Mike Ejiofor, a former director of the State Security Service and Lawyer has described the result from the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in some northern states as ‘very satisfactory’.
The former SSS Director who was on Sunrise Daily went further to highlight the positive impact that the declaration of the state of emergency has had on the state and its citizens as they have formed an alliance with the special forces deployed to those states tracking and handing over suspected sect members to the troops.
He commended Nigerians for their patience and understanding even though some notable Nigerians felt that the state of emergency would not achieve the much desired result and the security forces deployed for observing the rules of engagement knowing that the international community is watching and so far no issue has been raised and the troops.
He also asked that the Federal Government be given a pat on the back as it is a government that has witnessed the greatest security challenge since the end of the civil war and despite that the nation is still witnessing development and transformation.
Residents of Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, have reported what they believe to have been a gun battle between security forces and members of the Boko Haram, which lasted for over 5 hours on Sunday night.
The relative peace currently being enjoyed in Damaturu the Yobe state capital suffered a setback as sound of gunshots were heard throughout the night.
Sporadic gunshots were heard within the Damaturu metropolis from 9pm and lasted for over five hours.
Although an official statement is still being expected from either the Joint Task Force (JTF) or the police on the cause of the gunshots, residents believe it was a clash between security forces and the radical Islamic sect; the Boko Haram.
Yobe State government had four days ago reviewed the restriction of movement from 9pm to 6am in Damaturu, while curfew in other towns remained 6pm to 6am daily.
The last time gunshots were heard in Damaturu was 9 months ago when a field commander of the radical sect; Bakaka was killed in a gun duel with JTF at Khandahar area of Damaturu.
A key terrorist suspect, who specialises in recruiting personnel into terror cells, has been arrested by troops in Maiduguri following a tip off.
In a press release signed by the defence spokesman, Brigadier General Christopher Olukolade, the individual is also the person that watches over the insurgents’ armoury.
He further stated that another group of five insurgents, all Nigeriens were arrested when troops stormed their hideout at Mallam Fatori as they attempted to escape in two Toyota Cruiser Jeeps.
He said the Troops continue to patrol the notorious Sambisa forest and are also cordoning the Alou forest and Gwoza Hills finding more abandoned vehicles, weapons and other items in the camps of the insurgents.
Among the recent finds are rifles, double barrel guns, various charms and amulets, machine guns as well as pairs of camouflage uniforms, bows and quiver and assorted rifle magazine.
Others are handset, walkie-talkie, car number plates and some food items.
The Presidency has re-affirmed that the Emergency rule currently imposed on Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states is meant to protect the civilian and the territory from the assault b on the Nigerian state by insurgents and terrorists. This re-affirmation comes on the heels of a special report by Aljazeera (see the report here) which indicates that large numbers of civilians have been caught in the cross-fire between military forces and insurgents but reacting to the widely televised report in a statement, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati stated that the report on state of emergency and “civilian casualties” is contrived and misleading.
The statement reads:
We view with grave concern, the attempt by sections of the media, especially the foreign media to mislead the general public and the international community about the on-going State of Emergency and military operations in three states of the Federation: Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. For the avoidance of doubt, the declaration of a state of emergency and the consequential security operations are meant to protect the civilian population and the territory from the macabre and dastardly assault on the Nigerian state by insurgents and terrorists. It is not an operation against innocent citizens as Al-Jazeera and others are suggesting.
In executing this sovereign objective, President Jonathan explicitly directed that the operations be conducted in line with applicable rules of engagement and peculiar care in managing a unique situation. In an earlier statement, he had also made it clear to the military high command and received assurances that those who violate their operational orders will be disciplined accordingly. In line with this regard for the rights of the civilian population, the President Jonathan had ordered the release of women and under-aged persons in protective custody, and made arrangements for their immediate rehabilitation. Fifty eight persons in this category have been released.
The Armed Forces have also secured the release of six women and children in Boko Haram captivity. There is nothing to suggest so far any violation of operational orders by the troops operating in the North East. Their intervention has received popular support, among the civilian populace, and within two weeks of operation, the possibility of calm and normalcy resonates even as enclaves of terrorists are raided and their capacity to continue their reign of terror heavily compromised. This is a process and the Government owes it to the people of the North-East to see it through.
