Governor Zulum also directed civil servants from grade level 1-12 work from home, with the exception of those on essential service.
“All banks operating in Maiduguri and organisations using biometric attendance equipment must provide handwashing stations and hand sanitisers at all operation points.
“Furthermore, banks are to limit the number of customers in banking halls to not more than 15 at a time and to activate all ATM points to be functional,” he said.
The governor also restricted the number of passengers in cars to three while tricycles were ordered to carry only two at a time.
Others affected by the measures which are to last two weeks are shops in organised business areas directed to provide handwashing stations and temperature monitoring devices while promoting social distancing.
The state government had banned visits to the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps to curb the spread of the disease among the affected population.
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has placed a ban on the receiving of visitors at all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in the state, according to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
SEMA also announced that it is working with the state government in creating isolation centers in the 22 IDP camps in the state.
SEMA Chairperson in Borno, Hajiya Yabawa Kolo disclosed this on Wednesday during a meeting with the 51 camp officials in Maiduguri, the state capital.
The government’s decision, she added, is one of its strategies to prevent the importation of the COVID-19 virus into the IDP camps.
Kolo said the decision to ban receiving of visitors at IDP camps became necessary as neighbouring countries – the Chad Republic and Cameroon – have already recorded suspected cases.
She further directed all camp managers from Gamboru-Ngala, Damasak, Kalabalge, Banki, Bama and Monguno not to accept IDPs from any neighbouring country into their camps.
Seven IDP camps are located in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, while the others are spread across other local governments in the state.
According to SEMA, the population in the camps is a total of 1,163 334 men, women and children.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has confirmed the killing of at least 47 soldiers by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group in Borno State.
The Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, disclosed this during a session with reporters on Tuesday in Abuja.
Giving an update on the military operations across the country, he noted that Nigeria was in a fluid conflict situation while the troops were at the frontlines.
Enenche explained that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole were on clearance and fighting patrol operation to Gorgi in Borno between March 21 and 23.
“During consolidation, they (the troops) were ambushed by elements of Boko Haram terrorists. Sadly, we suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack,” he said.
The DHQ spokesman, however, revealed that the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole scrambled immediately to the scene and provided close air support to the ground troops.
He added that the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform, as well as the fighter jets engaged the insurgents, killing some of the terrorists and immobilising a gun truck belonging to them.
“Some others (terrorists) who attempted to withdraw were also mopped up by the jets in follow-on attacks.
“The Defence Headquarters commiserate with the families of our fallen gallant heroes who paid the supreme price in the course of defending our fatherland,” Enenche said.
He assured Nigerians that the military and other security agencies would continue to sustain the offensive against the enemies of the nation.
The military spokesman added that this would be done in furtherance of the objective of restoring peace and security in the North East and other parts of the country.
Contrary to the figures stated by the DHQ, reports say at least 70 soldiers were killed in the ambush on the security operatives’ convoy.
The insurgents reportedly fired rocket-propelled grenades at a lorry conveying the troops as it travelled near Gorgi village on Monday.
Some key Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) leaders have been killed by airstrikes at Jubillaram and Alinwa in the Northern part of Borno State.
A statement by the Nigerian Air Force Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola on Saturday, said the strikes were conducted by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole, under the auspices of Operation Rattle Snake 3.
He explained that based on credible intelligence reports indicating that some key ISWAP leaders had assembled for simultaneous meetings on Thursday; attack aircraft were dispatched to engage the locations, damaging the meeting venues and killing the terrorists.
“The latest of these was achieved on 20 February 2020 in attacks conducted at Jubillaram and Alinwa in the Northern part of Borno State, where some key Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) leaders were neutralized as they assembled for meetings at the 2 locations.
“The mission was executed on the heels of credible intelligence reports indicating that some key ISWAP leaders had assembled for meetings, which were being held simultaneously at 2 separate venues, at Jubillaram and Alinwa in Marte Local Government Area.
“Accordingly, the ATF scrambled its attack aircraft to engage the locations, damaging the meeting venues and neutralizing the terrorists,” he added.
The Air Force spokesman stated that both land and air forces will sustain its campaign against terrorists in the North East.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State says Nigeria needs additional 100,000 troops for the war against insurgency to be won.
The governor stated this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Defence visited him in Maiduguri, the state capital.
“I think there is a need to give the ban on the use of some certain weapons on paramilitary in the north-east for a certain period of time.
“Kindly inform the Speaker as well as the Senate President that they should advise the Federal Government to do massive recruitment of up to 100,000 into the Nigerian Army,” he told the visiting lawmakers.
