We Will Not Rest Until Nigeria Is Safe, Says Olonisakin

 

 

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, has given assurance that the Nigerian Armed Forces will not rest until the lives and properties of the citizens are secured.

He stated this on Saturday in his speech as the Special Guest of Honour at the Passing Out Parade of the 78 Regular Recruits Intake of the Nigerian Army.

General Olonisakin said, “Nigeria is currently facing numerous security challenges occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, armed bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements.

“I wish to state that these security challenges will soon come to an end as we will not rest on our oars until the country is safe for all of us.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian Army Recruits 5,000 Soldiers

The Chief of Defence Staff was pleased that the recruitment of 5,000 personnel into the Nigerian Army would go a long way to tackle the security challenges in the country.

He asked the newly recruited soldiers to be good ambassadors of the army, the military and Nigeria in general.

General Olonisakin noted, “Today marks yet another chapter in the history of this great institution (the Depot) and the country in general.

“I am glad that Depot Nigerian Army has continued to evolve innovative ways of improving the standard in the training of personnel for the Nigerian Army.”

“This realistic and result oriented training that is being imparted in young recruits here has been yielding positive results.

“This is evident by the robust fighting spirit displayed by our soldiers in various theatres of operations,” he stressed.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, giving a speech at a Passing Out Parade ceremony in Kaduna State on October 19, 2019.

 

 

The defence chief congratulated the new soldiers and challenged them that upon concluding their training at the Depot, much was expected from them in terms of contributing to the efforts to tackle the nation’s security challenges.

He also advised them not to relent but improve their competencies individually and collectively by undergoing various training and courses.

General Olonisakin commended the Federal Government and others who have been supporting the military one way or the other in the fight against insurgency and other forms of crimes in the country.

The event which held at the Depot Nigerian Army in Kaduna State was attended by top military officers and government officials among others.

Olonisakin Warns New Army Officers Against Misconduct, Indiscipline

 

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, has challenged the newly graduated officers of the Nigerian Army that much is expected from them in keeping the country together.

He stated this in his speech at the passing out ceremony of 259 cadets of the Direct Short Service Course from the Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI), Jaji, Kaduna State.

General Olonisakin said, “I wish to make it clear to the passing-out cadets that the Nigerian Armed Forces has zero-tolerance for indiscipline and unprofessional conduct.

“As junior leaders, you will be confronted with various challenges. The Nigerian Army expects you to add value to the system by being innovative and providing objective leadership to the men that will be placed under your watch.”

He added, “As professional officers who will shortly be commissioned into the Nigerian Army, each and every one of you has various roles to play based on your expertise and previous experiences, in curtailing our security challenges.”

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The defence chief also asked the new officers to join the effort at tackling the rising security challenges posed by Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, as well as kidnapping, armed banditry and communal conflicts among others in parts of the country.

He reminded the graduating officers that they were joining the military at a time the Nigerian Armed Forces was consolidating its fight against all forms of security challenges in the country.

General Olonisakin said, “The training you have received in this institution, couple with further training you will subsequently receive in the course of your career in the Nigerian Army will be invaluable when applied with passion and commitment in your various assignments.

“You are expected to exhibit complete and absolute loyalty to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, as provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Oath of Allegiance which will be administered to you shortly.”

“You are also expected to be guided by existing regulations in your personal and professional conduct.

“I need to advise you that any act of disloyalty, disobedience to constituted authority, insubordination and other unprofessional conduct will attract appropriate sanctions,” he added.

The Nigerian Army School of Infantry has been a major facilitator and force multiplier in the fight against terrorism and other related crimes in the country, through effective training of security personnel, even from the Nigeria Police Force.

On the other hand, the security challenges in the country call for effective training and retraining of young military officers on contemporary counter-terrorism operations.

The graduating officers were trained on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations for onward deployment to the North-East and other troubled parts of the country.

They were trained in special warfare and counter-terrorism courses which lasted for six months and were also exposed to academic and field exercises such as tactical combat shooting.

Others are unarmed combat and water exercises, stop and search techniques on roadblocks and checkpoints, rescue missions, and identification of improvised explosive devices among others.

At the passing parade ceremony which marked the end of the training, the officers display a colourful march pass in both slow and quick time upon the arrival of the defence chief who doubled as the reviving officer for the parade.

