UK Plans To Offer Nigeria Help On Insecurity, Economy, Others

UK commissioner to Nigeria Andrew Pocock

The United Kingdom (UK) is working on a plan it will present to the new Nigerian government aimed at assisting the oil-rich nation in tackling insecurity, corruption and growing the economy. 

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andrew Pocock, told Channels Television on Wednesday that top officials of the British government had met to discuss very ambitious offer the British government planned to make to the new Nigerian government.

Mr Pocock said the help, as it relates with the economy, would focus on needed restructuring and management to ensure Nigerians benefit more from the democratic dispensation.

He said the transition on May 29 was a political earthquake and a remarkable development that has placed Nigeria among mature democracies.

Great Corruption Cocoon

“On the development programme, we are already very active here but we have catalytic ideas for what might be done, particularly in the north-east and right across the country.

“For helping President Buhari address one of his core themes, which is corruption and indeed more than just corruption. Organised crime, which not only damages the reputation of Nigeria but exports harms to its neighbours and indeed to Europe. There are many routines here that we are looking forward to starting.

“What we would need to do is work closely with the Federal authorities – the EFCC, Federal Police and the Nigerian government – in other aspects to learn as much as we can about what they need and we will help as will other administrations in Europe and the United States to try and trace stolen funds,” he said.

On how the British government would assist in the fight against corruption, Mr Pocock emphasised that what was needed was to break up the systems, routines, organisations and individuals that contribute to the leaching of Nigerian public money oversea.

He also said that the most important aspect of the anti-corruption war would be to assault the mentality that regards public money as a free good by picking areas of primary focus and zero in on them.

“If you are looking at reforming the oil sector, it might do to look at revenue diversion – money that never reaches the Federation Account, never mind oil theft.

“To break up the great corruption cocoon into project size bytes in which you can focus on particular difficulties.

“If you begin to show that impunity is no longer the norm, things will begin to click in a different direction,” the British envoy said.

On the situation in Nigeria’s north-east, Mr Pocock stressed that Security response was essential in the north-east but should not be considered as a single solution to the challenge.

He suggested that while the Nigerian Army needed to approach the insecurity as effective a way as possible, Nigeria would need to get its politics right, pointing out that for too long, the Federal and State Governments had been at loggerheads.

“You need a more grown up form of politics.

“You need an element of economic uplift, people up there need hope and prospect of employment.

“You need to address the dire humanitarian situation that almost 2 million people are internally displaced,” he said.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria further urged the Nigerian government to liaise more with neighbouring countries in the fight against the Boko Haram sect which has been terrorising communities in the north-east for over five years, with its activities spreading to neighbouring countries.


‘Waste No Time In Ending Attacks’, Borno Residents Tell Buhari

Military in Borno StateThe residents of Borno State are appealing to the government of Muhammadu Buhari to waste no time in ending the incessant attacks in the state by the Boko Haram terrorists.

The members of the terrorist group on Sunday carried out an attack on Moru-Moru market in the Gamboru area near Maiduguri, the state capital, killing at least one person.

For three consecutive days, there have been attacks at different locations in the state.

Although, no group claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Boko Haram sect is largely suspected.

Despite the strong statements of President Muhammadu Buhari about his resolve to end the activities of the group, the terrorists have sustained attacks on communities in Borno State, where they have been confined by Nigerian troops.

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, bears the marks of fierce fighting and the scars from the senseless killings still remains. A reason the residents want the new administration to address the challenge of insecurity in the state.

They also mentioned other areas they want the new administration to give priority attention, with great expectations from the State Governor, which he is mindful of.

And being the first time that the north-east Nigerian state would be having the same political affiliation with the central government, the people are optimistic that President Muhammadu Buhari would deal decisively with the insurgents.


Explosion Rips Through Borno Market, Four Injured

Borno Four people have been seriously injured in a bomb blast at the Moru-Moru market in the Gamboru area near Maiduguri the Borno State capital.

The bomb attack comes barely 24 hours after a suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Maiduguri.

