The ceaseless attacks on communities in Borno state by suspected members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect continued today (Wednesday) as the insurgents launched another onslaught on Bama town four days after several people were reported killedly in Izge town in Gwoza Local Government Area of the state.
Bama is a border town, 78 kilometers east of Maiduguri, the state capital and shares boundaries with Kondoga and Gwoza. Both towns have incidentally been attacked in the recent days.
Witnesses said the gunmen came in various vehicles with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol-bombs in the early hours of the day setting several houses and vehicles ablaze
Although security officials are yet to confirm the incident, Sen. Ahmed Zannah, representing Borno central senatorial district in a telephone chat with Channels Television confirmed that the attacks may have claimed several lives
“the reports that I have been receiving from some surviving residents; indicated that the old Bama has been completely razed down by suspected insurgents right from Shehu of Bama’s palace down to the T-junction to the Barracks and hospital at the northern part of the township” senator Zannah said.
Bama, Kondoga and Gwoza Local Governnment areas have come under severe attacks in recent times with the state Governor Kashim Shettima saying the Boko Haram insurgents are better equipped and motivated compared to security forces and called on the federal government to redouble its efforts in the fight against the dreaded group, a statement that was criticized by the presidency and the defence headquarters.
Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima today warned that Boko Haram members may continue to wreak havoc on residents of the state as they are more motivated than officers of the Nigerian military.
“Bottom line is that we need more resources, more vote on ground. In all fairness to the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and Police, they are doing their best given the circumstances they have found themselves in. But honestly Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops”.
He also noted that from all indications, it is absolutely impossible to defeat them.
“Believe me, I am (an) eternal optimist as I have always said. But I am also a realist. Given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram,” he said.
“I made it emphatically clear to Mr. President that Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated, anybody who is following events in this country can attest to the fact that they have a very smooth sail overrunning communities, killing people.
“Have we ever succeeded in thwarting any of their plans? They went to Konduga and did what they wanted to do; they held sway for several hours before they left. They were in Kauri, Izge.
Shetima was speaking to State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan and Security Chiefs in the State House on Monday.
The governor called for recruitment of more troops to the state calling on Nigerian leaders to stop playing the ostrich describing what is happening in his state as a war.
The governor, who said that what is happening in his state is caused by a failure of leadership, wondered why the Boko Haram sect will overrun several communities in his state without a challenge.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu, has linked the security challenges and other sectarian crises in the country to the high rate of unemployment and poverty amongst the youth.
The NNPC boss gave the hint at the graduation ceremony of the fifth set of the Kaduna Refinery Youth Empowerment and Skill Acquisition Programme held in Kaduna, North West Nigeria.
He said that the programme initiated by the management of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KPRC) was an indication of NNPC’s corporate social responsibility towards its host communities.
Mr Yakubu, who was represented at the occasion by the Acting Group Executive Director Refining and Petrochemical Services, Mr Paul Obele, said the entrepreneurial skills programme provides an opportunity for the youth to be self-reliant since government cannot provide job to all the youth in the country.
According to the Acting Managing Director KRPC, Dr Bafred Enjugu in his welcome address, the youth especially graduates of tertiary institutions must find alternative means of providing means of livelihood for themselves rather than waiting for white collar jobs that are not sufficient.
The programme by the management of KPRC to empower youth of its host community was initiated in 2008 with 100 participants and has continued running successfully in the last four years.
With the graduation of another batch of beneficiaries, the expectation is that these youth will make good use of this opportunity and engage themselves in meaningful ventures that will see them become self-reliant in future, rather than becoming a security threat to their community and the state in general.
Edo state police command have paraded 50 suspected criminals, including the kidnappers of Dr. Izebuwa who was murdered in Ekpoma by his abductors.
While addressing Journalist on the issue, the State Commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo, thanked the people for their support in the fight against criminality, stating that 2014 will be very tough for criminals in State.
The suspects were paraded alongside a large cache of arms which includes AK-47, locally made pistols, live cartridges and several other exhibits.
Also paraded is a 33 year old suspect who confessed to sodomising five boys between the ages of 7 to 13.
CP Adebanjo warned inter-state robbers to stay clear of the state as the command was doing their best to make the state safe for its residents. He also read the riot act to cultists in the state.
Reeling their achievement in 2013, CP Adebanjo said that the Command paraded 384 suspects, recovered 95 vehicles, 117 arms and over 8,000 live ammunition and recorded a 7.4% cumulative decrease in crime in 2013 as against its 2012 record.
A lecturer of the Department of Sociology,Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Dr. Segun Onabanjo has been reportedly killed by some armed men around Ilese-Ijebu area of Ogun state.
It was gathered that the armed men visited the home of the lecturer at Kodomo Lasa area of Ijebu-Ilese and in an attempt to scare the armed men by calling for his gun, was shot and killed by his assailants
The Ogun state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi who confirmed the incident, stated that the assailants escaped through a nearby bush in the area.
He stressed that the armed men carted away personal belongings of the victim before they escaped.
Adejobi added that policemen rushed to the area, engaged the armed men in a shoot out, noting that some of them escaped with gun wounds, adding that the policemen will continue to comb the area for possible arrest of the wounded
He however appealed to residents to be careful in handling such situations saying “even if they have firearms, they should be careful of showing it off”.
Adejobi called on medical doctors in the state to alert the command in case they notice anyone with gun wounds in their hospitals.
The Senate is set to receive the security report from security chiefs on the state of emergency in the north eastern part of the country.
Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe told National Assembly correspondents that the security chiefs will brief the Senate behind closed doors in a plenary session.
