General Danjuma To Lead Committee On Northeast Rehabilitation

Theophilus DanjumaPresident Muhammadu Buhari says a committee to rehabilitate infrastructure and resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria’s northeast is soon to be formally inaugurated.

The committee, to be led by a frontline statesman, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), would also include Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Speaking at the State House, Abuja on Friday, in response to a goodwill message delivered to him by a group, Women In Politics Forum (WIPF), President Buhari announced that all forms of assistance and aid in this respect generated locally and from foreign countries, as promised by the Group of Seven of Industrialised Countries (G7), would be channelled through the committee when it is inaugurated.

A statement by a spokesman for the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said President Buhari had compiled a list of damaged infrastructure, including schools and bridges and handed it to the leaders of the G7 and the United States.

“I didn’t ask for a Kobo (in cash). It is up to them to choose what they will undertake. Already, some of them have sent teams to verify our assertions,” the President, however, stated.

Source Of Concern

President Buhari decried the impact of the Boko Haram violence on women and children, declaring that they were its worst victims.

“In the North-East, what I saw for myself and on those clips is a source of concern for people with conscience.

“They are mostly women, and children who are orphaned. Some of them don’t even know where they come from. This is the pathetic situation in which the country has found itself,” The President told the women.

He said that the fight for the return of the Chibok girls is ongoing and “continues to be a most worrying issue” to his government, emphasising that the administration would do all within its powers in making the best efforts to secure their freedom.

‘Gender Equity’

The President acknowledged the case made by the WIPF for better representation of women in his government and assured them that women would fare well in the composition of parastatals and their boards in the first quarter of this year.

He also defended the records of the administration in response to criticism that it is slow, arguing that steps must be taken with caution to avoid mistakes.

“People say we are slow. We are trying to change structures put in place by our predecessors in office for 16 years. If we hurry it, we will make mistakes. That will be a disaster.”

President Buhari assured them that the country had a budget proposal for the New Year that is good for employment and manufacturing.

“By the end of the second quarter, the full impact of these positive measures will be felt,” he told the visiting women.

The WIPF, made up of women leaders from 26 registered political parties led by Mrs Ebere Ifendu of the Labour Party expressed their full support for the government’s war on corruption and insecurity.

They asked the administration to usher in laws to promote gender equity as well as action towards the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.

The Women’s group made the record of being the first organisation to be received by the President in the New Year.

Babangida Backs Government-Boko Haram Talks

babangida_IBB_JonathanA former Head of State in Nigeria, Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed his support for the negotiations between the Federal Government and the Boko Haram terrorist group.

At a media parley on Monday in Minna, Niger State, organised to commemorate his 74th Birthday Anniversary, retired General Babangida said there was nothing wrong with the Federal Government reaching a peace deal with the Boko Haram insurgents.

He also commended the efforts by the present administration to tackle insurgency in the north-east and expressed confidence in the capacity of the Federal Government to win the war against terrorism.

Ready To Negotiate 

On August 8, the Nigerian government said it was ready to negotiate with the Boko Haram insurgents if the true leaders of the group could be identified and properly represented.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, gave the government’s position at a dinner in Abuja.

He said the government could not afford to negotiate with anybody masquerading as the leader of the group and in the end, collect money from government fraudulently.

The government’s statement has generated mixed reactions from Nigerians, with some saying the government should not negotiate with a terrorist group, suggesting that security forces should tackle the group.

There have been counter-terrorism operations in the north-east for over five years, but the terrorist group of late resorted to suicide bombing, attacking soft targets.

During his campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to end insurgency as soon as possible if voted into office.

 

Since he became President, the terrorist group has killed over 1,000 persons in different attacks in north-east, north-central and north-wast regions.

Last week, President Buhari issued a three-month ultimatum to Service Chiefs to end the insurgency in the north-east.

 

FG Reiterates Readiness To Negotiate With Boko Haram

Boko HaramThe Nigeria government is ready to negotiate with the Boko Haram insurgents if the true leaders of the group can be identified and properly represented, an official of the government has said.

Addressing a dinner in Abuja, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said the government could not afford to negotiate with anybody masquerading as the leader of the group and in the end, collect money from government fraudulently.

Mr Adesina reiterated the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari to end the insurgency by December 2015.

Another spokesman to the President, Garba Shehu, reiterated President Buhari’s commitment to checking the corrupt activities of public office holders, saying that President Buhari had, in his visit to the United States discussed how monies stolen from the nation’s treasury would be returned.

He said that the effort was already yielding fruit.

For over five years, the Nigerian military have been engaging the Boko Haram sect in a battle of who controls the north-east and the President’s spokesman said that winning the battle was high on the priority of the administration of President Buhari.

The forum was organised to honour the media team of the President.

