A total of 135 members of a terrorist group, Boko haram, have surrendered to troops around Biu Local Government Area in Borno State.
The spokesman for the military, Major General Chris Olukolade, told reporters on Wednesday that the terrorist also surrendered equipment to the military.
According to him, a group of 88 submitted themselves at Mairiga/Bun-Yadi while another group of 45 terrorists were taken in around Mubi-Michika on Tuesday evening.
They are all being interrogated and processed in conformity with the dictates of standard best practices
He also said that, the Nigerian military, in a counter-terrorism operation, killed one Mohammed Bashir, who has been acting or posing on videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric character known as the leader of the Boko Haram sect, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation in the north-east.
Major General Olukolade, with the aid of video images, explained that Mr Bashir was killed after members of the terrorist group made not less than four attempts between September 12 and 17 to violate the security strategy and enter Konduga to attack citizens in the area.
“Air and land forces were subsequently deployed to handle the situation.
“The convoy of combat vehicles typical of terrorists’ mission that involves their top commanders, were fiercely engaged by the land and air forces. Several of the terrorists including some of their commanders lost their lives in the encounters which lasted an average of about four hours each, leading to the death of the man claiming to be Mr Shekau,” he said read.
In a statement, the Defence Headquarters warned that “since the name Shekau had become a brand name for the terrorists’ leader, it would remain resolute to serve justice to anyone who assumes that designation or title as well as all terrorists that seek to violate the freedom and territory of Nigeria”.
The Defence Headquarters also applauded the gallantry of the Nigerian troops who had remained undaunted and professional in prosecuting the campaign against terror.
It also mentioned that the keen interest exhibited by Nigeria’s neighbours and allies had been commendable, reassuring all allies in the war against terrorism of the Nigerian military’s resolve to maintain momentum in the efforts to decimate and defeat terrorists.
The military further stressed the need for all Nigerians to be alert, vigilant and cooperate with security forces in the war on terror campaign.
A Security Consultant, Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd), on Monday, said that Nigeria was not getting any wiser and not learning anything in the fight against insurgency, four years down the line.
Captain Aliyu, who was part of a conversation about the State of the Nation on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, feels that the effort of the authorities in the fight against Boko Haram does seem to be going anywhere.
“I will like to put it this way. If you draw a learning curve on activities as it concerns insurgency since 2011, you will see that we are not learning. A learning curve is simply the graphical representation of a theory which believes that the more you do something (the more) you get better at it. Time and effort should bring about experience.
“But if you look at it, taking it from 2011, four years we are not wiser and don’t seem to get anywhere with the insurgency problem”, Captain Aliyu said.
Reacting to a statement made by the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, who appealed to Nigeria to join the fight against insurgency, Captain Aliyu agreed that the call was spot on, but feels that there had been a litany of responses from politicians, as everyone could predict what government officials would do or say after a bomb blast.
“One becomes forced to believe that there is conspiracy of silence as words are not being matched with deeds.”
He refused to believe that no one knew who the terrorists were and what they want as they had being there long enough and had stated clearly what they want; “We know who they are (Boko Haram) and we know what they want. What we lack is the will to bell the cat and until we do, nothing will work.”
He emphasized that Nigeria loses ground and the terrorists gain ground every single time they score one single disaster in any village.
On the fact that the sect want an Islamic state, Captain Aliyu maintained that this would not be possible as there was nowhere in the present electronic age that one could have an absolutely Islamic state and he was of the opinion that they were renegades who were being sponsored by people who gain political capital from what they were doing.
The retired Nigerian Army officer further said that whatever the religious convictions are, there are bound to be limitation as the world is not flat as far as religion is concerned.
On the belief that the Nigerian military was over stretched to fight insurgency after four years of trying, Rtd Captain Aliyu feels that there were enough men in the armed forces to match the terrorists and Government should be held responsible if the military had indeed become overstretched.
“If our military is overstretched, it is because the leadership don’t listen. In today’s world, we have different types of army which includes the expeditionary, conventional, the national guards and they have their different areas of competence. You don’t have one military that you want to deploy to do every and anything. Even if you have a 100 million men the security force, they will be overstretched.”
He further stated that the military was actually meant to perform a particular role constitutionally and they should be used for it.
He advised the Government to start thinking of ‘outsourcing’ if men are required to handle security situation, citing private military security companies like what is obtained in places such as Afghanistan.
The essence of the private military security companies, according to Rtd Captain Aliyu, is to help support the fighting forces against insurgency and they can be accessed in Nigeria as there are a generation of ex- soldiers out who could be great assets in the fight against terrorism.
He added that the weapons used by the Nigerian security forces were no where near parity to the ones used by the insurgents.
He blamed the Government for not taking advantage of the window of opportunity opened after Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 girls in Chibok. He opined that this was the greatest undoing of the sect that made them to offer to negotiate as they never expected the kind of global and strong condemnation it elicited.
