The United Nations on Tuesday said an attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the northeastern Nigerian town of Dikwa in Borno State had “directly targeted” aid facilities.
“The attack started last night and, as information is still coming through, I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze or sustained damage,” the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said in a statement.
“This violent attack will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” he said.
The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group, which split from mainstream Boko Haram in 2016, is suspected to be behind the attack.
The government and the army have yet to comment.
President Muhammadu Buhari reshuffled the military command this year, raising hopes of a shift in strategy to end a 12-year-old conflict that has killed 36,000 people and forced around two million to flee their homes.
Boko Haram insurgents on Tuesday attacked Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State and abducted at least seven aid workers.
The insurgents during the attack also burnt the offices of the aid workers, destroyed government facilities, and hospitals belonging to NGOs.
An eyewitness told Channels Television that the insurgents stormed the town at 5:30 pm on Monday evening, and have since been in control of the town.
The eyewitness said troops have been battling to dislodge the town throughout the night.
The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) says a full-fledged Nigerian Army Aviation is a critical component in the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaigns in the country.
General Magashi stated this when the Commander US Africa Command, General Stephen Townsend and his team paid a courtesy call on him at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
He said Nigeria will appreciate the US intervention to fully establish the Aviation Unit of the Nigerian Army as a Force Multiplier in the on-going fight against ISWAP/terrorists in the country.
The Minister of Defence on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari thanked the United States of America for its technical and manpower training supports towards enhancing the nation’s capacity and capabilities to end insecurity bedevilling the country.
While recalling specific instances of US strategic supports to the Nigerian Military, he mentioned progress recorded in the supply of Super Tucano aircraft, Thunder Boat for Maritime Operations and logistics to the Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF for enhanced combat efficiency and effectiveness.
On human rights issues, he told the delegation of the US Africom which include US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, Foreign Policy Adviser, Russell Schiebbel and US defence Adviser to Nigeria, Colonel Andrew Clerk that the Nigerian Military is adopting international best practices to reduce collateral damages in the fight against terrorism.
For instance, he said the Fighting Forces are leveraging low kinetic modus operandi in the theatres of combats, which he said is in compliance with the Rules of Engagements.
On his path the Commander US AFRICOM, General Stephen Townsend eulogised the leading role Nigeria is playing in Africa Subregional security matters and assured the government of support at all times.
General Townsend commiserated with Nigeria over the aircraft mishap that claimed the lives of seven crew members on board the plane.
The courtesy call earlier began with a closed-door session between the Defence Minister and the Commander US AFRICOM, General Stephen Townshend.
He also denied that his farm was taken over and boasted that he had successfully established an Islamic caliphate.
“Don’t count yourself a Muslim simply because you pray the salat and give in charity,” he said. “No! So long as you embrace Western values you are not one of us. We will not be on the same page until you truly submit to Allah.”
After the explosions, the military immediately deployed gun trucks to the area and commenced air surveillance.
The terrorists have not launched an attack in Maiduguri for some time and the Tuesday bombing may not be unconnected with the military’s sustained onslaught on insurgents in the Sambisa forest and other strongholds.
We are leading with a deadly attack on Maiduguri, a peace mission by State Governors to Niger State, and Akinwumi Adesina’s eloquent take on how to restructure Nigeria.
Boko Haram Attacks Maiduguri
At least 10 persons were killed on Monday after Boko Haram attacked Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Residents reported hearing multiple gunshots and explosions in the Gomari area. Later, survivors said rocket launchers had been used in the attack.
The military has deployed gun trucks to the area and air surveillance has since commenced.
The terrorists have not launched an attack in Maiduguri for some time and Monday’s incident may not be unconnected with the military’s sustained onslaught on insurgents in the Sambisa forest and other strongholds.
In the past, such aggressive campaigns by the military have forced the insurgents to regroup, sometimes filtering into the state capital, where they launch attacks on soft targets.
Comment: The attack is a distraction from the ongoing military operation, Dikwa Khalifa, a Professor of socio-linguistics and international relations at the University of Maiduguri said.
Marte: The Nigerian Army said it has recovered the Borno state town from the grip of Boko Haram terrorists. The Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, had on Sunday given the troops a 48-hour ultimatum to effect the recovery.
