The Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, says the military onslaught against the bandits is yielding tremendous success especially since the shutdown of telecoms services in the state.
Dosara disclosed this on Tuesday at a press briefing in the state.
“Zamfara State Government in efforts to ensure the crashing of the bandits has requested for the closing down of all networks in the state and this has been effective,” he said.
“The security officials are finding it very easy to deal with the bandits in their enclaves in the forests.”
He said some identified camps were destroyed by the Air Force while the Army is also on the ground to neutralise those who managed to escape through footpaths.
Speaking further, the Commissioner said other measures have also been taken based on credible information and intelligence available to the government.
“These include the immediate closure of the following places suspected to be habouring bandits and their collaborators,” Dosara said.
According to him, such places include some illegal motor parks and roadside markets, especially those at Kauran Namoda-Jibia road, Lambar Bakura junction, Mayanchi-Anka junction, Garejin Mai Lena, as well as Filin Jirgi rice and vegetables market in Gusau Metropolitan.
As part of efforts to curb the growing insecurity in the sate, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directed telecommunications providers to shut down services.
This was disclosed in a memo signed on Friday by the Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta.
The shutdown is expected to last for two weeks.
Meanwhile, last week, the government shut down schools after the abduction of 73 students from a public school in the state.
The abduction occurred 11 days after students abducted from the College of Agriculture in Bakura, Zamfara, regained freedom.
The state governor Bello Matawalle also suspended the transportation of livestock beyond the state’s borders and ordered the closure of weekly markets across the state, while transportation of food items will be subject to verification.
In a bid to bring the protracted Boko Haram conflict to a finite end, various approaches have been applied and a myriad of inferences abound, even as counterterrorist and counterinsurgent measures fail to yield desired results.
It’s been 12 years of terror, tens of thousands have lost their lives and millions have been displaced; never would one have thought that the nation will consider offering amnesty to the individuals who maimed, kidnapped, and killed innocent citizens, spreading dismay and fear, especially within the North East.
However, that option is now on the table. This approach has even become more pronounced following the massive surrender by Boko Haram fighters, recently.
The amnesty exercise for “Repentant Boko Haram Members” has had its dogged critics and its prominent advocates, including the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, and Senate President Ahmad Lawan who believe that the recent surrender of Boko Haram insurgents is a welcome development which should be encouraged.
Beyond the debate for and against the exercise, here are 11 questions that many Nigerians need answers to.
Do the people really want them back?
Knowing the magnitude of damage that these terrorists have caused Nigerians over the years, there are some who ask if “I am sorry” will be enough to bring the people consolation.
How genuine is their surrender?
For those who have asked this question, the matter is simple; how can we be sure that the recent surrendering that has been witnessed is genuine, knowing that the Boko Haram war is not just a physical conflict, but a battle of ideologies. How soon will they go back to their rebellion?
What are the downsides to handing out the olive branch?
While it would seem that the amnesty exercise gives the nation an extra chance at ending the insurgency in no distant time, some are concerned that we have not weighed the negatives that can come from pardoning these terrorists who have prosecuted this war for about 12 years.
For instance, if this is a subtle way to get back into communities, are we ready for the damage they can cause? Another damage envisaged includes lasting hostilities between the communities and the penitent terrorists.
Will they be trained abroad?
This question was expected, in that, the first major amnesty exercise in Nigeria was handed to the Niger Delta Militants and asides monies paid, there were programmes for a good number of militants to be trained abroad.
Perhaps the argument here is that the militants were said to be fighting for the destruction of their lands and the suffering of the region following oil explorations, while the Boko Haram’s war is purely against western education, an idea which many have described as barbaric at best.
So the question is will these fighters who have “no real course” be allowed to train abroad while those whose lives have been shattered by their deeds are left without schools?
Why is amnesty a priority at this time?
Senator Ali Ndume is perhaps the chief quizzer on this one.
In a recent interview, the lawmaker who serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army was of the opinion that it is only when the war has been won that we can begin to think about those who come out to surrender.
According to him, handing the terrorists an olive branch at this time will only encourage others to join the sect. He said having the exercise at this time is, at best, a misplacement of priority.
What about the IDPs?
Indeed, millions have become internally displaced due to the Boko Haram war and there is a question in line with Senator Ndume’s viewpoint and that is “what becomes of the IDPs?”
As the nation begins to look critically into the rehabilitation of the ex-radicals, people are wondering if this development is not stalling the push to have displaced Nigerians returned to their homes.
