Syria Conflict: Russia Wants ‘Coordination’ Against IS

Russia-Putin-ISRussia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has again reiterated his support for Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, saying the latter is fighting terrorist organisations, and Russia “will be pleased to find common ground for joint action against the terrorists”.

In a television interview in the United States (US), Mr. Putin also called for a regional “coordinating structure” against Islamic State (IS).

The crisis in Syria is expected to top the agenda as world leaders gather at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Putin will also hold rare talks with the US President, Barack Obama, to discuss the issue later on Monday.

Relations between Russia and the West have been strained ever since Moscow’s annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.

Suspected Boko Haram Terrorists Kill 2 In Kayamla

Boko Haram Kills two in Kayamla village of KondugaTwo 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.

Boko Haram: Buhari Promises To Fight Terrorist Group

Muhamadu_Buhari_APC_Presidential_CandidateThe presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, says he will fight the Boko Haram sect to a halt if voted into power.

He made the promise on Saturday at an APC presidential campaign rally in Enugu State, in eastern Nigeria.

The former military Head of State condemned the acts of killing and bombings by the Boko Haram terrorist group, insisting that their activities are not religious.

He said his party would do everything in its power to chase the group out of Nigeria’s north-east.

“In the last three days, what happened in Baga and Maiduguri, may be at least 300 Nigerians have been killed.

“The madness in Boko Haram is not religious. No religion advocates hurting the innocent.

“For anybody to go and kill people in mosques, churches, motor parks, markets, kill children in schools in their sleep and shout allahu akbar, is one of the two things. It is either he does not know what he is saying or he does not believe it. So it is not religious,” General Buhari stressed.

He described the heinous attacks as acts anarchy and terrorism and pledged that the party, if voted into power, would tackle the Boko Haram group.

“It is just anarchy and terrorism and God willing we will fight it. We will fight Boko Haram and we will fight against the Chadian troop that has encroached into our land. We will chase them off our land and bring security. That is the promise of the APC,” he said.

The presidential candidate of the APC also urged Nigerians to vote wisely and end the reign of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He said that the APC government would make an effort to restart the coal industry and use it for power.

“The vehicle assembly plant will be revived. Our biggest problem is unemployment of able bodies. The agriculture, the rice producing area will be given necessary input and encouragement. For the small businesses owners, we will will encourage financial houses to give soft loans which the Federal Government would guarantee to help them.

“On the part of infrastructure, the most important thing is to make sure that there is regular power so that people who are barbers, welders, tailors would not have to buy generators, fuel it and maintain it.

“What we need from you is to get your Permanent Voters Cards and make sure on the election day, you come out and vote and make sure that your vote counts.

“If you make the mistake of allowing PDP to rule again for the next four years, we will all be in trouble,” he said.

Savings From Stopping Corruption

General Buhari also promised that the APC would ensure an efficient running of the government, emphasising his earlier stand that he would ensure that the corruption in the system, which, according to him, is a bane on Nigeria’s development, was tackled.

“From 30 May this year I assure you that the savings that we are going to realise from stopping corruption, we will make a substantial savings that we will invest in agriculture, industries and in security,” General Buhari promised.

 

US Expresses Concern Over Israel, Hamas Crisis

obama 22President Barack Obama has express concern to the Israel on the risk of an escalation of hostilities in the region and said the United States was ready to help broker peace.

Speaking on a phone call conversation with the Israeli Prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, Obama made an assurance that the US was ready to bring the escalating hostilities in the region to a stop.

The White House said Obama told Netanyahu in a telephone conversation that “the United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement,”

Obama emphasised that the American government condemned the rocket fire into Israel by Hamas and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself against the attacks.

The Secretary of State, John Kerry, spoke to his Egyptian counterpart in an attempt to get Egypt to use its influence to calm the situation, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated.

At a briefing earlier in the day, Psaki, stated that part of the secretary’s effort had been reaching out to countries in the region, including Qatar and Egypt.

“Any country in the region that can play a role in bringing an end to the rocket fire from Hamas, we’re certainly going to be engaged with,” he added.

The US government has refused to negotiate directly with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organisation.

A senior US official said Kerry’s phone call with Egypt’s foreign minister was a discussion about how to reduce tensions between Israel and Hamas and “how to influence Hamas if that’s possible”.

The Israelis “know we have been in touch with Egypt and Qatar” to seek help in calming the situation in Gaza, the official said.

Egypt played a crucial role in mediating an Israel-Hamas ceasefire in 2012.

 

Governor Shettima Calls For Investigation Of Car Bomb

The Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has called for full investigation of the car bomb that claimed lives and property on Tuesday in Maiduguri the Borno State capital, condemning the incident in strong terms.

He described the incident as “cruel, evil and inhumane.”

A statement by the spokesman for the governor, Isa Gusau, said that the incident came at a time the return of peace was being celebrated by residents across the state.