Terrorism War: Buhari Directs Service Chiefs To Beef Up Security

The President, Muhammadu Buhari has directed all the Service Chief to enhance their security operations in tackling insecurity across the country.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin who briefed journalists after the meeting, stated that security matters and threats were discussed, including the IPOB issues.

He added that the President has been updated on the security situation in the country.

The meeting lasted for about three hours.

The President during his live broadcast charged security agencies not to let the successes achieved in the last 18 months be a sign to relax.

“Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety.

“We are going to reinforce and reinvigorate the fight not only against elements of Boko Haram which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets but kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes,in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers.

“We shall tackle them all”. he added.

This is the first meeting the President is holding a meeting with the Service Chiefs since his return from his medical leave.

What We Discussed With Buhari – Chief Of Defence Staff

What We Discussed With Buhari – Chief Of Defence Staff

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, says the service chiefs briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on security issues in the country when they met with him on Tuesday.

General Olonisakin told State House correspondents shortly after the meeting in Abuja that though the recent happenings in the country were not strange to the President, the service chiefs were at the meeting to give him an update.

He said, “He (Buhari) has been receiving regular briefings from the Vice President (Yemi Osinbajo) and he has also been going through the print media and electronic media to follow the happenings in the country.”

“After the meeting, he has directed on some areas we should look at so as to enhance our operations in the country. He talked about the unity of the nation which is non-negotiable; we have all been fully instructed to ensure that that directive is carried out to the letter.”

President Buhari meets with service chiefs

On the alleged involvement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in secret service, Olonisakin said, “Every security threat, all security threats were treated one after the other – ranging from terrorism to kidnapping, herdsmen/farmers clash, to IPOB issue were all treated. Comments were made as to what to do as regards those issues.”

He said the President has directed the security agencies to ensure that all issues which pose threat to Nigeria’s unity and sovereignty were well addressed.

“Every security like I said, we are going to enhance our operations in all the areas we need to do that. Like I said, he has given the necessary directives which will be carried out by the military and the security agencies,” he added.

The Defence Chief said President Buhari also directed the military to ensure that the life and property of the citizens were protected.

He said the President also asked them to make sure that the whole nation is secured while troops stationed outside the country carry out their jobs effectively.

Olonisakin refuted claims that Boko Haram terrorists were regrouping and hinted that efforts were on to tackle the menace of suicide attacks in the North-East.

He said, “On the Boko Haram issue, you all know it’s an asymmetric warfare. It’s not that the Boko Haram terrorists have stepped up their games, it’s just the issue of the suicide bombing that has been the problem and of course, we’re also working with the security agencies and the intelligence agencies to make sure that we address that menace.”

UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

41 Nigerians Evacuated From Mali

41 Nigerians Evacuated From Mali 41 Nigerian females who were victims of human trafficking have been evacuated from Mail.

They arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport aboard a military transport aircraft at about 7:25 pm on Monday.

Their return was facilitated by the Nigerian Airforce, the Office of Diaspora and Foreign Affairs and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

The Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also revealed that six members of the trafficking ring have been arrested.

She also commended the Chief Of Air Staff, for facilitating the return of the victims to the country.

“We want to thank the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, for making the return of the girls possible, otherwise they would have still be there.

“The girls came back voluntarily. Some of these girls are between 15 and 17 years old who thought they were being taken to Europe for greener pastures but ended up with traumatic experiences in the hands of their traffickers and their madam.

“So they should not be ashamed of themselves because they are victims. We are going to rehabilitate them through skills acquisition programmes.

“I am therefore calling on non-governmental organisations to join us in this regard,” she said.

This is coming in the face of renewed wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The Nigerian community in South Africa, led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West

“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church, have been looted and burned by South Africans,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, who described the attacks as an unnecessary setback, had appealed to the South African Government to take every step necessary to protect Nigerians.

Funds Diversion: An EFCC Detective’s Testimony Against Amosu

Adesola Amosu, Air Force, EFCC, NIMASA, Tosin OwoboA witness has told a court how a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, and two other Air Force chiefs, diverted the sum of three billion naira paid to the Nigerian Air Force by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Mr Tosin Owobo, an Assistant Detective Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said the money was paid in response to a request made to the Director General of NIMASA at the time, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, by Air Marshal Amosu for assistance on maritime security.