Our correspondent in Maiduguri, Blessing Tunoh reports that the explosion is believed to have been caused by a concealed improvised explosive device.

The explosion reportedly emanated from a bagful of coal where where an IED was planted by an unknown person.

All four victims are traders in the market where the blast occurred and they were rushed to a hospital where they are said to be receiving treatment.

Normalcy has since returned to the area and other traders in the market have been carrying on with their normal activities.

Parts of the town have also been deserted as residents have kept off the streets for fears of further attacks.

Some residents have, however, expressed hope that President Buhari’s pronouncement concerning the security of Borno State would start yielding results within few days.

This is the fourth incident in three days. The first one happened in Hawul LGA in the early hours of May 29  – Democracy Day – and another in the night of the same day.

Early on Saturday soldiers had repelled an attack by the Boko Haram sect as they attempted to invade Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The insurgents are reported to have approached Maiduguri through Dala, a suburb of the town but could not gain entrance because of the military troops stationed there.


Maiduguri Bombing: Buhari Says Resolve To Degrade Boko Haram Unshakeable

BuhariNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has condemned the latest terrorist attack on a Mosque in Maiduguri, Borno State, reiterating that his administration’s resolve to degrade the Boko Haram sect is unshakeable.

He warned that his administration would not tolerate wanton and willful destruction of lives by criminal elements that are bent on anarchy.

Reacting to the latest attack, which left scores of people dead, injured and maimed, President Buhari said in a statement issued by his media team and signed by Garba Shehu that his administration meant business in its determination to tackle terrorist violence with all the resources available to his government.

The President described the terrorists as “cowardly murderers that target innocent people”.

He explained that, as the Commander-in-Chief, he had sworn to secure Nigerians everywhere.

While calling for increased vigilance by local communities, the President assured Nigerians that his administration would give security close attention.

“My government is committed to boosting the morale of our armed forces by effectively funding them and attending to their welfare,” President Buhari stressed.

He condoled the families of the victims of the latest terrorist attack on Maiduguri and assured them that the worst days of the criminal elements would soon be over.

A Bomb blast had occurred at a mosque along the popular Yan Kwali area of the Maiduguri Monday Market in Borno State in Nigeria’s volatile north-east.

The explosion occurred after the first ‘Rakaat’ prayer session on Saturday.

Details of the incidence are still sketchy, but witnesses said unspecified number of casualties were recorded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Boko Haram terrorist group is largely suspected.

INEC Says Election In States Under Emergency Rule Is Possible

Attahiru-Jega_NEC-ChairmanThe chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria, Professor Attahiru Jega, says the successful conduct of by-elections in Yobe State is an indication that the commission will be able to conduct elections in the three northern states under emergency rule in 2015.

In a meeting in Abuja on Monday, Professor Jega said INEC successfully conducted State Assembly elections in Yobe State last Saturday despite the security crises in the state.

The by-election was for the Nangere Constituency of the State House of Assembly where the seat has been vacant after the member representing the constituency Adamu Degubi was killed by gunmen in June 2012.

‘Improving The Process’

“We in INEC are committed to ensuring that the 2015 general elections are much better than 2011 general elections. We have been doing everything possible to keep on improving on the process.

“No election has held conducted in Yobe State in the last two years because of security challenges.

“From all the reports that we received, the by-election was one of the best elections that we have conducted so far in terms of turn out and in terms of commencement on time. All polling units were ready for the election before 7:30am,” Professor Jega said.

The electoral body chairman stressed that the success recorded in the election illustrated how committed the commission was to improving the electoral process.

“If anybody had any doubts as to our preparedness to conduct any election in the three states, this is a clear evidence that we are prepared to do it and do it well under any circumstances,” Professor Jega said.

Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States have been under emergency rule for over one year due to increasing attacks on villages in the states by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram.

The group is currently holding over 200 girls that were abducted from a school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14.

The military said last week that it had identified the location of the girls, promising that they would be rescued soon.