The service chiefs were invited to the Senate on Tuesday, December 3 to brief lawmakers on the security situation in the country, but the upper legislative house rescheduled the meeting after the attack on military bases in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
After a brief closed door meeting with the service chiefs on December 5, Senate President, Senator David Mark said that the session was deferred due to the absence of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar.
Those present at the December 5 meeting include the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, the Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, the Director General of the Department of State Service, Mister Ekpenyong Ita and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh. The lawmakers said that it is necessary that all heads of the security agencies are present at the meeting.
At the session, the service chiefs are expected to give a comprehensive account of the devastating attacks carried out by suspected members of Boko Haram in the north eastern part of the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said that although measures taken by his administration had resulted in a significant reduction in the occurrence of terrorist attacks in the country, but it does not mean that government has lowered its guard on terrorism, rather it will keep on doing everything possible to further enhance security in all parts of the country.
The president said this on Friday in Abuja, while speaking with the outgoing representative of the delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. David Mac Rae, stating that his administration will remain very proactive in combating terrorism and insecurity.
Affirming that there are many positive things happening in the country, President Jonathan said that his administration will continue to do its best to correct negative perceptions about the country such as the notion of widespread insecurity and corruption.
The President welcomed declaration by the outgoing ambassador, that he had recently travelled to the Niger Delta and some Northern States and found people there going about their normal lives and businesses without fear.
He urged him to assist in correcting current misconceptions about Nigeria by taking that positive message to the European Union and the rest of the world.
President Jonathan seized the opportunity of Mr. Mac Rae’s visit to commend the European Union for its past and on-going support towards improving the electoral process in Nigeria.
He also assured Mr. Mac Rae that Nigeria would act to facilitate the early conclusion of a partnership agreement between ECOWAS and the European Union.
A security expert Abayomi Dawodu has said that one of the measures which can used in tackling security is electricity, stating that all the gadgets used in monitoring the activities of the sect is electricity which we lack in Nigeria.
Speaking on Channels Television Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr. Dawodu explained that the government might also have a hand in terrorism by providing a platform for such act to occur.
He said that one of Nigeria’s major challenges is electricity and if it’s settled, the aspect of security will be easier to handle.
He added that “when people are given what is due to them that we will get out of this”
Operatives of the Joint Task Force (Operation Restore Order) in Maiduguri on Monday said the leader of dreaded Boko Haram, Ibrahim Shekau may have been killed in a gun battle with its forces.
A statement by the spokesperson of the Force, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said “Intelligence report available to the Joint Task Force Operation RESTORE ORDER revealed that Abubakur Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted Boko Haram Terrorists leader may have died”.
It added that Shekau “died of gunshot wound received in an encounter with the JTF troops in one of their camps at Sambisa Forest on 30 June 2013. Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide – a border community in Cameroun for treatment which he never recovered. It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July to 3 August, 2013”.
The JTF further said the “The recent video released on 13 August, 20013 by the purported sect leader was dramatized by an imposter to hoodwink the sect members to continue with the terrorism and to deceive the undiscerning minds”.
The JTF however wishes to appeal to the sect members to lay down their arms and embrace the federal government’s offer for dialogue.
The Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu has said there is the need to improve on intelligence gathering to address the growing insecurity in the country.
He added that President Goodluck Jonathan should ensure that security forces laid more emphasis on intelligence and crime prevention.
He spoke in Ilorin during a capacity building and skill development workshop for the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers.
Mr. Aremu urged President Goodluck Jonathan to organise his thoughts and the people around him to refocus Nigeria, adding that he should caution some of his aides and people around him to stop making inflammatory utterances that could diminish the President’s status and jeopardise national security and unity.
Mr. Aremu also lamented the killing of security officials by the notorious Ombatse cult group in Lafia, Nasarawa State, adding that efforts should be made to address the growing kidnapping, armed robberies and other violent crimes in some parts of Nigeria.
The Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was represented by his special adviser on labour matters, Bisi Fakayode, decried the huge umemployment in the country, stating that it was imperative to stimulate Nigeria’s economy as well as revive the textile industries across the country.
The Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Hodel Hans-Rudolf has announced that help will be rendered to the country to battle the issues of insecurity, if requested.
The ambassador disclosed this at the closing ceremony of the capacity building in agricultural education in Nigeria training workshop held at the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) in Ilorin.
Hans-Rudolf stated that Switzerland is ready to assist Nigeria in tackling the problem of insecurity as soon as such a request is made.
The emissary commented on the issue of security in the country adding that he has been making observations in the past 8-months of his stay in the country.
He urged the federal government to brace up to nip the crisis in the bud.
He also said that the Nigerian government has relied on its mineral resources, especially crude oil and advised that the ‘over-reliance’ should cease.
He appealed for a shift to agriculture which he believed would create jobs and reduce poverty in the long run.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mariam Aloma Muktar has blamed the increasing number of internally displaced persons on conflicts and violence in the West African subregion.
Reacting to the unpleasant situation that has plagued the residents of Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory leaving them displaced and homeless as a result of conflict between farmers in the area and cattle-herdsmen, a situation that formed the focus of the workshop for judges and grand Khadies across the country, the CJN said there is the need by the political class to stop the growing trend by ensuring good governance, respect for the rights of the citizens and the rule of law as it has become a common sight in Nigeria where communal clashes and the rising cases of insecurity have seen the sacking of Nigerians from their ancestral homes.
Justice Mukhtar however advocated for good governance and respect for rule of law which she feels will promote peace and prevent conflict and internally displaced persons in the country, also to mitigate the increasing rate of violence and insecurity in the country.
The Executive Director of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Umar Eri also reacted by calling for an amendment of relevant laws concerning displaced persons so as to ensure that their rights are not violated.