As the nation battles insurgency in the North-East, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya has charged troops participating in ongoing operations to remain dogged and unrelenting in routing out criminal elements.
Yahaya, who gave the charge on Sunday during a routine operational visit to the headquarters of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State to assess the level of successes recorded thus far, called on troops to be more decisive in routing the criminal elements from their enclaves.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu.
“General Yahaya enjoined troops to continue to decimate the insurgents and deny them freedom of action. This he said, will provide a safe environment and opportunity for other elements of national power to play their statutory roles in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the theatre,” the statement partly read.
The army chief arrived at the theatre of operations in the company of some principal staff officers, where he was given an update on the ongoing Operation Desert Sanity and Operation Lake Sanity.
He equally expressed satisfaction with the successes so far, urging them to remain vigilant and proactive during the Sallah celebration.
Mali’s ruling junta on Monday announced the delivery of two more combat helicopters and surveillance radars from Russia as the West African nation tackles a bloody jihadist insurgency.
Photographs of the equipment being unloaded from a Russian cargo flight at Bamako international airport were posted on the official Twitter account of Mali’s presidency.
“We are receiving this second batch of military equipment from Russia,” said army chief of staff General Oumar Diarra.
“It’s a sign of a very fruitful partnership with the Russian state,” he said in a statement.
The delivery brings to eight the known number of helicopters that Moscow has provided under closer ties forged by rebel colonels who seized power in 2020.
Russia has also supplied what are officially described as military instructors — personnel that former colonial power France and the United States say are operatives from Russia’s Wagner security group.
They have been helping the impoverished Sahel nation fight a decade-old jihadist campaign that has claimed thousands of lives and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Le Chef d’État-major général des armées , le général de division Oumar Diarra a réceptionné ce lundi au nom du ministre de la défense et des anciens combattants, 2 hélicoptères de combat et des radars de surveillance. pic.twitter.com/V0lh931vZ0
Three years after incessant attacks in the Lake Chad area, the Borno State government alongside the military has reopened the 137-kilometer Maiduguri-Dikwa-Mafa-Gamboru Ngala Road for motorists.
During the tape cutting event held on Friday, Governor Babagana Zulum commended the military and local vigilantes for securing the region and urged the road users to be law-abiding as well cooperate with security agencies for the full return of economic activities in the area.
The symbolic reopening of the road was done at Muna before the governor proceeded to Dikwa town to ensure that the road has been formally reopened.
The governor alongside the Theatre Commander of the Joint Taskforce Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Musa cut the tape signifying the official reopening of the road.
Maiduguri-Gamboru Ngala Federal Highway is one of the busiest and most popular commercial roads linking the northeast sub-region to Cameroon, Chad, and the Niger Republic.
Three years ago, the road was shut down as a result of several attacks on the major towns of Dikwa, Mafa, and Gamboru Ngala, crippling economic activities.
Goni Bura, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in the state during the event told Channels Television that the reopening of the highway will benefit not only Nigerian citizens but those in Cameroon and Niger Republic.
He also appreciated the state government for donating patrol vehicles to the security agents.
Before the reopening, the military has been escorting passengers and travellers to and fro on the highway to protect them from insurgency attacks.
“We lost a total of about 900,000 to the insurgency. We lost about 5,000 classrooms in Borno State, 800 municipal buildings comprising police stations, traditional ruler houses, and local government secretariats. These are official figures, unofficial figures are more than this,” he said.
Responding, Governor Matawalle commended Zulum for the concern and finding the time to visit Zamfara despite his own problems in Borno state.
“Borno and Zamfara share a similar problem of terrorists’ attacks. I know how we share information, intelligence and the commitment of how to end these problems we inherited,” he said.
“With this commitment and prayer and the support of our people, we shall triumph.”
He said that just like in Borno State, Zamfara has recorded losses in human and material form with no fewer than 25,000 orphans, 27,000 widows and over 3,000 houses destroyed with nearly 400,000 livestock rustled in the first eight years of the menace.
Zulum also used the opportunity to present a cheque of N20 million to the Zamfara State Governor.
