Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, has challenged the Commanding Officer, Nigerian Air Force Mobility Command, Air Vice Marshal Stephen Onuh, to be proficient in carrying out his responsibility.
The Governor made the call on Tuesday while welcoming Air Vice Marshal Onuh who has just been posted to Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.
He asked the Air Force boss to carry out his duty professionally without fear or favour.
Governor Dickson reiterated that his administration was committed to zero tolerance for crime and criminality.
He assured the Air Vice Marshal of the support of the people of the state, stressing that with the synergy, he had no doubt that the state’s security would be a lot better.
In his response, Onuh assured the Governor that the command would be dutiful in the assignment which they have come to do.
He highlighted the impact of the security and the contribution of the Air Force in the fight against terror, stressing that they were doing all they can to defend and support democracy.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Doha urged Nigerians to rekindle the spirit of patriotism and selfless service to encourage more foreign investments.
At a meeting with members of the Nigerian community in Doha, the President gave the assurance that the Federal Government would continue to create the enabling environment for investments in Nigeria. He said that most of the government efforts would be anchored on peace and security.
“We have abundant natural and human resources in the country, including huge oil and gas deposit.
“But the challenge is securing those installations and to persuade some of our countrymen to be more patriotic and stop sabotaging the installations.
“When people are being abducted and some are being murdered, when installations are being blown up now and then, the incentives for people to invest in our infrastructure is quite slim,” he told the gathering.
President Buhari also promised to look into the complaints of alleged blanket denial of visas to families and relatives of Nigerians intending to visit the State of Qatar.
“Like I tell other Nigerians living in other countries, you must be good ambassadors of the country because globally things are quite difficult in terms of security and the economy.
“If you have something doing, please hold it tight to your heart and try to improve on it because things are quite difficult all over.
“For us in Nigeria, we are trying to do our best to reduce unemployment and we realised this quite early enough, that is why we campaigned on the diversification of the economy.
“We have to go back to agriculture, like in the good old days of cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, cottons, groundnuts, hides and skins,” he stressed.
On the fight against terrorism, the President told Nigerians living in Qatar that the military had made remarkable progress in dislodging Boko Haram terrorists from their previous strongholds in the North eastern part of Nigeria.
“When we came in May 2015, the Boko Haram were effectively holding 14 local governments out of 774 local governments in Nigeria but today they are not holding a single local government,” he stated.
He said the military and law enforcement agencies were working very hard to prevent and counter Boko Haram attacks on soft targets in the country.
The Borno State government has expressed worry about the fate of youth volunteers serving as civilians in the Joint Task Force in the fight against terror.
This was disclosed by the Deputy Governor of Borno State, Usman Durkwa, on Thursday while receiving the Chairman of the Defence Committee of the lower chamber, Honourable Jonathan Gaza.
Making a passionate appeal to the National Assembly on the challenge, Mr Durkwa urged the federal lawmakers to facilitate job opportunities to absorb the volunteers when the Boko Haram insurgency has been finally overcome.
In his response, Honourable Gaza said that the committee was carrying out an assessment tour in the state to set the pace for guided legislation.
“We assure you of the commitment of the National Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives, to put together legislative frameworks that will expedite a quick return to normalcy,” he said.
He commended the government’s effort towards restoring the lost glory of Borno State, urging them to remain steadfast amidst the surmountable challenges.
The Senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, has declared his support for any dialogue with Boko Haram members by the Federal Government, as part of efforts to end the insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country.
In an interview with Channels Television on Sunday, the Senator said that for a successful negotiation with the Boko Haram terrorist group, the Federal Government must consider certain factors such as willingness and resolve of the insurgents to dialogue, the strength of the military to overpower the insurgents and commitment of the government to the terms and agreement of the negotiation.
According to him, “while it is important for the Nigerian government to adopt both the stick and carrot approach in the fight against terror, government must also effectively equip and motivate the security forces, to enable them sustain the ongoing bombardment of the insurgents.
“The last administration had opted for the use of force and dialogue to end the insurgency, rather than diminish the activities of the group, the members increased attacks, bombing public places and killing innocent people.”
