I Remain Indebted To Nigerians For Their Love To Me – Buhari

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said he owes Nigerians for the love they’ve extended to him.

The President made the remark during his visit to Maiduguri, Borno state.

According to a statement signed by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, the President said all efforts will be made to improve the livelihood of Nigerians, starting with providing adequate security, reiterating that he owes Nigerians a debt of gratitude for the opportunity to serve.

Speaking at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, President Buhari noted that he started his administrative career as a military officer in Borno State as a governor for seven months, under Gen. Murtala Ramat Mohammed, before he was appointed Minister of Petroleum by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was then a military Head of State.

“My commitment to serve Nigerians is a payback for the love shown to me. I started my political adventure in Maiduguri and I always look forward to coming here,” he added.

President Buhari commended the Governor of Borno State for his forthrightness, resilience and drive in bringing development to the state, despite security challenges.

He noted that very few leaders will take the risks Governor Zulum had taken over the years to protect his people and promote peace and development, especially in putting his life on the line by spending nights with vulnerable people.

The Governor thanked the President for visiting Borno State to appraise the security situation, and commission some of the completed projects in the last few years.

In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai El-Kanemi, thanked the President for consistent response to the plight of the people in the State, pointing out that the security situation had improved significantly.

He said resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will improve their economy as many will return to the farms to further boost food security, while others will continue with their trade.

Buhari Visits Borno, Addresses Troops Fighting Insurgency

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday visited Borno State and addressed troops on the frontline battling insurgency in the Northeast.

The President landed at the airport located at the Air Force base in Maiduguri, the state capital a few minutes before 10.00 am on Thursday for the one-day working visit.

He was received by the state governor Babagana Zulum and other top government officials in the state.

Students were lined up on the streets while military and paramilitary officers were also at the Headquarters of Operation Hadin Kai also to receive the President.

The President during the visit addressed Nigerian army troops at the headquarters of Theatre Command Operation Heading Kai and 7 Division Nigerian Army, Maiduguri Malari Cantonment, Maiduguri.

He also commissioned some projects including 4,000 houses which were part of the Federal Government’s housing project, as well as some local projects executed by the state government.

In a statement issued earlier, the Borno State government said “the President would commission the first phase of the 10,000 houses which he graciously approved and funded for the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.”

According to the Governor, the housing project in Borno is the largest Federal Government housing intervention sited in one state.

Governor Zulum highlighted the other projects approved which he attributed to the President’s compassion and concern for the humanitarian situation in the state.

See more photos from the President’s visit to Borno…

Buhari To Visit Borno, Inaugurate 4,000 Houses Built For IDPs On Thursday – Zulum

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will arrive in Maiduguri on Thursday on a one-day working visit to Borno State, Governor Babagana Zulum has said.

Governor Zulum who disclosed this on Tuesday evening at the Government House in the state capital noted that the President would be appraising the security situation in the northeast.

During his visit, he said the President would inaugurate 4,000 houses which were part of the Federal Government’s housing project, as well as some local projects executed by the state government.

“The President would commission the first phase of the 10,000 houses which he graciously approved and funded for the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.”

According to the Governor, the housing project in Borno is the largest Federal Government housing intervention sited in one state.

He, therefore, urged the resident to come out and accord the President a rousing welcome and reminds the people of Maiduguri of the President’s recent approval for the establishment of a power plant by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Borno, to address electricity problems.

Governor Zulum highlighted the other projects approved which he attributed to the President’s compassion and concern for the humanitarian situation in the state.

“Most respectfully, I urge all of us to demonstrate Borno’s creed of hospitality which we are known for, with the culture of dignity, the culture of respect, and the culture of honouring our guest.

“Let us once again show the Borno in all of us as we host our guest,” he pleaded.

President Buhari’s last visit to Maiduguri was in February 2020 where a viral video showed youths in front of the Ramat Polytechnic booing at his convoy as he made his way into the town from the airport.

His visit was to sympathise with the people of the state over the attack on stranded travellers in Auno that left many dead.

Troops Kill Over 50 ISWAP Terrorists In Borno

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ
A file photo of soldiers.