There are those who are of the opinion that the IDPs must at this moment remain the major focus of the government, not those who have inflicted pain on the nation. For these persons, the most important and yet to be answered question remains “when are the IDPs going home?”
In what way will the repentant fighters be settled?
Surrendering is one thing, de-radicalising those who have surrendered is another. However, what will they do after they have been de-radicalised?
A common answer would be to go back to the farms or acquire a skill, but one understands that insurgency is a multi-million-dollar affair and many of these individuals have been used to a certain level of comfort and power that the farms and workshops may not avail them at this time.
This begs the question; will they stay patient or will they ask for more?
Will they be allowed to enjoy all their civil rights?
By this question, we mean, are there legislations in place or being formulated to back their incorporation back into society?
Are there laws that expressly explain the nation’s stand on such very delicate issues as the stigma they may face, the kinds of jobs they are entitled to or may not be entitled to, and the positions they may hold in society?
Should they serve some jail term or some other punishment?
Here, the law regarding how to deal with prisoners of war will come in handy, but this must not be left to the understanding of a certain class. There is a need for the people to be enlightened as to why these individuals are not in jail or why they have not been charged to court.
There are many who are wondering where the justice has been served if all of a sudden, their past deeds are not put into consideration and the individuals made to face the law, even if it means that their sentences would be drastically shortened.
It is left for the authorities to enlighten the people further as regards punitive measures and the amnesty exercise.
Can they join the military?
Yes, this question would seem to have been linked with 8 above. However, the jobs talked about in the former, are not the same as getting into the military, for to be a part of the force is more than just a job.
This rather sensitive subject has stirred very heated debates severally; however, at each time the Defence Headquarters has always made it clear that there will be no absorption of deradicalised Boko Haram ex-fighters into the Nigerian military.
According to the Force, Nigeria has enough able-bodied men who are willing to serve their fatherland, and as such grafting repentant Boko Haram members is not an option.
Have they been yielding quality information?
For some Nigerians, one of the only bases upon which amnesty will be granted to any Boko Haram member should be based on the quality of information supplied.
It is expected in some quarters of the country that the fighters who are surrendering at the moment, are giving the authorities very vital information that will see the army do major damages to any Boko Haram/ISWAP strongholds that still exists today.
This way there could be a case made for them as regards helping the nation to quash the insurgency for good, maybe when this is done, then a course is charted for redemption.
Nigerian Army troops of Sector 2 Joint Task Force North East Operation Hadin Kai have arrested one Yusuf Saleh, a suspected Boko Haram Urea Fertilizer supplier.
The suspect was nabbed by the troops on Friday at Bayamari village in Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State following a tip-off.
According to a statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, 38 50kg bags of Urea were recovered from him.
Urea fertilizer was banned by Government because of its usage in the manufacturing of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) by terrorists.
Nwachukwu said the suspect is now helping investigators with useful information.
Meanwhile, the troops have been commended for their vigilance and swift response in arresting the suspect.
According to the statement, they have also been encouraged not to allow any form of distraction from the marauding terrorists.
People in the region have also been asked to continue to avail the troops with actionable information that will enhance the execution of the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the region.
The Governor of Yobe State, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, has commiserated with the families of the victims of the Gujba attack.
The Governor described the victims as heroes who laid their lives in defense of the country.
“The government and people of Yobe State commiserate with the families of the brave security men who lost their lives in the attack.
“The sacrifice made by these brave heroes shall never be in vain,” Governor Buni said.
“Government will not be deterred by such attacks from executing programmes and policies in the interest of the people of the state” he added.
Speaking further, the governor assured the people of the state of his administration’s commitment to always working together with security agencies to safeguard lives and property of the citizenry.
Some residents told Channels Television that insurgents stormed the community on Thursday in a van and drove straight to a company constructing the 40 Kilometer Gujba-Mutai road, killing two mobile police officers and one member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) before burning down the heavy-duty machines on the site.
Residents also noted that the attackers stayed on the scene for hours unconfronted before returning to the bush.
Three security personnel have been killed in Gujba, Yobe State after Boko Haram insurgents stormed the community some 30 kilometers from Damaturu, the state capital on Thursday.
Some residents told Channels Television that the attackers stormed the community in a van and drove straight to a company constructing the 40 Kilometer Gujba-Mutai road, killing two mobile police officers and one member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) before burning down the heavy-duty machines on the site.