The Senator further said the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan could not find a lasting solution to the rising surge of terrorism in the north-east.
Senator Sani also alleged that huge amount of money was spent by the administration for negotiation and amnesty for the terrorist group.
Commenting on how to rescue the abducted secondary school girls in Chibok, Borno State, and other hostages that were abducted by the sect, Sani said negotiation with the group is a better option to rescue the girls alive, as the use of force to free them can be deadly.
Two people have been reported killed in Kayamla village of Konduga local government area of Borno State in north-east Nigeria.
A resident of the community, located in the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, told Channels Television that unknown gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram sect stormed the village on Friday night.
The resident said the gunmen unleashed terror on the Kayamla village, killing two people in the process.
The Kayamla attack is the first reported attack carried out by the militants in the troubled Borno State since the declaration of General Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the just-concluded presidential election.
Residents of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, worse hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, have called on the president-elect to start by addressing the security problem bedevilling the north-east zone.
They explained that any other developmental programme for the people of the zone may have to wait until peace returns to the area.
Troops in a military operation spearheaded by highly coordinated air assaults have completed the mission of clearing terrorists from Monguno in Borno State and environs, a military official has said.
The spokesman for the military, Major General Chris Olukolade, in a statement on Monday said that a number of the Boko Haram terrorists were captured in the course of the operation on Monday morning.
Major General Olukolade further said that truck loads of rice, beans and other logistics meant for resupply to the terrorists operating around Baga were also captured.
“Casualty inflicted and arms recovered as well as other outcome of the operation in Munguno, Marte and other communities already secured, will be determined after the ongoing cordon and search in the environs,” the statement read.
He said that the air and land operations had continued, with aggressive advance towards other designated communities and locations meant to be cleared in the ongoing offensive against the Boko Haram members.
Recover All Territories before Elections
Counter-terrorism operations have heightened, with collaborated efforts from forces of countries bordering Nigeria in the north-east, the stronghold of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Nigeria’s election was postponed on February 7 by six weeks by the electoral commission to enable the military re-capture areas under the control of the terrorist.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had said the decision to postpone the elections was reached after wife-reaching consultations and the advice of the security chiefs to postpone the elections.
On February 13, President Goodluck Jonathan reassured the international community of his determination to recover all the territories in the hand of the Boko Haram.
He said that this was important so that the presidential elections could be conducted peacefully in those areas.
The President, spoke at a cocktail in honour of diplomats and high commissioners in Nigeria, commended the collaboration with other countries in the fight against terror, promising to win the war decisively.
He said that the decision of the INEC to postpone the general elections by six weeks was an adjustment in dates within the constitution which would not in any way affect the inauguration of a new government.
Members of the Boko Haram sect killed more than 100 people during an attack on the north Cameroon town of Fotokol, murdering residents inside their homes and in a mosque, a local civic leader said on Wednesday.
“Boko Haram entered Fotokol through Gambaru early in the morning and they killed more than 100 people in the mosque, in the houses and they burned property,” Reuters quoted the local leader as saying.
The man said the militants shot one of his sons dead during the raid.
Earlier reports say the attack on the town of Fotokol in Cameroon by members of the terrorist group was repelled.
Cameroonian Information Minister, Issa Tchiroma, said the fighting in Fotokol had lasted several hours.
“The insurgents have been driven out. They tried to surprise us because the Chadian troops who were in Fotokol had crossed over to Nigeria,” he said.
The attack represents the latest cross-border incursion by Boko Haram, who operate near Nigeria’s borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Over 200 Militants Killed By Chad’s Army
The report of the attack on Fotokol is coming after Chad’s army said it had killed more than 200 militants from Boko Haram on Tuesday in a battle in the north eastern Nigerian towns of Gambaru and Ngala, which are near the border with Cameroon.
Chad has deployed 2,500 troops as part of a regional effort to take on the militant group, which has been fighting for five years to create an Islamist emirate in northern Nigeria. An estimated 10,000 people died in the region last year.
Chad’s army also destroyed more than a dozen vehicles equipped with heavy weapons in the battle, and 100 motorcycles used by the militants, the army high command said in a statement on Wednesday. There was no independent confirmation of its claim.
