FG Restates Commitment To Ensuring Global Peace

Muhammadu-Buhari-ICAN-meetingNigeria has restated its commitment to global peace through the promotion of activities that will cement cordial relationship among its neighbours.

Addressing the 2015 Annual Conference for Defence Advisers and attaches, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Muhammad Dan-Ali, says combating the threat of international terrorism requires the cooperation of all countries.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to ending insurgency in the north east by the end of 2015.

The Chief of Defence Intelligence, AVM Monday Morgan, also challenged defence advisers and attaches to be alive to their responsibilities at all times.

With the theme, ‘Enhancing The Defence Attaches System Towards A Sustainable National Security in Nigeria’, participants at the conference would among other issues, brainstorm on the effective utilisation of the defence attaché system in the consolidation of counter-terrorism efforts in Nigeria.

Counter-Terrorism: Automobile Manufacturer Gives MNJTF Vehicles

Trucks-Donated-to-MNJTFThe Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Maiduguri, Nigeria’s north-east, have received some Hilux Vans from Toyota Nigeria Limited, as part of support for its counter-terrorism operations in the region.

Receiving the donation, Nigeria’s Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, expressed profound gratitude to the management and staff of the automobile manufacturing company, describing the gesture as a show of public support and approval for MNJTF actions.

“This donation is a laudable one and very timely, too. This shows that the fight against Boko Haram insurgency will come to an effective end going by the presidential directive. The provision of adequate security, not only in the northeast, but in all corners of the country is a task that must be done and done quickly too,” he said.

The CDS, who was represented at the occasion by Air Vice Marshal Olutayo Oguntoyinbo, promised that the Hilux vans would be used to ensure success of the operation against all forms of guerrilla movements and cross-border crimes around the Lake Chad Basin.

He urged soldiers to make maximum use of the vehicle and also asked other companies and corporate organisations in Nigeria and countries around the Lake Chad Basin to emulate automobile manufacturer in the noble gesture. He also called on all Nigerians to come forward and support the Nigerian Military in the ongoing campaign against terror.

‘To Defeat Insurgents’

In his own remarks, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Buratai stated that the vehicles would be used effectively to achieve the three mandate of MNJTF which include, a defeat of the Boko Haram terror group in all the area they occupied.

“The Hilux van would be put to most effective use for the achievement of the three mandate of MNJTF namely, to defeat the insurgents in all the countries they exist whether in Nigeria, Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroon, and to facilitate the humanitarian and logistics needs of troops in the conduct of their duties by providing escort and security for them.

“The vehicles would also be used for the distribution of materials to IDPs and to re-establish state authority to create safe environments for those displaced to come fully back to their villages and continue with their day-to-day activities,” he stated.

The Managing Director of the automobile company, Mr Kunle Adeojo, said that all members of his management board had agreed to support the Armed forces through the vehicle donation, saying that “fighting against insurgents needs the support of all nations and all companies”.

On Wednesday the military in Nigeria said neighbouring countries have contributed 8,700 troops to the MNJTF on Lake Chad Basin towards ending the activities of the Boko Haram in the region.

President Muhammadu Buhari had given the military an ultimatum to end insurgency in the north-east by the end of 2015, but a bomb attack occurred on Friday at an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Yola, Adamawa State, the same day the MNJTF took delivery of the vans.

At least three persons were killed while about nine were injured.

Air Chief Tasks Institute On Research And Innovation

airforceNigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has tasked Officers and men of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in Kaduna State, to be innovative and research oriented in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s change agenda geared towards ending insurgency in the nation’s north-east.

He made the call during the 44th Convocation Ceremony of the institute on Wednesday.

The Air Chief stressed that for the institute to contribute to the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists, it must tailor its research and innovations in line with the contemporary challenges confronting the nation.

The Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology was established in 2008 to create a higher level maintenance capacity locally for the aviation, aerospace and allied disciplines of the service and its sister agencies.

Since its inception, the institute has ventured into innovation of military hardware that could assist the nation’s security needs.

One of such innovations was a prototype unmanned aircraft produced locally by research students of the Institute two years ago.

It was designed to tackle insecurity through enhanced air surveillance.

The test flight of the aircraft took place under the close watch of the Chief of Air Staff and the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, during the graduation ceremony.

The innovation, however, requires a modification in order to ensure its usability.

A total of 400 students comprising of Aerospace engineers, Aircraft engineers and Explosive Ordinance Technologists among others were awarded certificates in National Diploma, Higher National Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma.

They have successfully completed their courses and satisfied the institute’s academic standards.

One by one, they filed out to receive their certificates.

The commandant of the institute, Air Commodore Misbau Soladoye, expressed satisfaction with the students’ academic performance and urged them to be Ambassadors of the institute whenever they find themselves.

Since inception, the school has graduated about 4,700 officers, including personnel of the Nigerian Army, Navy and foreign students from other African countries.

U.S. Condemns Boko Haram Attacks In Nigeria, Cameroon

Boko HaramThe United States has once again condemned the suicide attacks being carried out by Boko Haram in both Nigeria and Cameroon, describing the acts as “horrific and indiscriminate”.