While security authorities are yet to confirm the attack, residents told Channels Television that the attackers stayed on the scene for hours unconfronted before returning to the bush.
A retired colonel, Tony Nyiam, has called for the recruitment of more military personnel to tackle the disturbing rate of insecurity in the country, especially banditry and terrorism.
Speaking during his appearance on Channels Television’sSunrise Daily on Monday, he decried that the present number of the military workforce was inadequate compared to the security threats in the nation.
“I have been saying that the military we have (in terms of force level) is too low. We have less than 200,000 soldiers for a country as populated as Nigeria, and insecurity is all over the place.
“Why I said the service chiefs who are coming are doing their best is that with what they have, they are doing their best,” Nyiam said.
He advised the Federal Government to take a cue from the regime of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, who recruited scores of thousands of people into the military to boost the nation’s security.
The former military officer noted that General Gowon, at the time, had a civil war to deal with, which he said was bigger than the present fight against banditry and insurgency.
He stated, “I always use the example of General Gowon who he came in and an army of less than 8,000 people; in less than six months, he built an army of over 200,000.
‘The General I Knew Before’
“And apart from building the army, he also ensured something that had been lacking – he ensured that the locals of the different areas played a part.”
“Gowon knew his shortcomings and he got in people like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he had a very good Attorney-General, he had (Late Anthony) Enahoro, and he had the British who gave him access to the international (space),” Nyiam added.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has not been reacting to the security situation as much until the last three weeks.
The colonel highlighted the two critical steps that must be taken by the President to include a formal declaration of war against banditry, terrorism, and other forms of criminality, and engaging the right set of advisers.
He commended President Buhari for rejecting the option of negotiating with bandits and his recent directive to security operatives on herdsmen with AK-47 rifles.
Nyiam, however, said the President should have made the directive clearer that only herdsmen carrying AK-47 who refuse to be disarmed should be shot.
“Those are two signs showing that Buhari who has never always talked about these AK-47 carrying herdsmen is saying ‘shoot them at first sight if you see them in the forest’.
“In other words, I think President Muhammadu Buhari is becoming the General Buhari I knew before,” the former military officer said.
“We expect our Armed Forces to take the fight to the insurgents and bandits,” the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said.
He made the remark on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers in the Senate confirmed the service chiefs during plenary in the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
The Senate had confirmed Major General Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff, and Major General Ibrahim Attahiru as Chief of Army Staff.
Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo and Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao were also confirmed as the Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff respectively.
Presiding over the plenary, the Senate President commended the new appointees, saying there were so many calls for the replacement of the former service chiefs and the President had done that.
He thanked the former service chiefs for doing their best and advised their successors that Nigerians expected so much from them.
Senator Lawan called for inter-agency and cooperation among the security agencies and asked the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Air Force to take the lead in the fight against crime.
“We are in a very serious situation. The security situation must be improved, and the buck is now going to stop on their table as far as operations are concerned.
“We in the Senate will continue to support our Armed Forces in whatever way is possible. With this, I wish them all the success and we promise them and indeed Nigerians that we will support them in whatever way that its possible,” he said.
Up To The Task?
The confirmation of the service chief’s appointments followed the report of the Senate committee presented to the lawmakers by Senator Aliyu Wamakko.
Senator Barau Jibrin, in his contribution, believes going by the resumes of the service chiefs, they were highly capable and up to the task they were nominated for.
On his part, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege commended Senator Wamakko and his committee for a very thorough and terrific job.
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari took his time to seek out the very best in the Armed Forces.
“The intellect and exploit of these nominees are very well documented in this report. The nominee for Chief of Defence Staff is a friend I have known for so many years and I can personally attest and corroborate Wammako’s confirmation as a competent and patriotic person.
“Major General Ibrahim Attahiru is also someone I have known for a very long time. I have no doubt that President Muhammadu Buhari has selected the very best men to pilot the military affairs. I wholeheartedly support these nominations,” the lawmaker told his colleagues.
The Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche has said that Boko Haram insurgents no longer have authority over any part of the country, especially in the northeast where the insurgents once had a stronghold.
Speaking on Channel Television’s Politics Today on Friday, Enenche explained that what the country now has are remnants and a weakened enemy (Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters).
“They are moving from bush to enclave and enclave to bush and no longer have any authority or sovereignty on any territory in the northeast and by extension, to Nigeria,” he said.
