100,000 More Soldiers Needed To Fight Insurgency, Says Borno Governor

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, says 100,000 more troops are needed in the fight against terrorism in the north-east.

 

 

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State says Nigeria needs additional 100,000 troops for the war against insurgency to be won.

The governor stated this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Defence visited him in Maiduguri, the state capital.

“I think there is a need to give the ban on the use of some certain weapons on paramilitary in the north-east for a certain period of time.

“Kindly inform the Speaker as well as the Senate President that they should advise the Federal Government to do massive recruitment of up to 100,000 into the Nigerian Army,” he told the visiting lawmakers.

The governor added, “How? They should come and recruit the locals irrespective of whether they have the western education or not.”

READ ALSO: Reps Ask FG To Recruit More Supreme Court Justices

Zulum recalled that during the civil war, many people were recruited to help the Nigerian troops win, stressing they were later demobilised after the war ended.

He emphasised on the training and retraining of troops deployed in the terrorism war on a regular basis.

The governor sought that half of the troops to be recruited should come from his state.

According to him, there are able-bodied men that have the fitness requirements to be recruited into the Nigerian Army.

“We need to recruit nothing less than 50,000 men from Borno, we have able-bodied men that can join the Nigerian Armed Forces on an ad-hoc basis,” Zulum said.

VIDEO: FG Not Doing Enough To End Insurgency, Says Ndume

 

The lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume, has faulted the Federal Government over the handling of the security situation in the North East.

Ndume who was a guest on Channels Television’s NewsNight on Monday said the current administration is not doing enough to tackling insurgency confronting the region.

“Government is not making any deliberate efforts. This is a war situation; we are at war with criminals in Nigeria now – the bandits, kidnappers, and Boko Haram as the top one.

“Nigeria has to stand up to address that issue and leave any other thing. How can you be talking about infrastructure or development and all that? Is it not when you have peace that you can use all those places,” he said.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Violence: Police Extend Curfew Until Sunday

Ndume who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army decried the number of personnel of the nation’s Armed Forces Nigeria, describing the situation as “grossly inadequate”.

The lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume decries the security situation in the northeast.

He, therefore, asked the Federal Government to look into the welfare of the troops at the theatre of operation in the region.

“There are only 30, 000 in that theatre. It is grossly inadequate. They are not well-equipped, they are not well-kitted, they are not well-funded.

“In Nigeria of 200 million, you only have 150, 000 soldiers with 6,000 officers. Can you say we are serious?” he questioned.

The lawmaker noted that smaller countries neighbouring like the Gambia, Chad have taken up their security issues seriously.

He urged the government to adequately provide the Armed Forces with the needed support, logistics and funding to tackle the several security challenges in the country.

Insurgency: Buhari Still Very Accepted, Popular In Borno – Presidency

 

The Presidency on Sunday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to Borno state shows that he is still ‘very popular and accepted’, adding that residents appreciate what he has done in tackling insurgency in the North-East.

President Buhari was in Maiduguri on Wednesday on a condolence visit, following attacks by Boko Haram which claimed many lives at Auno in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.

During the visit, President Buhari paid a visit to the State Governor, Babagana Zulum and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi.

READ ALSO: Banditry: Buhari Condemns Killing Of 30 In Katsina

Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, who was on Channels Television Sunday Politics, the crowd that received President Buhari was a huge one and the few dissenting voices do not call for worry.

“We don’t see it as a rejection; if you look at those who came to welcome the president from the airport to the palace of the Shehu of Borno, it was a huge crowd.

“Some 90 to 95 percent were waving brooms and welcomed the president; some dissenting voices in a large crowd like that do not call for worry, its normal in a democracy.

“The President really, is still very accepted, still very popular and the people of Borno know what he has done; they appreciate what he has done in terms of tackling the insurgency,” he stated.

On the war on insurgency, Mr Adesina explained that President Buhari is concerned because he took an oath to protect lives and property in the country.