 

Over 50 members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist group have been killed in Borno State, the military authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

The Army spokesman, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, who confirmed this via a statement said the terrorists were killed while launching a futile attack on Damboa Local Government Area of the northeastern state.

Troops involved in today’s exercise were part of Operation Hadin Kai in conjunction with Air Component of the Operation

“The terrorists attacked the town in multiple waves with Armoured Personnel Carriers and 12 Gun Trucks all mounted with Anti-Aircraft Guns, as well as Locally Fabricated Armoured-plated Vehicles loaded with explosives and motorcycles,” the statement partly read.

“The gallant troops successfully defeated the attack, destroyed the locally fabricated armoured-plated vehicles and neutralised over 50 ISWAP terrorists forcing the survivors to run in disarray under heavy gunfire from the resilient troops and Nigerian Air Force attack platforms.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Correctional Service Cadet Dies By Suicide In Kaduna

“The so-called suicide bombers had to abandon their vehicles primed with explosives as they could not withstand the overwhelming firepower from the highly motivated troops. Several weapons and ammunition were recovered from the depleted terrorists.”

Reacting, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Major General Faruk Yahaya congratulated the troops including the Air Component for this great achievement.

He also restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army under his leadership to ending terrorism and other violent crimes in the North East and the rest of the country, charging the troops to sustain the ongoing offensive under Operation Tura Takaibango the goal is attained.

Boko Haram Terrorists Reportedly Abduct Travellers Along Damaturu-Maiduguri Road

Borno is situated in northeast Nigeria.
A map of Borno, a state in north-east Nigeria.

 

Boko Haram terrorists have reportedly abducted some travellers along the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road on Wednesday.

The attack occurred at about 9 am, two hours after the road was opened to commuters.

The roads are usually shut between 4 pm to 7 am due to security concerns.

The military reopens the road every morning after a patrol team from Damaturu combs the highway all the way to Maiduguri.

But the insurgents were said to have mounted a roadblock around Mainok town, roughly 55 kilometers away from Maiduguri.

Sources told Channels Television that upon arrival, they opened fire on the vehicles.

While some drivers escaped, an unlucky passenger bus drove into the criminals who had mounted a checkpoint.

READ ALSO: Buhari Calls On International Community To Support Peaceful Transition In Chad

When contacted, the spokesman of the Borno State Police Command, Edet Okon, neither confirmed nor debunked the abduction.

He simply referred Channels Television to the Theatre Command of the military’s counterterrorism operation in the northeast.

Today’s incident is coming a week after reports emerged that Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau had been seriously wounded after trying to kill himself to avoid capture during clashes with rival Islamic State-allied jihadists in the north of the country.

Shekau’s Boko Haram faction and fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) had been battling in northeastern Borno state, where ISWAP has become the dominant force in Nigeria’s more than decade-long jihadist insurgency.

Nigeria’s military has been battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast since 2009, a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 and displaced around two million more.

In May 2019, dozens of insurgents attempted to infiltrate the city under the cover of darkness, leading to a night-long battle with heavy guns and explosives.

 

Residents, Two Soldiers Die As Boko Haram Attacks Borno Town

In this file photo, a man is seen holding some guns tied together.

 

An attack by Boko Haram terrorists has left some residents killed in Ajiri town in Borno State, north-east Nigeria.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, confirmed the attack on the town in a statement on Monday, but he did not give the actual number of locals killed by the terrorists.

He noted that insurgents on a criminal mission carried out the attack on Ajiri in Konduga Local Government Area (LGA) of the state on Sunday.

Yerima added that the terrorists burned nine houses in parts of the town before they were engaged by the troops of Operation Hadin Kai deployed in the area.

“The retreating terrorists went away with various degrees of gunshot injuries while the gallant troops are on their chase.

“Unfortunately, however, two personnel paid the supreme price in the resulting encounter,” said the army spokesman who did not state whether any of the insurgents was killed by the soldiers.

He explained that the attack on Ajiri came a day after troops successfully thwarted an attempt by the terrorists to infiltrate Rann – a town that serves as the headquarters of Kala Balge LGA of the state.

The terrorists, in their numbers, were said to have attempted to disrupt the peace in the border town on Saturday last week.