I Earned 5,000 Naira To Burn School, Says Teenage Boko Haram Recruit

Isa-Gusau“One of the Boko Haram suspects presented to Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said he was given 5,000 Naira to burn our school,” an official of the Borno State government told Channels Television on Saturday. 

The Special Assistant to the Borno State Government on Communication, Mr Isa Gusau, said that the nine-year old recruit made the confession in 2014 after some suspected terrorists were presented over to the Borno State government by the military.

Giving an account of what transpired when the suspects were presented to the Governor, he said: “The Governor asked one of them how come he was recruited into the Boko Haram. He was just nine years old.

“He said he was given 5,000 Naira to spy on the soldiers while another said he was given 5,000 Naira to burn our schools.

“There was another lady who was being paid 10,000 Naira to smuggle arms,” Mr Gusau.

On the military effort to end the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists, he said that the Governor of Borno State had always suggested the deployment of three approaches – military deployment, deployment of economic stimulation package and political solution.

“People are talking from the point of sentiments. We are not looking at the reality on ground.

“We need to ask ourselves, why the Boko Haram has kept growing despite the counter-terrorism operations?

Mr Gusau further explained that it had become difficult for persons that had been recruited into the Boko Haram to reintegrate into their communities.

“When they are recruited, the leaders of the group take them to their communities to attack them and people in the community will see them as members of the Boko Haram and will never allow them back, even when they want to come back.

“The government must create a window for those who were forcefully conscripted into the Boko Haram to get out,” he stressed.

Group To Hold Rally To Support Troops’ War On Terror Efforts

Joe Okei-OdumakinCivil society groups will on Tuesday, March 17, hold a rally to acknowledge the efforts of the Nigerian troops fighting the Boko Haram sect and motivate them to do more.

Troops have renewed vigour in the fight against the terrorist group in the north-eastern part of the oil rich nation since the general elections dates were shifted by six weeks.

On Channels Television on Monday, a rights activist, Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the rally tagged “We Won’t Bow To Terror” would hold at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city.

“A national rally against terror will hold at the Tafawa Balewa Square. It will get all citizens together.
Presidential candidates will be there, civil society groups, labour and student amongst others.

“We must come together against terror. It will help to motivate the military to fight more,” the rights activist said.

Coming Together As One

She said that the renewed vigour was as a result of better motivation of the military in the fight against the Boko Haram.

The rights activist further pointed out that there was no way Nigeria could defeat terror without unity.

“We should stop all these blames and different permutations. Nigeria can only progress if we have every part of the country coming together as one.

“As we speak we have our military confronting terror, which has assumed an international character, making it a global threat.

“Some of the lost territories, through the efforts of the troops, we have been able to get back and we can see that renewed confidence.

“It is not a conventional warfare. The terrorists have been totally brainwashed and they are ready to die.

“We have to do a lot more so that we can encourage our troops. Our people now appreciate the fact that these people are fighting for us,” she stressed.

Okei-Odumakin emphasised that the elections could only be free, fair and credible when there is no violence.

FG Reiterates Commitment To Lawful Fight Against Terror

-The Nigerian government has reiterated its commitment to fighting terrorists in the north-east within the ambit of the law, observing due process in line with constitutional guarantee and procedures relating to fair trial.

A top official of the Ministry of Justice, Professor Peter Akper, gave the assurance in Abuja on Tuesday at a forum organised to look at efforts that the government had made so far in the fight against terror in Nigeria.

This assurance is coming just as the Boko Haram sect has continued to unleash violence in the north east, with a suicide bomb attack in Gombe on Monday.

It was the latest of the series of attacks that had occurred in the last one month. It occurred about 30 minutes after President Goodluck Jonathan ended a political campaign in the State.

Professor Akper, however, assured the gathering that the government had remained focused in its fight against terror, but stressed that due process must be followed.

The statement underscores the need to strike a balance between the demands of human rights and national security which is a matter of concern in all jurisdictions where the war against terror is being prosecuted.

Despite these challenges, Professor Akper expressed optimism that the war would be won considering the strategies that had been put in place to tackle the terrorist group terrorising communities in the north-east.

A senior legal officer from the office of the National Security Adviser, Bello Fadile, agreed with the position of the representative of the Attorney General, saying that a counter terrorism strategy had been put in place.

The chairman of the British-Nigeria Law Forum and convener of the event, Babatunde Akinyanju, stressed the need for appropriate punishment for terrorists, as a deterrent.

With a focus on counter-terrorism in Nigeria, the rule of law and strategies for law enforcement, participants at the forum believed that building capacity within the criminal justice system was fundamental in the fight against terror.

Victim Of Kano Emir Mosque Attack Says Bombs ‘Remotely Detonated’

Kano_bomb_at_Mosque_Victim A victim of the explosions that occurred at the Central Mosque near the palace of the Emir of Kano said the suicide bombers’ improvised explosives were remotely detonated by a strange white man at the mosque.