“What I’m trying to say is that in four years we have (had) windows of opportunity that opened momentarily and close. We don’t seem to be learning from them. We don’t seem to cease the moment because our reasoning is beclouded by political, social-economical or cultural issues”, Aliyu said.
He gave example of the recent prisoner exchange with the Talibans by the American Government and highlighted that the move didn’t reduce the Americans as they knew everything about the released Talibans and would monitor their movement with the Interpol all over the world in possession of their data.
He said that Nigeria was not getting anywhere because it is trying to do so many things at once instead of one thing at a time, “We can come together and narrow things down and bit by bit we are going to get things done.”
He was also of the opinion that the closing down of the FCT, Abuja for the World Economic Forum for five days was a reaction of the government to insurgency and not necessarily a response to insurgency.
On how to separate politics or religion from security, Rtd Captain Aliyu said that if he was the security chief, he would do his duty without any religious or political affiliation, but if the powers that be come up to mount a campaign of colony against him, he would walk away.
President Goodluck Jonathan has sent a request to the National Assembly seeking an extension of the state of emergency in Nigeria’s north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe by six months.
The request was read at Tuesday’s plenary on the floor of the Senate.
The emergency rule was first introduced in the three states in May 2013, before it was extended by another six months in November.
If the request is approved by the lawmakers, the state of emergency will continue till November.
The possible extension was part of the issues that was raised at the Presidential Media Chat held on May 4 and President Jonathan said that the government was considering the chances of extended the rule but that there was no decision on it yet.
He said the emergency rule was necessary for soldiers to effectively tackle the insurgency in the region, as it empowers the military to search houses suspected as harbour for terrorists without search warrant.
The terrorists have carried out series of attacks on villages, Churches and schools in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe.
Critics of the emergency rule have stated that it had not reduced or stopped the killings by the Boko Haram insurgent group in the state.
Thousands have been killed in various attacks by the sect, with an attack on Chibok, a village in Borno State, resulting in the abduction of over 200 girls. Nigeria has sought the support of the international community in the rescue effort to bring back the girls.
Britain, France, the US and Israel say they are willing to help the Nigerian government rescue the girls that were taken on April 14.
The abduction had triggered protest in different parts of the country and outside Nigeria, making a twitter hash tag ‘#BringBackOurGirls’ popular.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, has described the challenge of northern insurgency as a global phenomenon which requires international partnership.
In an interview with Channels Television’s correspondent, Gbenga Ashiru, at the United Nations headquarter in New York, Ambassador Wali, said that the Federal Government was doing its best to fight insurgency.
Several villages have been attacked in Nigeria’s north east, with some schools and churches burnt down by the members of the Boko Haram sect.
The Nigerian government had ordered military operations to counter the insurgency but there seems to be limits to what the military can do, as they have to ensure there are no civilian casualties in the cause of their operations.
On Monday, a former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, warned Nigeria over the use of military in an attempt to end the insurgency being perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect in an attempt to.
The former Ghanaian leader told the BBC in an interview that the military alone could not combat the insurgency.
Mr Rawlings also expressed regrets at the security situation in Nigeria and advised that Nigeria must not succumb to the temptation of seeking the assistance of foreign powers in solving its problems.
But the Mr Wali told the UN Assembly in New York on Monday that the Nigerian government was certainly not leaving anything to chance in its fight against terror.
“We have requested for assistance from those countries that have had experience in this matter to assist us in the efforts we are making to contain the situation. I believe that in the very near future we will see a change in our security situation,” the Minister said.
He also stressed that steps were being taken in collaboration with neighbouring countries to stop the killings in the north east region.
The Pakistani Government is partnering with Nigeria to fight terrorism in the country.
Nigeria and Pakistan both face a common problem of insurgency and terrorism by Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram terrorist groups.
However, Pakistani Ambassador to Nigeria, Lieutenant-General, Mohamud Shalim, in an interview with Channels Television, said that Pakistan and Nigeria have been having meaningful interaction in fighting terrorism by exchanging intelligence information and training of security personnel.
“Nigeria should continue fighting, that is what I can really advise because this kind of fight is not one day’s fight. It takes very long to really finish this manner of terrorism because (if) you kill one terrorist there are 20 more who would take part.”
The Ambassador also said that fighting terrorism requires a multidimensional approach, as this is a continuous issue and not one that requires just military action.
“We like what we are doing in Pakistan; fighting, talking and some of the development issues and some social projects taking place in that area. The objective is to close the space for the terrorists, and that space can only be closed through a multidimensional approach, not through just fighting”, he said.
A group known as Borno-Yobe People’s Forum has called on President Goodluck Jonathan not to extend the State of Emergency declared in three states in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Spokesman for the group, Air-Marshal Allamin Daggash (Rtd) told a news conference in Abuja that the declaration of the State of Emergency in the North East has failed to improve the security situation in the region.