Service Chiefs: The House of Representatives has confirmed the appointment of the newly appointed military heads. The Senate is also screening the officials.
Senate: Lawmakers at the red chamber have confirmed the nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors, despite criticisms in some quarters.
Governors Visit Niger State
The Nigeria Governors Forum has paid a visit to Minna, the Niger State capital, to sympathise with their colleague, Abubakar Bello.
The Governors are seeking a lasting solution to the state’s recent security woes after 41 students and staff of a secondary school were kidnapped by gunmen in Kagara.
“What we are witnessing is terrorism,” NGF Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, said. “Yes, we may call it banditry, kidnapping; these are the remnants of the actors in the North-East that have found themselves in other parts of the country.
“Our security institutions need to come together. There needs to be better coordination, better sharing of intelligence, and a concerted arrangement and synergy that will enable us to defeat this menace.”
Related: The Governors also paid a visit to former military Presidents, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, who commented on the country’s security situation.
Adesina Defines Restructuring
Renowned for his bold ideas, President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has suggested that Nigeria’s restructuring should be based on economics, not politics.
Adesina, who was speaking virtually at a public lecture in Akure, the Ondo State capital, argued that economic and financial viability is necessary for political viability.
He advocated for states to control their resources while paying a federal tax and harped on the need to diversify revenue sources.
Quote: “Instead of a federal government of Nigeria, we could easily think of the United States of Nigeria or the Commonwealth of Nigeria,” Adesina said. “The old would pass away for the new. We would change the relational mindset between the states and Abuja. The fulcrum will be the states, while the centre will support them, not lord over them.”
Related: President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty was not an accident. “We didn’t just bump into this, we believe it is something we can deliver on,” he said.
What else is happening?
Amina Mohammed: The UN Deputy Secretary-General has asked the Federal Government to increase investments in young people as a means to ending the insecurity in the country.
Shasha market: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has ordered the market’s reopening after it was shut down due to a violent clash between traders.
Hope Uzodinnma: The Imo State Governor, after meeting with President Buhari on Tuesday, said he invited the military to Orlu to curb a nascent crisis. He also denied any personal involvement in the arrest of his predecessor Rochas Okorocha over a property dispute.
House of Representatives: A bill seeking to allow states the jurisdiction to set their own minimum wage has passed second reading in the blue chamber.
#EndSARS: The Lagos State Judicial Panel has summoned the Inspector-General of Police after a petitioner alleged the police forcefully took over his N800m property in 2013.
Abia State: A police station in Aba came under attack on Tuesday by yet-to-be-identified persons who reportedly carted away arms and ammunition. They also set the station and vehicle in the premises on fire.
Cryptocurrency: Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, appeared before a Senate Committee to defend the bank’s decision to ban all accounts used for cryptocurrency transactions.
And that’s it for this morning. Let’s do this again tomorrow.
The Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru has given a 48-hour marching order for the clearance of Marte and three other communities in Borno state.
Attahiru gave the order in Dikwa Local Government, the headquarters of the Super Camp 9 Operation Lafiya Dole.
“In the last few days we have had attacks in your Area of Responsibility: it is now high time we get back and fight through and support our forces ahead of you. Areas around Marte, Chukungudu, Krenoa and Kirta Wulgo must be cleared in the next 48 hours,” he said.
“You can rest assured of all the support required in this very onerous task. I have just spoken to your Theatre Commander, General Officer Commanding, you cannot let this nation down. Go there and do the needful and I will be right behind you. Ensure you do your job, and do your job well.
“They have presented certain issues that came up, sooner rather than later we would address; where there are no adequate A and B vehicles we would provide with these few remarks. I wish you well on the operation and I know the morale is high.”
The COAS’ visit is sequeĺ to attacks in the next town, Marte which filters to Dikwa causing panic among civilians.
Normalcy has since been restored in Dikwa and the army chief has addressed the people, seeking their cooperation and support.
Four Mobile Police officers have been confirmed dead on Tuesday after suspected Boko Haram insurgents invaded the Bayamari community in the Bursari local government council of Yobe State.
The Police spokesman, ASP Dungus Abdulkarim confirmed to journalists that two civilians had also died of suspected trauma as a result of a heavy gun battle between the security personnel and the attackers.
