Amnesty International Asks Government To Up Efforts To Free All Chibok Girls

Chibok girls,One thousand days after the chilling abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok, Amnesty International is asking the Nigerian government to redouble efforts to ensure the release of the girls and all other victims of mass abduction.

The organisation is also calling on Boko Haram to put an end to the girls’ suffering and immediately release them and all other civilians they are currently holding.

The demand is coming few days after one of the abducted Chibok girls taken from their school’s dormitory on April 14, 2014 was recovered by the military with her six-month-old baby.

Her return followed the release of 21 girls by Boko Haram in October, a development that the Nigerian government said was the outcome of negotiations with the insurgents.

41 Other Cases Of Mass Abductions

The demand of the rights group was contained in a statement it issued on Saturday by the Acting Country Director for Amnesty International Nigeria, Makmid Kamara. The group drew the government’s attention to the fact that the girls have remained in captivity for 1,000 days.

It read: “This terrible anniversary is a chilling reminder not just of the tragic disappearance of the Chibok school girls, but also all other individuals – many of whom are also children – who remain captive in Boko Haram’s hideouts across the country. These abductions and other attacks on civilians, many of which constitute war crimes, must stop.

“While the Nigerian government is making considerable efforts to recover the 195 Chibok girls still in Boko Haram’s custody, we are concerned that victims of less well publicised mass abductions have not benefited from comparable efforts to secure their release”.

The group claimed to have documented at least 41 other cases of mass abductions by Boko Haram since 2014.

“Many of the attacks committed by the group, including deliberate killing of civilians, rape, destruction of homes, bombing of places of worship, markets and other civilian structures, constitute war crimes and those responsible should be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty,” Amnesty International demanded.

The rights group further said it recognised the resilience and determination of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigners in Nigeria in getting the plight of the Chibok girls on the world’s agenda and for keeping up the pressure on the government by continuing to demand the release of all the girls.

“Their persistence is notable at a time when the civic space for peaceful protests and gatherings in Nigeria is rapidly shrinking.

“The people of Nigeria, and indeed the world, are remembering the 1000th day after the Chibok abduction primarily because of the relentless work of Bring Back Our Girls.

“We hope that the energy of this formidable campaign will be replicated in demands for justice and accountability for crimes committed by all parties to the current conflict in north eastern Nigeria,” Kamara said.

“The Nigerian government should also dramatically step up its efforts to ensure the safe release of abductees and provide proper psychological and medical support to those who have already been rescued, released or have escaped captivity.”

Crimes Against Humanity

For over seven years, Boko Haram has been carrying out a violent campaign against civilians in north eastern Nigeria through acts of almost daily killings, bombings, abductions and looting. Towns and villages have been pillaged.

Schools, churches, mosques and other public buildings have been attacked and destroyed. Boko Haram is brutally mistreating civilians trapped in areas under its control and has disrupted the provision of health, education and other public services in the seven years of its push for an Islamic state and an end to Western education in the northeast region of Nigeria.

Amnesty International says its research shows that Boko Haram has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity.

After the girls were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Amnesty International said abductions were consistent parts of Boko Haram’s attacks.

The group had on 14 April 2015 released a comprehensive report which documented 38 cases of abduction by Boko Haram.

Since April 2015, thousands of women, men and children who were abducted by Boko Haram have escaped or been rescued.

Cattle Breeders Seek FG’s Intervention In Ekiti Grazing Restrictions

Cattle rustling and Grazing RestrictionsThe Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria have appealed to the Federal Government and security agencies to wade into what it describes as an unprovoked aggression against its members in Ekiti State under the guise of enforcing restriction laws against cattle breeders.

In a statement by the National Secretary of the Association, Baba-Othman Ngelzarma, says members of the association were attacked by the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshal by 2.30p.m. local time on Friday when the law allowed cattle breeders to move about with their cattle till 6:00p.m.

The association called on the Ekiti State government to compensate its members who list five cows to the activities of the Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals, claiming that the officials operated outside the stipulated time recommended by the Ekiti Grazing Bill.

Anti-Grazing Bill

The Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, had in August signed an Anti- Grazing bill into law in a bid to curtail the alleged inordinate activities of herdsmen.

The Governor described as ‘shameful’ the practice of herdsmen rearing cows in cities, including the nation’s capital, Abuja

Governor Fayose also threatened to charge any cattle rearer found in the state carrying arms while grazing with terrorism.