The governor added, “How? They should come and recruit the locals irrespective of whether they have the western education or not.”
The Presidency on Sunday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to Borno state shows that he is still ‘very popular and accepted’, adding that residents appreciate what he has done in tackling insurgency in the North-East.
President Buhari was in Maiduguri on Wednesday on a condolence visit, following attacks by Boko Haram which claimed many lives at Auno in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.
During the visit, President Buhari paid a visit to the State Governor, Babagana Zulum and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi.
Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, who was on Channels Television Sunday Politics, the crowd that received President Buhari was a huge one and the few dissenting voices do not call for worry.
“We don’t see it as a rejection; if you look at those who came to welcome the president from the airport to the palace of the Shehu of Borno, it was a huge crowd.
“Some 90 to 95 percent were waving brooms and welcomed the president; some dissenting voices in a large crowd like that do not call for worry, its normal in a democracy.
“The President really, is still very accepted, still very popular and the people of Borno know what he has done; they appreciate what he has done in terms of tackling the insurgency,” he stated.
On the war on insurgency, Mr Adesina explained that President Buhari is concerned because he took an oath to protect lives and property in the country.
“There may be some reversals of the gains made, but then those gains can always be made again.
“The President should be worried, he took an oath to protect the country so if we see lives and property being lost wantonly, the president must be concerned and he is.”
President Buhari had expressed surprise that Boko Haram insurgents have continued to launch attacks on communities despite the huge budgets expended on the counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.
According to the President, operations against the insurgents will not be successful if the people do not cooperate with the military and other security agencies.
Human rights group, Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian military of burning some villages in Borno, one of the worst-hit states by the insurgency in the North East.
In a statement sent to Channels Television on Friday, it also alleged that security forces displaced residents of the affected villages in response to escalation in attacks by Boko Haram insurgents recently.
Although military authorities denied the allegations, the human rights group said its facts were drawn from interviews with affected villagers and satellite data analysis.
It noted that the insurgents have heightened their activities in the region since December 2019, especially along the major road linking the Borno State capital – Maiduguri with Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State.
Read the full statement from Amnesty International below:
The Nigerian military has burned and forcibly displaced entire villages in response to a recent escalation in attacks by the armed group Boko Haram, Amnesty International said today, based on interviews with affected villagers in Borno State and satellite data analysis.
The military also arbitrarily detained six men from the displaced villages, continuing a pattern of violations Amnesty International has documented throughout the country’s decade-long armed conflict in the northeast.
The men were held incommunicado for almost a month and subjected to ill-treatment, before their release on 30 January 2020.
“These brazen acts of razing entire villages, deliberately destroying civilian homes and forcibly displacing their inhabitants with no imperative military grounds, should be investigated as possible war crimes,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“They repeat a longstanding pattern of the Nigerian military meting out brutal tactics against the civilian population. Forces allegedly responsible for such violations must be suspended immediately and brought to justice.”
From December 2019, Boko Haram has increasingly carried out attacks in north-eastern Nigeria, particularly along the important road between Maiduguri and Damaturu, the capitals of Borno and Yobe States.
A recent Amnesty International research mission to Borno State shows that, in response to the attacks, the Nigerian military has resorted to unlawful tactics that have had a devastating effect on civilians and may amount to war crimes.
Amnesty International interviewed 12 women and men forced to flee their homes on 3 and 4 January 2020 from three villages near the Maiduguri-Damaturu road, between Jakana and Mainok in Borno State.
The organisation also reviewed fire data from remote satellite sensing, which indicates several large fires burning on and around 3 January in that area.
Satellite imagery of Bukarti, Ngariri, and Matiri shows almost every structure was razed. The imagery also shows signs of burning in neighbouring villages.
Residents from Bukarti consistently described to Amnesty International scores of Nigerian soldiers arriving during the late morning of Friday 3 January.
They said soldiers went house to house and to surrounding farmland, forcing everyone to gather under a tree and by a graveyard between Bukarti and the main road.
Soldiers also rounded up people from neighbouring Matiri and brought them to the same area.
Around 3 pm on 3 January, soldiers demanded everyone walk to the main road, where the villagers were forced to board large trucks. Witnesses said that, as they were loaded into the trucks, some of the soldiers returned to Bukarti. The witnesses then saw their village burning.
“We saw our houses go into flames,” recalled a woman, around 70 years old, from Bukarti. “We all started crying.”
The trucks then took more than 400 women, men, and children from Bukarti and Matiri to an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp near Maiduguri.
