The Nigerian Army on Tuesday explained how Boko Haram terrorists attempted to attack Dikwa town in the Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.
According to a statement issued by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, the terrorists stormed the town in an unconfirmed number of gun trucks and motorcycles.
The army spokesman said the military was able to repeal the attack with “heavy bombardment and overwhelming firepower by troops of 81 Task Force Battalion with reinforcement from other formations of the Nigerian Army and aided by air support of Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE.”
The terrorists, Yerima said, had “attempted to invade the town to loot food items and other logistics having got wind of the recent food distribution to residents of the town by the state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum.”
They were said to have come through the Marte axis, adding that they could not gain access to the town due to the combat readiness of troops who were positioned there.
“The terrorists subsequently lost initiative as they were cut off completely following the recent successful recapture of Marte town by the gallant troops.
“In desperation and to scare off residents from returning to their homes, they planted series of landmines on the roads which were also detected and successfully detonated by troops,” he added.
The army spokesman decried some media reports suggesting that the terrorists attacked a United Nations base in the north-eastern state.
While noting that such reports were aimed at stirring up tension in the country, he said 25 aid workers were not trapped.
He also explained that the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, has commended the efforts of the gallant troops’ and the prompt response of the Air Task Force in providing air interdictions throughout the operation.
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.
Reinforcement from Ajiri town was ambushed by the insurgents in the early hours of Tuesday which slowed every attempt to engage the Boko Haram insurgents when they struck.
Some aid workers who spoke to Channels Television from the town narrated how the insurgents set ablaze buildings and health facilities belonging to humanitarian workers.
The attack is coming 24 hours after the state governor Babagana Zulum returned from a trip after spending three nights in Dikwa.
Zulum left Maiduguri on Wednesday, a day after Marte was liberated, and proceeded to Dikwa where he stayed till Saturday, proceeded to Ngala, and returned to Maiduguri on Sunday.
Channels Television gathered from sources stuck in Dikwa that the insurgents are currently moving freely in the town, and have mounted a checkpoint at the exit preventing people from fleeing to Maiduguri.
The Chief of Army staff had recently visited the headquarters of the Army Super Camp 9 located in Dikwa, where he gave troops a 48-hour ultimatum to clear insurgents from neighboring Marte local government.
At least 35,000 people had fled Marte to Dikwa when the insurgents attacked.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the military to rescue Pastor Bulud Yakuru from the Boko Haram terrorists before it is too late.
Pastor Yakuru of EYN Church of the Brethren was reportedly abducted on December 24, 2020, when the terrorists attacked Pemi Village in Borno State and killed no fewer than seven people.
The Pastor who has been in the custody of the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram since last year was on Wednesday reportedly given a one-week ultimatum for their demands to be met by the government or Pastor Yakuru will be killed.
In a statement issued on Saturday, CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, said although the association is not aware of the demand, it, however, appealed to the Federal Government to secure the cleric’s release.
“Our appeal is to the President, the military and the Borno State government to ensure that Pastor Yakuru is not murdered like the district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) and CAN Chairman of Michika Local Government in Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi,” the statement partly read.
“The leadership of CAN believes that the freedom of Pastor Yakuru is a litmus test for the new Service Chiefs and the whole world is watching whether they will live up to the expectations of or not.
“If the then American President, Donald Trump could put his acts together from far away America and ordered his military to rescue one kidnapped American in Nigeria, then our President has no excuse or whatsoever not to act decisively and rescue Pastor Yakuru.
“Why should the government leave the citizens of this country at the mercy of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers? What then is the essence of having a government in place?”
CAN recalled that the recent abductions of schoolchildren, describing the most kidnap of over 300 schoolgirls in Zamfara State as shocking.
See statement here:
The most recent case of kidnapping is that of about three hundred school girls in Kangere, Zamfara State. This serial incident of mass abduction of our school children and citizens is shocking beyond words and must be stopped by this government immediately. The ease with which the bandits and insurgents are carrying out their nefarious activities is totally embarrassing and a cause for concern. When will this government give the citizens of this country cause to breathe a sigh of relief with assurance that their lives and property are safe and secured?
Mr. President, where shall we go from here? Have the criminals taken over where there is legitimate government? Though we are praying earnestly continuously, we know faith without hard work from the side of government is vain. While we are aware that you may be doing your best, your best is not the best yet going by the current negative outcomes. The bitter truth is that, no place is presently safe in this country.
We, once again, advise that all public secondary schools – boarding or otherwise – in the Northern part of the country should be closed henceforth until the security situation improves. The Police should be directed to recruit more personnel with a view to assigning effective and well armed standby force to every secondary school in the North and other parts of the country. From all indications, it is high time the government declared a state of emergency in the security sector of the country. We also call for adequate funding, training, equipping and morale boosting of our security forces in order to enhance their performances nationwide. It seems the banditry is more dangerous than COVID-19. While individuals can protect themselves from the pandemic, the same cannot be said of the security challenges. Let the government stop every frivolous spending and focus more on ending the menace of insecurity challenges.
