Court Frees Two Boko Haram Suspects   

File photo of Boko Haram suspects on a trail.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday discharged two suspects who had been arraigned for alleged ties with Boko Haram insurgency.

The suspects were discharged due to lack of diligent prosecution by the government.

While discharging the defendants, Justice Binta Nyako said that Ibrahim Ahmed had been in detention since 2013, while Sani Argungu had been detained since 2012 without the case proceeding to trial.

The judge blamed it on the failure of the government to call any of its witnesses adding that the defendants could be re-arraigned whenever the prosecution was able to get its witnesses to attend court.

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“The defendants have been in custody with no trial because the prosecution cannot bring its witnesses to court. So, I discharge the defendants and the suit is hereby struck out,” she said.

She added that the defendants, although discharged, would be monitored and warned them not to associate with any person of questionable character.

Ibrahim, in his statement, confessed that he was a security guard at the government house in Sokoto.

He was arraigned for allegedly giving passage to Boko Haram members.

Dapchi Abduction: Gaidam Asks Security Operatives To Increase Aerial Surveillance

Governor Ibrahim Gaidam on Monday receives the fact finding committee, set up by the Federal Government on Dapchi schoolgirls abduction, in Damaturu, Yobe State.

 

Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam on Monday asked security operatives to intensify aerial surveillance and conduct mop up operation around the vulnerable areas across the state and beyond.

This, the governor said is necessary to end the Boko Haram insurgency and ensure quick rescue of the abducted schoolgirls of Government Girls Science and Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Yobe State.

Gaidam who received the Chairman and members of the fact finding committee to unravel the circumstances behind the abduction of the Dapchi School Girls said this will ensure fishing out the terrorists from their hideouts.

“Carrying out aerial surveillance and mop up operation around the hideouts of the insurgents will curtail their operation thereby restoring peace in the state and beyond.

“I appeal to the Federal Government to come up with comprehensive strategy of mopping up remnants of the insurgents in all their hideouts within and outside the state,” the governor said.

The Governor said he had pleaded with the Chief of Army Staff and the theatre commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole for the restoration of Army personnel in Dapchi and praised their prompt response even as they have deploy securities to schools across the state and other vulnerable areas.

While raising optimism that the committee will work towards the actualisation of its set objectives, Governor Gaidam assured the team that his government and people of the state will accord them the needed support.

“It is my hope that the committee would be strictly guided by its terms of references and we are also hopeful that they will justify the confidence and trust reposed in them in them by the National Security Adviser and indeed all Nigerians.”

The leader of the fact finding team, Rear Admiral Victor Adedipe informed the Governor that the committee will trace the circumstances that led to the abduction of the schoolgirls as well as suggest ways of preventing further occurrence among others.

The committee according to Adedipe has earlier interacted with the Chief of Army Staff and the theatre commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri and will hold similar discussion with the GOC 3rd Division in and other relevant stakeholders in Yobe state.

The committee which has 12 members drawn from various security outfits and others relevant stakeholders also has two representatives from Yobe state.

U.S. Lauds Nigeria’s Efforts In Tackling Boko Haram Insurgency

U.S. Secretary of States, Mr Rex Tillerson,
U.S. Secretary of States, Mr Rex Tillerson

The United States has advised countries facing challenges of terrorism to take a cue from Nigeria in winning the war against global terrorism.

The U.S. Secretary of States, Mr Rex Tillerson, gave the recommendation on Thursday at the ‘Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS’ in Washington.

The meeting was convened at a time when the activities of terrorist groups across the globe were on the increase.

Experts identified sharing of ideas at different fora as an important step in winning the war against terror.

Mr Tillerson also noted that information sharing was one way countries could defeat terrorism, adding that Nigeria and West African countries have done well in sharing information which he said resulted in foiling a great number of attacks.

He asked countries that have challenges of domestic terror groups to build up their information sharing systems, just as Nigeria did to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency.

The U.S. Secretary of States, however, recounted with sadness the attacks on some countries by terrorists groups and proffered solution on how to tackle them.u-s

Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, on his part pledged Nigeria’s resolve to mobilise resources in order to confront violent extremists.

The Charge d’ Affaires of Nigeria to the United States, Mr Hakeem Balogun, also highlighted the effects of the commendation on Nigeria.

The meeting was attended by representatives from 68 countries including Nigeria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco and Somalia.