He was accompanied to the North-Western state by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army Senator Ali Ndume; Chief Whip of House of Representatives, Honorable Tahir Monguno among others.
The leaders of Mozambique and Tanzania met Friday to discuss the Islamist insurgency that Maputo has called in regional forces to help suppress.
The fighting in northern Mozambique has occasionally spilled across the border with Tanzania, which has deployed troops in the country under the umbrella of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“Tanzania has always been on our side, has always offered to help Mozambique within the scope of SAMIM,” Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said, referring to the SADC mission.
“In our talks, we looked at how our cooperating is evolving, because we are two countries and we have a common problem,” he said in remarks broadcast on national radio.
Nyusi met with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan in the northern town of Pemba, the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado, which SADC and Rwandan forces helped Mozambique reclaim from the insurgents in August.
Neither leader revealed much of the substance of their talks, but Nyusi signalled that he wanted continued support from the region.
“The terrorists cross the common border between Mozambique and Tanzania,” he said.
“We are interested in a more dedicated approach to the problem.”
“We have seen that the enemy is improving its techniques. We want to study how our forces can deal with the enemy, with terrorism. We will soon improve our combat forces,” he added.
Hassan said that she came “to reaffirm our commitment to Mozambique.”
“Tanzania is here to work together with Mozambique in our developmental and our peace and security affairs.”
The unrest erupted in 2017, leaving at least 3,500 dead and around 820,000 homeless. The insurgents’ brutal tactics — including beheadings, mass abductions, and the torching of homes — rattled the region.
International energy companies stopped their multi-billion-dollar natural gas projects in Cabo Delgado and evacuated their staff.
Cabo Delgado is home to the largest-ever foreign investment in Africa: a $20-billion development by France’s Total.
But residents in the mostly Muslim province have yet to see many tangible benefits from the investments, which they feel flow to the government of the largely Christian country.
Hassan is trying to jump-start Tanzania’s own natural gas project, estimated at $30 billion.
As in Mozambique, the scheme would involve building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal near vast offshore gas deposits.
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Maiduguri, Borno State, urged troops of Operation Hadin Kai to remain steadfast as they go into the final phase of the campaign against insurgency and other forms of criminalities.
The President, who addressed the troops at the Airforce Base in Maiduguri, said the nation remains grateful for the gallantry displayed in ensuring the gradual return of peace to the North East, while condoling with families that have lost loved ones, and the wounded.
“I urge you also to stay focused to achieve our strategic end-state which is the defeat of all adversaries and restoration of an economically viable North East Geo-Political Zone and other parts of the country where Nigerians are free to go about their activities without fear or harassment,” he said.
President Buhari assured families of soldiers who paid the supreme price for the nation and the injured that the Federal Government will cater for their needs, recognizing their sacrifices for all Nigerians.
“I am delighted to be with you today and to convey my gratitude and that of the entire nation to you all, as you continuously strive to secure our dear country.
“Your career is like no other because it is a conscious commitment and preparedness to give your best for the sake of others.
“I am therefore here on behalf of a grateful nation to thank and commend you for your service and sacrifices.
“Let me start by commiserating with you all on the unfortunate loss of Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkushu and other personnel of 25 and 28 Task Force Brigades, who died on 13 November 2021.
“I do this mindful of the fact that we have lost others in this Theatre of Operation as well as other operational areas across the country.
“We pray for the repose of their souls and for the Almighty God to comfort the families that they left behind. The people of Borno State and indeed the entire country owe a debt of gratitude to our serving men in uniform for the huge sacrifices in the pursuit of peace,” he said.
According to President Buhari, the Government would continue to ensure that the widows and children of fallen heroes were well catered for to help them fully realize their potentials.
The President noted that the response exhibited across the theatre had shown extraordinary resilience and steadfastness in the face of adversity.
“That is the spirit, tenacity and resolve that the Nigerian Armed Forces is known for. Well done.
“Our country, just like all the others in the Sahel region, is faced with several security challenges that are largely characterized by the violent activities of non-state actors. This has necessitated several interventions aimed at ensuring the security of persons and property across the numerous hot spots.