The EFCC detective, a third prosecution witness, made the testimony on Wednesday in continuation of the trial of the former Air Force chiefs at the Federal High Court in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

He informed the court that investigations revealed that there was a Memorandum of Understanding between NIMASA and the Nigerian Air Force.

In furtherance of the memo, NIMASA in 2013 paid the sum of one billion Naira and 480 million Naira to the Nigerian Air Force under the leadership of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Alex Badeh.

In continuation of the agreement in 2014, the EFCC official testified that Mr Amosu wrote to Mr Akpobolokemi, requesting four billion Naira, as the cash amount needed for maritime security.

Mr Akpobolokemi was said to have instead approved the payment of three billion Naira, a sum which was reportedly released in three tranches of one billion Naira each between August and September 2014, and paid into a Nigerian Air Force Special Emergency Operations Account.

The witness added that authorisation for the three billion Naira to be paid into the special account was given by the Director of Accounts, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, the second defendant in this case.

He, however, said that the monies were purportedly transferred from the special account to various oil and gas companies, all of whom have now been listed in the charge alongside the three Air Force chiefs.

The court admitted in evidence, the statements of accounts of the oil companies allegedly involved.

However, a move by the EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, to get the witness to delve into some of the content of the documents was rebuffed by the defence team.

The defence counsels objected the move on the grounds that the witness was not the maker of the documents neither was there an authentication obtained.

Justice Mohammed Idris consequently adjourned till Thursday, February 26 to rule on whether the witness can answer questions based on the documents and for continuation of the trial.

Presidency Refutes Story On Replacement Of Olonisakin, Ibas As Service Chiefs

counter terrorism, Olonisakin, ArmyThe Presidency in Nigeria has dismissed claims that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the replacement of Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, as Service Chiefs.

A statement by a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, described the story it said was published by the Telegraph Newspaper as fictitious.

The statement read: “The newspaper, rather than rush to print an unsubstantiated story, would have done better to confirm the information at its disposal, from many available military and government information channels. It then would have avoided the self-inflicted wound of publishing a one-legged story that is not completely true, and damaging its brand in the process”.

The Presidency further explained that General Olonisakin would be retiring from the Army next week, having satisfied the official number of years in service.

“He is yet to be replaced. But the Chief of Naval Staff has a short while more, and President Buhari could, therefore, not have approved his replacement yet.

‘This administration has repeatedly pledged commitment to transparency and accountability, and one of the hallmarks of that is making information available to the media.

“But when some sections of the media would rather speculate, than cross-check and double check information, then it borders on deliberate mischief. That, surely, is not the way to go, for national cohesion and development,” the statement added.

Nigerian Army Releases Third List Of Suspected Boko Haram Members

counter terrorism, Olonisakin, ArmyThe Nigerian Army has released a list of the third batch of 55 persons, declared wanted for their supposed connection with Boko Haram.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, unveiled the list at the Military Command and Control Centre of Operation Lafiya Dole in the Seven Division Headquarters, Maiduguri in Borno State.

“With this launching of additional list of most wanted insurgents, it is hoped that the public will collaborate to identify the 55 wanted Boko Haram suspects. Wherever they are, I urge all of you to participate in tracking them down for the good and development of this country,” Olonisakin noted.

The Defence Chief, however, told Nigerians that the military had provided a soft landing platform for repentant Boko Haram fighters through its “Operation Safe Corridors”.

Also at the unveiling was the Chief Of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.

He told the gathering that since the release of the first list in 2015 many of the suspects had been arrested.

“It is very clear that Boko Haram has been defeated but to think otherwise is to encourage the terrorists to evolve, to get them to feel they are around with their wrong ideology,” Buratai stated.

He urged the people to provide useful information to the Military concerning the whereabouts of the wanted persons, promising that the information would be treated with utmost secrecy.

In all, 253 men have been declared wanted while the number of those arrested remains unspecified.

The list is coming at a time that suicide bombing is beginning to recur again in the northeast.

Six persons were killed few days ago in a suicide bomb attack in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, a state that use to be a stronghold of Boko Haram.