At least 143 Boko Haram fighters were killed in an attack on a military camp in Cameroon on Monday, a minister said, adding that it was the heaviest loss sustained by the Nigerian Islamist group in the country.
In a statement, the Minister of Communications, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said: “The terrorists … lost 143 lives and important warfare equipment made up of assault rifles of various brands, heavy weapons and bullets of all calibres”.
“On the Cameroon side, we lost one life, the Corporal-Chef Bela Onana, as well as four wounded.”
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the toll from the fighting near the northern town of Kolofata, Reuters reported.
Cameroon’s army determines death tolls either visually, or by counting the number of vehicles it destroys and estimating how many militants each vehicle carried, a senior official in Cameroon’s Far North region told Reuters last month.
Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in its attempt to set up an Islamic State and bring an end to western education in north-east Nigeria, had also targeted Cameroon over the past year.
Earlier this month, a man claiming to be the leader of the group threatened to step up violence in Cameroon unless it scraps its constitution and embraces Islam.
The Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima, has reiterated the need for all Nigerians to unite in the fight against the ‘mediaeval idiots’, the Boko Haram sect, that has carried out series of attacks in the north-east region.
Governor Shettima made the call while in a meeting with the management of Channels Television. He was at the organisation’s head office in Lagos on Friday in company of his cabinet members.
“Fighting insurgency demands the right information and a more professional way in handling mass communication,” he said.
The governor also solicited the support of the station in the fight against the terrorist group.
Governor Shettima further spoke about what was needed to tackle the insurgency that had left thousands of Nigerians homeless and hundreds more, dead.
“Insurgency goes beyond politics, religion or region. We are living in a very interesting time that calls for patience, tolerance and unity of spirit and for a renewed commitment.
“It is the time when all Nigerians should come together as one, irrespective of differences, political affiliation because Nigeria belongs to all of us,” Governor Shettima said.
He emphasised that the issues in the region extended beyond politics.
“Let us unite and defeat terrorism and save this country. It belongs to al of us. Are we going to be called defeated generation?
“Are we going to allow some parts of our country to be ran by some ‘mediaeval idiots’, a people who have lost every sense of decency and tolerance?” he questioned.
Nigeria’s Air Force says it has an idea of where the missing Alpha Jet (NAF 466) is, but blamed bad weather for the difficulty in locating it.
After a closed door meeting on Monday with the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Adesola Amosu, told reporters that the fact that the Air Force lost an aircraft did not mean the military had lost control of the nation’s airspace to terrorist sect, Boko Haram.
He said that some useful information from farmers in the area were not sufficient enough for them to determine the area of search.
The Alpha Jet (NAF 466) was reported missing around Adamawa State, with two pilots on-board.
It left Yola at about 10:45am on 12 September 2014 on a routine operational mission and was expected back by 12:00 noon.
After the plan was reported missing, a statement by the Director Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said “all efforts to establish contact with the aircraft have not yielded any positive result”.
Meanwhile, search and rescue effort is ongoing to establish contact with the crew.
The military has been engaging in counter-terrorism operations in the area for over three years against the Boko Haram, seeking to end western education in the region.
Of late, series of airstrikes were carried out on terrorist enclaves to regain control of some towns that terrorists were gaining control over.
Scores of wounded terrorists, who escaped from various camps under the fire of security forces in north east Nigeria, have been captured in the fringes of Lake Chad.
In a statement, the spokesman for the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MJTF), Major General Chris Olukolade, said the captured terrorists, some of whom were fatally wounded, were already making useful statements to interrogators of the task force.
He said that others were captured by troops in locations around Dikwa, Cross Kauwa, Kukawa and Alargarmo.
Full Of Apologies
In their confessions, it was revealed that some of the camps had been disbanded following the directive of their clerics who declared that the operation of the sect had come to an end as the mission could no longer be sustained.
“The terrorists, who are giving useful information as to the locations of their remnant forces, are full of apologies and pleas for their lives to be spared promising to cooperate.