Although the military is yet to confirm the attack, a local source reveals that a boarding Secondary School located in the community was also razed down by the suspected Boko Haram insurgents but no student was harmed.
Bayamari is 130 kilometers north of Damaturu the state capital which has not been under attack in the past four years despite the several attacks on its environs.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Maiduguri Zonal Office, has closed its case in the ongoing trial of Aisha Alkali Wakil, popularly known as “Mama Boko Haram,” before Justice Umaru Fadawu of the Borno State High Court, Maiduguri.
The prosecution closed its case today after calling the last two witnesses, Geoffrey Okolorie(PW3) and Bashir Abubakar (PW4).
Okolorie, a staff of the Digital Forensic Unit of the EFCC, Abuja office, while giving evidence told the court that his unit received a letter alongside five mobile phones belonging to Aisha Alkali Wakil, Tahiru Saidu Daura, and Prince Lawal Shoyode from the Maiduguri EFCC office, requesting that a digital forensic analysis be carried out on the mobile devices.
He said upon the receipt of the devices, a case file was opened and a number assigned..“I compressed the devices and took out the SIM cards and extracted the data from the SIMs through the cellebrite universal extraction device. The data was extracted in one terabyte storage device.
“Thereafter I cloned each of the SIM cards and slotted them in and connected the phones to the cellebrite charger device and extracted the data on each phone into the storage device.
“At the end of the process, I examined the data on a computer system using a physical analyzer which decode the data and as such the analyses did not reflect in its entirety the WhatsApp messages.
“I then manually examined the phones and found out the WhatsApp chat communication between Aisha Alkali Wakil, Tahiru Saidu Daura, and Prince Lawal Shoyode. I employed the cellebrite camera and took a screenshot using the cellebrite universal forensic extraction device.
“I finally copied the data on a Compact Disk and marked it with the case file number”.
After his testimony, counsel to the second defendant, Zanna Hamza opted not to cross-examine the witness. He informed the court that based on the scientific testimony of PW3, he will need a short adjournment to enable him to study the testimony and cross-examine the witness.
PW4 Bashir Abubakar, who is the complainant, told the court that he is a businessman at Gidan Madara, Maiduguri, and the Chief Executive Officer of To-Day’s Super Store and Duty-Free respectively.
According to him, “On 5th May 2018, the Programme Manager of Complete Care and Aid Foundation, Tahiru Saidu Daura called and informed me that his NGO had a contract for the supply of 5 X-ray machines at the rate of N13m each.
“I was later informed by Tahiru that they have a reputable contractor who can execute the supply, hence I was given a ‘Letter of Introduction’ and ‘Authorization’ to transfer the money.
“Based on the letters I received, I transferred the sum N40m into Saidu Mukhtar’s UBA bank account from my Fidelity bank account on 16th May 2018. “I was later informed to come and collect an acknowledgment letter for the money I transferred and expect my money after forty-five days”.
He further testified that he was not paid after the promised date despite repeated appeals to the first and second defendants to honour the promise they made to him. He said he was left with no other option than to report to the EFCC.
Justice Fadawu adjourned till March 1, 2021, for the defendants to open their case and ordered further remand of all the defendants in Maiduguri Correctional Centre.
The first defendant, Wakil who is the Chief Executive Officer of Complete Care and Aid Foundation (NGO) is facing trial alongside Prince Lawal Shoyade and Tahiru Saidu Daura Programme Manager and Country Director respectively for alleged fraud to the tune of N40, 000, 000 (Forty Million Naira).
The Federal Government will partner Cameroonian and Chadian troops in ending the menace of insurgency in the northeast.
This was disclosed on Monday by the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, who addressed journalists at the Army Super Camp 1 Ngamdu, Yobe State.
“We are bringing out things, you can see Operation Tura Takaibango in tandem with forces from the Republic of Cameroon. We shall be bringing in the Çhadians to ensure the annihilation of the Boko Haram in Nigeria,” he said.
“I have met commanders, I have received briefs and they have told me exactly what their critical requirements are. I want to bring this war to an end soonest.”
Attahiru said the challenges confronting soldiers on the frontline were surmountable and would be addressed with military effectiveness.