“There may be some reversals of the gains made, but then those gains can always be made again.

“The President should be worried, he took an oath to protect the country so if we see lives and property being lost wantonly, the president must be concerned and he is.”

President Buhari had expressed surprise that Boko Haram insurgents have continued to launch attacks on communities despite the huge budgets expended on the counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.

According to the President, operations against the insurgents will not be successful if the people do not cooperate with the military and other security agencies.

Air Force Graduates 2,070 Recruits To Tackle Insurgency, Banditry, Others

Some of the new recruits during their passing out parade at the Nigerian Air Force Military Training Centre in Kaduna on February 15, 2020.

 

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated a total of 2,070 recruits of Basic Military Training Course 40, as part of efforts to boost the operational power of the service.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and some top officers of NAF attended the passing out parade of the recruits which held on Saturday in Kaduna State.

In his remarks, the air force chief explained that the new personnel were recruited to boost the fight against insurgency, banditry, and other related crimes in the country.

He told the new recruits to be prepared to pay the supreme price in defending their fatherland, especially at a time when the country was facing several security challenges.

Abubakar reminded the graduands about the duties of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation, and to also submit to both civil and military authorities at all times.

He announced that his administration would always place a high priority on the welfare and capacity building of officers and men of the service.

The passing out parade marks the end of the six-month training of the new recruits after they were carefully selected for the drill at the Nigerian Air Force Military Training Centre in Kaduna.

It also comes ahead of their deployment to the front line, thereby bridging the manpower gap in the service.

As part of the effort to prepare the young airmen and airwomen for the task ahead and in pursuance of the service’s mission-oriented force development, the curriculum for their course was reviewed with the introduction of internal security module.

At the event, awards were presented to recruits who distinguished themselves in the course of the training.

Insecurity: Terrorists Are Attempting To Stoke Religious Sensitivities – APC

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that recent cases of attacks and killings by terrorists are an attempt to stoke religious sensitivities by pitching Christians and Muslims against one and other.

The APC in a statement on Sunday stressed that the acts are being staged by short-sighted groups and individuals and it is a red flag that needs to be checked.

Religious leaders including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Enoch Adeboye, on Sunday, led members of his church in a prayer walk against insecurity in Nigeria.

 

 

Similarly, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) held a nationwide walk calling on the Federal Government put an end to insecurity and bloodshed in the country.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Situation In Northeast Is Getting Worse – Senator Ndume

The statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, read in part: “True to form, violent extremists and terrorists all over the world would adopt desperate tactics by selecting soft targets for their barbaric and opportunistic attacks.

“In Nigeria, these godless people are attempting to stoke religious sensitivities by pitching Christians and Muslims against one and other through their recent pattern of cowardly attacks.

“This demonstrates how debased and degraded Boko Haram and those who sponsor it have become,” it added.

The party urged leaders to use their positions of authority to show leadership and avoid acting the scripts pitched by the fanatics in a bid to divide the country.

“We must not fall for this divisive ploy. In our respective spaces, we should understand that these violent extremists are our common enemies, and are blind to religious and political affiliation and socio-economic status.

“Our leaders – religious, political, traditional and all others in positions of influence and authority, must now show leadership and temperance in their utterances and actions. Doing otherwise will be acting the scripts and playing into the hands of these fanatics seeking to divide us and pitch us against each other.”

The APC reiterated that no territory in Nigeria is under the control of the insurgents, as the Federal Government has given priority to equip the Armed Forces.

“Our armed forces are now better equipped with their welfare prioritised; previous insurgency-ravaged communities are being rehabilitated and resettled; gone are those days when attacks, particularly on the country’s capital city of Abuja and other parts of the country, were routine.

“Currently, no inch of Nigeria’s territory is under the control of Boko Haram; bandits, kidnappers and other criminal camps are being cleared with the criminals suffering heavy casualties on a daily basis.”