While praying for the souls of those killed to rest in peace also prays for the quick recovery of those who suffered injuries in the incident.

According to the statement, the governor had directed the security agents to carry out a full scale investigation on the bomb explosion while the State Ministry of Health would ensure proper medication for all victims of the unfortunate incident.

“The Borno State Government will take firm measures to continually protect lives and property of citizens.

“The Governor reminds citizens that peace is a collective responsibility that requires the input of both Government and the governed through the exercise of constitutional and moral obligations, duties and responsibilities,” the statement read.

Kano Bombing: Senate Warns Of Military Takeover

As the death toll in Kano bombings continue to rise, one of the Senators representing Kano State, Kabiru Gaya has warned of a military takeover of government if solutions are not quickly found to the bloody terrorism ongoing in Nigeria.

Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya

He disclosed this while contributing at Wednesday’s Senate plenary on matters of urgent national importance.

Senator Gaya, a former Governor of Kano State said Nigeria has gradually become a failed state.

He notes how school teachers and kids in Kano no longer attend schools, like their Borno state counterparts, for fear of being bombed by Boko haram.

Warning of dire consequences if solutions are not found to the intimidating bombings and terror attacks on Nigerians, the Senator feared that the country may drift apart.

Uche Chukwumerije, who jointly moved the motion with Senator Gaya, claimed that about 100 to 120 persons had been confirmed dead in the Kano blast.

TheSsenate asked the executive arm of government to diversify its approach to tackling the problem of insecurity in the country.

Raising a point of order in the chamber, Senator Chukwumerije condemned Monday’s bomb attack on a motor park in Kano pointing out that 80 per cent of the victims were from a particular part of the country.

He also expressed concern over what he termed the perceived indifference of Kano state government to Monday’s bombing of the motor park.

He said it was sad that more than 24 hours after the destruction, the Kano state governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, had not seen it fit to pay a visit to the motor park.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, condemned the attack and asked the executive to effectively tackle the insecurity challenges in the country.

 

 

Jonathan’s Visit To Borno Was A Missed Opportunity To End Boko Haram – Othman

A public affairs analyst, Mahmud Othman on Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan last week missed an opportunity to deal with the real issue surrounding the increasing waves of insecurity in Northern Nigeria when he visited Borno and Yobe States.

Mr Othman, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said rather than listen to the advice of the Borno Elders, who have first-hand knowledge of the real issue surrounding the Boko Haram insurgency, President Jonathan sounded combative in his response to them.

He said what the elders told the president “was an honest assessment of the situation on ground because they are the people there.” But rather than listen to them, the analyst said the president blamed them for the insurgency.

“It’s like blaming the victim for a crime committed,” he said.

He said, “If the Federal Government is really interested in peace that is not the way to handle the situation. Mr President, with all due respect, sounded very combative as if there was some kind of template he was reproducing without editing.”

Watch the video below for the complete interview with Mr Othman:

Boko Haram Leaders Are Not Ghost, Jonathan Knows Them – El-Rufai

Contrary to claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that members of the extremist group, Boko Haram are faceless, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said the president knows who leaders of the group were.

Mr El-Rufai, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the Federal Government knows much more about the sect then what they are letting out to the public.

The former minister said, “I think President Jonathan knows the leaders of Boko Haram because at one point he said that Boko Haram members are in his government. Who are those members that have infiltrated his government?”

Speaking at a town hall meeting last week during his visit to Damaturu, Yobe State, one of the areas worst hit by terror attacks, President Jonathan said granting amnesty to Boko Haram members was unlikely for now because members of the group have remained “ghosts” with no one coming forward to admit membership of the sect.

“You cannot declare amnesty for ghosts. Boko Haram still operates like ghosts. So, you can’t talk about amnesty for Boko Haram now until you see the people you are discussing with. When you call the Niger Delta militants, they will come; but nobody has agreed that he is Boko Haram; no one has come forward. If amnesty can solve the situation, then no problem, but nobody has come forward to make himself visible,” the president had said.

El-Rufai Supports Creation Of State, Local Government Police

A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said he supports the creation of community police as a means of dealing with the raising waves of insecurity in Nigeria.

Mr El-Rufai, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said once the States and Local Government councils are allowed to have their own police, the government should then review the country’s criminal law and categorise crimes into Federal, state and local.

He said, “I think a large percent of security begins with the community. If you can make the community secure, you are less likely to have crimes at the state level and federal level. If you can make states secure, you are less likely to have crimes at federal level.

“So I am a supporter of community police.”

Listen To Elders Who Were Ministers When You Still Wore Napkin, El-Rufai Tells Jonathan

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said that President Goodluck Jonathan should listen to the advice from the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and the Borno Elders Council on how to deal with the militant insurgence in Northern Nigeria.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr El-Rufai said rather than dismiss the call of the Sultan to declare amnesty for members of extremist group, Boko Haram, President Jonathan should consider the carrot and stick approach in quelling terrorism.

