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.
Three flashpoints have been identified as the strongholds of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, following a week-long engagement with the service chiefs and other stakeholders in the region.
The areas are Lake Chad fringes, Sambisa Forest, and the Mandara mountains – all located in Borno State.
The engagement which took place on the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari also had the north-east governors in attendance.
“The President has assured the people of Borno State and indeed the north-eastern subregion that he will do everything possible within his reach to ensure that lives and property of people living in Borno State are secured,” Governor Babagan Zulum told reporters in Maiduguri, the state capital shortly after his arrival from Abuja on Sunday.
He added, “We have discussed, especially the issue of strengthening security in the fringes of the Lake Chad and Mandara mountains, as well as in the Sambisa Forest and I think my meeting with the Chief of Air Staff, as well as Chief of Naval Staff and also General (Tukur) Buratai is very promising.”
The governor said Buratai, who is the Chief of Army Staff, promised to look into the issue of clearing the enclaves of the insurgency in the three flashpoints identified.
He was confident that with the renewed commitment of the President and service chiefs, peace would reign again in Borno.
Zulum, who is also the Chairman of the North-East Governors’ Forum, had led his colleagues to the Presidential Villa in the nation’s capital and continued engagements with the service chiefs throughout the week.
While at the Villa, the governors identified some of the root causes of the insurgency raving the region and stressed the need for the Nigerian government to address them
They were of the opinion that the insurgents were taking advantage of endemic poverty and hunger among other challenges in the region to recruit more members into their fold.
The governors said the people need to go back to their farmlands and resettle in their original homes so that they can revive their means of livelihood.
They also recommended that police should be provided with state-of-the-art equipment and armoured personnel carriers, with a view to bridging the manpower gap in the military.
On his part, President Buhari gave strong assurances that security would be restored to Borno State, the North East, and the nation at large.
He also informed the governors that things would improve very soon as the government was acquiring modern equipment to fight insurgencies in the region.
State governors in the north-eastern part of the country have identified some of the root causes of the insurgency raving the region.
They stated this on Monday in Abuja at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss ways to intensify the war against insurgency.
The Chairman of the North-East Governors’ Forum, Babagana Zulum of Borno State, who led the governors to the Villa, stressed the need for the Nigerian government to address the root causes of the insurgency.
According to him, the insurgents are taking advantage of endemic poverty and hunger among other challenges in the region to recruit more members into their fold.
Briefing State House correspondent at the end of the meeting, Zulum said, “One of the root causes is access to farmlands. People need to go back to their farmlands; people need to be resettled in their original homes so that they can start their means of livelihood.
“This is one of the reasons why insurgents are recruiting more (members) into their sects and creating an enabling environment for people to go about their normal activities will no doubt reduce the cases of insurgencies.”
“We also recommended that the police should be provided with state-of-the-art equipment, armoured personal carriers among others, with a view to bridging the manpower gap that we are having in the Nigerian military,” the governor added.
He also stressed the need for the Federal Government to work closely with the state and local governments with a view to providing solutions that would end the crisis in the region.
Governor Zulum, however, noted that the government was taking a bold step to ensure the best ways to tackle some of the challenges faced by people in the North East.
Other governors present included Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Umar Fintiri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).
Members of the Boko Haram terrorist group and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) have carried out a series of attacks on communities in the region over the years, leading to the death of thousands of residents and forceful ejection of millions of others from their homes.
While the military said it has recorded many feats in the onslaught against the insurgents, the state governors in the region, who were apparently disturbed by the recent activities of the non-state fighters, met with the President.
‘Nigerians Believed Us’
Earlier, at the meeting, President Buhari gave strong assurances that security would be restored to Borno State, the North East, and the nation at large.
The President’s assurance, according to a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, follows the recent adoption of new strategies and the acquisition of modern military equipment.
“Things will improve very soon. We are acquiring modern equipment; some are here, some are being cleared, and others still coming.
“We need patience with acquisition of equipment. You need to train the trainers for their usage ahead of their deployment to the field,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in the statement.
He added, “I assure you, the north-east governors, especially that of Borno, that we go to bed and wake up thinking about you, how to secure our country; that is the responsibility of every government.
“Our party campaigned in 2015 on three major objectives, among which is Security. We said the same thing in 2019 and Nigerians believed us. We are doing our best and we will continue to do even better.”
The President decried the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy which he said has made scarce resources even scarcer, coupled with its severe impact on the supply chain of military equipment and spare parts.