The comments come on the same day that the nation marked the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, in honour of the fallen heroes of the military.
While the nation continues to record some successes in its insurgency war, many have faulted the government’s claims of its success, even as many, including frontline officers have had to pay the supreme price.
Still, the government has severally reiterated that the insecurity fight under the current administration has been far more progressive than in previous governments.
General Enenche also restated this position on Friday, noting that “the Armed Forces of Nigeria made a lot of progress last year in the area of packaging itself to further the defense of this country.”
“As of 2015 before this administration came on board, at least 17 and 20 local governments were strongholds of the insurgents… by 2016 the whole of the northeast was recaptured and the government took back full authority,” he said.
He also spoke about welfare packages for families of the fallen heroes.
Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke have rescued three persons kidnapped by bandits in Nasarawa State.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, John Enenche Major General, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
He explained that the rescue operation was conducted on Thursday at Mararaba Udege general area in Nasarawa Local Government Area.
Enenche noted that the soldiers killed one bandit in the ensuing firefight while the kidnapped victims were subsequently reunited with their respective families.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will not relent until all enemies of the country are neutralised and normalcy is restored to all troubled zones,” he said.
Several Terrorists Killed
Elsewhere, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole inflicted heavy casualties on Boko Haram terrorists in the Sambisa Forest area of Borno State.
The military spokesman noted that the troops took out the terrorists’ hideouts in Alagarno, including a compound housing some high-value Boko Haram leaders.
“The compound, concealed under thick vegetation and located 2.3Km North East of KAFA, was being used by the terrorists to coordinate their nefarious activities.
“The destruction of the locations was achieved through multiple air strikes executed on 6 January 2021 as the ATF dispatched appropriate force packages of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and attack helicopters to engage the target areas in day and night raids,” he stated.
Enenche noted that the insurgents were spotted under the dense vegetation of the locations and the NAF attack aircraft took turns to engage the targets, killing several of them in the process.
No fewer than two thousand criminals have been killed by troops between March and December across various parts of the country, the military has said.
The Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, disclosed this on Thursday while addressing a press conference in Abuja.
He explained that a total of 2,403 criminals were neutralised in a bid to contain the excesses of insurgents, kidnappers and others whose activities threaten the peace and security of Nigeria.
General Enenche added that troops rescued a total of 864 kidnapped victims across the country and arrested 1,910 criminals with a large cache of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered during the period.
He stated that the military would continue to sustain the offensive against all criminal elements and not relent until peace was restored to every troubled zone in the country.
The military spokesman also reassured Nigerians that the military remained committed to its duty of protecting the nation’s territorial integrity.
He, however, called for the provision of timely and credible information that would aid the military in the fight against insurgency and emerging security challenges.
Read the full text of General Enenche’s briefing below:
RECORD OF ARMED FORCES OF NIGERIA OPERATIONS FOR YEAR 2020 FROM 18 MARCH TO 30 DECEMBER
As you are aware, the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO) came into full operations from 18 March 2020.
Since its establishment, the DDMO have worked assiduously to meet its mandate; to manage military operations information from all theatres of operation across the Country.
All through, the Directorate provided a single, coordinated voice to disseminate timely and credible information on all Defence Headquarters-led operations.
We have achieved these through daily press releases, weekly press briefings, as well as quarterly updates and sometimes personal appearances on different media houses, and these would not have been possible without your cooperation and support, gentlemen of the press. We honestly appreciate you.
As we come to the end of the year, it is necessary for us to jog memories on the unrelenting and committed efforts of the Nigerian Military and other security agencies to resolve the security challenges across the country.
This would give a better perspective of the cumulative results of our operational activities and achievements. Against this backdrop, I will be giving a record on the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s operations from 18 March to 30 December 2020.
The efforts and sacrifices of the gallant officers and men of the Military as well as other security agencies that conduct these operations have been progressive.
Within the period under review, troops engaged in a series of land, maritime and air operations, involving both kinetic and non-kinetic activities across the country.
The land operations conducted among others across the various theatres of operation include; clearance, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments and aggressive patrols.
Others were maritime operations involving anti-piracy, anti-illegal bunkering, anti-crude oil theft and anti-pipeline vandalism operations as well as other duties such as anti-smuggling operations.
Furthermore, comprehensive air operations including air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support and air cover for ground troops.
Although some of our troops paid the supreme prize in the course of the operations, our dogged troops have consistently exhibited gallantry and resilience in the various operations.