Military Intensifies Counter-terrorism Operation In Sambisa Forest

rescued women and children from boko haramCounter-insurgency operations are ongoing in the notorious Sambisa Forest in northeast Nigeria, to clear remaining Boko Haram terrorists in the area, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, said on Sunday.

He says the army is not relenting in its counter-insurgency war.

General Olonisakin gave the assurance during an operational visit to the Theatre Command and headquarters of the Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Chief of Defence Staff told journalists in Maiduguri that even though the “Operation Safe Corridor” initiative was open for repentant insurgents to surrender, it would not in any way suspend operations.

“There’s always a room for them to surrender. We put up Operation Safe Corridor initiative to have them surrender. That is the corridor for them to surrender and that corridor is always open.

“However, we would not wait until they surrender. That is why the “Operation Crack Down” now leading to rescue finale is in place to ensure that we take over Sambisa, clear the Boko Haram terrorists in those places and make the place safe for development,” the Defence Chief stated.

During the visit, he inspected vehicles reconfigured by military technicians in the seven Division to give a boost to the counter insurgency operations.

Gun trucks, Operational vehicles and War battle tanks were some the vehicles remodelled by the transport battalion and now set for use.

Expressing delight with the military equipment, he said: “I commend the creative efforts of our troops because most of this vehicles have been re-roled. They were not manufactured for what they are doing but they have re-roled them for operational use.

“I want to commend their efforts and also the initiative of the Chief of Air Staff to encourage this troops to do this in the prosecution of this operation.

“These vehicles are quite important and necessary to get some of them out there. They are quite expensive but the ones here that have been reconfigured to do the same which would have been procured at a very expensive rate is really a commendable effort,” he added.

More efforts to flush out the terrorists are needed in the northeast, something a cleric said should be considered paramount to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons returning to their communities do not face renewed attacks.

The Primate of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh on Sunday called for more efforts from the Nigerian Army in protecting Nigerians living in the volatile north east.

Most Reverend Okoh believes that such intensity in checking the activities of the Boko Haram in the region would quench renewed attacks by the terrorist group.

Over two million persons have been displaced in the region, with UN agencies raising fears of death of children, nursing mothers and pregnant women due to malnutrition.

Counter Terrorism: CDS Says Terrorist Camp Is Weakened

counter terrorism, Olonisakin, ArmyThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, says the cooperation of neighbouring countries on the fringe of the Lake Chad Basin where the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in conjunction with the military waging war against the Boko Haram insurgents has weakened the base of the insurgents.

General Olonisakin said this while addressing journalists after assessing activities of the special task force, Operation Safe Haven in Jos, Plateau State.

He observed that the cooperation and synergy of the joint force has degraded the terrorists to the extent that they cannot carry out any strong offensive any more.

The recent attacks in the northeast where pockets of suicide bombings have been occurring is proof that the operational base of the terrorists has been weakened and dislodged, according to Olonisakin.

The Chief of Defence Staff urged troops to live up to expectation of keeping and maintaining the law and order which is the primary objective of the operations while it lasts.

The visit of the Chief of Defence Staff to the troops was another opportunity to give them assurances that their welfare and other logistics would receive more attention.

He expressed hope that the morale of the troops had been boosted for better performance.

Olonisakin Tasks Army On Contemporary Counter-terrorism Strategies

 counter terrorism, Olonisakin, ArmyThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has asked participants at the ongoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) conference to evolve new and contemporary counter terrorism strategies to combat insecurity in Nigeria.

General Olonisakin gave the directive on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the COAS conference holding in Makurdi, Benue State’s capital.

The conference was organised to review military counter terrorism approach and the operational competence of the Nigerian Army.

The Defence Chief also set new intelligence and operational targets for the army to meet before the next conference.

The COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai, consequently ordered a new phase of military training.

He said the training would enhance the capacity and operations of troops engaged in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists, militants in the Niger Delta and armed herdsmen.

On his part, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, thanked the Service Chiefs for defending the state.

He expressed delight that residents could now go about their lawful activities after they had suffered many security breaches by armed herdsmen.

Besides the review of military intelligence and counter-terrorism operations, the Service Chiefs also commissioned the NASME/ Host Community Link Bridge, the NASME Water Works and a free medical outreach for the public to ascertain their health status.