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.

‘You Can’t Kill Somebody And Say Allahu Akbar’, Buhari Condemns Insurgency

The President Needs To Rejig His Kitchen Cabinet – Oyebode
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has again criticised those killing innocent people in the name of Islam.

He insisted that it is very wrong for anyone to take a life, let alone join groups that engage in the killing of people and still claim to be a Muslim.

“Those whose activities are killing people in the North-east, saying ‘Allahu Akbar,’ are lying; God is not wicked,” the President said on Wednesday when he visited some people displaced by bandit attacks in Katsina State.

He added, “You can’t carry bomb or gun, sword or knife to go and kill an innocent person and say ‘Allahu Akbar’; this implies that you either don’t believe in God or you don’t know what you are saying.”

READ ALSO: ‘Isheri Day’ Attack: How Soldiers Allegedly Killed Two Persons – Police

President Buhari who addressed the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Batsari Local Government Area sympathised with them and restated his commitment to using soldiers, police and other public servants to tackle banditry in the country.

He gave assurance that he would in collaboration with leaders at various levels, including ward, village and district heads among others address the issue squarely.

“What brought me here is to condole with you over the recent bandit attacks affecting not only you but we in persons,” he told the attack victims.

“I have nothing to add on what the emir had already spoken extensively on, but all that leaders are supposed to do right from home is justice

“There is a popular Hausa adage which says, ‘it’s the rat in the house that tells the rat outside that there is fish in the house’. Within yourselves, your neighbours, and even your relatives, there are informants,” the President added.

Earlier, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, informed the President that the recent development of additional security personnel and equipment to the area has led to a drastic reduction in the frequency of attacks.

He, however, noted that there were still sporadic attacks with attendant kidnap and cattle rustling incidents.

The governor said the state government, with the help of other security agencies, has been able to scale down the crime through dialogue and amnesty programme.

UN Commemorates 10 Years Of North East Insurgency With Virtual Reality Experience

PHOTOS: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV/ July 31, 2019.

 

The United Nations on Wednesday launched a virtual reality experience called ‘Holding On’ to tell the stories of those who have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency which is now in its 10th year.

The exhibition which is open to the public is billed to last from August 1 to 15, 2019, and is also in commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day which comes up on August 19.

Attendees get to watch 360 videos that would give them a feel of the deplorable conditions that the internally displaced persons face in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buini, called for more assistance as the states in the northeast begin the process of reconstruction as well as rehabilitation of over 1.8 million persons displaced by the Book Haram insurgency.

Osinbajo Urges New Military Officers To Intensify Efforts Against Insecurity

Photo: Twitter – @GovKaduna

 

Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has urged military officers to support the Federal Government’s effort in the war against Boko Haram insurgency and other emerging security challenges confronting the nation.

He said this on Wednesday during the Passing Out Parade of cadets of Direct Short Service Course (DSSC) 28 at the Nigerian Airforce in Kaduna State.

The Vice President, who was the reviewing officer of the parade, emphasised that the efforts of the new military officers are needed in defeating all ideologies that promote mindless killings and anarchy across the country.

PHOTOS: Osinbajo Attends NAF Passing Out Parade In Kaduna

He further stated that the Federal Government in collaboration with state governors are reviewing the security architecture of the country with a view to finding a lasting solution to the menace of terrorism, kidnapping and rural armed banditry.

Troops Ambush, Kill Terrorists, Recover Weapons In Borno

 

Troops of the Nigerian Army have killed two members of a suspected terrorist group operating within the Gwoza axis of Borno State. 

According to the army spokesman, Colonel Sagir Musa, the troops of 26 Task Force Brigade killed the terrorists in an ambush conducted along Sabon Gari and Jirawa Village on Friday 28 June 2019.

Colonel Sagir said the ambush was based on information from a “good Samaritan”.

He said the ambush which was in continuation of Operation Halaka Dodo was conducted in conjunction with some members of the Civilian Joint Task Force.

The army spokesman said the terrorists were scouting for soft targets especially vulnerable farmers to disrupt their farming activities with intention of kidnapping women and children to be enslaved as labourers on farmlands belonging to the terrorists.

He stated that at the end of the encounter, the troops recovered some items including one Ak 47 rifle without a butt, one Bajaj Motorcycle as well as clothing and laundry items.

As at the time of filing this report, troops were still on aggressive clearance patrols in the general areas with the view to flush out other fleeing bandits.

Chibok Parent Insists 49 Towns Are Occupied By Boko Haram, Adesina Reacts

 

A Chibok Parent, John Bassa, has stated that at least 49 towns in the north east, are still being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.

He said this on Tuesday during a town hall organized by Channels to assess the performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the last four years.

Bassa who stated that 44 of his relations who were Boko Haram commanders had been killed, and at least 50, were still “active and high-ranking officers of Boko Haram” controlling some territories, maintained that many towns are currently empty as a result of the insurgence.

When asked: “Are you saying that Boko Haram is still in control of some territories in the northeast, from where they plan and execute these attacks – he responded by saying “of course”.

He went further to explain that “out of 52 towns in Gwoza, its only three right now that you can freely live within. (that is, Limankara, Gwoza town and Pulka).

“Gwoza town was liberated by our former President Goodluck, one week before election then in 2015 and the new administration liberated Limankara and Pulka so, 49 towns are still empty with nobody apart from the Boko Haram.