Herdsmen, Ayo Fayose, Hard copy, anti-grazing bill
Governor Ayodele Fayose says the entire Ekiti people are behind the bill

After the signing the bill into law, he told stakeholders and leaders of communities across the 16 local government areas of the state in Ado Ekiti, the State’s capital, that the recent killings and attack on the people of Oke Ako Community in Ikole Local Government Areas of the state by suspected herdsmen was unfortunate.

The Act was read to the Assembly of all traditional rulers, chiefs and legislators by the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Kola Oluwawole. It prohibits the activities of herdsmen in the state.

According to him, the state government is already working with local
government officials for the allocation of portions of land for grazing to all
local government authorities in the state.

The Speaker also gave the highlights of the Anti-Grazing Law, revealing that “grazing activities must be from 7:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. local time daily.

In the new law, anyone caught grazing on portions of land or any farmland not allotted by government would be apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.

The Anti-Grazing Law also provides that any herdsman caught with firearms or other weapons during grazing activities would be charged with terrorism and their cattle confiscated.

It also says that farm produce destroyed by the activities of any caught herdsman would be estimated by agricultural officers and the expenses of the estimate shall be levied on the culprit.

Any herdsman who violates any of these rules shall face six months’ imprisonment without option of fine, the law also stipulates.

Governor Fayose while appending his signature on the Anti-Grazing bill said passing the bill into law was borne out of his desire to interface with the traditional chiefs on security issues bedevilling the state.

Ajayi Ayodele, who spoke for the community, commended the Governor for signing the bill into law.

Nigerian Navy Begins Full Counter-insurgency Operations In Lake Chad

Navy-boat-UgwuThe Nigerian Navy has commenced full operations on the Nigerian side of the general Lake Chad area to ensure it is totally liberated from Boko Haram.

Marine troops have been deployed to the area in line with presidential directives to give a boost to the war against insurgency in northeast Nigeria.

The Chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, announced the deployment during an interaction with commanders in the newly established area of Naval operations to appraise the situation on ground.

The Lake Chad area falls under Baga, a border local government in northern Borno State a notorious stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgents carrying out trans-border operations after sacking the fishing town of Baga.

Three years after a deadly massacre of an estimated 2,000 residents, Baga is still a ghost town, deserted by civilians and now home to the Multi-National joint Task Force fighters.

To fully free the area of terrorists, the Chief of Naval Staff said that the Nigerian Navy was joining forces with the ground and air troops.

He is hopeful that the collaboration will speed up the post conflict healing process in the area.

Government officials in Borno State are happy with the presidential directives, especially as Baga has the biggest fish market in the region and serves as an economic hub for the state.

Total liberation and revival of the area will pave way for a continuation of the suspended oil exploration around the lake Chad area.

Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa, expressed optimism that full restoration of peace in the area would improve economic activities and promote normal life.

The Naval Chief also held talks with the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole and other key stakeholders in Borno State.

They are brainstorming on how to achieve synergy and smooth running of the new operational base.

UN Raises Hunger Fears In Northeast Nigeria

IDPs in northeast Nigeria in hunger UN saysThe United Nations has warned that Nigeria’s economic slowdown, compounded by Boko Haram attacks, could mean 5.5 million people are in need of food aid in the northeast region by September.

According to the U.N. refugee agency, the successes of the Nigerian military against the militants has exposed catastrophic levels of suffering and a vast regional crisis.

It expressed worries that many of the persons affected by the over six years of insurgency had been out of reach of humanitarian help for months or years.

The push by Nigerian Government forces in cooperation with the Multi-National Joint Task Force has rolled back gains by the militants, whose insurgency has displaced more than two million people.

“At present, and with the military campaign still in progress, the situation is shifting and remains dangerous and volatile,” the UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, told a news briefing in Geneva on Friday.

“There have been frequent hit and run incidents by militants, including suicide bombings, attacks on civilians, torching of homes, and thefts of livestock,” he added.

“While many areas are still beyond reach, in Borno and Yobe States the picture of suffering is shocking.

“There are numerous reports of human rights violations, including deaths, sexual violence, disappearances, forced recruitment, forced religious conversions and attacks on civilian sites.

“Some 800,000 additional internally displaced people have been identified as needing help.

“Severe malnutrition on a wide scale is being reported, and the needs are growing with each day.

“In Borno State 51,474 people are on our critically vulnerable list, 21,912 of these being children – more than three quarters of whom have lost one or both parents,” he said.

Explaining the difficulty in getting aid to the region, Edwards pointed out that a UN convoy was attacked with an Improvised Explosive Device and gunfire on July 27, resulting in injuries to three aid workers as well as members of the military escort.