They were, however, met with stiff resistance as the soldiers in the area took them on a fierce firefight that lasted about an hour.

Following the gunfight, the insurgents withdrew in disarray with a large number of them suffering fatal injuries, leaving behind several weapons and ammunition.

Yerima listed some of the items recovered by the troops to include an anti-aircraft gun barrel, an AK 47 rifle, a hand-held communication radio, and different calibres of ammunition, among others.

In his reaction, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, commended the troops for their resilience and determination to keep their areas free of terrorist activities.

He also urged them not to be distracted by the progress made but to sustain the renewed vigour in discharging their duties.

Insurgency: It Is My Responsibility To Tell Buhari The Truth – Zulum

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, meets with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on April 26, 2021.

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, on Monday met with President Muhammadu Buhari over the worsening insecurity in the north-east region of the country.

“It is my responsibility to tell the President the truth,” the governor said while briefing reporters on Tuesday on the outcome of his meet with President Buhari in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Governor Zulum condemned the growing spate of attacks across the country, particularly in the renewed activities of terrorists in the North East.

According to him, there is a need for greater support from the Presidency to surmount the insurgency crisis that has left thousands killed and millions displaced in the troubled zone.

The governor decried that the military has yet to receive the equipment ordered, noting that this might be responsible for the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria.

Some of the residents displaced by Boko Haram terrorists in Niger State.

 

His meeting with the President followed renewed attacks by Boko Haram/ Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters on communities in Borno and Yobe States in recent times.

Some of the affected places included Damasak town – where the terrorists attacked a humanitarian hub, and Mainok town where at least seven military personnel were confirmed killed – in Borno.

In Yobe, the insurgents overran Geidam and hoisted their flags there, forcing hundreds of residents, including women and children to flee to neighbouring villages.

The terrorists have also begun to expand their areas of operation from the North East recently as they took over some villages in Niger, a state in the north-central region of the country.

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, confirmed the presence of the insurgents in the state to reporters on Monday.

The visibly worried governor had said, “We have over 3,000 people here from communities that have been displaced by bandits and Boko Haram elements around Munya and Shiroro Local Government Areas.”

“There are some other communities that we think are safe but a vast majority of them (the displaced residents) will have to remain here because their villages and towns have been taken over by the Boko Haram elements; their wives have been forcefully attached to Boko Haram elements,” he added.

VIDEO: ‘Nobody Is Safe Anymore’, Gov Bello Confirms Boko Haram Invasion In Parts Of Niger

Mainok Airstrike: Army Confirms Killing Of Officer, Six Soldiers

A file photo of soldiers on a military vehicle. Photo: Channels Television/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

An officer and six soldiers died on Sunday in a counterinsurgency operation in Mainok, Borno State, Nigerian Army authorities have said.

Five other soldiers who sustained various degrees of injuries have been evacuated to the military medical facility for treatment.

Although they did not specifically explain how the security operatives died, reports had emerged that some soldiers were killed in an airstrike by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

Sources claimed that the air force bomber accidentally hit the wrong coordinates while targeting Boko Haram insurgents who had attacked the troops.

Amid the controversy sparked by the incident, NAF said it was investigating the airstrike and would give an update as soon as it could.

READ ALSO: Air Force To Investigate Report Its Strikes Killed Soldiers In Borno

In a statement on Monday, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, explained that the security personnel were attacked by insurgents mounted on an unconfirmed number of gun trucks, and foot soldiers with the possible intent of establishing a phantom caliphate in Mainok town.

During a duel between the troops and the insurgents, the soldiers were said to have lured a number of the terrorists into a killing zone within their camp.

Thereafter, the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole scrambled Alpha jets and helicopter gunboats which took turns to decimate the trapped terrorists, leading to the killing of scores of Boko Haram terrorists.

Read the statement by the army below:

MAINOK:  COAS APPLAUDS TROOPS OF OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE FOR THEIR RESILIENCE AND DOGGEDNESS

On Sunday 25 April 2021, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Mainok, Borno State, came under multi-directional attacks by Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists mounted on an unconfirmed number of Gun Trucks as well as foot soldiers with the possible intent of establishing a phantom caliphate in the town.