The spate of gruesome killings and the destruction of lives and property in the North-Eastern part of the country brought together the group, made up of elders from Borno and Yobe states, and they have asked the Federal Government to unmask the sponsors of the Boko Haram group as a thorough consideration for implementation of the various reports presented to the Federal Government over the insurgency in the region would reveal who the sponsors are.
The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, appealed for new strategies that would address issues of insecurity in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, while other members of the group also opposed an extension of the State of Emergency in the affected states.
The current State of Emergency is expected to end on April 19.
It was a glorious home journey for late Mrs Deborah Oluwatoyin Ogun.
It was indeed an emotional day but a celebration of a life well spent for Mrs D. O. Ogun, who was laid to rest in Badagry, Lagos State.
Mrs ogun, the mother of Channels Television Sunrise Daily female anchor Maupe Ogun, passed on at the age of 58.
Maupe described her late mother as “a lovely person, a beautiful soul, a really joyous heart and I am hoping that I will be like her. She set a bar. She showed me what it is like to live on a day to day basis”.
Though painful, she still says “it is really a time to thank God and to be grateful” that she has gone to rest.
A former Army Major, Lancelot Anyanya, has warned Nigerians at all levels to resist the temptation to play politics with the current fight against terrorism in the country, especially as it concerns the motivation of the military personnel.
He sent this warning through a telephone interview on Channels Television flagship breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
While admitting that material motivation was indeed highly important for men of the military, who are within the crisis regions, he said that he believed that Government was doing its best in that aspect, adding that no responsible government would send its troop on a mission without providing the enabling environment for them to operate and be successful.
He warned that nothing kills morale more than the statements being made by people apportioning blames in the name wanting to score political points.
Major Anyanya, however, also admitted that more could be done in terms of motivation for the military personnel fighting terror and the war can indeed be won, but the collective will of all Nigerians as a nation is what the success would be dependent on.
When asked about the possibility of some persons within the Nigerian military benefiting from the situation as a reason behind the perceived slow progress in the terror combat, Major Anyanya said, “This is laughable, who would that be and what would be their motivation?”
He stressed that the military were the ones on the battle field, whose lives are on the line and whose family were bearing the pressure of the danger in the region and should be appreciated rather than criticized.
He also responded to the possible complicity of military men with the insurgents, as alleged in some quarters that the insurgents have been spotted wearing the military uniform to ease the execution of their attacks.
Anyanya warned against assumptions that the uniforms worn by the insurgents were from the Nigerian military, stressing that a uniform is just a piece of clothing that could have been produced anywhere. He argued that the military has its own way of dealing with internal loyalty, and they also have the right intelligence service to deal with such situations.
Making reference to a similar occurrence in the Niger-Delta region when men of the military were indicted to have been supplying militants with uniforms, he recalled that the Nigerian Army took all disciplinary actions against the men who were found guilty, but in the case of the Boko Haram sect, there was no empirical evidence to support the allegation that the same was happening again.
He urged that Nigerians should mourn with the families of these men as they mourn with other victims of the attacks, not demoralize them with mundane allegations.
On the continued attacks of the Boko haram sect, Major Anyanya warned that Nigeria may be dealing with an Al Qaeda affiliate, and should be prepared to deal with some of these challenges because of the peculiar nature of its large borders and the presence of communities in those border areas.
He, however, emphasized the need to further tighten the borders, no matter how large they are.
One of the surviving students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, Nigeria, has given his account of how the attack on his school was carried out.
Speaking to Channels Television on the hospital bed, through the pains of a gunshot that ripped his arm and exposed his intestine, he recounted his ordeal in the hands of the gunmen who attacked their school.
In a vivid emotional account, the school boy narrated how he was shot by the group and then he struggled into a nearby bush before he was eventually rescued and rushed to the hospital.
Gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect attacked and killed students of the Federal Government College Buni-Yadi in Yobe State, north-east Nigeria in the early hours of Tuesday and also burnt down the school.
Earlier reports had said that the students were attacked in their hostels and slain by the hoodlums instead of the usual gun to avoid the attention of security men within town.
The Federal Government College Buni Yadi is a co-educational institution located some 55 kilometres south of Damaturu the Yobe State capital, and the attack is the fourth recorded on schools in Yobe since the commencement of the insurgency, as GSS Damaturu, GSS Mamudo and College of Agriculture, Gujba were attacked in 2013.
The Joint Task Force in Nigeria on Friday killed 13 terrorists during a raid on their make-shift camp sited between Borno and Adamawa States in the north east.
A statement by the Director, Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said some of the terrorist, who escaped from an earlier raid, were also arrested in Maiduguri and environs.