He, however, stated that his administration was doing its best on the question of equipment and the military was aware that equipment were coming from some countries.
President Buhari lamented that the acquisition of military wares and spares was not an easy task.
‘We Will Not Relent’
The meeting was also attended by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, and the heads of intelligence agencies.
Some of the attendees promised that things would get better soon and made a strong case for strengthening ties among the military, state governments, traditional institutions, and all communities and the residents of the region.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, gave an assessment of the current efforts, stressing that Boko Haram terrorists have been flushed out of all the states in the region, leaving Borno State as the last stop.
“There are no Boko Haram terrorists in neighbouring states. They have been pushed out, and now cornered in Borno State.
“We are coordinating with civil and traditional authorities, mobilising and reinforcing and all we need is patience. We will not relent,” he said.
On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, briefed the meeting on the acquisition of military aircraft, stressing that the imminent arrival of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, known as drones with more than 10 hours of flying time, would strongly reinforce the battlefront.
Briefs were also received on equipment needs of the police, as well as the changing alliances between criminal gangs and terrorist groups in the region from the intelligence community.
The Nigerian Air Force says it is deploying more personnel to the Air Task Force in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to boost the counter-insurgency operations.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this on Wednesday, during an operational visit to the state.
According to him, the visit was to review and adopt new strategic formats for the conduct of operations and to appraise the efforts and achievements so far.
The Air Chief said the Air Taskforce had flown 1,669 hours during which 33 targets were hit including the logistic base of the insurgents.
According to him, the outstanding performance of the Air Task Force has “substantially created a very conducive environment for the other forces to operate”.
“We have made it extremely difficult for Boko Haram to have freedom of movement with the use of our airplanes and the fact that we have destroyed a lot of their locations. That has made it much easier I believe, for the other forces to conduct their operations,” he added.
The Air Marshall also urged personnel to follow guidelines drawn out by the authority to stay safe and carry out their constitutional duties especially at this critical time.
“COVID-19 is an invisible enemy, we are doing everything we can in line with the guidelines given by the Federal Government to remain safe. Not only us but our pilots, engineers, technicians, and we are accessing our environment, the environment they operate to make sure that they are safe,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Air Force boss also commissioned accommodation for officers and airmen, offices and resting areas aimed towards ensuring a smooth running of the Air Task Force Command and the 105 composite groups.
The Nigerian Military says it has destroyed compounds housing Boko Haram terrorist leaders in Borno State.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday.
He explained that the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole conducted the attacks at Bulawa on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest.
“The air strikes were executed on April 21, 2020, based on credible human intelligence reports as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions that led to the identification of the target compounds within the settlement.
“Fighter jets dispatched by the Air Task Force to take out the compounds scored accurate hits in the target area, leading to the destruction of some of the structures as well as the neutralisation of some of the terrorists occupying the compounds,” the statement said.
Major General Enenche added that some Boko Haram fighters who attempted to reposition to engage the attacking aircraft were mopped-up in follow-on attacks by the jets.
He insisted that the military would sustain the offensive against the terrorists, as part of efforts to restore peace and security in the North East.
A bill seeking the establishment of an agency for repentant members of the Boko Haram terrorist group has been introduced in the Senate.
It aims to create a national agency that would see to the rehabilitation, de-radicalisation, and integration of repentant insurgents in the country.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gaidam during plenary on Thursday at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
It is captioned ‘National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 340)’.
The bill was read for the first time in the red chamber, along with others sponsored by some senators in the chamber.
They include Federal Polytechnic Maiduguri (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 338) by Senator Kashim Shettima, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (SB. 274) by Senator Solomon Adeola, and Metallurgy Training Institute Orumba (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 338) by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Gaidam, is the lawmaker representing Yobe East District in the Senate.
He is also the immediate past governor of Yobe, one of the worst-hit states by insurgents in the north-eastern part of the country.
Other states that have suffered attacks the most in the heat of the insurgency, according to reports, are Borno and Adamawa States.
One of the worst attacks by the insurgents in Yobe, although by a factional Boko Haram group – Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), was the incident in Dapchi.
The insurgents invaded the Government Girls Secondary School in Dapchi on February 19, 2018, where they abducted over 100 schoolgirls.
Weeks later, the girls returned to their families except Leah Sharibu, who was held back by the insurgents for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
Amid various calls for her release and the government’s efforts towards ensuring that Leah regains her freedom, she marked two years on Wednesday in the custody of the insurgents.