 

 

UN Warns Against Food Insecurity In Northern Nigeria

UN Warns Against Food Insecurity In Northern NigeriaThe Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations says about eight million people will go hungry in northern Nigeria by the year 2020.

The organisation also said at least 4.5 million people in the region would be needing urgent food assistance.

A representative of the United Nations, Mr Patrick David, made the disclosure in Abuja during a stakeholders’ meeting on food security in northern Nigeria.

Mr David said the situation was worsened by the Boko Haram insurgency, as well as the persistent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the region.

He noted that after studying the population of those affected by food insecurity, one of the recommendations to address the situation was to strengthen their access to food.

“Food assistance is very critical for lots of people in the Northeast states. In addition to that, we’ve seen that the level of malnutrition in these three states (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) are very critical.

“It’s one of the other recommendations to strengthen the fight against malnutrition in these states and in everywhere we can find children in difficult situation.

Borno IDP's Begin Mass Production Household Products

“Globally when you look at the 16 states, the expected estimate is that more than eight million people are food insecure.

“Of course majority of them are in the Northeast states and there is more than 4.5 million people who still need assistance because they are severely food insecure in the three Northeast states.

“Besides that, the recommendation for the majority of these states which have been studied is to strengthen their access to food.

“The recommendations are expected to be proposed to decision makers to find a way to strengthen the resilience of this population.

“There are many ways to strengthen the resilience in agriculture, in livestock production, in fisheries,” the UN official explained.

Shettima: Boko Haram Killed Over 100,000 People In Seven Years

Shettima: Over 100,000 Killed In Boko Haram InsurgencyBorno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, says at least 100,000 persons have been killed in the seven years of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria.

The governor added that over two million people were displaced by the violence, noting that most of those affected were women and children.

He stated this on Monday at the Murtala Muhammed Memorial Lecture in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

“While it took South Africa’s apartheid 42 years to take 21,000 lives, it took Boko Haram only seven years to cause the murders of 100,000 lives of innocent people, he said.

Governor Shettima noted that the conflict was fueled in its early stages by official laxity and the initial willingness of the former administration to believe the terror campaign was supported by the Muslim-majority in the northeast.

He also defended the decision of his administration to close all IDPs’ camps in Borno State by May 2017, stressing that their continuous existence poses threat to the state.

“The IDP camps that we have right now are pregnant with lots of challenges.

“Early child marriages, child prostitution, drug abuse (and) gangsterism are very common in those IDP camps.

“If we allow them to pester (and) to continue existing for the next two years, we might have bigger problems at hand.

“This is why we are determined to restore the dignity of our people by rebuilding their communities and taking them back home,” the governor said.

 

 

FG Dismisses Report Of Famine In Northeast

Benue Police Challenge Farmers, Herdsmen On Agatu Peace DealThe Federal Government has assured residents in the northeast that the prediction of famine in the region in 2017 is not true.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja, the Minister Of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, explained that although there could be food shortage in some states as a result of the northeast insurgency, that would however not lead to famine in the country.

Referring to states such as Borno and Yobe, the minister said: “neither the devastation in the north-eastern states nor farmers and herdsmen clashes in Kaduna state is likely to lead to famine and starvation in the country.

Meanwhile, it can be recalled that the Famine Early Warning System Network, an agency supported by the United States Agency for International Development had predicted famine in the northeast because the Boko haram insurgence had prevented the people from farming over the past five years.

According to the report, the rampage of Boko Haram insurgents contributed negatively to market activity and normal livelihoods for Nigerians.

Nigeria’s Lawmakers Ask Executive To Improve Welfare Of Troops

house-of-representativesThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has asked the Executives to ensure improved welfare for the troops in counter-insurgency operations in the northeast.

Adopting a motion on the recovery of the Sambisa forest from the Boko Haram insurgents, the House commended the troops for their courage, which led to the defeat and consequent capturing of forest.

The House also urged the Executives to work towards instituting insurance and housing schemes for the personnel of the armed forces in the event of disability or death in order to ensure that Nigerian fallen heroes were not forgotten.

The lawmakers also want the government to ensure comprehensive education for the families of officers and soldiers that die at the battleground.

They also observed a minute silence for the repose of the fallen heroes.

“Boko Haram Last Stronghold”

President Muhammadu Buhari had on December 24 announced that Nigerian soldiers had raided Boko Haram’s “last stronghold” in Sambisa forest.