The U.S. State Department, in a statement, also deplored the use of children as bombers by the sect members.

“Boko Haram’s unconscionable use of children as suicide bombers and indiscriminate targeting of men, women and children highlight the group’s senseless brutality.”

At least 36 people were killed on Wednesday’s twin explosions in Gombe State, northeast Nigeria, by bombers who attacked the Dadin Kowa and the Duku motor parks in the metropolis.

The attacks came as President Muhammadu Buhari was visiting the United States, where he and President Barack Obama discussed ways of strengthening the ongoing efforts to end the insurgency.

The U.S pledged its continued support of the counter-terrorism efforts by Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad with intelligence, advisers, equipment and logistics.

Buhari Meets With U.S Chamber of Commerce

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says there is no going back on privatization, challenging American investors to come and invest in Nigeria.

President Buhari said this in Washington at a dinner organized in his honour by the members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

He challenged American investors to take advantage of the liberal trade and investment climate in Nigeria to do profitable businesses.

The President said that his administration would go ahead with the ongoing privatization programme with improved moral architecture.

According to him, the privatization exercise would be expanded to include the nation’s aviation, telecommunication, energy, gas, solid mineral, health and infrastructural development.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was full of praises to Nigeria for the smooth transition that happened and said that it was time to turn attention to economic development.

The Chairman, Corporate Council on Africa, Paul Hinks, described the President’s leadership as exemplary and called on his colleagues to head towards Nigeria to invest .

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation with more than 3 million businesses of all sizes.

They believe that now is the time for Nigeria to be the next destination and America would do its best to encourage the new President to take bold steps in his economic reforms.

The governors of Edo, Imo and Nasarawa states were also present at the dinner.

President Buhari Meets With U.S Secretary Of State, John Kerry

John KerryIn continuation of his working visit to the United States of America, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has met with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry.

The meeting, which held at the United States Department of State, got the U.S., again pledging to work very closely with the President to tackle issues of terrorism by taking on Boko Haram headlong until they are completely rooted out.

Mr Kerry described Nigeria as extraordinarily important in the committee of nations and observed that President Buhari’s military background is a plus for Nigeria in the fight against terror.

He said that America was also delighted that President Buhari is deeply committed to rooting out corruption in the system.

In his response, President Buhari reiterated his earlier view that it was America’s pressure on the past administration that made the 2015 to be credible, saying that Nigeria remained pleased to be working with America.

Buhari On CNN, Says Chibok Girls’ Return Is Priority

CNNPresident Buhari has again made it clear that the safety and return of the Chibok girls is a priority to his government.

Answering questions on the CNN programme, Amanpour, President Buhari said that his government would be willing to negotiate with the Boko Haram sect as long as there are assurances that the leadership of the sect coming forward was genuine, noting that rescuing and rehabilitating the Chibok girls remained paramount.

“We have to be very careful about the credibility of various Boko Haram leaderships coming up and claiming that they can deliver.

“We have to be very careful indeed and we are taking our time because we want to bring them (Chibok girls) safe back to their parents and to their school.”

President Buhari also linked the efforts to develop the Nigerian economy, which is a major demand among Nigerians, to security.

“My people, I believe, want the security in the country to be stabilized so that normal life (can resume) both in the southern part of the country where the militants are still sabotaging oil installations, kidnapping people and demanding ransom and in the north-east where Boko Haram is still active.

“This is a realistic way of looking at things. Nothing will work until the country is secure.”

He also promised to tackle corruption, making it clear that there will be no sacred cow. “There will not be any party member or any personality that can escape justice,” he said.

The President is also optimistic that his American counterpart, Barack Obama would visit Nigeria in the near future.

 

U.S Agrees To Help Nigeria Recover Stolen Funds

ill-gotten wealthThe United States government has agreed to assist Nigeria recover all identified ill-gotten wealth in countries in which they have jurisdiction, including the U.S itself.

The Nigerian President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement.

The United States will also offer training to judicial staff and prosecutors “in order to place Nigeria in a good position to uncover proceeds of corruption and for improved prosecution of cases of crime.”

Details emerging from Monday’s meeting between President Buhari and the United States Attorney-General, Loretta Lynch, on the subject of support for the war on corruption in Nigeria indicate that the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed between the two countries in 1985 which came into effect in 2003 would be given some teeth.

“There will be collaboration. Each of the two countries will receive legal assistance from the other on criminal matters and that should cover the recovery of ill-gotten wealth.

“On extradition, we already have a treaty with U.S. By virtue of being a former British colonial territory.

“There is, however, the possibility that Nigeria might negotiate a new extradition treaty to meet our other requirements. The negotiation will be done under the auspices of a ‘re-energized’ U.S-Nigeria Bi-National Commission.”

World Bank To Spend $2.1 Billion In Rebuilding North-East Nigeria

World BankThe World Bank has unfolded a package which would see it spending up to $2.1 billion in rebuilding the badly devastated North-eastern part of Nigeria, ravaged for the past six years by the Boko Haram insurgency.