The terrorists were held by the gallant troops of 156 Task Force Battalion until the arrival of reinforcement teams from 7 Division, Special Army Super Camp Ngamdu and Army Super Camp 4, Benesheik.

During the firefight which lasted several hours, the gallant troops tactically lured a number of the terrorists into a killing zone within their camp where the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole scrambled Alpha jets and helicopter gunboats which took turns in decimating the already trapped terrorists.

In the aftermath of the encounter, scores of Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised with their body parts littering the area and a number of their gun trucks destroyed.

Regrettably, one gallant Officer and six soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while 5 other soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries.

The wounded soldiers have already been evacuated to the military medical facility for treatment. Currently, troops are in full control of Mainok and environ as exploitation for fleeing terrorists is ongoing.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru has applauded troops of Operation Lafiya Dole for their resilience, commitment, and doggedness and further reassured Nigerians of the Army’s unalloyed commitment to defeating Boko Haram/SWAP terrorists while urging citizens to always avail the troops with accurate and timely information for prompt action.

MOHAMMED YERIMA

Brigadier General

Director, Army Public Relations

Air Force To Investigate Report Its Strikes Killed Soldiers In Borno

A file photo an Alpha-jet of the Nigerian Air Force. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Nigerian air force on Monday said it was investigating reports that its airstrikes accidentally killed ground troops in Mainok, Borno State.

A video of a soldier describing the attack had been circulating on social media.

“The NAF wishes to state that visuals and reports being circulated are currently being investigated and the general public will be duly updated on the alleged incident,” a statement on the Air Force’s verified Twitter page said.

READ ALSO: Wreckage Of Missing Air Force Jet Reportedly Found In Borno

The air force has been involved in a couple of tragedies this year.

An air force jet supporting ground troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists went missing in north-east Borno in March.

In February, seven officials died after a military plane crashed in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Friendly Fire

The air force bomber “accidentally” hit the wrong coordinates while targeting Boko Haram insurgents who had attacked the troops on Sunday, military sources said, as reported by online newspaper TheCable.

According to the sources, the insurgents had attacked a military base in Mainok and reportedly overpowered the troops, who then called for reinforcement.

But the reinforcement truck was shelled by the airstrike.

 

The truck which was sent for reinforcement was targeted and shelled by the air strike following a flawed intelligence, sources said.

One of the soldiers in the affected area told TheCable:

“They (Boko Haram) came with heavy machines, about four MRAPS (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicles and they overpowered the ground troops,” a soldier in the affected area told TheCable

“Troops sent signals for air support and when they came, it missed the main coordinates; where the air force shelled their bomb was on the location of troops instead of that of Boko Haram.

“The aircraft had to turn back. They realised that they mistargeted (and) most of the soldiers started running inside the bush.”

Three INEC Officials Die, Five Others Injured In Borno Road Accident

 

Three officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have died in a road accident in Borno State.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the incident on Monday, adding that the victims were travelling on Sunday before they met their untimely death.

He also disclosed that five other officials of the commission were also injured in the auto crash that occurred in the north-eastern state, noting that the injured were receiving treatment at a Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri.

“The Commission has received the sad report of a fatal road accident involving a number of its staff serving in Borno State,” he said.

READ ALSO: Two Nurses Killed, 10 Injured In Ogun Road Accident

“On Sunday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Mohammed Magaji Ibrahim, informed the Commission that an Electoral Officer and some Assistant Electoral Officers travelling from some local government areas to Maiduguri for a special training ahead of the conversion of voting points into polling units were involved in the accident.”

Okoye identified the deceased officials as Adamu Mohammed, Abubakar Hamma Joda and Suleiman Umar, noting that the Supervising National Commissioner for Borno, Adamawa and Taraba States, AVM Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu will represent the commission at their funeral.

The INEC boss commiserated with the families of the victims, eulogising them for their dedication and commitment to the electoral body and the country.

VIDEO: ‘They Told Us Not To Run,’ Survivors Recount Boko Haram Attack On Damasak

Residents of Damasak in the northern part of Borno State have narrated their ordeal in the latest Boko Haram attack on the town that left at least 12 people dead and several injured.