“Further improvements in the security situation in Operation Hadin Kai have led to a corresponding rise in the confidence of our people who are now returning in significant numbers to their homes.
“Further to the reorganizations in the military leadership, concerted efforts are being made to improve your equipment holding. I am aware that you have started receiving some of the platforms procured by our administration while others would be received in the weeks ahead,” the President added.
While noting threats posed by criminals through the employment of Improvised Explosive Devices, he said substantial resources have also been directed at procuring equipment for explosive ordnance disposal.
According to President Buhari, similar attention is being given to Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance Assets.
“These measures and the platforms being received would accord you the necessary reach, firepower and protection to project force across the Theatre and bring the fight to a logical and successful end,” Buhari added.
President Buhari told the troops that at the onset of the administration he emphasized the need to rejuvenate the Multinational Joint Task Force, which was in realization of the fluid and transnational nature of current threats and their propensity to hibernate in neighbouring countries.
“I, therefore, urge you to continue to further strengthen your cooperation with the militaries of the other countries under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force in order to further optimize the mutual gains for our respective national security.
“As we step up the military efforts, our administration has remained conscious of the efficacy of the employments of other lines of effort in our drive to ensure the return of lasting peace to the North East Region.
“The North East Development Commission continues to make giant strides at improving the economic and social welfare of Nigerians in the region,” he added.
“I am also happy with the increased level of cooperation between the good people of Borno State, other stakeholders and the security agencies. I urge you to continue to cooperate with other security agencies with a view to ensuring a full return to normalcy.”
He assured that the administration would continue to work with all well-meaning stakeholders including friendly nations, civil society organizations as well as other credible non-governmental organizations to bring peace to all troubled areas across the nation.
President Buhari expressed deep appreciation to the Government of Borno State for its continuous cooperation with the Federal Government in multiple spheres.
He said: “This has been critical to the furtherance of our mutual efforts at restoring peace to the State.
“I particularly commend Your Excellency, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, for your untiring commitment and cherished collaboration with my administration for the overall good of the people of Borno. Yours is a good example of the inherent benefits that are accruable from conscious positive interaction between the Federal Government and states.”
He also commended the Minister of Defence as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs and the heads of all other security agencies for forging a common front of collaboration and cooperation which continues to enhance operations.
“It was gratifying to observe some of these examples of collaboration during the Research and Development Exhibition at the recently concluded Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference and the launch of locally constructed Seaward Defence Ship at the Naval Dockyard.
“I urge you all to stay the course towards ensuring that we become self-sufficient in the production of our defence equipment in no distant future.
‘To my dear troops, as your Commander in Chief, I am mindful of your selfless sacrifices which in some cases have entailed paying the supreme price. The nation owes you a debt of gratitude for your commitment, dedication and unalloyed loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Our Government will continue to work with your respective heads to ensure that your welfare receives priority attention and that our wounded comrades are given the best medical care possible,” the President assured.
The President said the manpower challenges which have limited the rotation of some units from the Theatre would be addressed by concerted efforts to increase recruitment and ensure that the remaining units due for rotation were relieved as soon as practicable.
The Force Commander of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), Major General Abdul Khalifah Ibrahim, has met with the President of Niger Republic, Mohammed Bazoum and the country’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Major General Salifou Mody.
During the meeting on Sunday, discussions centred mainly on improving the synergy and cooperation between MNJTF and national forces with the aim of generally confronting the scourge of the BokoHaram and ISWAP terrorists in the Lake Chad region.
A statement issued by the Spokesman of Multinational Joint Task Force, Colonel Muhammad Dole, quotes the commander as saying that the “restoration of peace and security in the region will surely enhance the socio-economic activities of the people”.
The commander also disclosed that 64 Battlefield First Aid troops have been trained and impacted with the skills and knowledge to help save lives and ultimately reduce the rate of avoidable deaths on the field.
He explained that the personnel were exposed to acquiring good aquatic skills, operational navigation, Rules of Engagement in nautical environment and requirement of the crew work, among others.
On his part, President Bazoum reiterated his total commitment to support the MNJTF to achieve its mandates.