At a meeting in Washington on Tuesday with representatives of the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization (WHO), President Buhari said that apart from rebuilding the region in terms of infrastructure, priority must also be given to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who now number over one million.

He urged the World Bank to send a team, which would work in concert with a team from the Federal Government, so that a proper assessment of needs could be done.

The World Bank will spend the 2.1 billion dollars through its IDA (International Development Agency), which gives low interest rates loans to government.

The first 10 years will be interest free, while an additional 30 years will be at lower than capital market rate.

The World Bank is eager to move in quickly, give out the loans, and give succour to the people of North-east, long at the mercy of an insurgency that has claimed over 20,000 souls.

WHO is also to invest 300 million dollars on immunization against malaria in Nigeria, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will collaborate with Dangote Foundation to ensure that the country maintains its zero polio case record of the past one year.

If the effort is sustained for another two years, Nigeria will be declared fully free of polio.

Buhari To Appoint Ministers In September

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says he would not appoint members of his cabinet until September.

The President Buhari gave this hint in an opinion published by Washington Post before the meeting with President Barack Obama.

He urged Nigerians to be patient with his administration because, according to him, all things become difficult before they become easy.

The President also said that his decision to keep the appointments till September is similar to the decision taken by President Obama when he assumed office.

In his words, “When cabinet ministers are appointed in September, it will become months after I took the oath of office. It is worth noting that Obama himself did not have his full cabinet in place for several months after first taking office.

“The United States did not cease to function in the interim. In Nigeria’s case, it would neither be prudent nor serve the interests of sound government to have made these appointments immediately on my elevation to the presidency, instead, Nigeria must first put new rules of conduct and good governance in place.”

Buhari Writes In Washington Post, Restates Commitment To Fighting Corruption, Terror

Washington PostTo coincide with a meeting on Monday in Washington DC with President Barack Obama, President Muhammadu Buhari has written an opinion article in the Washington Post addressing some of the fundamental challenges facing his Presidency.

Key among the issues are corruption and insecurity. He explains some of his decisions since assuming office, including the recent reshuffling in the leadership of the Nigerian military.

“Our new military leadership has not been chosen because of their familiarity with those in government, as was too often the case in the past, but on their track records and qualifications alone.

“These new military leaders will be based in Borno State in northern Nigeria, where the headquarters of the armed services has been relocated.

“This shift of resources and command directly to the front line, in addition to the replacement of the head of the State Security Service, Nigeria’s intelligence organization, and a new emphasis on working in partnership with our neighbours, has equipped us to take the fight directly to Boko Haram.”Washington Post

The President, in the Washington Post article, also asked for patience in the campaign against Boko Haram; “While we work to defeat the terrorists, I ask the people of Nigeria and the world for resolve and fortitude.

“The campaign we will wage will not be easy; it may not be swift. We should expect stages of success and also moments when it may appear that our advances have been checked. But no one should have any doubt as to the strength of our collective will or my commitment to rid this nation of terror and bring back peace and normalcy to all affected areas.”

On the importance of good governance, and the appointment of cabinet ministers, the President wrote, “It would neither be prudent nor serve the interests of sound government to have made these (cabinet) appointments immediately on my elevation to the Presidency; instead, Nigeria must first put new rules of conduct and good governance in place.

“I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that this process is carried out correctly, just as it has been crucial to first install the correct leadership of the military and security services before we fully take the fight to Boko Haram.”

U.S Pressure Made Nigeria’s Transition Peaceful – President Buhari

Muhammadu-Buhari-Obama-visitPresident Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday that the continued pressure on the immediate past administration by the United States and some European countries made the general elections in Nigeria to be free and fair.

The President said this while responding to the welcome remarks by President Barack Obama before the start of the bilateral meeting between officials of both countries at the Oval Office of the White House, Washington DC on the second day of the visit.

President Buhari, who noted that without the external pressure, “we would not be where we are today” in Nigeria, recalled that the pressure started from the visit of the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry to the past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega.

“Nigeria will be ever grateful to President Obama and the United States for making Nigeria consolidate its gains on democracy,” the President said.

On his trip to the United States, the President said he looked forward to a fruitful visit and engagement with his host government, while expressing delight that the United States government had indicated interest in partnering and helping the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration to bring to fruition its goals of tackling insecurity, corruption and youth unemployment.

In his welcome remarks, President Obama said that President Buhari came into office with a reputation of integrity and a clear agenda and preparedness to bringing peace to Nigeria, curtailing Boko Haram insurgency and rooting out corruption.

“On both issues of tackling insurgency and corruption in Nigeria, we look forward to how the United States can partner Nigeria to become an outstanding role model for developing countries,” President Obama said.

While describing Nigeria as a one of the most important countries in Africa, he also commended the peaceful election and transition that brought President Buhari to power.

While also lauding Nigeria’s track record in tackling Ebola and polio, President Obama also said the United States looked forward to engaging Nigeria in improving its electricity challenges.

The governors of Edo, Oyo, Imo, Borno and Nasarawa states and other top Nigerian government officials joined Presidents Buhari and Obama for the bilateral talks.