The incident which occurred on Tuesday was the sixth in two weeks in the chain of insurgent attacks on Damasak – the headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area of the state.

“What we saw with our eyes on that day … they (the insurgents) came around 4pm until daybreak, and we heard them giving instructions on the houses to be burnt,” one of the survivors Mustapha Maina told Channels Television.

He added, “The gunshots in the town were so much that we did not know where to hide. We buried up to 12 people. There are a lot of our people by the riverbank at the Niger border – it is just a five-minute drive from here.

“They (the insurgents) were speaking Hausa, Shuwa, Kanuri and Fulani languages. They told us not to run, that they won’t touch us. Those who died were killed by stray bullets; they were not direct targets.”

 

In this file photo, a signpost is displayed at the secretariat of Mobbar Local Government Area in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

Damasak used to be a producer and exporter of vegetables to target markets within Nigeria and neighbouring countries before Boko Haram took control of it in 2014 as one of their caliphates.

Although it has since been liberated by the military from the hold of the terrorist group, the insurgents appear not to have given up on the town.

A United Nations helicopter was shot in Damasak last year, barely managing to fly to safety.

Recently, the UN humanitarian hub, private residential houses, a police station, the palace of the district head, a primary healthcare centre, and a GSM Village were among properties destroyed when the insurgents invaded the town.

This forced thousands of residents to flee Damasak to seek refuge in border communities in the Niger Republic, although some of them are said to be returning home.


VIDEO: Army Calls Overrun Of Damasak ‘Blatant Misinformation’


 

Two Days In The Bush

Another survivor, Fatima Ibrahim, told Channels Television that as the insurgents got to the village, they went straight to their targets.

She lamented that the assailants got hold of her son-in-law whom they ordered to take them around, and his whereabouts have been unknown since then.

“My daughter’s husband has been abducted; he is a civilian JTF member. They made him show them some selected houses belonging to their targets which they burnt one by one.

“Then they still took him away and till this day (Friday), we haven’t heard from him,” a tearful Fatima sobbed.

A photo taken on April 15, 2021, shows some residents and cattle in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

Before the attack, about 200,000 civilians were living in Damasak and half of the figure was reported to have fled to the communities in the Niger Republic for safety.

Hamsa Muhammadu, who was among those who fled their homes, explained that they had to leave because the gunshots became unbearable at some point.

“We spent two days in the bush. We left with our children to Gamari, then to the Niger Republic. Some of us could not find a place to stay, so they are just sitting by the roadside as I speak.”

 

A Night In Damasak

On Thursday, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum visited Damasak in company with the lawmaker representing Borno North, Senator Abubakar Kyari, who hails from the town, as well as some government officials.

Governor Zulum who spent the night in the town had interactions with the survivors, as well as soldiers and others security forces involved in the counter-insurgency operations there.

While assessing the level of destruction caused by the insurgents, he sympathised with the residents and assured them of robust measures to avert future insurgent attacks on Damasak.

The governor also held an operational meeting with soldiers and other security forces after which he presented 12 security vehicles, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and 11 patrol vehicles.

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, visits Damasak town on April 15, 2021.

Insurgency: Japan Donates $2.3m Infrastructure Fund To Borno, North East Commission

File photo of a community affected by insurgency in Borno State

 

The government of Japan has donated the sum of $2.3million infrastructure funds to the Borno State government and Northeast Development Commission (NEDC).

The fund is to strengthen healthcare provision and build the resilience of health systems in conflict-affected communities.

This was revealed on Tuesday during a meeting by the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) and NEDC officials and Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Gunmen Who Kidnapped FRSC Officials

The project which is implemented by the UNOPS is primarily aimed at scaling up oxygen supply and expand vaccine storage capacity in 139 healthcare centers and nine hospitals across Borno State.

The rollout phase for the oxygen plants is expected to commence by March 2022 and is expected to benefit 7.1million residents and Internally Displaced Persons IDPs across Borno State.

Through the construction of oxygen systems in the state, the project launched virtually by Governor Zulum, fills critical gaps in clinical response to respiratory illnesses among residents of the state.

Borno State is one of the worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency with many residents displaced and leaving in camps.