Dickson Tasks New Bayelsa Air Force Chief On Professionalism

Bayelsa, Air Force, Seriake Dickson, Stephen OnuhBayelsa 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.

Terror Fight: Olonisakin Attributes Military Success To Leadership Change

Military, Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel OlonisakinThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, says that the change of leadership style by the current crop of military has contributed largely to the success of the fight against terrorism and internal aggression.

The Military Chief said this on Wednesday at a lecture series on military leadership at the National Defence College in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He said that no amount of equipment or technological superiority would ensure military success against any form of aggression without effective leadership at the operational, strategic and tactical level of the military.

General Olonisakin noted that all military level must interact effectively if the war against both internal and external aggression is to be won.

He added that the military is also working on improving the welfare of personnel of the Nigerian Armed Forces to sustain the new style of leadership.

Defence Headquarters Warns Against Unwholesome Acts

Abubakar-Rabe-ColonelThe Defence Headquarters in Nigeria has issued a strong warning to persons or groups seeking to engage in acts capable of causing a breakdown of law and order.

The warning was contained in a statement by the spokesman for the Defence Headquarters, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar.

Although the groups were not mentioned in the statement, the military advised Nigerians to refrain from taking laws into their hands and avoid actions that may cause breach to harmonious co-existence.

“Individuals or groups seeking relevance should follow the due process in accordance with the law of our land and not through acts of brigandary,” the statement read.

General Abubakar also advised the general public to ignore inciting pictures, videos and statements posted in some social media platforms which he said were confirmed to be the creation of photoshops with the intention of causing disharmony and divisions among different nationalities.

He further stressed that the military and the security agencies would continue to sustain the current tempo against terrorists, oil thieves, cattle rustlers and other forms of criminalities.

The Defence Headquarters also urge all law abiding Nigerians to go about their normal businesses and report any suspicious persons or object to the nearest security post for prompt action.

Northern Leaders Call For National Conference For North-east Development

bomb blast in damaturuA group of northern leaders has called on the Federal Government to convene a national conference for the development of the north-east, which they said was greatly underdeveloped.



The Chairman of the Northern Reawakening Forum, Mallam Muhammed Kumalia, told a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday that the north-east had the highest record of underdevelopment including poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.

The region has been greatly devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency, but the group said the problem could be traced back to 20 years ago.

“Even before the insurgency, if you still pick the development indices of the country, you realise a sharp disparity between the north and the south, which means that over the years, there has not been proper planning and execution of policies and programmes, as they were, as it will affect the north.

“Over the years, government has not been using the statistics that are there for them to plan how they will run the government,” Mr Kumalia explained.

He further urged northern governors to facilitate the development of an economic blueprint for northern Nigeria and called on the Federal Government to convene a national conference for the development of the north-east, with a short, medium and long term vision for the development of the zone.

The group said past governments had not been able to develop and implement development policies.

According to Mallam Kumalia, the region has remained underdeveloped because of bad government in the states even before the recent onslaught from terrorists which, he said, had compounded the problem.

For over five years, the Boko Haram terrorists’ insurgency has halted developmental activities, displacing over 1.5 million persons in the region, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The government of Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated its commitment to redeveloping the region.

Three north-eastern states worst hit are Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

Military To Liberate Sambisa Forest Before May 29 – Dasuki

DasukiThe National Security Adviser in Nigeria (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has expressed optimism that the military would reclaim Sambisa Forest from the Boko Haram terrorist group before the May 29 presidential hand-over date.

Colonel Dasuki’s comment is coming on the first year anniversary of the abduction of over 200 secondary school girls from Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, in Borno State.

The schoolgirls were abducted by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

He also told reporters on Tuesday that the Federal Government was making every effort to ensure that the girls along with every other Nigerian abducted by terrorists are rescued.

“Right now, all Boko Haram camps, except Sambisa Forest have been destroyed,” the NSA said.

According to him, the forest would have since been liberated but for the unfavourable weather condition prevailing in the area as all needed reconnaissance activity and necessary deployment of troops have been made for the operation.

“Every movement of the terrorists is being monitored and every necessary detail is being taken care of to rid the country of the last bastion of terrorists’ infestation,” Sambo Dasuki disclosed.

A Little More Time

He insisted that the government is concerned about the welfare of every single Nigerian including the girls.