Similarly, the headquarters of the MNJTF also hosted a French military delegation comprised of students and their directing staff from the Centre of Advanced Military Studies Paris France.
The delegation was led by the Director of the Centre, Rear Admiral François Xavier Polderman and they were received by the Deputy Force Commander MNJTF Brig Gen Abduo Harouna Assoumane on behalf of the Force Commander.
Gen Assoumane highlighted the various kinetic and non-kinetic measures conducted which have contributed to operational successes.
The Team leader, Rear Admiral François Polderman commended MNJTF for the recorded operational successes and explained that, they were on tour of Sahel region, because of its strategic importance to France and their desire to have a peaceful Sahel region adding that the MNJTF presented a perfect model of study.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says President Muhammadu Buhari has done his best in tackling insecurity facing the country.
Obasanjo who made the remark at an event organised by the Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa in Abuja on Tuesday said Nigerians should be concerned about making the country a better place after Buhari’s tenure.
“President Buhari has done his best, that is what he can do, if you expect anything more than what he has done or what he is doing, you are kicking a dead horse. And there’s no need,” he said.
“But then, where do we go from here? We cannot continue to fold our arms. How do we prepare for the post-Buhari era? Buhari has done his best. My prayer is that God will spare his life to see his term through.
“What should we do to make post-Buhari better than what we have now? That is our responsibility now because it concerns all of us.”
The former president said political will should be matched with “political action” to tackle the country’s security challenges.
For the country to successfully tackle the Boko Haram insurgency, Obasanjo said the carrot and stick approach needs to be adopted.
“The problem of insurgency will not go away if all we are using is the stick.
“We may suppress it, and keep it down a bit, but we have to use ‘carrot and stick’ together to effectively tackle the problems, ” Obasanjo said.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, who was also at the event assessed the insecurity in the country. He warned political and religious leaders and all Nigerians against politicising insecurity in the country.
He also decried the spate of killings in the country, asking the government to provide a stable environment for Nigerians to observe their religious beliefs.
The Defence Headquarters has said that troops have eliminated more than 62 bandits in the Northwest and North Central geo-political zones in the past two weeks.
Giving an update on military operations between November 25 and December 9 in Abuja on Thursday, Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier-General Bernard Onyeuko, said 192 terrorists, including children, also surrendered in the two regions within the period.
According to the military spokesman, the 192 who surrendered were mostly relatives of the terrorists and they include 51 adult males, 67 adult females and 74 children.
General Onyeuko further noted that Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa, Rann/Rumirgo villages and Biu, Bama, Mafa and Dikwa Local Government Areas of Borno were where some of the terrorists surrendered to troops.
He said that those who surrendered were properly profiled and handed to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.
Onyeuko said 28 terrorists were also arrested, while 54 assorted arms and 144 rounds of different calibre of ammunitions were recovered.
“A total of 101 rustled livestock were recovered and 20 kidnapped Nigeria Police Force personnel, who were abducted when terrorists attacked the Police Division at Buni Yadi, were rescued by the troops.
“Additionally, troops’ kinetic and non-kinetic operations have continued to drive the terrorists out of their camps into surrendering,’’ he said.
The military spokesman said troops of Operation Hadarin Daji repelled BHT/ISWAP terrorists’ attack in a fierce gun battle in Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno on Dec 3.
He added that during the encounter, troops subdued the terrorists with superior firepower and neutralised no fewer than 26 of them.
The military spokesman explained that troops either destroyed or captured several fighting equipment and vehicles owned by the terrorists.
According to Onyeuko, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke have also recovered arms and ammunition and rescue of kidnapped civilians.
“Operations were conducted at Atinyogo, Gbise and Gbor towns in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area and at Tyotsar Mbacher village in Shitile, Ukum Local Government Area and Igumale community in Ado Local Government Area of Benue.
“Other locations where operations held were Kayio village in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba, Kutara and Ruga Ahmadu Rufai community in Abaji Area Council of the FCT.
“Cumulatively, a total of five criminals were neutralised and 19 others arrested, while 15 different arms and 62 different calibres of ammunition were recovered. “Three kidnapped civilians were also rescued in the period under review.