He said that the the era of Boko Haram militants had ended with the clearing of the last bastion in the forest.

President Buhari said the insurgents have finally been crushed.

The president said in a statement that he was “most proud” to receive the “long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists”.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the determination, courage and resilience of troops of operation lafiya dole at finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at ‘camp zero’, which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa forest,” he added.

Purported Boko Haram Video Mere Propaganda – Army

Purported Boko Haram Video Mere Propaganda – ArmyThe Nigerian Army has dismissed a video clip released by Boko Haram terrorist group from an undisclosed location on Thursday, showing its purported leader, making spurious claims.

In the video, the man usually identified as Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, reportedly claimed that reports of the group being crushed by the Nigerian Army during the capture of its Sambisa forest stronghold Camp Zero were untrue.

He also claimed that the group is safe and far away from any location where the Nigerian military can capture its members or defeat it.

“If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?” he asked.

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said that effort is ongoing to subject the video for further forensic analysis to determine its authenticity.

He maintained that the Nigerian Army “has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest”.

“We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.

“Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding is still ongoing.

“Our gallant troops deployed in various parts of the northeast have continued to intensify search for all persons associated with Boko Haram terrorist group with a view to bring them to justice.

“Consequently, the public are hereby enjoined to go about their normal lawful business, remain vigilant and security conscious.

“They should also report any suspicious person or group of persons to security agencies.”

President Buhari, had in his Christmas message to Nigerians, announced Boko Haram’s “final crushing” in Sambisa forest.

President Buhari said the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, informed him that the last camp fell at about 1:35 p.m on Friday, December 23.

Buhari Never Said Boko Haram War Is Over – Adesina

Femi Adesina, Presidency, Boko HaramIn spite of the huge success recorded by the Nigerian Military in its onslaught against the Boko Haram insurgents, the Presidency believes the war is not yet over.

The spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, noted that Mr Muhammadu Buhari was misinterpreted by the press.

He said that President Buhari only commended the military when they took over the Sambia forest in Borno State, maintaining that he never pronounced the defeat of the Boko Haram insurgents.

“If you look at the President word-for-word, there is no place you will see him say that (the victory) signposts the defeat of the Boko Haram, no! It’s an interpretation by the press.

“What the President did was to congratulate the military for taking over the last camp of the Boko Haram which is called camp zero.

“What that effectively means is that Sambisa forest which was like the last stronghold of the Boko Haram has been effectively taken over by the military,” he noted.

Bitter Enders

Mr Adesina, told our Sunrise crew on Monday that the war against the insurgency was asymmetric and not conventional, stressing that such wars do not end for a very long time.

“There will always be bitter enders at any given time. Even as Sambisa forest has been taken over, you will still find some elements who will continue to fight and they will be taken out eventually.

“This kind of war is not one that at a point you will say because Sambisa has been taken over, its over for now, no! It is over when we stop having strikes and attacks,” he said with an assurance that the war would be over.

Gaidam Pays Tribute To Fallen Heroes, Donates 10m Naira

NigerGovernor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State says his administration will continue to assist retired military personnel who worked tirelessly for the oneness of Nigeria.

At the launching of the 2016 Emblem Appeal Week preparatory to the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration due for January 15, 2017, Governor Gaidam made a state donation of 10 million Naira, as mark of appreciating the invaluable contribution of retired military men who worked for peaceful coexistence at various times in the past.

The Governor made a personal donation of 500,000 Naira and praised the retirees for the immense contribution to their fatherland.

“We must contribute to this noble course to show appreciation for the contributions made by these retired officers and men in the first and the Second World War as well as during the civil war and lately the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency all in defense of truth, justice and liberty.

“They fought the wars to save mankind from oppression and tyranny as well as to preserve the sovereignty and integrity of our great country, Nigeria,” Governor Gaidam says.

The Governor regrets that some were killed at the battle field while some still returned with various degrees of deformity, a situation he said called for the need to help them cater for their group and individual needs.

“In the process, many made supreme sacrifice and never returned from the battle field. As a result of this, they left behind their beloved ones made up of wives, children, and dependents yet others returned disabled in numerous ways.

“I wish to state that the excellent performances of our armed forces, exemplary conduct and professionalism demonstrated by Nigerian soldiers over the years have continued to be commended worldwide by other countries, the United Nations and indeed in the home front,” the Governor stated.

He called on the people of the state and beyond to always contribute in improving the lives of retired security personnel who always remain dogged in service to their fatherland.