Insurgency: It May Take Long But We Are Capable Of Handling It – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari in a meeting with the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, at the State House in Abuja in January 24, 2020.

 

The President believes the nation will surely put the issues associated with the troubles in the Northeast in order and move ahead, although it might take a bit longer.

President Muhammadu Buhari stated this while receiving the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, on Friday at the State House in Abuja.

“We have the experience of the civil war. I could recall the role of the military, the army each commander had in his pocket; how to behave himself and how to allow international bodies like yourself to go round and see for themselves that people are treated in the most humane way,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.

The President added, “We have this experience and I assure you that we also have this confidence in your organisation. That is why I feel that Nigeria is capable of handling this crisis; it may take long, but we are capable of handling it.

“If we were capable to fight a 30-month civil war and reorganised our country, I wonder why people are thinking that Nigeria cannot do it. I assure you of Nigeria’s commitment to enhance and deepen cooperation with the EU in all areas.

“Our priorities in the next level is to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are rehabilitated  so that livelihood should be established and the children should not lose the opportunity to go back to school, which is very important for the future of that area and Nigeria generally.”

READ ALSO: Insurgency: UN, EU Ask Nigerian Govt To Explore Political Solution

President Buhari also appreciated the recent meeting in Germany which deliberated on the happenings in Libya.

He was worried about the weapons reaching the Sahel and the instability they cause, stressing that Libya has a direct impact on the stability of the Sahel.

“Look at the casualties in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali; as for Boko Haram, we try to disabuse the mind of the people and I think our people now understand the basic dishonesty in it. With my experience personally in the civil war, I am sure we will get over it,” the President said.

He was also confident that the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, would do a splendid job in managing the various humanitarian issues evolving from the North-East.

President Buhari said, “I assure you that we are aware of these problems and we will continue to do our best. The newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is coordinating NEMA and others, to make sure that whatever resources we get are well utilised.

“The ministry will be accountable to the government instead of having too many bodies doing the same thing. We are also reaching out to foreign countries explaining to them our position, and we are confident we will get over it.”

On his part, the EU commissioner stressed that Nigeria plays a big role in the African continent and globally in economic, social and other spheres.

He, therefore, asked for the development of a plan between the EU and Nigeria concerning the issues in the North-East.

Lenarcic said he had visited Borno State and appreciates government’s efforts to end the conflict there.

“We would like to support your efforts,” he told the President, adding, “We believe all relevant actors; military, civilian as well as humanitarian should come together.”

“In situations such as what we have in the North-East, international law and international humanitarian law should apply.

“We believe in your efforts to end the conflict; military effort alone probably will not be sufficient without identifying and addressing the socio-economic factors causing it,“ the EU commissioner added.

Insurgency: UN, EU Ask Nigerian Govt To Explore Political Solution

L-R: EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq; and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, attend a press briefing in Abuja on January 24, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

 

The United Nations and the European Union have raised serious concerns about the humanitarian situation in the North East.

According to both international bodies, the situation is not improving at all as thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who have earlier returned to their ancestral homes, are going back to the camps over fears of insurgent attacks.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, and EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, stated this at a joint press conference on Friday in Abuja.

Kallon insisted that there has been a steady rise in the number of illegal checkpoints by armed groups and the killing of aid workers in the country.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon. Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

 

Lenarcic, who spoke on behalf of the EU during his visit to Nigeria, asked the Federal Government to seek political solutions to the crisis in the North East.

He was also worried about the deplorable humanitarian situation and attacks on aid workers in the region.

The EU commissioner noted that although efforts have been made to battle the insurgents for almost a decade, it was time to strengthen regional collaboration and seek political solutions to end the crisis.

EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic. Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The press briefing was also attended by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, and others.

Nigeria’s north-east region has grappled with insurgency since 2009, as tens of thousands of people have been killed with many others displaced and in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

According to the EU, there are currently at least 1.8 million displaced persons from the three most-affected states – Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe.

