities in the troubled north-east are aware of this crisis point, that is why they embrace the UNFPA drive for girl child education.

The Boko Haram crisis only worsened an already desperate situation in the north-east. Over five years of Boko Haram attacks have severely hampered access to education in the region but that could steadily change through interventions.

According to the UNFPA, the drive for education has increased among parents and young girls in the region.

Sakina is only 18 and is billed for marriage in months but her parents are determined for her to continue her education beyond secondary school.

Some of the girls in the region now carry with them memories of their parents or relatives which make them determined more than ever to complete their education with greater assistance from the government.

Nigerian Refugees Return From Cameroon  

refugeesThe National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the return of about 1, 000 refugees to Nigeria on Thursday from Cameroon.

“We already cleared those who have arrived the borders, but Nigerian Immigration is yet to clear so many others”, an official of NEMA told Channels Television.

NEMA also confirmed that within the next 24 hours, about 12,000 Nigerians are expected to return to the country from Cameroon.

The returnees are those who had sought refuge in Cameroon following Boko Haram attacks.

A similar incident occurred in May where over 20,000 people were returned from Lake Chad Island, to allow military operations.

Nigeria Halts U.S. Training Programme For Military

US Nigeria Military training haltedThe Nigerian government has ended the US government’s training programme for Nigerian soldiers.

The Nigerian government requested for the suspension of the programme less than a month after Washington said it refused to sell the country Cobra attack helicopters.

“At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion,” the US Embassy in the capital, Abuja, said in an e-mailed statement.

The training programme was designed to help Nigeria battle the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

The US turned down the helicopter request “due to concerns about Nigeria’s ability to use and maintain this type of helicopter in its effort against Boko Haram and ongoing concerns about the Nigerian military’s protection of civilians when conducting military operations,” State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki said in Washington on November 12.

Nigeria’s military, under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, is struggling to deal with intensifying attacks by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The insurgents have killed more than 13,000 people since 2009, according to Jonathan.

Suspected Boko Haram members carried out two attacks on cities in Nigeria’s north-east on Monday, killing at least five people, same day that the US released a statement halting the military training.

“We regret premature termination of this training, as it was to be the first in a larger planned project that would have trained additional units with the goal of helping the Nigerian Army build capacity to counter Boko Haram,” the embassy said.

Over 150 Killed In Explosions Near Kano Emir’s Palace

ExplosionOver 150 people have been confirmed dead after two vehicles loaded with Improvised Explosive Devices exploded near the emir’s palace Jumaat mosque in Kano state, north-west Nigeria.

The Acting Commissioner of Police in the state, Sunusi Lemu, told reporters that over 150 others were also injured in Friday’s explosion.

Channels Television’s correspondent reported that the explosion took place while Jumaat prayers were about to begin, describing the incident as ‘hell’ for worshippers at the Emir’s palace jummat mosque in Kano.

The impact of the explosion was said to be huge after the two vehicles loaded with explosives exploded on a nearby road, before attackers opened fire on worshippers.

An an eyewitness also told Channels Television that “the vehicles were parked along the road very close to Qadriya House which is opposite the mosque. People died but I don’t know how many,” the eyewitness had said.

Burnt To Death

The police said one suicide bomber exploded inside the mosque killing scores of people while the car exploded outside the mosque.

“Some gunmen equally opened fire on the worshippers,” Mr Lemu said.

Meanwhile, three suspected gunmen were burnt to death after being captured by the angry youth.

Mr Lemu, who displayed their weapons, said a unit of armed policemen was in pursuit of the fleeing suspects.

Those who were injured have been taken to various hospitals for treatment, as the Emir’s palace has been completely taken over by the Joint Security Forces.

A spokesman for the Joint Task Force, Captain Ikechukwu Eze, earlier confirmed the explosion.

Senate Orders Service Chiefs To Recapture Seized Territories

service chiefsThe Nigerian Senate has asked Service Chiefs to ensure that territories seized by the Boko Haram terrorist group are recaptured before the 2015 general elections.

At a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah, on Thursday, the Senate Committee on Defence and Army expressed worries that elections may not hold in the troubled north eastern states in 2015 because of terrorist activities in the states.

The chairman of the committee, Senator George Sekibo, said elections would hold in the three troubled north eastern states if the army recaptured all the territories seized by Boko Haram and if there was peace in the areas.

The committee invited Lieutenant General Minimah, to discuss the increasing insurgency in the north-eastern states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

Having A Field Day

Briefing the Army Chief before the meeting, Senator Sekibo bemoaned the increasing spate of attacks in the north-east, saying; “while politicians are busy scheming for the 2015 elections, insurgents are on the other hand having a field day, especially in the north-east”.