Within the timeframe in focus, troops neutralised scores of terrorists and bandits, while many others were incapacitated, and their camps destroyed.
Our operations also inhibited activities of economic saboteurs as well as exposed and obviated other criminal activities.
In addition, several other criminal elements, including high profile ones were either killed in action or arrested, sometimes together with their families as well as informants and gunrunners.
Besides, there are records of scores of criminals surrendering due to troops’ overwhelming superior firepower and intelligence activities.
Other feats recorded in the course of our operations were the rescue of kidnapped victims, prominent among which, is the recent rescue of 344 schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, as well as the Islamiya children, all in Katsina State.
Others were repelling and forestallment of terrorists and bandits’ attacks on civilians and troops. Troops also recovered caches of arms and ammunition, equipment, vehicles and oodles of livestock within the period.
You may as well recall that, in the maritime environment, troops in major and subsidiary operations were able to disrupt smuggling activities, immobilise illegal refining sites, arrest perpetrators, seize foreign parboiled rice and recover tons of petroleum products.
In the North-West zone of the country, between 18 March and 31 December 2020, a cumulative total of 5,281 livestock, 6,951 rounds of ammunition and 120 assorted rifles were recovered from the armed bandits by the gallant troops in the Zone.
Furthermore, a total of 455 kidnapped victims were rescued and 473 armed bandits were killed in action.
In the same vein, a total of 461 arrests were made in the Zone including high profile armed bandits, gun runners and bandits’ collaborators, while total cash of N6,365,550 was recovered from armed bandits and their informants in the Zone.
Progressively, in the North-East zone of the Country within the period, 200 kidnapped victims were rescued by the gallant troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
A total of 1,385 rounds of ammunition, 45 grenades as well as 95 assorted rifles were recovered from BHT/ISWAP fighters. In addition, several gun trucks were captured, while some others were destroyed during air strikes.
Equally, 1,805 insurgents/terrorists including commanders were killed by the troops aside scores killed by air raids/attacks. Additionally, within the period, a total of 79 arrests were made including high-value targets.
In the North-Central zone of the country, within the period, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN, WHIRL STROKE and THUNDER STRIKE have achieved appreciable successes.
A total of 130 kidnapped victims were rescued and 105 assorted rifles as well as 513 rounds of ammunition and 1,055 rustled cattle, were recovered from armed bandits and other criminal elements in the Zone.
In the same vein, a total of 1,250 criminals including family members of the Darul Salam sect were arrested within the period. Furthermore, troops neutralised a total of 125 armed bandits including militia gang leaders.
In the South-South Zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies recorded remarkable results in their efforts against economic sabotage and other sundry crimes in the Zone.
Within the period under review, a cumulative total of 8,890,300 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,00 litres of DPK were impounded by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE.
In the same vein, the gallant troops immobilised a total of 185 illegal refining sites, 85 dugout pits and 163 metal storage tanks within the period.
Additionally, troops impounded a cumulative total of 31,236.8 barrels of stolen crude oil as well as 12,272,652 litres of stolen PMS from oil thieves in the Zone. Also, a total of 47 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 72 vandals and criminals were arrested.
Furthermore, a total of 4,250 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice were impounded and 45 boats engaged in illegal activities were arrested.
Troops also arrested a total of 53 pirates and 25 trucks as well as recovered 23 rifles, 65,330 rounds of ammunition and destroyed 23 sea pirate camps.
Similarly, troops of Operation AWATSE in the South-West Zone between 18 March and 30 December 2020, impounded a total of 10,458,600 litres of PMS; 15,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 345,000 litres of stolen AGO.
Additionally, troops recovered a total of 3,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles. Also, within the period, a total of 23 illegal refining sites were immobilised, while 15 boats and 23 trucks engaged in illegal activities were arrested.
In the same vein, within the period 35 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 48 arrests were made.
In addition to the kinetic operations, the Armed Forces of Nigeria carried out non-kinetic operations in form of Civil-Military Cooperation Activities (CIMIC).
A total of 92 boreholes were sunk for host communities and 16 schools and worship centres were renovated across the Country.
Additionally, 16 clinics and dispensaries were constructed and donated, including buses to host communities.
Moreover, the Armed Forces of Nigeria constructed roads installed transformers and solar power equipment in some host communities. The military also fostered several stakeholders and reconciliation meetings between hostile communities and carried out medical outreaches.