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“They are the ones enjoying those areas and you dare not go there”.

In response, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the idea of “infestation and actually controlling a place” are two different things.

Although he sympathised with Mr Bassa for the loss of his relatives who were Boko Haram commanders, Mr Adesina noted that – “that in itself shows that the government is not taking the situation lying low. It is taking the battle to Boko Haram and it is eliminating those who are behind it”.

He insisted that under the previous administration, insecurity was at an all-time-high and cannot be compared to the current times.

“What we saw as at 2015, was that Boko Haram was sitting on the traditional stools of some emirs.

“The emirs had fled and the Boko Haram members were the ones using the palace and controlling the places, Local Govt Chairmen had fled, they were sitting in the offices, they were collecting taxes and tolls and that is not the situation as at today.

“They are prevalent in certain areas does not mean they are the law,” he said.

Overstretched Resources, Mass Displacement In Borno Camps Worry UN

A new settlement/ IDP Camp under construction in Borno State.

 

The ongoing insurgency in the North East has continued to take its toll on the people in the affected communities, leaving thousands displaced and helpless.

With the steady increase in the number of displaced persons, resources have become overstretched and among other things, the health risks are at an all-time-high as IDP camps get over-crowded.

Twenty-year-old Aisha Ali who is a mother of three and a divorcee from Monguno Local Government Area in Borno State, is one of the many victims of the insurgency in Nigeria’s North East.

Read Also: Several Reported Dead As Fire Guts Borno IDP Camp

Teary-eyed and carrying her twin babies in each arm, she narrated her ordeal to Channels Television.

 

“I am not originally from this camp. I went to Jiddari where there was a temporary shed for displaced people. So I stayed with a woman I met there. But when they came and killed people we all ran away,” she said.

Many had fled to the Teachers’ Village where an IDP camp has now been established.

 

It was initially built in January 2014 by the Borno State Government to serve as an accommodation for teachers in the state but by 2015 it became home to thousands of displaced persons fleeing from the insurgents.

Since November 2018, the camp has absorbed more than 20,000 newly displaced persons, bringing its total population to over 31,000 as against the planned capacity of about 5,000.

Congested IDP camp

 

“This camp initially is meant for about five or six thousand people but it has close to 10,000 because comfortably, people are living there. But there has been a mass influx of people as a result of the insurgency, so its population is now over 31 thousand,” an official of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Borno, Usman Kachalla said.

 

 

The development has also become a source of serious concern for humanitarian partners like the UN who say they are worried about the imminent dangers such as fire accidents or disease outbreaks, among other things, associated with such congested living conditions.

But the Borno State government is stepping in to help in this regard by constructing new shelters for the displaced persons.

Already, some of the IDPs have started to relocate to the alternative shelter provided by the state government. One of the women leaders, Lami Mohammed, expressed gratitude over the new settlement.

“You cannot compare how we live here and the other place. Honestly, in the past we really faced difficult times; cold, mosquitoes and we were just outside. Our husbands slept in the open but here, we have our dignity and privacy and there’s enough space for everyone”.

 

Despite the provision of the basic amenities by the government, the welfare of the IDPs remains a topic of concern especially as women and children consist about 87% of the displaced population.

VIDEO: Borno Gov Weeps At Meeting With Buhari

 

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, on Monday broke down in tears when a delegation from the state visited President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

The governor was moved to tears because of what he described as the recent setback in the fight against insurgency.

He, however, noted that the leaders had not lost hope in the President’s ability to win the war and restore peace in the state.

Read Also: Troops Kill Six Boko Haram Terrorists, Destroy Hideout In Borno

Amidst the tears, he told the President that the delegation came to present a set of observations and specific requests from a security meeting held a week ago in the state, which will require urgent presidential intervention.

At the end of the meeting, the governor, however, declined to give journalists details of the observations and requests made to the president.

Others present included the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Babagana Monguno, the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, the DG of DSS and NIA, Chief of Defense Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin and members of the National Assembly.

Terrorists Invasion

Borno State has remained one of the hotspots of insurgency with several attacks, claiming the lives of many including security operatives.

One of the most significant in recent times is the killing of several soldiers after an attack on their military bases in Metele, Gazamalu Local Government Area of the state.

Read Also: Nigerian Army Buries Fallen Metele Heroes

Another equally significant attack is the abduction of over 200 female students from the Government Secondary School in Chibok town in 2014.

After several negotiations between the Federal Government and the insurgents, some girls were released.

While some others managed to escape on their own, some others died while in captivity.

A similar attack occurred in Dapchi, Yobe State (February 2018) where over 100 schoolgirls were abducted. After several negotiations, almost all the girls were released except one (Leah Sharibu).

She was held back by the terrorists for refusing to renounce her faith.

A few others were said to have died as a result of the trauma while in captivity.


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Also in Borno, some aid workers were abducted and killed in 2018 by the insurgents after they claimed that the deadline they gave to the Federal Government to meet their demands had expired.

While the government has expressed sadness over the spate of attacks, it has continued to reassure Nigerians that the war against insurgency is not yet lost.

Severally it has also debunked claims that the insurgents were still in control of some towns, with the President insisting that his administration has recorded significant improvement in fighting Boko Haram.

Read More: We Have Recorded Remarkable Improvement In The Fight Against Boko Haram – Buhari