“Aside the Chibok girls, other Nigerian girls, boys, men and women were abducted by the terrorists and all efforts are being made to rescue them all.”

While appealing for a little more time to complete the routing of terrorists, Dasuki recalled that before elections were postponed in February, over 20 local governments were occupied by Boko Haram and that most Nigerians were pleasantly surprised that so much was achieved in the fight against the insurgents within six weeks.

While commending President Goodluck Jonathan on the successful conduct of the 2015 round of elections, the security adviser, however, stressed that nobody pressured the President into conceding defeat in the presidential election.

“President Jonathan had already given his words to all the security and service chiefs before the election that he would abide by the decision of Nigerians. At the meeting, he also told them to perform their duties professionally during the polls.

“While we anticipated that he would congratulate his opponent if the result is announced in favour of opposition candidate, he gratuitously without prompting of anyone conceded defeat to the surprise of all.

“By that singular gesture he had saved the security agencies and the nation of unnecessary tension and stress in maintaining law and order and curtailing excesses of likely protesters,” Colonel Dasuki said.

While commending the fairness of media in the coverage of elections, he nevertheless urged them to be conscious of malicious reports being sponsored by vested interest.

He denied a report that he was at any polling units during the last governorship election and said he was never involved in any meeting with judicial officers to truncate any democratic process.

Immediately after the postponement of elections in February this year, Sambo Dasuki had assured Nigerians and international community that all known terrorists’ camps would be destroyed while most of the occupied communities under Boko Haram in three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe would be liberated to allow for peaceful conduct of elections and collection of more voters cards by the electorates.

He said: “All known Boko Haram camps will be taken out. They won’t be there. They will be dismantled. In addition to the acquisition of more sophisticated armaments and training of our troops in guerrilla warfare the new military co-operation agreed to between Nigeria and its neighbours will prove decisive against Boko Haram”.

After the elections were postponed on February 7, troops have cleared terrorists from Adamawa and Yobe State.

Jonathan To Attend African Union’s Peace and Security Council Meeting

JonathanThe Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, will be among some African leaders that will participate in a meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council scheduled to hold in Kenya on Tuesday.

A statement by a spokesman for President Jonathan, Ruben Abati, said that the President would travel to Nairobi on Monday.

The Nairobi meeting is a follow-up to talks by President Jonathan and other African leaders at Pretoria, South Africa, in May on joint action against terrorism.

The meeting will receive and consider the report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa.

Deliberations at the Nairobi Summit and the adoption of the African Chairperson’s Report by President Jonathan, President Uhuru Kenyatta and other participating Heads of State are expected to lead to more collaborative actions by Nigeria and other African countries in the fight against terrorism.

It is aimed solely at riding the continent of acts of terrorism and violent extremism.

According to the statement, the Nigerian President will be accompanied to the Nairobi Summit by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and other advisers and aides.

The team will return to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, at the conclusion of the meeting on Tuesday.

Terrorism: Nigeria, US, Others Set Up External Intelligence Response Unit

Mike-Omeri2An External Intelligence Response Unit (EIRU) has been established by Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad, France, Niger, United Kingdom and the United States, as a fall out of the Paris summit.

A statement signed by the coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, said the establishment of the unit followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which member countries committed themselves to sharing all forms of information on security, particularly terrorism challenges.

Mr Omeri said that the move, initiated by Nigeria, was a major achievement in the fight against insurgency in the West African region and Nigeria in particular.

The team had met in Abuja last month to establish the framework that led to the signing of the MoU in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroun.

The intelligence unit is expected to receive, process  and provide relevant information that will help end the increasing terrorism in Nigeria and also help guard against the spread of attacks in Nigeria’s northeast to other West African countries.

A terrorist group, Boko Haram, has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches and schools in the north eastern part of Nigeria.

The group abducted over 200 girls from a school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State on April 14.

The abduction led to protests in some Nigerian states and condemnation from world leaders who pledged their support for Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.

Nigeria Immigration Begins Training Of Border Patrol Team

Officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service on parade
Officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service on parade

Five hundred border patrol immigration officers are undergoing training on boarder management in an effort to reduce the increasing number of illegal immigrants trooping into Nigeria and the influx of insurgents from the north east. 

At the flag-off ceremony at the immigration training school in Kano State, north west Nigeria, on Monday, the Comptroller of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr David Paradang, said the border patrol unit would work with other agencies to ensure better border security management.

The officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service, drown from various immigration commands and formation across Nigeria, were specially selected to fully provide adequate security to Nigerian borders said to be highly porous over the years.

The officials are expected to be trained on techniques of apprehending illegal immigrants and checking documents, importation of illegal arms, self-defence and liaising with the Nigerian customs services and other security agencies in identifying people with questionable characters and goods not approved by the Nigerian government.

Before now, the Nigeria Immigration Service had no powerful border patrol unit, which has now been established to complement the effort of other security institutions in the fight against crime and insurgency. Insurgents are said to have free access into Nigeria and out of the country through the border that has had poor control and checks mechanisms.

Additional 500 officials of the Border Patrol Unit will be trained at the second phase later in the year, but the number may not be enough to secure all Nigerian boarder posts.

Nigeria’s border needs to be well monitored by security agencies at this time that Boko Haram members are infiltrating the north east. The terrorist group has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches and schools in the north east in the last 5 years.

Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, in a joint effort, are carrying out counter terrorism attacks in the area in an attempt to contain the insurgency.

At the ongoing National Conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, a delegate had called for the closure of the border with Cameroon but it is not yet clear if the motion will be part of the recommendation that the conference will submit to the president at the end of it in June.

 

Stop Playing Politics With Nigerians’ Lives, Tambuwal Tells Politicians

Aminu-Tambuwal-SpeakerThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, has advised political leaders to stop playing politics with the lives of Nigerians, saying those who lost their lives at the Nyanya Motor Park bomb blast on Monday were neither politicians nor members of any political party.

The death toll has increased to 75 on Tuesday, with over 150 persons still receiving treatment at various hospitals. 

After visiting the victims at a National Hospital in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mr Tambuwal told reporters that the security challenge in Nigeria would be solved if all political leaders and Nigerians would come together to tackle it.

Lack Of Political Will

“There is a need for all Nigerians to come together to fight insecurity and other challenges bedeviling the nation.

“From what I have seen, some of the victims are not even members of any political party. They are innocent Nigerians going about their duties.

“We should come together as leaders of this country and address this issue as the attack clearly is on Nigerians,” the House speaker said.

A Security Consultant, Captain Umar Aliyu, had said that the political class in Nigeria lacked the political will needed in tackling the insurgency that has been on in the north eastern part of Nigeria for over three years.

Such political will is what Mr Tambuwal is asking the leaders to show in tackling the increasing insecurity.

On the state of infrastructure in the hospitals he visited, he said that the National Assembly would continue to appropriate funds that would help the Federal Ministry of Health tackle the nation’s health challenges.

War On Terror: Nigeria Seeks Greater Cooperation With Neighbours

jonathan_goodluckThe Nigerian government is seeking greater cooperation with neighbouring countries in the fight against terrorism.

The move is coming as attacks by the Boko Haram sect on citizens in the Northeast have escalated in recent weeks leaving dozens dead between February and March.

In a meeting held on Friday with a Special Envoy of President Paul Biya of Cameroon, Mr Emmanuel Sadi Rene, President Goodluck Jonathan said that Boko Haram and other criminal groups operating in the countries’ border regions must be seen as a common threat to countries bordering Nigeria in the north east.

Full Cooperation

“Nigeria and its neighbours must take urgent action to harmonise their strategies and efforts to roll-back the menace of Boko Haram and other violent criminal gangs that operate between their borders,” he said.

Mr. Rene conveyed President Biya’s assurance to President Jonathan, stressing that Cameroon is committed to cooperating fully with Nigeria to combat all forms of terrorism and cross-border criminality.

He also assured President Jonathan that the Cameroonian Government would never allow its territory to become a safe haven for terrorists or a base for the destabilisation of Nigeria.

There have been calls for the review of the treaties with the neighbouring countries to enable Nigerian soldiers chase terrorist into neighbouring countries, as carrying out military operations in any neighbouring country without a proper agreement would amount to violation of the country’s sovereignty.

The Nigerian government had deployed military personnel to the north east in an effort to quell the insurgency, but the military operations have made little achievements.

Critics have said that political leaders in Nigeria lacked the political will to tackle the insurgency.

An attack by the Boko Haram sect on a military barrack in Maiduguri on Friday morning was repelled by the military, but left heightened tension in the town, as several bomb blasts were heard during the attack.