“They confirmed that starvation was a major problem in addition to ceaseless bombardments on the camp locations even when they kept relocating,” the statement read.
Major General Olukolade also stated that the captured terrorists confirmed that several members of the group had been wounded and that no treatment was forth coming.
The troops have continued their assault on other locations across the three northeast states covered by the state of emergency.
Dislodged camps and fringes of forests, such as Sambisa and others, have become a tourist attraction for people in the region, who have started visiting the camps for sight-seeing.
The task force has warned them to desist from doing so, as the “tendency will no more be condoned where operations are still ongoing”.
There is strict restriction of movements in the area, as the environment has to be cleared for safety of citizens.
The public will be informed when the locations are safe enough, the statement read.
Lack of political will to tackle the terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been identified as the major problem hampering the fight against insurgency in the north eastern part of Nigeria.
The National Coordinator, Initiative for Public Safety, Security and Educational Development, Mr Emaka Nwanevu, on Tuesday stressed the need for the Nigerian government to show more commitment and willingness to tackling the activities of the Islamic sect, emphasising the comments by the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, on the persistent insurgency.
Governor Shettima had on Monday, stressed the need for the government to show more commitment to tackling the activities of the terrorist group, insisting that what is currently being done is not enough to win the war on terror.
“The leaders should be held responsible for the failure of leadership,” he told reporters in Abuja after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue.
Commending the governor for accepting that there is leadership failure in Nigeria, Mr Nwanevu insisted that the insurgency had continued because the government had failed to do the right things at the right time.
He also pointed out that the insurgency had persisted because of the failure of the government to implement recommendations and reports by various committees that had been set up to proffer solutions to challenges.
“They set up committees that will come up with recommendations and they will not implement it. There are lots of recommendations.
“The political will to ensure that the police become functional and efficient is not there,” Mr Nwanevu, who was a former member of a Presidential Committee on Police Reforms, set up in 2009, said.
He explained how the predecessor of Governor Shettima contributed to the increase in insurgency in the region.
“My organisation in 2009 went to Borno State, conducted a research and got statements from some people about this group. One of the very top officers of the police then, we got to know, had intelligence information about the group and gave it to the governor and nothing happened.
“Our own report, we submitted to the National Assembly, which was to conduct a public hearing on the report but nothing happened.
“This shows lack of political will to tackle the challenge,” Mr Nwanevu insisted.
Need To Review Military Programme
He stressed that the governor’s comments should be taken seriously, as they bear credence to the fact that the ‘war on terror’ was failing.
“If a governor leaves his state to go to the president to make this comment, he must have seen beyond what the ordinary people may have seen. I take him very seriously on his choice of words.
“If it is what it takes for the Federal Government to review the programme of the military, the Joint Task Force, the police formation within the north-east and the zonal command, I think it is time.
“I insist that if those comments are what we require as a nation to go deeper into our response to insurgency, I think it is timely,” he stated.
He believes that politicians, especially from the north, have privileged information that they can provide that will help to solve the problem.
He recommended a review of security heads’ activities and results it had yielded within a specific period of time.
“I recommend a situation where the governor or Borno will hold a meeting with the governors of the north-east and some political leaders of the north who can provide the needed information and strong advice.
Motivation Of Security Agencies
Poor motivation of security agencies was also mentioned by Governor Shettima as one of the reasons the agencies could not defeat the Boko Haram, an opinion Mr Nwanevu also supported and called for a consideration of the welfare of the agencies.
“Up till now there has been nothing about the police pension scam. And this has become a source of worry for police officers that are not sure of what the future holds after service.
“I have met several police officers and they say, ‘we don’t know how to access our pension and we do not know how it is done’,” he said.
Mr Nwanevu also suggested that the government should be proactive and involve more in intelligence gathering which is very vital in fighting terrorism.
He urged the Nigerian president to give a timeline to security chiefs in the country and evaluate their performance within a specific period.
“If the person fails, he should be removed,” he said.
The Boko Haram terrorist group has continued to carry out strategic attacks in Nigeria’s north-east states, leading to slow pace of development in the region that had seen huge migration of its citizens to other parts of the country where they can find peace.