Calm has returned to Shuwa after the pandemonium generated by the panic in the community on Friday morning when residents sighted the convoy of troops going after terrorists and scampered for safety, thinking it was another round of attack.
The confusion also led to the claim that the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, who had visited the community was attacked by terrorists.
Major General Olukolade, described the claim as “an unsubstantiated report that should be disregarded”.
He said: “The truth is that the governor visited Michika and Shuwa areas of Yobe State to sympathise with the communities that were attacked by terrorists and while returning the convoy came across a noticeable alarm raised by some people who had mistaken a military convoy on patrol at Kirchinga village, for another impending attack by terrorists”.
Major General Olukolade said that the troops had discovered an entry and exit point of terrorists into the country through the state and was working on blocking it.
He assured the community of their safety as normalcy had returned.
Political parties in Nigeria have been asked to put political interests aside and mobilise their members through a general awareness campaign on the need to support the military in the fight against insurgents in the north east.
The call by a lawyer, Mr Emeka Onohwakpor, is coming, as the insurgents have heightened attack in recent weeks killing over 50 people in different attacks.
He said: “Political parties should drop their differences and see this as an assault that is eroding Nigeria’s sovereignty”.
In latest attacks, the insurgents were said to have come in Hilux vehicles and the lawyer called on the security agency responsible for vehicle registration to provide the needed information about the vehicles.
“They should trace the origin of the Hilux vehicles that these insurgents are using. They should trace the source of the money used in purchasing these vehicles. These insurgents eat somewhere, they dress somewhere and we need to find where they are.
“Political parties’ leaders should mobilise their members, advising them to report suspicious movements to the security agencies,” he stressed.
Reviewing Border Treaties
The Nigerian President had held a discussion with neighbouring countries leaders on the possibilities of reviewing treaties that hinder security forces from pursing insurgents into their countries.
Mr Onohwakpor expressed optimism that the treaty would be reviewed without much trouble because other countries were concerned about the situation.
“They would definitely cooperate with Nigeria and see how they can help. We are also in a position to exert a lot of influent on those countries.
“What happens is that it is not only our security officers that will go in there. It is usually a cooperation between security officers from both countries.
“You must exert the kind of power you have, in this situation,” he stated.
He pointed out that people living in the border area should know the insurgents.
“They have been living together. They know themselves in terms of language they know the little, little differences between them. It is important for those on the ground to join the fight actively against these insurgents.
“It is the Local Government chairman that knows his people. But if we are waiting for those in Abuja to come and know this people, they cannot easily know them.
He explained that the governors of the north east states could adopt the strategy the eastern governors applied in tackling kidnapping, by enacting a law that would allow the demolition of any building identified as a hideout for kidnappers.
“The governors in the north should do same and see these attacks as a national fight and not their fight. That is a situation that is not good. They should see this as their own fight and that the Federal Government is even assisting them.
“The Boko Haram is preaching something that goes against our constitution. If they are challenging the president to turn the country into an Islamic state, that means they are going against the constitution, challenging the entire country that voted the president in.
“They have also asked the president not to run in 2015, arrogating to themselves the power of the people to vote,” he said.
While the military is considering the use of drones in identifying the hideouts of the insurgents, the lawyer warned that “when drones are deployed and a sovereign country is mistakenly attacked, it will attract reprisal”.
He reiterated that there is lack of political will by the arms of government to tackle the situation.
“What we are suffering now is the lack of commitment from every arm of government towards fighting this. We must deploy the type of security we need on the ground. I don’t know if drones are needed.
“Drones are used for aerial fights to identify areas that would be attacked.
“All that is needed is to exploit the support of Cameroon, urging them to assist us in locating where the terrorists that crossed into Cameroon go to,” the lawyer insisted.
He pointed out that the comment of the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, that the military was not well equipped and not as motivated as the Boko Haram sect, was not a good one.
“We must stop condemning the military because it demoralises them.
“Where somebody as high as a governor starts saying that a group of insurgents are better equipped than the military, it is demoralising.
In December 19, 2011, the Nigerian government launched a satellite, NigComSat-1R, into orbit, described as a critical ICT backbone infrastructure that will provide solution to the country’s telecommunications, broadcast, aviation, maritime, defence and security needs.
Some Nigerians have stressed that this was the time to use it to provide necessary information and images that would enable the military take informed decisions in the fight against the insurgents.
Dr Doyin Okupe, a spokesman for the Nigerian President, said that the satellite had help in foiling some of the planned attacks of the Boko Haram, but stressed that improvement and more surveillance tools were needed.
Mr Onohwakpor, however, stressed the need for the government to be sure the equipment they were acquiring was necessary and would provide the needed value.
He also pointed out that the US had indicated interest in assisting Nigeria in the war on terror, urging the government to take advantage of the promise and seek for logistics and communication equipment that could assist the military in ending the insurgency.