The Jonathan administration believes that media reporting of the reality of living in a state of emergency is needed to keep the local and international community well informed and to hold accountable those prosecuting the military operation to help build trust and sustain the public support needed to build lasting peace.
Rather curiously however, the last two weeks have witnessed mischievous attempts by a section of the media to generate negative propaganda around these operations in the North East. Most recently, a video report by Al-Jazeera yesterday titled “Civilians among dead in Nigeria offensive” (May 31) sought to put the government and the people of Nigeria in bad light. This is regrettable. While we welcome an open interrogation of government’s activities, we reject any attempt to exploit the security situation in the North East to malign, discredit or otherwise undermine the country’s efforts by other surreptitious means. There can be no doubt that the Al Jazeera report of May 31 is in very bad taste.
Two quick points will highlight the concerns here: (1) the video is that of the unfortunate incident that occurred in Bama on May 7 and has no connection with the current operation. If anything, the victims shown in the video were those the Boko Haram attacked before they launched an offensive on the Bama prison (2) the claim that the man in uniform shown in the video is a Nigerian soldier cannot be sustained, because in a war-like theater as we have on our hands, anybody could have been clad in a military fatigue; and we have seen Boko Haram members appear in military fatigues in their propaganda videos. Besides, no soldier has left the frontlines since the beginning of the operations. Surely, this type of reporting on a serious national security issue is irresponsible and should be deplored by all.
We reaffirm the Government of Nigeria’s commitment to and belief in the professionalism of the Nigerian Military, an institution that has served with distinction on many occasions across the region and outside. We deplore the effort to encourage terrorists through unverified and inaccurate reporting, and the desperation to blackmail the current peace and security process.
A group of Boko Haram members have been apprehended by the Special troops during their cordon and search operation in Borno State while they were going around in search of food.
The intensive cordon and search operation being conducted by the troops of the Special Forces in Borno State have received a major boost from civilian cooperation in communities close to locations being focused in the operation.
According to the Defence Spokesman; Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, a group of terrorists moving from village to village in search of large quantity of food were tracked and apprehended following a tip off from civilians.
The group which was moving around in a Toyota Land Cruiser jeep were arrested at Daban Masara with weapons such as AK 47 rifle, single barrel shotgun, double hand shotgun and various calibres of ammunition.
He further stated that in other locations, a total of 56 identified insurgents were apprehended with the help of military police dogs. Items recovered from the arrested insurgents include, 7 packs of IEDs, 2 rocket-propelled gun chargers, a rifle magazine, 2 machetes, bomb detonators, camouflage and other military uniforms as well as medicines equipment, charms, 7 vehicles including a jeep and 8 tri-cycles.
The presidential committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of security challenges in the north has appealed to Nigerians to link the panel with leadership of the Boko Haram sect.
The Chairman of the committee and Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, made the appeal in Kaduna when the committee visited Governor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State, traditional rulers and religious leaders as part of its nationwide tour.
At the Usman Hassan Katsina house, the chairman of the presidential committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of security challenges in northern Nigeria, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki said the committee is serious about holding dialogue with members of the Boko Haram sect, with a determination to end insecurity in the northern part of the country.
Leaving Kaduna State, the committee headed straight to Sokoto State, where they met with the Sultan of Sokoto, his eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar the III.
The chairman of the committee and Minister of Special Duties expressed the readiness of the committee to meet with the Boko Haram sect outside the country to ensure peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The committee is meeting with northern leaders and victims of violence linked to the Islamic sect as part of the process that will ultimately bring peace to the region.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe state said one suspected member of the dreaded Boko Haram sect has been killed in a gun battle in the state.
In a statement made available to news men in Damaturu; the state capital, its Spokesman Lieutenant Eli Lazarus reveals that the killing followed an encounter between the JTF who were on patrol around the Gujba Area of the state and members of the Boko Haram.
Other members of the Islamic group according to the statement, escaped with various gunshot wounds during the encounter after abandoning their vehicle.
Items recovered from the suspects include five AK 47 rifles, two hundred and eleven rounds of ammunition and ten Magazines.
Other items include one Mitsubishi Canter truck, two motorcycles and Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) materials, medical supplies as well as Police Uniforms.
The statement adds that JTF will continue to work assiduously towards the restoration of permanent peace in the state.