There was also tension in the University of Maiduguri, as students had thought that the school was under attack.

The spokesman for the Joint Task Force, Major General Chris Olukolade, said the members of the terrorist group were trying to gain access into the barrack and free their members that were on detention.

On Tuesday, the military had paraded several suspected members of the Boko Haram it captured in the border between Nigeria and Chard.

A Statement by Major General Olukolade had said that the captured terrorists, in their confession, revealed that they had been given a directive by clerics to dismantle their camps and that the operation of the sect had come to an end as the mission could no longer be sustained. 

But Friday attack on the military barrack in Maiduguri has created doubts that they are bringing the mission to an end. 

Boko Haram Is A Failure of Leadership – Ashiru

Dele Ashiru UNILAGA Political Scientist at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dele Ashiru, has attributed the state of insecurity in Nigeria to a failure of leadership, occasioned by the nature of Nigerian politics.

He also extended the purported leadership deficiency to the military forces which he accused of fighting terrorism without a strategy. Ashiru was Channels Television’s guest on Sunrise Daily.

He made reference to the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, whom he accused of putting blames on the media rather than confronting the situation as the Chief of Defence Staff. He also berated the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, for putting the responsibility of fighting Boko Haram on the people.

He asked, “Which people? The disillusioned people? The people who are on a daily basis being challenged by the failure of Government at all levels?”

“Boko Haram didn’t start as a terrorist organization; it became a terrorist group after the killing of Mohammed Yusuf. Until as we speak, the military captured Mohammed Yusuf alive, handed him over to the Police – if I’m correct, and between that space of two minutes, the guy was gone” he said, while explaining his earlier statement, “we must address the issue of justice.”

He noted that there cannot be peace without justice, irrespective of what the challenges facing the country were. He explained, “Whether you talk about militancy, agitation, or terrorism; at the root of all of these is the question of justice. There is injustice everywhere.”

He insisted that “Those who were extra judicially killed for whatever idea they profess deserve some form of justice and you need to also increase intelligence gathering.”

He continued, “Some people have been named; senators, governors – Kabiru Umar, was arrested in a government lodge in Abuja; Zakari Biu (Commissioner of Police who was dismissed for  engineering the jailbreak of Kabiru Sokoto). There is some kind of unholy alliance between some characters within the Nigerian state.”

On the role of the people in the fight against terrorism, he enthused, “the people can help only if they are sure that they have a leadership that can protect them in all ramifications.”

Nigeria Considers Strategic Communication In War Against Terrorism

Boko HaramThe Nigerian government is partnering with the United States and the United Kingdom in a new ‘strategic communication initiative’ aimed at checking the activities of terrorists and militants in some parts of Nigeria.

The strategy is to serve as a support to military operations in the fight against terrorism.

It will ensure that narratives that will continue to counter extremist views, the blood on which terrorism thrives, are constantly generated and circulated.

The United Kingdom’s Defence Attaché to Nigeria, Col. John Fletcher, said the idea was not to preach to Nigerians but to use their experiences to put in place a better strategy for Nigeria.

“It is not easy to garner the support of the local population. I hope by using examples of where we, the British army, have got it wrong that we will give you some ideas on how to use this key skill against your own insurgency,” Col. Fletcher said

Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Colonel Dasuki Sambo, said that the initiative became necessary since military operations alone could not curb terrorism.

He described the strategy as a ‘robust public diplomacy’ aimed at defeating the ideology of hate by the militants.

The national security adviser gave the position at a workshop held in Abuja on ‘Strategic Communication in Tackling Terrorism’.

“Strategic communication is essential to counter terrorism strategies by the government and it will continue to evolve to accommodate the realities of the times,” Col. Dasuki said in optimism.

The Commandant, Nigeria Difence Academy, Rear Admiral Patrick Ahgoholor, said that the strategic communication plan is focused on creating, strengthening and preserving conditions favourable for the advancement of national interest policies and objectives by understanding and engaging key agencies through the use of coordinated programmes, plans, teams messages and product, synchronised with the actions of all instruments of national power.

 

For the past two years Nigeria has used its military might and other security forces to fight insurgency in the northern part of the country but the general consensus at the workshop is that the use of force is not enough stamp-out terrorism from Nigeria.

Participants argued that as much as military operations had achieved some results, there was the need to introduce measures that would counter extremism.