In summary, the Armed Forces of Nigeria from 18 March to 30 December 2020 neutralised 2,403 criminal elements across the Country. This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes.
Troops also rescued a total of 864 kidnapped victims across the Country. In addition, a total of 9,684,797 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,000 litres of DPK were recovered.
Equally, 1,910 criminal elements were arrested, and a large cache of arms, ammunition and equipment were recovered during the period.
Furthermore, a total of 46,581.8 barrels of stolen crude oil and 22,881,257 litres of stolen PMS were recovered by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Gleaning from the available information as I have just presented, there is no gainsaying that the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in the Year 2020 yielded appreciable results.
Our operational performance for the year is a show of our commitment, synergy and determination to lay down our lives to protect our great Nation.
We will continue to sustain the offensive and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled zone in Nigeria. The general public is also assured of our commitment to protect our economic assets anywhere.
The High Command of the Nigerian Military wishes to thank the general public for their support and further solicit their cooperation towards providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements in our operations.
The Military High Command also commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their resilience, doggedness and commitment.
Troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in securing the country.
Once again, I thank members of the press for their understanding and support for our course.
Members of the Senate on Tuesday called for the provision of enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the insurgents in the North East.
This formed part of the resolutions reached after a thorough deliberation on national security, especially as it relates to the security challenges in the region.
The lawmaker representing Borno Central, Senator Kashim Shettima, had cited Order 42 and 52 to seek the leave of the Senate to move a motion on the beheading of 67 farmers by Boko Haram insurgents.
The number given by the lawmaker is one of the conflicting figures that trailed the incident which occurred on Saturday last week at Koshobe, a village in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.
While the military said it counted 43 bodies, the Boko Haram terrorist group which claimed responsibility for the killing put the death toll at 78.
Recruit 10,000 JTF Memebrs
During Tuesday’s plenary at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, the lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate which led to the adoption of nine resolutions.
In no particular order, they resolved to impress on the Federal Government to urgently recruit at least 10,000 members of the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), as well as massive recruitment of personnel into the army and police.
The lawmakers stated that such recruits should be versatile with the local terrain in Borno and engaged as agro-rangers under the aegis of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to complement the efforts of the military.
They asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately initiate the transitionary process of phasing out the current ‘over-stayed’ security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions.
The lawmakers urged him to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the nation’s entire security architecture.
They also urged the President to immediately initiate a probe into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure.
The senators demanded that mechanisms be put in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed for security were actually spent on the needs on the ground.
According to them, it is important for the government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighbouring nations of Chad, Niger Republic, and Cameroon to revive and strengthen the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and finding a lasting solution to the scourge of insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
Time To Take New Blood
The lawmakers demanded provision of proper welfare for security personnel fighting in the frontlines and prime attention to the compensation and welfare of fallen soldiers, saying that would boost the troops’ morale and aid their concentration.
They resolved to direct the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and relevant government agencies to compensate the families of the farmers killed and provide succour and psychological support to their families.
As a way of proffering long-term solution to the nation’s existential security challenges, the lawmakers stressed the need for the Federal and state governments to adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity.
This, according to them, must include comprehensive packages on education, employment and other social vices.
Among the lawmakers that contributed to the debate was Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita who stated that it was no longer acceptable to any Nigerian on the present security situation in the country.
He added that the explanation by the military was no longer acceptable, stressing that it was time for the Senate to critically engage the security agencies.
“If nothing is done, then we must be prepared for another mourning. Mr President is doing his best but if there is no result, then his best is not good enough,” Senator Baba-Kaita said.
Senator Adamu Aliero, in his remarks, condemned the killing of innocent people who met their end while trying to make a living.
He insisted that there was nowhere in the world where such an ugly incident occurred, saying the killing of the farmers was the height of insecurity.
“Mr President should have gone to Borno State to condole with the government and people of the state and not to send a delegation.
“It is now time to act. The Service Chiefs have outlived their usefulness. It is now time to take new blood,” the lawmaker stated.
Enough Of Many Excuses!
On his part, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele urged his colleagues to stand on existing resolutions in addition to the prayers, with an emphasis on the call to sack the service chiefs.
For Senator George Sekibo, the primary function of a government is to protect the people and where that is not the case, it amounts to a failure.
He said, “Have we not failed? … We swore to this Constitution to protect lives and property. We have deprived Nigerians who want to farm of farming. We are crying about food shortage.