“It is imperative for me to indicate that the efforts of the Yobe State government in assisting the war veterans and their families need to be supplemented by the contributions of all citizens of Yobe and indeed Nigeria towards achieving the desired objectives” the Governor said.

Mr Gaidam then directed the state Commissioner of Finance to remit the money to the retirees account immediately.

The chairman of the Nigerian Legions in Yobe State, Captain Ibrahim Gadine, on his part appreciated the annual contributions of the Gaidam-led administration in the improvement of the lives of retirees in the state.

“I want to place it on record that our amiable Governor has been doing a lot for us and only the Almighty will reward him for the tireless support to the legions.”

“We have benefited from owner occupier housing scheme, some of us have gone to holy land courtesy of the magnanimity of the Governor as well as presentation of utility bus. Office among several others. We are indebted to this government,” Captain Gadine (rtd) said.

Prominent personalities contributed in cash at the launching with the aim of improving the living conditions of the retired war veterans.

IDPs: Nigeria Guided By International Best Practice, Says Buhari

IDPs, Phillipo Grandi, Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, International Best PracticesThe Federal Government says it is guided by international best practice and standards in rehabilitating millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) that have been spawned by the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the affirmation at a meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr Phillipo Grandi, on Monday in the State House in Abuja.

He also told the UN envoy that Nigeria was making efforts to domesticate the Kampala Convention, which legally binds governments to protect the rights and well-being of its people forced to flee their homes by conflict.

The President lauded the military, which he said had created a safe passage that had made it easier to help the IDPs.

He stated that different mechanisms had been put in place to care for the displaced persons in areas of nutrition, health, physical and spiritual rehabilitation among others.

“About 150,000 refugees have also come back home from across the borders. Our sleeves are rolled up to face the challenges head-on, along with our strategic partners,” said the President while noting that Nigeria appreciated the continued collaboration of the United Nations.

Protection Of Rights

Mr Grandi, who had visited Cameroun, Niger and Chad, as part of his tour of the Lake Chad Basin region, commended what he called “Nigeria’s determination to resolve the humanitarian crisis” at hand.

He noted that his visit to Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital, had afforded him the opportunity “to see the excellent work being done by the authorities, with support of the international community”.

The UN official said he was leaving Nigeria with the conviction that things were under control, stressing that “a lot remains to be done… but I see progress.

“I have seen the protection given to the rights and privileges of civilians in the Northeast and it is commendable,” he said.

Mr Grandi said the United Nations would always be willing to assist Nigeria with resources and the needed expertise to resettle the IDPs.

Over two million persons were displaced in the northeast in the heat of insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists.

UN agencies have called for more aid to displaced persons in the region, warning that over 75,000 were at risk of death if nutritious food did not get to them before the end of the year.

Yobe Govt. Challenges Journalists On Professional Reportage

Yobe, Journalists, NUJ, ReportageThe Yobe State Government has tasked journalists to sharpen their reportorial skills, as the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) doles out 110 laptops to its members in the state.

The Special Adviser to the Yobe State Governor, Abdullahi Bego, challenged the journalists to take advantage of the new information technologies to improve on their reportorial skills.

He disclosed that the 110 laptops were given free to the council by the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) with the aim to widen the prospects of journalism practice in Yobe State and to also meet the challenges of modern day journalism.

The Governor’s spokesman praised journalists who remained in the troubled northeast region to keep the society informed about happenings during the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency.

With the development in information and communication technology, he said although everybody has an opportunity to be a journalist, being professional would make the difference.

Bego urged the reporters to rise up to the task, saying the development in the ICT world requires more from them in terms of adding more flesh to what makes the headlines.

He also tasked them to be more in-depth and truthful in their reportage and make the best use of social media websites such as the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter among others”.

The Zonal Vice President of NUJ in charge of Zone E, Aisha Ibrahim, commended the partnership between the Yobe State Executive Council and NCC and urged members of the union to make the best use of it.

She said the ICT training would go a long way in improving professionalism among the journalists and called on them to leverage on the knowledge acquired in their day to day professional duties.

On his part, the Yobe State Chairman of NUJ, Yusuf Isah, thanked the state government and the NCC for the gesture, saying it would greatly uplift the status of journalism in the state and beyond.

He said that the union would commence an ICT training, in view of the new trends in journalism to educate members on how to face new challenges.