He informed the COAS that Nigerians were getting impatient and irritated not only with the military but also with the government and those who represent them at various levels.

Senator Sekibo said: “I believe that we are trying our best, but is our best the best we can offer? What is happening is becoming increasingly difficult to explain to Nigerians. We want to be told what is happening. The insurgents are having a field day.

“We are aware that the government is releasing your funds to you because you have not complained. We also approved $1billion for the President to purchase arms and ammunitions to fight Boko Haram. We are aware that your budget is being released to you. If you have difficulties you should tell us.

Kenneth-Minimah_Chief-of-Army-Staff
Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah said the military would continue to fight the Boko Haram terrorists until territories are recaptured.

“The spate of insurgency, the way and manner the insurgents are taking areas, is getting worrisome. We want to know what is happening. We also want to know the issue of the reported ceasefire. We want to know whether there was actually any ceasefire.

“We want to know whether there was a dialogue, the stage of the dialogue if any because few days after the announcement of the ceasefire, the insurgents struck and have continued to strike.

“We want to know where we are. We are approaching election year. Are we going to conduct elections in the north-east under the dire security challenge? These are our concerns and the concerns of Nigerians”.

Military To Recapture Seized Areas

After he made the background statements, he asked Minimah to respond to the issues he highlighted. The Army Chief took a measured breath and said: “I came to interface with the Senate Committee on Defence, can the press leave us”.

The statement changed the course of the meeting, as the Army Chief emphasised that operational matters were never discussed on the pages of the newspapers.

A member of the Committee, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, insisted that the press should be present at the meeting, as it was seen as an important stakeholder in the fight against insurgency.

But Lieutenant General Minimah insisted that the press must leave.

The discussion lasted for over two hours and briefing reporters after the meeting, the COAS told the media that the military would do its best to recapture the areas that had been seized by the Boko Haram militants.

This week alone, dozens of children were killed at the Government Technical Science College in Potiskum, Yobe State and just two days later, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at the Federal College of Education Kontagora Niger State.

Although the Chief of Army Staff assured Nigerians that the military would reclaim the areas taken over by Boko Haram, there are still critical questions that require answers; like how do the terrorists bring weapons into the country? Does the Nigerian army have enough troops and ammunition to confront the terrorists and whatever happened to the alleged ceasefire agreement?

Kano Bomb: Jonathan Asks Security Agents to be More Proactive

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has urged security officials in Nigeria to be more proactive in checking the activities of terrorists in the north-east and some other northern states.

The President’s statement is coming hours after a bomb attack on a the Federal College of Education in Kano, on Wednesday, by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.

President Jonathan commiserated with citizens and residents of Kano State on the loss of lives recorded in the attack.

In a statement, President Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati, said the President sympathised with those affected and wished them a speedy recovery.

The President also commended the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force who took prompt action to confront the attackers and minimise resultant casualties.

He reassured the people of Kano and all Nigerians that the Federal Government would continue to do all within its powers to further enhance the ability of the Police, Armed Forces and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism to a successful conclusion and provide greater security of lives and property across the country.

At least 30 person were killed with many other injured in the attack.

The spokesperson for the military Joint Task Force, Ikechukwu Eze, confirmed the attack. Mr Eze said government troops have arrived at the school.

Residents of the area and witnesses said several explosions occurred, followed by sporadic gunshots at about 1.30pm.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a terrorist group, Boko Haram is suspected to have carried out the attack. The group had carried out similar attacks in the past.

 

Borno Lawmakers Push For Strong Security Presence In Schools

School-girls-abductedLawmakers from Borno State are pushing for strong security presence around schools in the north to guard against further abduction or death of school pupils.

The move is coming one week after girls of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, were abducted by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.

Lawmaker representing Mohuno and Nganzai Federal Constituency in Borno, Mohammed Monguno, told Channels Television that the government has a duty to ensure the military is adequately equipped to fight insurgency and such other attacks.

Monguno and his counterpart from Jere Federal Constituency, Maamuna Khadi, said while schools cannot be closed down as a result of the insurgency, more caution must be taken, stressing the need for students to be relocated to safety. 

There has been controversy over the exact number of students that were taken away by the sect after an attack on the community.

Some residents of the community had said the girls that were taken away were over 200 but authorities put the number at 129.

On Monday, the parents of the girls said 230 girls were still missing after over 30 of them are said to have escaped from their abductors days after.

Borno state and two other states in the north east have been under state of emergency for nearly one year. The states have  witnessed series of attacks by the Boko Haram sect.

Military operations are still ongoing in the state to end the attacks but security experts have said that Nigerian leaders lacked the political will to tackle the insurgency.