“The President is the Commander-In-Chief. If there is a failure in the military, it means the President is not doing enough. It is time we take the issue of community policing seriously.”
“If you take an Ijaw man to Borno State, and there is an attack, he or she will not know where to run to. Let us use those who know the work to do the work,” the lawmaker added.
The Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, commended Senator Shetima for bringing the motion to the Senate.
He stated that the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, has taken the issue of insecurity very seriously urged the lawmakers not to get frustrated that nothing has happened yet.
“I believe that this is one set of resolutions that the Executive must find a way of quickly implementing them. Enough of many excuses!
“We are responsible to citizens and the first responsibility is to secure their lives. The security of Nigeria should take centre stage much more than anything else,” the lawmaker said.
He added, “Let us secure the people first and no investment in security is too much, most especially when we are faced with insecurity.”
Troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies are again renewing their commitment to ending insurgency, banditry, and other sundry crimes in the country.
This is according to the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, who briefed reporters on Thursday in Abuja on the activities of the military in the fight against insurgency and banditry.
He disclosed that in the last five days, the land component of Operation Lafiya Dole repelled terrorist attacks on troops’ location at Army Super Camp, Damboa in Borno State.
Enenche noted that this led to the death of 22 insurgents who succumbed to the superior power of the Air Task Force.
He added that troops killed three bandits at Diskuru village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The DHQ spokesperson stated that some other bandits fled in disarray with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
He said during the exploitation phase, the bodies of two more bandits were discovered along their withdrawal route while three abducted women and their infants were rescued.
Enenche regretted that a brave soldier paid the supreme price in an attempt to save one of the rescued nursing mothers in the heat of the encounter.
He stressed the need for residents to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that would assist them in the operations.
The DHQ spokesperson also gave an update on the series of military operations carried out in the north-central and south-southern parts of the country.
Read the full text of the briefing below:
GENERAL UPDATE ON ARMED FORCES OF NIGERIA OPERATIONS FROM 30 OCTOBER – 4 NOVEMBER 2020
The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have continued their major operations across the country with attendant results. This briefing will cover from 30 October – 4 November 2020.
In continuation of intensive clearance operations in the North-West zone of the country, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have continued to record serial successes against armed bandits with significant results. The period in focus witnessed a decline in criminal activities in the zone.
However, within the period under review, troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY reacted swiftly to a distress call about bandit’s activities that attacked Diskuru village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The gallant troops engaged the criminals in a fierce firefight forcing them to withdraw in disarray while three bandits were neutralised by the troops as several others escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
During the exploitation phase, two additional bandits’ bodies were discovered along their withdrawal route. Equally, three women and their infants earlier kidnapped by the bandits were rescued.
Regrettably, one brave soldier paid the supreme price in an attempt to save one of the rescued nursing mothers in the heat of the encounter.
In the same vein, troops deployed at Dan Ali village arrested two suspected bandits’ collaborators namely Samaila Usman and Idi Bello.
Similarly, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI arrested two suspected bandits’ collaborators at Yarkirya village and Kankara Market in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.
On 31 October 2020, Forward Operating Base KANGO patrol team arrested two suspected bandits at Kango village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Deducing from the above successes, it is clear that troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies are committed in their endeavour to end banditry and other sundry crimes in the country.
While the good people of the North West are once again assured of Armed Forces of Nigeria’s commitment to the safety of lives and property within the zone, they are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist them in the operations.
In the North-East zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria working together with other security agencies have continued to sustain the onslaught against the insurgents.
Within the period under review, troops recorded appreciable successes as several terrorists were neutralised, while many were arrested with caches of arms and ammunition.
Between 30 October and 4 November 2020, troops conducted comprehensive ground and air operations.
Within the period, the Land Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE under its subsidiary Operation FIREBALL exhibited its operational readiness and repelled terrorists’ attacks on troops’ location at Army Super Camp, Damboa in Borno State.
Scores Of Fighters Neutralised
With superior firepower and support from the Air Task Force, troops neutralised 22 insurgents while several others escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
During the encounter, troops recovered caches of arms and ammunition as well as of their equipment.
Equally, troops of Operation FIREBALL in conjunction with local vigilante arrested a BHT/ISWAP member identified as Mohammed Bello at Damaturu Town in Yobe State.