He also pledged to improve the welfare of the troops in the theatre of operations in the northeast, noting that efforts were ongoing to acquire boots, uniforms and protective gears in a couple of weeks.
The COAS also said plans would be made to replace soldiers who have served long in the northeast, vowing that the rotational policy would be made in a matter of months.
While charging the troops to put in greater efforts in the fight against the Boko Haram, said the army would provide support arms and logistics to the soldiers in order for them to fight efficiently.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, has asked the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole to sustain the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists/Islamic State of West Africa Province elements in the northeast.
Addressing troops of the 171 Nigerian Air Force Detachment in Monguno, Borno State on Monday, Amao called for collaboration with other security agencies in order to ensure total defeat of the terrorists.
“The sustenance of critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives,” the CAS was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Ibikunle Daramola.
According to the statement, Amao arrived in Maiduguri from Abuja in the company of the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru.
While commending the Air Task Force for the recent successes recorded in the renewed offensive by the Operation Lafiya Dole, the Air Chief said that the NAF Headquarters would continue to provide all necessary support.
Amao said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired), the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Leo Irabor other service chiefs to bring the war against insurgency to a decisive end in order to restore normalcy to all troubled parts of the country.
He disclosed that they had already begun to take action in this regard, holding several meetings to evolve strategies for better synergy in the joint operations.
The NAF boss charged all personnel to do their own bit towards the attainment of this noble objective.
The Nigerian Air Force says the activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast and bandits in the northwest and north-central zones of the country have been largely degraded due to the constant attacks of the criminal elements by the air and ground troops of the service and other security forces.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said this on Saturday during the graduation ceremony of officers of Basic Regiment Course and Other Specialist Regiment Courses at the Regiment Training Centre in Kaduna State.
According to him, the feat was made possible due to the constant deployment of well-trained personnel and equipment to theater of operations in the various ongoing military operations.
Abubakar also noted that the Nigerian Air Force under his leadership has relentlessly pursued the improvement of Force protection capabilities amidst the increasing complex nature of contemporary threats.
According to him, this has necessitated the drive for massive recruitment and training of Regiment personnel to complement the Nigerian Air Force air operations across various theatres of operations.
The Air Force Chief’s comments come amidst several continued attacks by bandits and other insurgents.
Earlier today, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said four persons were killed by bandits in Chikun local government while two others were killed in Giwa.
The military on Saturday said it has destroyed another Boko Haram terrorist’s training camp in Borno, along with a suspected ammunition depot.
The operation was carried out by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole at Nuwar in the Bama area of Borno State on January 14, according to a statement signed by spokesman Major-General John Enenche.
Some terrorists were also neutralised, the military said.
“This was achieved . . . sequel to intelligence reports indicating that the cluster of huts and other structures in the settlement were being used to conduct combat training for the terrorists on a regular basis,” the statement said.
“Consequently, the Air Task Force, after conducting series of confirmatory aerial surveillance missions, dispatched an appropriate force package of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter gunships for a night air raid on the location.
“The helicopters scored devastating hits in the target area which led to the neutralization of several BHTs as well as the destruction of some of their structures, including the terrorists’ armoury, where multiple mini-explosions were observed amidst the raging fire. Several other terrorists were taken out in follow-on attacks by the helicopter gunships.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria, operating in concert with other security agencies and stakeholders, will sustain the offensive against the enemies of our Great Nation. We shall not relent until peace and normalcy are restored not only in the North East but also in every other troubled region of our beloved country.”
Meanwhile, troops of Operation Tura Takaibango in conjunction with the Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole, have destroyed seven Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists’ gun trucks, according to another military spokesman, Brigadier-General Bernard Onyeuko.
An unconfirmed number of the terrorists were also decimated, according to Onyeuko’s Saturday statement.
The terrorists met their waterloo when they attempted to attack the location of the troops at the outskirts of Marte in Marte Local Government Area of Borno State, the military said.
“The gallant troops, based on reliable information about the attack, had positioned themselves in an ambush site where they tactically withdrew to and awaited the arrival of the terrorists before they opened fire which led to the fierce battle that resulted in the successes recorded as indicated above,” the statement added.
“The troops are still engaged in the pursuit of the fleeing terrorists for further exploitation. Further details of interest to members of the public will be communicated later.”