May God intervene for us in this nation where human efforts have failed in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
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 Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum says he will not join the bandwagon of states that have asked herdsmen to vacate their spaces.
Zulum, a professor of Agriculture Engineering said in Maiduguri on Monday that the northeast region can instead harness the potential in livestock production to its advantage.
The governor was speaking at an event organised by the North East Development Commission to graduate local people that acquired skills under the NEDC’s Rapid Response Intervention Program being implemented across the region.
Zulum, who is also the chairman of the Northeast governors’ forum, appealed to the NEDC to, among other things, invest in value chain agriculture and livestock production.
“Establishing livestock breeding centers in the state as well as in the entire northeast sub-region will definitely reduce the problem of farmers-herders conflict,” Zulum said.
“Borno state alone has a total landmass of 76,000 square kilometers, together with others in the North East this region will provide arable land for greater parts of the livestock farmers in Nigeria to stay in the northeast.”
“While other regions of the country are trying to drive away herders, there’s a need for us to transform the sector. I am also advocating for the development of pasture production centers in the Northeast; this is also very important and we can do it, it is not difficult we can procure pasture seeds, each state can produce nothing less than 5,000 hectares for the establishment of pasture production centers and these centers will no doubt provide grazing venues for not fewer than 2-3m livestock.”
He added that with the provision of ranching facilities and deliberate pasture management, the northeast region can conveniently breed livestock that would be supplied to other parts of the country for consumption.
Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum alongside officials of Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has arrived Marwa in Cameroon for the repatriation of 9,800 Nigerians of Borno origin.
The 9,800 Nigerians constitute the first batch of 46,000 citizens taking refuge in Minawao camp and who have shown willingness to be evacuated to resettlement houses built by Borno Government in Bama and Banki towns.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the governor’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, the Borno leader arrived Cameroon on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday, he led a Nigerian delegation to a meeting on the tripartite (repatriation) agreement signed between Nigeria, Cameroon and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which is to hold in Marwa in far north Cameroon. Governor of Cameroon’s far north, Mijinyawa Bakare is to host the meeting.
Before travelling to Cameroon, Zulum has had series of meetings with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the federal commission, National Commission and with relevant ambassadors with all meetings aimed at following all established procedures towards lawful repatriation.
Today’s meeting is in line with provisions of the tripartite agreement which has spelt out international best practices on humanitarian issues involving movements of persons between two or more countries as well as roles and limitations of all parties, and the protection of the rights of refugees who can only be repatriated at their own will.
Majority of refugees at the Minawao refugee camp, who are mostly from Borno State, have regularly appealed to Governor Babagana Umara Zulum to spearhead their repatriation to safe and rebuilt communities in Borno in order to return to decent living.
In September 2019, Zulum during his trip to the camp, promised citizens that he would in response to their appeal, work with stakeholders towards their successful reparation and dignified resettlement.
Three politicians accompanying Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, have died in an auto crash on their way back from Mafa, the governor’s hometown.
The governor had returned to his local ward in Mafa on Tuesday from where he flagged off the membership revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former governor of the state, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Party’s caretaker chairman, Speaker of Borno State House of Assembly and other party faithful were among those in Zulum’s motorcade from Maiduguri to Mafa for the event.
The event was successfully conducted and the convoy had headed back to Maiduguri where the former governor was scheduled to revalidate his membership in his local ward of Lamisula, when the ill-fated politicians driving in one of the pilot jeeps met their death.
Witnesses told Channels Television that the vehicle lost a tire, swerved off the road and began to somersault, killing three occupants, one of whom was the Chief of Kanuri people in Lagos, Mai Masa Mohammed.
His title was Mai Kanuribe and he was also the Sarkin Hausa of Ijora.
The governor accompanied the corpse of the late chieftain to his family compound in Bulumkutu area of Maiduguri where he is being prepared for burial later today.
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.
Zulum thanked Kwayabura for contributions to the development of Borno’s public health sector in nearly two years of the current administration, and the years he had served under the previous administration.
Kwayabura had served in the same capacity in the previous government, a position he retained when Zulum’s government came on board.
As the health commissioner, he was the secretary of Borno Committee on the prevention and spread of COVID-19, a position he now must automatically forfeit.
In recent times, there have been hints of a possible cabinet reshuffling by Governor Zulum.
Equipment recovered from the insurgents included one Pulemyot Kalashnikova Tankovyy(PKT) Gun, three AK-47 Rifles, four extra AK-47 Rifle magazines and a Vulcanizing Machine.
Other items captured and destroyed included foodstuffs, some Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making materials including the criminals’ hideouts, clothings among others.
“The renewed onslaught against the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals by the dogged troops of Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO is indicative of the end of all criminal elements within the North East,” he added.
The defence spokesman reiterated the army’s determination to crushing the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals from their enclaves in the northeast.