“The level of peril and difficulty in delivering life-saving help is high – as, by consequence, are the costs,” he stressed.

The UN observation is coming few days after Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation gave the Borno State government a grant of one million, meant for resettling the Internally Displaced Persons in Borno State.

The intervention was released through the Rebuilding and Reconstruction Ministry of the State, constituted for resettling the IDPs.

Chibok Parents Identify Daughter, Call On F.G To Ensure Release Of Girls

Chibok Girls and Boko HaramThe parents of one of the missing Chibok Girls have asked the Federal Government to ensure the release of the school girls.

Dorcas Yakubu was identified in a new video released by the Boko Haram leadership on Sunday.

With tears in her eyes and the look of helplessness, Mrs Esther Yakubu and her husband were both consoled by one of the conveners of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili.

Her daughter, Dorcas Yakabu is one of the 218 Chibok Girls abducted by Boko Haram Sect on April 14, 2014.

In the video, Dorcas made a frantic appeal to the authorities to corporate with the terrorist group and exchange the girls for detained terrorist.

Meanwhile, a source in the presidency on Monday affirmed that the Nigerian Army is still in search of the three people believed to be behind the making of the latest video of the missing Chibok Girls.

One of them a journalist, Ahmed Salkida who resides in Dubai is said to have contacted the International Police, Interpol over reports demanding that he hands himself over to the Nigerian Police.

On Sunday, the Nigerian Army declared him and two others wanted, Ahmed Bolori and Aisha Wakil wanted.

Lawmakers Say Chibok Girls Continued Captivity Is ‘A National Shame’

chibok girlsThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has described the abduction of the over 200 Chibok girls and their continued captivity as a national shame.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, made the statement on Thursday during plenary that was highly focused on the need for security agencies to rescue the girls.

The lawmakers also directed the Ministry of Interior to pay compensation to the families of the abducted girls.

They expressed concerns that the whereabouts of the girls abducted on April 14, 2014 had remained unknown.

In the upper chamber, Senators requested that the Service Chiefs appear before them to give an update on efforts being made to rescue the over 200 girls abducted from their school’s dormitory by Boko Haram in 2014.

The girls were taking their final year examination when they were abducted.

Both chambers are asking security agencies to do everything possible to ensure that the girls are rescued.

The federal lawmakers are also asking the Borno State government to rebuild Chibok Secondary School in the interest of children in the community.

It has been two years that the girls were abducted. Their abduction had triggered protests in different nations, with demands for more efforts to rescue them.

None of the girls have been rescued.

More Boko Haram Members Are Surrendering – Air Chief

Boko HaramThe Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, has assured Nigerians of adequate security, saying that more members of the Boko Haram sect are already laying down their arms.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the Air Marshal attributed the success in the war against the insurgents to the commitment of the nation’s armed forces to end the war.

“I want to say that many people are surrendering, many in large numbers. So we want to meet those who are not willing to fight again and that was how this concept of self-chronicle came about.

“You surrender, you’re not armed, you don’t have any explosives and then the law will take its course. Somebody was mentioning amnesty but that is a political decision.

“For us in the military, if you say you’re not going to fight again – you’re surrendering, we’ll bring you out, we escort you and from there we take your name to profile you and get all the intelligence we need to get from you and then we go through the processes of ensuring that you face the law,” he said.

He also said that the Nigeria Air Force is improving on its research development which is targeted at reducing imports of some of its aircraft components.

Air Force To Assist Navy In Monitoring Niger Delta Creeks

chibok girls-helicopterThe Nigerian Air Force says it will soon release a maritime patrol aircraft that will assist the Navy in tackling the growing insecurity in Niger delta creeks.

There have been recent reports of pipeline vandalism in the region, a situation the Federal Government said had affected electricity supply.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sedick Abubakar, told reporters in Calabar that the Air Force would also continue to work round the clock in collaboration with other security agencies in a bid to end insurgency in the North East region.

Air Marshal Abubakar was in Calabar on a maiden visit to 207 Special Mobility Group of the Nigerian Air Force.

According to him, military efforts to end the activities of Boko Haram sect were gaining ground, as security agencies were at the tail end of the operation.

He had told reporters in Benin few days ago that the military was in the last phase of ending the activities of the terrorists group.

Addressing reporters in Calabar on Friday he said that economic activities had resumed in the northeast, stating that the development clearly showed that stability had been substantially restored, even though isolated cases of suicide bombings are still ongoing.

The Air Force boss, who took out time to commission some buildings at the Calabar Command Base also took his team on a visit to the Obong of Calabar.