The terrorist was arrested while trying to purchase arms and ammunition, while he was in possession of one AK-47 rifle and a magazine.
The criminal element has been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for necessary action.
Meanwhile, within the period under review, the Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE conducted several air operations involving both offensive and support missions.
With the use of a force package of Nigerian Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships, the Air Task Force conducted Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions over various locations in the North East.
The air surveillance missions revealed terrorists’ activities and their hideout which enabled the Air Task Force to execute air interdictions and strikes on the identified locations, causing devastating hits on the terrorists’ hideouts at Mudu and Garin Maloma Villages in Borno State.
Scores of their fighters were neutralised and their structures and logistics facilities destroyed.
From the records of these operations, it is glaring that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security operatives are resolute in their determination to end the insurgency and achieve sustainable peace in the North-East zone of the Country.
In the North-Central zone, troops have continued to intensify aggressive clearance operations amongst others, to decisively curtail activities of armed bandits and other criminals.
This has led to a gradual reduction in the activities of criminality in the zone. Notably, within the period, troops of Sector 2 Operation WHIRL PUNCH while on patrol at Bassa village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State repelled armed bandits’ attack.
In the course of the encounter, several bandits were neutralised. Also, within the period in focus, troops of Headquarters Command Army Records, Lokoja in conjunction with Defence Intelligence Agency operatives arrested four suspected criminals with three locally made guns at Auko village along Lokoja- Abuja Highway in Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
In another development, between 29 October and 3 November 2020, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN conducted extensive Civil-Military Cooperation activities to cultivate cordial relations with the various ethnic groups in Plateau State.
Notably, on 29 October 2020, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN fostered security meetings with stakeholders from Kibadu, Foka and Ungwar Doruwa villages in Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
This was followed by another round of meetings on 30 October 2020 at Gero village in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Furthermore, meetings were held with Heads of Security Agencies and Local Government Chairmen on 31 October 2020.
The same day, peace meetings were also held with representatives of Fulani, Irigwe, Berom, Hausa, Afizere and Rukuba communities in Jos South and Bassa Local Government Areas of Plateau State, and Godo-Godo District of Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
As it is, these meetings were organised in continuation of peace and reconciliation efforts amongst the various ethnic groups in the zone. The meetings focused extensively on farmers/herders clashes, kidnapping, farm encroachment/destruction and other sundry security challenges in the state.
Furthermore, on 2 November 2020, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN commissioned five boreholes at Angwan Rana, Kurmin Masara, Boto, Zikpak, and a solar energy panel project in Sabon Kaura clinic in Kauru, Zangon-Kataf and Jama’a Local Government Areas of Kaduna State respectively.
This was followed by the commissioning of a newly renovated administrative block at Government Secondary School Gidan Waya in Jama’a Local Government Area.
Consequently, the locals are requested to cooperate with the security agencies by availing them with the required information which will be useful to our collective objective of taking out the criminals from the zone.
Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have continued with the aggressive fight against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and economic sabotage in the zone with significant successes.
Illegal Refineries Destroyed, Suspects Arrested
Notably, within the period in focus, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE discovered and immobilised three illegal refineries containing seven boilers, two reservoirs and two tanks loaded with illegally refined oil products around Orutoru in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Additionally, troops in conjunction with local vigilante arrested five suspected cultists at Jesse Community in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Similarly, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE while on patrol arrested a suspected armed robber with a locally made pistol at Igbudu Market in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
In another development, Operation CALM WATERS II and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to record more successes. Between 30 October and 3 November 2020, Forward Operating Base IBAKA gunboats while on routine patrol around Utan Iyata intercepted and arrested two wooden boats laden with 326 of 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled in from Cameroon.
The arrested items have been handed over to the Nigerian Customs Service for further action. On 30 October 2020, Forward Operating Base IBAKA patrol team intercepted and arrested one small size wooden boat laden with product suspected to be Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) along Mbo River, being smuggled to the Republic of Cameroon.
Items recovered from the arrest include one small size wooden boat, 44 300-litre drums of PMS, one pumping machine and two 40 HP Yamaha engines. The arrested items have been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for necessary action.
The Military High Command commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their commitment, determination and dedication.
They are equally encouraged to remain firm and decisive in curtailing the activities of all criminal elements in the country.
Members of the general public are hereby assured that the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies will continue to tackle the security challenges and will ensure that normalcy is attained in all the geo-political zones of the Country.
However, their support is highly solicited in the area of providing credible information to assist our operations.