The next day, on 4 January, soldiers went to Ngariri, a village across the main road from Bukarti, according to three residents of Ngariri.
Soldiers assembled primarily older women and men, as younger adults had already fled to surrounding farmland, and forced them aboard a truck that took them to Maiduguri. Ngariri was then razed.
People who returned to check on Bukarti and Ngariri told Amnesty International that everything was torched. Satellite imagery corroborates both villages were burned in early January.
Witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International said they could not bring belongings with them, so lost everything – their homes, jewellery, clothes, and, most devastatingly, the crops they stored after the harvest.
“Everything we harvested was destroyed, and some of our animals died,” said a farmer in his 60s. “I had a year [of harvest] stored – it’s what I would’ve sold to buy clothes and other things for my family.”
“Everything was burned, even our food – it could feed [my family] for two years,” said another man, around 30, who snuck back weeks later to see the destruction. “Our clothes, our food, our crops, our kettles. Even the trolley we used for getting water. Only the metal dishes are there, but everything else is burned.”
Ordering the displacement of the inhabitants of these villages, where their security or imperative military reasons did not demand so, constitutes a war crime. The subsequent burning of their homes may amount to a war crime as well.
Arbitrary Detention, Torture Or Other Ill-Treatment
As the military emptied Bukarti and Matiri and brought people to the trucks on 3 January, they separated six younger men and blindfolded them, according to consistent accounts by relatives of two of the men and other witnesses.
They said the soldiers did not seek the men out by name or otherwise appear to come looking for specific people. Four witnesses said they thought it was because those younger men had mobile phones.
The soldiers beat at least some of the men with large sticks and put them in military vehicles.
The military held the men incommunicado for almost a month; relatives and village leaders were unable to determine where the men were held. All six men were released on 30 January. They have not been charged with any crime.
Two of the detained men told Amnesty International that, because they were blindfolded until reaching their cell, they did not know where they were being held until their release – when they saw it was Maimalari military barracks in Maiduguri.
They said they were chained in pairs and, other than being questioned one day, never let out of the cell. They only received food once a day.
“We had no food,” one former detainee described. “People there are hungry. It was horrible.”
Throughout the conflict between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram, Amnesty International has documented prolonged arbitrary detention by the military.
Soldiers have also subjected detained men, women, and children to torture and other ill-treatment, in violation of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
‘They Say They Saved Us From Boko Haram, But It’s A Lie’
Nigerian army statements, reported by the media, indicate soldiers from Brigades 5 and 29, along with Special Intervention Battalion 2, carried out the operations between Jakana and Mainok on 3 January.
The army said it arrested six “suspects” and “rescued… 461 Boko Haram captives” from several villages, including Bukarti and Matiri.
Witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International said Boko Haram had not been in their village, and that they felt significantly safer in their village than in the IDP camp where the military took them.
“They say they saved us from Boko Haram, but it’s a lie,” said one man, around 65. “Boko Haram isn’t coming to our village.”
“If Boko Haram had been visiting our place, we have our own animals, our own harvest – do you think they wouldn’t have taken those?” said another older woman from Bukarti. “The [Boko Haram] boys aren’t close to us.”
Several Bukarti and Ngariri residents said their village was so close to the main road that it wasn’t credible to think Boko Haram could base itself there.
They said Nigerian soldiers came through the area regularly and spoke frequently with village leaders.
Four witnesses told Amnesty International that Nigerian soldiers staged photographs of the villagers walking to the trucks, to make it appear as if the military had ‘saved’ them.
“The Nigerian government must not brush these violations under the carpet. They must be investigated, and alleged perpetrators must be prosecuted. Necessary steps must also be taken to ensure that military operations do not further forcibly displace civilian populations,” said Osai Ojigho.
Surge In Boko Haram Attacks
The military’s operations come amid a surge in Boko Haram activity in areas along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
In its deadliest attack since the start of the year, on 10 February Boko Haram allegedly killed 30 motorists near Auno village.
It was the armed group’s sixth assault on Auno in 10 months, demonstrating its disregard for the sanctity of human life as well as the increasing danger for civilians living along this vital route connecting Borno state to the rest of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to local leaders in Borno to support the government in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the state.
He made the appeal during a condolence visit to Maiduguri on Wednesday, three days after the terrorists killed 30 travellers in the Borno State capital.
“I want to call on the leadership at various levels to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
He added, “We will do our best and I hope history will be kind to us; to recall what was on the ground when we came and what will be on the ground when we leave.”