One of the victims of the Friday explosions, Malam Shehu Ahmed, currently receiving treatment at the National Orthopaedic Hospital Dala, shared his experience with Channels Television.

It was a different story and one strange enough to aid investigation into the attack that occurred during the Friday jumaat.

Malam Adamu was right inside the mosque when the explosions occurred.

“I saw an uncomfortable white man enter the mosque alongside two black teenage boys who later remotely detonated the explosives in the bodies of the said boys,” he said.

Other victims of the attack receiving treatment at the hospital also recounted their experience in the aftermath of the tragic incident which killed over 150 worshippers and left over 130 injured.

Although officials are yet to comment on the increasing death toll, sources close to the Emirate Council said three more bodies were recovered in the process of cleaning the mosque.

a victim of Kano mosque suicide bombing
A victim of the attack on the Kano Central Mosque receiving treatment.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but another victim, Sani Bello, believed the Boko Haram terrorist group was responsible for the incident that hospitalised him and his father.

Hospital official, Dr. Nura Aminu, confirmed that injuries sustained from the attack were very severe.

“There are injuries which are irreparable, which means the persons affected may likely lose their legs,” he said.

A former Military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, visited the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, and called on Nigerians to remain vigilant in their places of worship and businesses.

Buhari describe the incident as unfortunate, horrible and heart wrenching, urging the government to be more proactive in the fight against insurgency.

“Nigerians have to be vigilant wherever they are; motor parks, churches, mosques and other public places. I hope the law enforcement agencies would be fully complemented by the civil society,” General Buhari said.

Meanwhile, the officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, who still could not explain the current situation on the death toll, also said the Federal Government had ordered the delivery of medical consumables to aid the treatment of the victim.

They are expected to arrive on Monday.

The Kano State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Yusuf Labaran, said the State government had directed a free medical treatment for all victims in government hospitals.

“Most of the drugs and consumables have been exhausted, but we have more than enough blood for thee treatment of the victims and we thank the public for coming out to donate blood for the treatment of the victims,” Dr. Labaran said.

Presently, there are victims in all the four major hospitals across Kano State, while some have been taken away by their relatives to private hospitals.

Security Expert Says Ceasefire Agreement Is Not Binding On Boko Haram

Umar Aliyu.
Capt. Umar Aliyu (Rtd)

A security consultant and retired military officer, Capt Umar Aliyu on Monday said the ceasefire agreement reached by the Federal Government with the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group is not binding on the sect members.

“The reason is because, being an alternative dispute resolution option, it is not like a court finding, where, if you break or do not respect the ceasefire, the court will fine you or you pay a certain fee.

“Ceasefires are normally brokered and certain things come out of it and in most cases, it is unlikely that one of those whose armed forces are presently contending with one side of the dispute will be the mediator; that is food for thought,” he said.

He further added that the Boko Haram group has no history of respecting ceasefires agreed to either by the Federal Government or third parties, insisting that “the Boko Haram does not have anything with respecting agreements or ceasefires”.

Capt Aliyu further argued that it was possible that the “death of Imam Shekau, may have pressured Boko Haram to come to the negotiation table” maintaining that it was wrong to have “one of the disputants as the mediator,” citing Idriss Deby of Chad, whose country is a member of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) set up to fight Boko Haram within the West African region.

“From the intelligence I have gathered, Boko Haram is led by Imam Shekau, who presides over what you call a Shura (Council of elders) and he has no second,” he revealed.

“And the armed forces actually killed someone who was purported to be a proxy of Imam Shekau. There is a possibility that Imam Shekau is dead and that man is using his death to leverage an impression that he is alive.”

The Federal Government of Nigeria, last week Friday, said it reached a ceasefire agreement with the Boko Haram sect.

After the agreement was reached, the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, ordered all service chiefs to comply with the ceasefire agreement between Nigeria and Boko Haram in all theaters of operations.

The announcement came at the end of a meeting between the Nigerian and Cameroonian armed forces where both sides decided on collaboration in communication, intelligence sharing, tactical partnerships and handling of internally displaced.

Air Chief Marshal, Badeh assured the Cameroonian military that the agreement would not have any effect on the transnational operation between the two countries to fight crimes within their joint borders.

“A ceasefire agreement has been reached between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad.

“I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development in the field,” Air Chief Marshal Badeh said.

Over 50 Insurgents Killed As Troops Foil Attack On Konduga

Officers of the Nigerian ArmyTroops of the Seven Division of Nigerian Army on Friday foiled a planned attack on Konduga town in Borno State and killed scores of insurgents believed to be members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The counter-terrorism operation by the troops is seen as a huge success over the dreaded group, who planned to attack Konduga town in Borno state in the early hours of the day.