A total of 2.9 million others are said to be facing serious food crisis in the region, while 1.2 million including women and children are cut off from humanitarian assistance.

See more photos below:

Presidency Urges Nigerians To Ignore Message Of Division By Terrorists

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The Federal Government has asked Nigerians to continually remain united in their opposition to Boko Haram and the hatred for decency that the infamous group stands for.

The Presidency in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however, assured that the security forces will continually work to ensure that those taken hostage by the insurgents will be returned safely to their families.

READ ALSO: Third Term Agenda: Buhari Has The Courage To Refuse Such A Temptation – Tinubu

He added that the government has condemned some recent acts of terror, stressing that the motives by the insurgents to portray a message of religion only hinges on the fact that they want Nigerians to see their beliefs as a reason to turn against one another.

“The security forces of Nigeria are working continuously to return those taken hostage by Boko Haram to their families, friends and communities. In doing this, the government has full confidence in their ability to accomplish the task.

“On its own part, the government has condemned some of the appalling acts of terror, especially following the festive period.  Yet, to continue to see these happenings solely in religious terms – removed from social, economic and environmental factors – simplifies complexities that must be heeded.  Not seeing them as they should be is exactly what the terrorists and groups wish: they want Nigerians to see their beliefs as a reason to turn against one another.

“On the contrary, Christians and Muslims alike are united in their opposition to Boko Haram and the hatred for decency that the infamous group stands for,” he added.

Mr Shehu restated that the Federal Government will never tolerate religious intolerance, and will continually show support for the freedom to practice whichever belief they wish.

He added that “Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division.

“Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences.  As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview.”

Be Professional In Fighting Insurgency, Buratai Tells Troops

Security: Army Will Continue To Work For Common Good, Buratai Assures Nigerians
File photo: Tukur Buratai

 

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has asked troops of the Nigerian Army to display more professionalism and responsiveness in the discharge of their constitutional roles.

In his Christmas message to his men, Buratai commended all officers and men participating in the insurgency war in the north east and other operations across the country and abroad.

He however challenged them to remain steadfast and sustain the momentum in the fight, while restating what he described as his passion for troops’ welfare.

READ ALSO: Decision To Detain Dasuki, Sowore Despite Court Orders Backed By Law, Presidency Insists

According to the COAS, President Muhammadu Buhari has extended his full support to the Armed Forces to bring all ongoing operations to logical conclusion.

Speaking further, the Army Chief called on the troops to display more spirit of bravery, doggedness and loyalty, urging them to maintain the momentum and remain steadfast.

Counterinsurgency: Force Commander Visits Soldiers In Hospital

 

The Force Commander Multinational Joint Task Force, Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, on Thursday, visited soldiers of the Task Force, of Cameroonian, Chadian, Nigerien and Nigerian nationalities, who are recuperating from injuries sustained in the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the Lake Chad Area.

Addressing the affected soldiers in a Specialist Hospital in N’Djamena, Major General Yusuf noted that they fought for a good cause for which they and their families should be very proud of.

“The MNJTF is very proud of your sacrifices and is committed to ensuring that you have the best medicare that will guarantee your full recovery,” he assured.

The soldiers who were visibly inspired by the visit of the Force Commander and his principal staff officers, said they were optimistic of their ability to quickly re-join their colleagues in the various sectors of operation, once they have fully recovered.

Major General Yusuf thanked the hospital management for the expert care being given to the soldiers, noting that the MNJTF will continue to collaborate with the management for optimal healthcare delivery for the soldiers.

He also commended the MNJTF Medical Team for what he described as their untiring efforts and professionalism in the efforts to ensure that MNJTF personnel remain healthy.

Military Action Alone Won’t Tackle Insurgency, UN Tells Nigerian Govt

 

The United Nations has advised the Nigerian government to step up its fight against insurgency as military action is not enough to address the situation in the North East.

UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, gave the advice in a statement.