Received by the state governor, Babagana Monguno, President Buhari revealed that the Federal Government would take more proactive and decisive measures to put an end to the Boko Haram menace in the country.
He also called intelligence sharing and synergy between law enforcement agencies and the civil populace in order to achieve the objectives.
“I assure you that improvement in security will be pursued vigorously. The military will work harder and strategise with tactics to deal with the insurgents.
“This is, however, not possible without good intelligence and cooperation with local community leaders,” the President said.
He added, “Boko Haram cannot come up to Maiduguri or environs without the local leadership knowing because traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.”
President Muhammadu who was at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Gabai, sympathised with him and other victims of the attack and prayed for the repose of the soul of the victims.
On his part, Governor Zulum thanked the President for identifying with the state and commended the efforts of the military so far.
He asked the military to borrow from their successes, especially between 2015 – 2017 and take the battle to the insurgents and push them to the fringes of Lake Chad.
The governor also urged the security agencies to be patient with the civilian populace and give opportunities to the Internally Displaced Persons to access their communities.
However, conflicting figures from eyewitnesses who spoke to Channels Television, said at least 20 people died in the attack and no fewer than 18 cars, including heavy-duty trucks, were set ablaze during the attack.
An unspecified number of people mostly women are also believed to have been abducted.
Meanwhile, Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, accompanied by the Garrison Commander 7 Division, Nigerian Army, visited the scene and sympathised with the victims.
He assured of his commitment and that of the Federal Government to end the insurgency problem in the northeast.
2. The president’s decision is the product of a comprehensive and systematic assessment that was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, as well as in partnership with other federal agencies.
3. Mr President has lost control of security” adding that the nation is “in danger and we are in trouble.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asks President Muhammadu Buhari to resign for ‘failing to secure the nation’ and ‘putting her democracy under threat’.
4. Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population.
Former Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is unhappy about the US Government’s decision to place Nigeria on its travel ban list.
5. President Buhari should resign because he has failed to solve the security challenges in the country, years after Nigerians voted the APC government into power.
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over the security situation in the country.
6. Comrade Oshiomhole’s ambition to be the ‘ultimate godfather in Edo State is not worth the lives and safety of millions of Edo people.
Edo State Government asks the Presidency and the Inspector General of Police to call the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to order and let him know that no one can be above the law of the land.
7. Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari has established a committee, to be Chaired by the Hon. Minister of Interior, to study and address the updated U.S. requirements.
8. Ask INEC to give you the result of Imo, even excluding that of Governor Hope Uzodinma. You will find that Emeka ought not to have been declared. For me, it is shocking that nobody is interrogating INEC.
Vanessa Bryant speaks out for the first time since her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were killed in a horrific helicopter crash.
13. This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the getting up, sitting down to everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be.
20. Our great party would be presenting our petitions to the embassies of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the European Union on the State of Affairs in the country.
Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) call for the intervention of the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union in the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship tussle.
21. We will be harder on bandits.
President Muhammadu Buhari says harder times await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.
22. While I commend the effort of Aisha Babangida for putting the event together, I would like to also suggest that Former first ladies should continue to explore avenues for sharing their experiences.
The lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume has decried the situation in the Northeast saying it is getting worse by the day.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Ndume regretted that the resurgence of the Boko Haram /Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) keeps increasing.
“The situation in the Northeast particularly Borno State is terrible. I can tell you that the situation is getting worse. There is a resurgence of the insurgency in the northeast,” he said when asked to assess the security situation in the region.
Ndume, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Army, also lamented the spate of killings and violence in his constituency.
According to him, terrorists recently attacked Askira and Damboa Local Government Areas of his state and killed some people while carting away foodstuff and other valuables.
He noted that personnel of the Nigerian Army were able to respond promptly to the attacks by repelling the insurgents, people had to scamper for safety due to fear.
“From the report I received, two people were killed in Damboa Local Government. Two people were also killed in Gumsuri, Damboa Local Government.
“In Askira, people scampered into the bush for safety. I have not gotten the true assessment of the situation or report on the lives lost.”
Speaking further, the lawmaker said the renewed attack on the state comes when people had a sigh of relief that the spate of attacks has reduced.
He stressed that just last week, two bombs were detonated in a mosque in Gwoza, coupled with last week’s attack on Muno, near Maiduguri.
Although Ndume is of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), he, however, wants the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to wake up regarding its constitutional duty of saving lives and property.
When asked for his reaction to calls made by the Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnanya Abaribe, for President Buhari to resign following the perceived failure of the Federal Government to address the nation’s security challenges, Ndume said the call wasn’t necessary.