At the palace, the Obong sued for recognition of the traditional institution by the Federal Government in order to ensure that a better synergy existed between the people and security agencies for effective curbing of crime in their respective states and its environs.

Army Chief Says Troops Have Contained Terrorism In Northeast

Yusuf-Buratai-Army-Chief on terrorism Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, says insurgency and terrorism have been contained in the northeast and some other parts of the country.

He said the feat was made possible by the support of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and good citizens of Nigeria.

General Buratai made the declaration on Thursday when he visited Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, in his one-day working visit to the state.

He reassured Nigerians that the army would continue to live up to expectation and work within the provisions of the constitution in securing the country and its citizens.

At the Governor’s lodge in Amawbia where the army chief and the Governor met, Mr Obiano commended General Buratai and his men for their exploits in the troubled areas of Nigeria.

He told him of the great support he was receiving from the army in the state, saying that their collaboration with other security agencies in the state had brought sanity, safety and security.

The army chief’s declaration of terrorism containment is coming days after over 20 persons were killed in an attack by two female suicide bombers in Umarari-Mulai, in the outskirt of Maiduguri in Borno State.

The first attack targeted a mosque, while the second blast occurred about 50 metres away, a few minutes later.

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

The group has carried out similar attacks in the past on communities in the northeast.

Landmines Kill 15 In Borno

landminesFifteen persons have been killed by landmines left by suspected terrorists in Nussa village of Askira Uba in northeast Nigeria’s Borno State.

It is not clear if they were civilians or military personnel.

Another three identified as Civilian Joint Task Force members were also killed in neighbouring Chul village in the same local government.

Sources say both incidents happened on Monday night.

Emerging reports also indicate that Boko Haram terrorists over the weekend set ablaze two trucks conveying relief items to returning internally displaced persons in Gamboru Ngala.

The trucks belonging to the International Red Cross were abandoned around Logumane Musini axis, barely 15 kilometers to Gamboru after offloading their contents following a breakdown.

Desperate insurgents hoping to loot items abandoned reportedly set the empty trucks on fire and retreated to their hideouts, sources say.

Author Of Book On Boko Haram Advocates Collective Approach

Boko-Haram-terrorists-in-north-east-NigeriaA former Director of National and Military Strategy at the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Darlington Abdullahi, who authored a book on the Boko Haram phenomenon in Nigeria’s northeast is advocating a collective effort in the‎ fight against insurgency and all forms of terrorism.

Speaking at a public presentation of the book entitled, “the Boko Haram Phenomenon and Terrorism in Nigeria”, Rear Admiral Abdullahi said the nation’s armed forces could achieve total victory against Boko Haram with the cooperation of the public.

He, however, admits that achieving a complete annihilation of Boko Haram insurgents may take a little while.

Gathered at the ‎auditorium of the National Defence College were security experts from the various arms of the nation’s armed forces to witness the public presentation of the book.

The chairman of the occasion, Rear Admiral Peter Agba, called for a holistic approach to the fight against insurgency.

The book was review by a former presidential spokesman, Segun Adeniyi, who also spoke on the essence of the book and the fight against terrorism.

It chronicles the origin of terrorism in Nigeria and some parts of the world proffered solutions on how to reduce the activities of terrorists to the barest minimum.

Nigeria Needs Unified Communication To Defeat Insurgency

Innocent-ChukwumaA criminologist has recommended a review of the communication strategy being used in Nigeria’s war on terror.

Mr Innocent Chukwuma was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, March 1, and he considered Nigeria’s efforts to contain the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast.

He said that the fight against the insurgents had been carried out as “something security forces alone do” while other citizens go on with their normal lives.

“The whole country should be involved in all of these and it is not something you respond to by simply increasing the capacity of security forces.

“You also have to address the socio-economic underpinnings of the crisis. A lot of people have talked about a comprehensive strategy in response to terrorism that includes protection of civilians, addressing educational needs and economic foundations of all of these crises,” he stressed.

Mr Chukwuma, who works with the Ford Foundation, believes that the economic challenges facing many Nigerians and the inequality in the access to quality life were major factors responsible for the security challenges.

He admitted that the situation was complicated, emphasising that the Nigerian Government was facing a major challenge. The criminologist also insisted that their efforts needed to be complimented by a communication strategy that would tell Nigerians what was truly happening.

“This is not something you put a deadline to how soon you can solve it because you really do not control all the variables,” he said.

Mr Chukwuma spoke further on the progress made by the Nigerian military and gave more recommendations on winning the war against Boko Haram.