Konduga is 40 kilometers south-east of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

A statement by a spokesman for the Army, Colonel To Antigha, said three Hilux and one Buffalo vehicles with mounted Anti-aircraft guns, three General Purpose Machine guns, over 30 AK 47 rifles and two global positioning systems were recovered from the members of the terrorist group.

Colonel Antigha said that the military was combing the entire area for terrorists who may have escaped with bullet wounds.

Four Nigerian soldiers were also wounded in the counter-terrorism operation.

Witnesses said over 100 Boko Haram members were on their way to Konduga in a convoy of 15 Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles when they encountered a severe resistance from security forces.

“I counted over 50 bodies of the insurgents and some still were captured by the security forces,” a witness said.

A military source told Channels Television on condition of anonymity that the terrorist group came in a motorcade comprising Hilux vehicles, some Golf Volkswagen cars and motorcycles, but the military attacked them.

“We crushed them and also seized some arms and vehicles.

“We were able to destroy the vehicles and motorcycles of terrorists, after killing many of them at dawn of Friday.

“We were fully prepared for the worst from the terrorists that morning,” the military source added.

Konduga, has on several occasions in the past, been attacked by the insurgents forcing several residence to relocate to Maiduguri metropolis and other major cities in Borno and Yobe State.

War On Terror: Jonathan To Hold Talks With Chad President

Goodluck Jonathan and Idriss Deby. President Goodluck Jonathan is looking to forge a stronger alliance against terrorism and violent extremism with Nigeria’s neighbour, Chad, when he holds talks with the President, Idriss Deby.

A statement by a spokesman for President Jonathan, Reuben Abati, said the talks, expected to hold on Monday in Ndjamena with President Deby, who is also the current Chairman of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, followed their discussions in Nairobi last week on the sidelines of the African Union Peace and Security Council Summit.

“President Jonathan and his host will discuss the further actualisation of agreements for greater cooperation against insurgents and terrorists reached by Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon at a meeting in Paris earlier this year.

“Their talks are expected to lead to the strengthening of the Paris Accord on joint border patrols, intelligence sharing and the prevention of the illicit movement of terrorists, criminals, arms and ammunition across shared borders,” the statement read.

President Jonathan will be accompanied by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed and the Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, Professor Sheidu Mohammed.

Before returning to Nigeria on Tuesday, he would be a Special Guest of Honour at an international conference on Information Technology and Communication holding in Ndjamena on the same day.

 

Labour Union Condemns Abuja Bomb Blast

NLC Flag

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned the Wednesday, June 25 bomb blast at Emab Plaza in the heart of Abuja which left 24 persons dead and several others injured, saying it is a desperate act by evil-minded persons to kill the robust Nigerian spirit by instilling fear in the citizenry.

A statement signed by the acting General-Secretary of the congress, Mr Chris Uyot, said the bomb blast was a cowardly act which must be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.

“The perpetrators of the blast are wicked souls and a tiny minority that do not represent the Nigerian spirit, ” the statement read.

The congress, therefore, called for the judicious use of the resources allocated for fighting terror just as it advised Nigerians to be more vigilant by way of taking basic deterrent measures capable of delaying or preventing terrorists from striking at will.

The congress further advised security agents, especially the ones at road check points, to resist the temptation of creating vulnerable situations for terrorists to strike by speedily screening vehicles in order to avoid build-ups.

UK To Help Nigeria In Fight Against Terror

Williams-Hague-British-Foreign-MinisterBritish Foreign Minister, William Hague, has offered to help Nigeria secure the release of more than 200 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14 and in the fight against terror.

The girls were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

Mr Hague told journalists after he arrived from a Council of Europe meeting in Vienna, that the UK would be offering tactical help.

He insisted that he would not discuss the details of the help that Britain was offering.

Spoils Of Terrorism

“The actions of Boko Haram in using girls as the spoils of, the war and spoils of terrorism is disgusting. It is immoral and it should show everybody across the world that they should not give support to such a vile organisation and it is an example of why we have set up the preventive sexual violence initiative,” he said.

The decision to assist Nigeria in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents is coming days after the abduction of the girls sparked protests in different states in Nigeria and in some countries, with a “Bring Back Our Girls” demand.

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in a media chat on Sunday, called for international support in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The group that is demanding for an Islamic state have carried out series of attack on villages, churches and schools in the north east, with the abduction of the girls as spoils of terrorism on April 14 drawing world interest.

After president Jonathan said in the media chat that no group had claimed responsibility for the abduction, the leader of the Islamic sect, Abubakar Shekau, released a video, claiming responsibility and threatening to sell the girls “in a market”.

Rescue efforts by Nigerian security agencies have not yielded any result, as it is over three weeks since the girls were abducted.

Police report says out of the 276 abducted students of the school, 53 female students escaped from their abductor within the first week of their abduction while 223 are still missing.