“Troops also held peace and security meeting with critical stakeholders as non-kinetic means of tackling insecurity.
“One of these meetings was held at the Force Headquarters of Operation Whirl Stroke in Makurdi and issues discussed at the meeting centered on how to find lasting solutions to insecurity,” he asserted.
The General, however, said he regretted that some gallant officers and soldiers paid the supreme prize during engagements within the period under review.
The burial service of Brigadier-General Zirkushu Dzarma and four other soldiers who died fighting against Boko Haram terrorists was held on Friday at the Saint Stephen’s Protestant Church in Yola, Adamawa State.
The names of the other late soldiers are: Major Luka Barde, Lance Corporal Simon Solomon, Pte. Chagumeji Victor and Pte. Danyaro Umar.
Dignitaries at the funeral included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Deputy-Governor of Adamawa State, Crowther Seth, and heads of security agencies in the state.
The Nigerian Army has taken delivery of 60 new VP – 1 Type Tracked Armoured Personnel Carriers manufactured in China to boost the ongoing war against Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in the North-East and North-West.
Speaking during the commissioning of the new armoured tanks at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji Kaduna State, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya said the deployment of new platforms to the battlefield underscores the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that a state of normalcy is achieved across the country.
Represented by the Commandant of Infantry Corps, Major General Victor Ezugwu, the Army Chief assured that the military is taking cogent steps in ensuring that bandits and terrorists are neutralised and annihilated throughout the country.
“It is an effort which is in line with the Federal Government’s cardinal objectives of tackling the totality of the security challenges facing our dear country Nigeria,” the Army Chief said.
“These platforms we commission here today is in addition to other equipment brought in for the purpose and this underscores the strategic resolve to ensure that a state of normalcy is achieved across the length and breadth of Nigeria.”
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the armed forces, the COAS said the vehicles would boost the fight against insurgency and banditry in the North-East and North-West regions.
He, however, warned the bandits and other non- state actors to either surrender with their arms or be sent to hell.
Lieutenant General Yahaya also reiterated the Nigeria Army’s commitment in protecting the territorial integrity of the country, adding that this would be achieved in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, partners and other agencies.
The Presidency has lamented the impact of insurgency and banditry on school attendance in the country noting that over 12 million children have been forced out of school.
Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari said this on Tuesday at the fourth International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration in Abuja.
Gambari, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event lamented the increasing trend of school kidnaping noting that although the abducted students are eventually released, the trauma lingers.
“It is disheartening to note that even when the abducted students are released, the trauma of the incidences remains long in their minds; hence the plan to have teachers trained on psycho-social support.
“There are more than 12 million children currently out of school and the wider implication of the ongoing is that of a generation of children traumatised and afraid of going to school, especially the girl child,” he said.
He pointed out that fear of abduction and a traumatic experience from school children, who have been victims of kidnapping, has forced many children of school age to stay out of educational institutions, thereby increasing the problem of out-of-school children.
“The incessant attacks on the country’s educational system in the form of kidnapping, abduction of pupils; students through the increased activities of insurgents and general insecurity in our schools have been chief among contributing factors responsible for the growing number of out-of-school children.
“These perpetrators of evil, having turned their attention to innocent children in boarding schools or institutions outside city limits, adopt young learners in large numbers,” Gambari said.
The Chief of Staff, however, assured Nigerians that the government is mindful of the fact that, to record adequate achievements in the education sector, the system would require a total overhaul and changes to improve the education sector.
– Working To Overcome –
The first mass school abduction in the country was in the northeast region in 2014, when Boko Haram members picked 276 girls from Chibok, triggering a global campaign called #BringBackOurGirls.
Since then, attacks on schools have grown in number and spread across the northern part of the country.
The President’s Chief of staff, however, assured that efforts are ongoing to curb the ugly trend.
“This remains a challenge that we are working towards overcoming by deploying orthodox and unorthodox methods.
“I must tell you that it has been tough dealing with these security challenges and their effect. Moving forward, our faith in the nation is unshaken. We are strong, we remain so and we are determined and robust in order to enhance the security of our learning institutions.”