The UN humanitarian chief who visited Nigeria recently said he has watched with growing concern the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Borno State.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s First Female Science Graduate, Deborah Jibowu Dies At 95

He was clear that military and security measures against the insurgents were a necessary and legitimate part of the response led by the government.

He appealed that the military should be cautious in its effort at fighting the insurgents and avoid worsening the condition that the devastated victims had already found themselves in.

Lowcock said, “Military action needs to be proportionate and avoid adding to the plight of civilians, huge numbers of whom have suffered terribly as a result of the actions of the terrorists and insurgents. And military action on its own will not solve this problem.

“It is, therefore, extremely important that the Nigerian Government, including through institutions like the North East Development Commission, is also implementing wider measures to address the root causes of the crisis, relieve humanitarian suffering, and promote stabilisation, recovery, and development. I strongly support these measures.”

 

Hungry Victims?

The UN humanitarian chief thanked the government and others who between 2016 and 2018 made successful efforts to regain control of areas previously ravaged by the insurgents, leading to the return of more than two million displaced people.

He was, however, worried that no fewer than seven million people currently need humanitarian assistance in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.

Lowcock added that renewed violence, most of it perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgents, has sparked an upsurge in forced displacement in Borno, with more than 140,000 people forced to move in 2019 alone.

He said, “Many farmers have missed multiple planting seasons and more than three million people are food insecure.

“I am glad to have had the opportunity during my visit this week to review the situation with senior figures in the Nigerian government, with the military and other authorities in Borno, with international, national and local NGOs, and others.”

The UN humanitarian chief insisted that NGOs – through their rich networks and capacity to reach people, and their expertise and experience in operating at the community level – have a very important role to play in the fight against insurgency.

He pointed out that the UN and humanitarian partners have supported the humanitarian response in the North East since the beginning of the crisis and have so far provided critical and life-saving assistance to more than 3.8 million people in 2019.

 

Groups Resume Operation

Lowcock said they have been operating in the most challenging circumstances such that a total of 38 UN and NGO workers, most of them Nigerian, have been killed since 2011.

He added that 10 aid workers have died as a result of violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and other criminal groups in the past 18 months while six others were still missing.

The UN humanitarian chief stressed that all humanitarian organisations working in Nigeria which receive support from the international community have operated in full compliance with international standards, including counter-terrorism related conditions, national laws, and humanitarian principles.

He explained that operating in such a manner was that not only a matter of principle but was required as a practical condition of funding from the major donors.

“It is important to recognise that all the international NGOs working in the North East are authorised to do so through the government registration process and local approvals from the relevant authorities.

“I have received assurances from the relevant authorities that the suspension of the activities of Mercy Corps and Action Against Hunger announced in September will be lifted in the next few days,” he confirmed.

Lowcock believes this will allow an immediate resumption of life-saving assistance to nearly 400,000 people who have been without food and other essential help for the last month.

He said the government also planned in the next fortnight to bring together all the relevant stakeholders, including the UN and NGOs, to discuss the shared challenges in Borno.

“I greatly welcome all this. Enhanced dialogue between the Government and the international community, including international NGOs, in pursuit of the shared goals of bringing peace, promoting recovery, and assisting and protecting innocent civilians in the north-east who have been the main victims of the conflict is in everyone’s interest.

“The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon, and his team based in Nigeria remain at the disposal of the Government and others in support of those goals,” Lowcock added.

Civilian JTF Critical To Ending Boko Haram Insurgency In Borno, Says Zulum

A file photo of Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum.

 

 

The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, says the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) is critical to ending the Boko Haram insurgency in his State.

He stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Governor Zulum, who held a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa, noted that the Nigeria Police was re-equipped to support the CJTF towards putting an end to the insurgency.

READ ALSO: How Police Affairs Ministry Will Help Tackle Security Challenges – Buhari

He also attributed the increasing rate of attacks by the insurgents to the three countries bordering the state.

The governor, therefore, called on the Nigerian Government to address the porosity of the system in order to address the challenges of insurgency and other crimes in the country.