He said, “The government should have an open mind to exploring every solution. If the Sultan of Sokoto speaks, I think people should take what he says with a little bit more seriousness than be dismissive.

“When the Borno Elders, including people that were ministers when President Jonathan was wearing napkin, people like that should be listened to and whatever they suggest should be explored.”

Boko Haram: Analyst Says Gap Between Rich And Poor Induces Criminality

A diplomacy and security analyst, Femi Adegbulu has identified the increasing gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria as a great inducement of criminality in the country.

Mr Adegbulu, who disclosed this on Monday while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, advised the Federal Government to deal with the issues of corruption, unemployment and poverty in Nigeria as the sustainable way of solving insurgencies in the country.

He said, “You see an individual, who has stolen the whole community dry, who has mortgage the future of his own people and he is given a slap in the wrist. No deterrent. People who are not in that position will be gearing up to get there so that they can also steal with impunity.

“Until we deal with the culture of impunity in the country, there can be no end to the Boko Haram thing; there can be no end to kidnapping; there can be no end to ritual murder; there can be no end to all these criminalities we see.”

Be Cautious of Boko Haram’s Ceasefire Announcement, Army Chief Warns FG

The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sahaad has asked the Federal Government to treat the ceasefire declared by a faction of the Boko Haram Islamic sect with caution.

Admiral Sahaad, who spoke with reporters after a meeting in Abuja, also called on government to strengthen its security operations all over the country to avert further attacks by the group.

According to him, defence officials are excited on the declaration of ceasefire by members of the sect but, will not rest on its oars in ensuring the security of lives and properties in Nigeria.

Other security officials in the country also commended members of the group for the ceasefire.

A faction of the Boko Haram sect had on Monday declared ceasefire after allegedly holding talks with “officials of Borno State Government and leaders of thought from the state”.

“I am announcing this ceasefire with the approval and consent of the leader Sheikh Abubakar Shekau. We, therefore, call on all our members to stop all acts of violent immediately and await further directives,” said Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who introduced himself as the second in command to Mr Shekau.

He added that members of the Boko Haram should relate the ceasefire message to those “who are not aware or informed of today’s (Monday) development.”

Aziz explained: “The Boko Haram ceasefire is nationwide and commences immediately.”

He, however, denied the group’s involvement in the recent attacks and killings in Borno and other parts of the North, attributing the violence to the activities of armed robbers and other criminals that allegedly operate under the guise of Boko Haram.

While speaking on the violence that took over Maiduguri recently, Aziz distanced the group from such acts, pointing out that such attacks were politically-motivated by those seeking power in the Borno Emirate Council, government or otherwise, but not in line with the ideology of the group who are fighting for the cause of Allah.

He also urged the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other security agents to respond positively to the ceasefire.

He said: “Talks with government officials on how to surrender our arms and weapons has also commenced,” urging members of the sect to cooperate fully, by surrendering their arms and weapons to security agents.

The group had on 1 November 2012 said they were ready to ceasefire and listed some conditions. The conditions included the arrest and prosecution of a former governor of Borno State, and also that the dialogue must take place in Saudi Arabia.

They had also demanded that all their members, who were arrested and under the custody of security agencies be released immediately, just as their wives and children who were displaced following the crises should be rehabilitated into the society to allow room for dialogue with the Federal Government.

Nigerian mediators who were to represent the group in the dialogue with the Federal Government had included Shettima Ali Monguno, Muhammadu Buhari, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari and Barrister Aisha Wakil and her husband.

Boko Haram, which in Hausa, loosely translates to mean “Western education is sinful”, said they were fighting to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.
At least 2,800 people have died in the North and Abuja since the group unleashed violence in 2009. Its most lethal attack killed at least 186 people in Kano in January 2012 in co-ordinated bombings and shootings.

The group has repeatedly struck churches during services, at Christmas and Easter killing scores of people. A bomb attack on St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla on Abuja’s outskirts during a packed Christmas Mass in 2011 killed at least 37 people.

Last Easter Sunday, a bombing at a church compound in northern Kaduna during a service killed at least 36 people.

In other major attacks, gunmen killed at least 19 people in two attacks on Christian worshippers in the Nigerian city of Kano and in the northeastern town of Maiduguri on April 29, 2012.

In June, three gunmen sprayed bullets at the congregation of a church in Biu Town, in northeastern Borno State. In Jos, a Boko Haram suicide bomber drove a car to the entrance of the Christ Chosen Church and blew it up.

In the same month, a bomb attack in a church in Kaduna triggered a week of tit-for-tat violence that killed at least 90 people.

In October a suicide bomber drove a sport utility vehicle full of explosives into a Catholic church during morning mass, killing eight and wounding more than 100. The most recent attack on a church a few weeks ago was when suicide bombers struck the St. Andrew Military Protestant Church at the Jaji barracks in Kaduna State killing 11 people and wounding 30.