Buhari Returns To Nigeria, Pays Condolence Visit To Maiduguri

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Maiduguri, Borno State capital on a sympathy visit.

The President who just returned from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is in Maiduguri following the recent tragic incident in the state when Boko Haram terrorists killed many stranded travellers.

READ ALSO: FG To Re-Arraign Sowore On Fresh Charges

A tweet by Garba Shehu, Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity revealed that the President landed at 12:45pm.

 

Journalist Arrested By Army In Maiduguri Regains Freedom

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ
A file photo of troops.

 

 

A journalist reporting for Daily Trust Newspaper, Omirin Olatunji, has regained his freedom hours after he was whisked away by personnel of the Nigerian Army in Borno State.

Olatunji was picked up at about 4:40pm on Thursday while hanging out with colleagues at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) along Lagos Street in Maiduguri, the state capital.

Channels Television gathered that the arrest was carried out by two plain cloth army personnel and a soldier in camouflage carrying an assault rifle – AK 47.

The reporter was handcuffed in the presence of other journalists and dragged into a waiting car without offering explanations after which the vehicle zoomed off.

Confirming the arrest, Borno NUJ said the military authorities in the state contacted them that Olatunji had been arrested and was on his way to the barracks.

The spokesperson for the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Ado Isa, also told Channels Television that the Theatre Commander was having talks with the leadership of the NUJ with a view to resolving the impasse.

 

A Trample On Dignity

Following the reporter’s release, the NUJ condemned Olatunji’s arrest in a statement, saying the military’s action was detrimental to the operation of free democracy.

It also described it as a trample on the dignity of professional journalists, saying the arrest was a repeat of a similar incident about the same time in 2019.

The statement was jointly signed by the NUJ chairman and secretary in the state, Bulama Talba and Mohammed Ibrahim, respectively.

It read, “We the members of the Pen profession in Borno State have been and will continue to live up to our responsibilities of informing the government and citizens on happenings as a way of promoting the safety of all and improve living conditions at all times.

“The union members from various media have been, with all sense of responsibility, carrying out duties to put issues in the right perspectives for proper agenda-setting by government and the military and mobilising the citizenry to support programmes and operations that follow,  which Olatunji Omirin has been doing remarkably well.

“NUJ feels it is quite unfortunate that this is happening now when we all need to be on the same page to move our country from armed conflict to peaceful resolutions of disputes for development to thrive instead of playing into the wishes of elements that promote discord in the nation.

“We can do better by calling concerned media organisations, NUJ, as well as other stakeholders for regular interactions on finding common ground on the way forward beyond this modus operandi.”

Insurgents ‘Abduct’ Two Aid Workers, Kill Four Travellers

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents have killed four travellers and reportedly abducted two aid workers along Monguno-Maiduguri road in Borno state.

The travellers were killed in an ambush on Sunday, while the aid workers simply identified as Asabe and Jennifer who are staff of Alisma were abducted in the same ambush by the insurgents.

Similarly, the terrorists had attempted to infiltrate Damaturu, Yobe State on the same day, but were pushed back by troops of the Nigerian Army.

RELATED: Suspected Boko Haram Insurgents Attack Parts Of Yobe

Unsatisfied with the failed attempt in Yobe, they attempted to infiltrate Biu Local Government Area of Borno but were also repelled by troops of the Army.

The attack was launched at about 7 pm and it is believed that the insurgents made their way through the Buni Yadi-Biu Road.

Residents of Biu, the hometown of the Chief of Army Staff were thrown into a panic with the hot exchange between the army and the insurgents.

Heavy gun battles between insurgents and the Army rocked the area for at least one hour, but the troops overpowered the terrorists who retreated, took the opportunity and pounced on the travellers and aid workers.

The attack happened exactly a week after Defense Minister; Bashir Magashi visited the headquarters of Sector 3 located in Monguno in solidarity with the troops.

Borno Governor Begs Army To ‘Retake’ Three LGAs From Insurgents

Governor Babagana Zulum

 

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has appealed to the Nigerian Army to reclaim three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state still under the control of the insurgents.

He made the plea on Monday when he received the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) at the Government House in Maiduguri, the state capital.

Governor Zulum listed the affected local governments as Marte, Kukawa, and Abadam LGAs.

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs N10.594trn 2020 Budget

“Military operation has to be followed by stabilisation mechanism and, therefore, three local government areas are really key,” he stated, adding that they must “be retaken”.

The governor said, “We shall be happy if the Nigerian military and other security operatives will develop a modus operandi of re-establishing such businesses to boost the local economy.”

He stressed the need for the military to incorporate economic recovery and rehabilitation of idle people in towns around the Lake Chad region where the insurgents were still holding sway.

The governor was also worried that keeping thousands of people, especially in camps with no source of livelihood was a ready-made material for Boko Haram insurgents on recruitment missions in villages.

He, however, believes with the military presence and civil authority, the economy of the areas would be rejuvenated, and the Boko Haram menace would be reduced.

On his part, Magashi informed his host that he was in Borno to appraise the operations that would shape future decisions in the counter-insurgency war in the North East.

He paid the governor a courtesy visit at the State House in company with top officers of the army and the Nigerian Air Force in the state.

The minister had visited the Headquarters of the Air Task Force of Operation Lafia Dole on Sunday and proceeded to Monguno, the Headquarters of Sector 3.

 

During his visit to the Theatre of Operation which lasted two days, Magashi had a series of interactions with various unit commanders in the presence of the service chiefs who had accompanied him.

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, conducted the visiting minister and the service chiefs around the Theatre as they assessed equipment and the armoury.

Adeniyi said the fighting troops were resolute and would not be distracted in their goal until the insurgents were defeated.

The minister’s visit came at a time when the activities of the insurgents appear to be thriving around the Lake Chad Basin.

ISWAP Kills Two Soldiers, Policeman, Threatens Army In New Video

Screenshot from the video

 

A new video dated December 8, showing the execution of two Nigerian soldiers and a policeman has emerged online.

In the video which was obtained by Channels Television on Monday, the killing was carried out by masked men believed to be members of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).

Those who were killed were reportedly abducted at a fake checkpoint in Benisheikh, a village seventy kilometers west of Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

READ ALSO: DSS Does Not Necessarily Need Permission Of The President To Arrest Sowore – Presidency

It is not clear how many people were abducted, but the video only showed three tortured security personnel with their hands tied behind them.

They displayed their identity cards and introduced themselves as a mobile police sergeant, as well as a sergeant and a private soldier of the Nigerian Army.

However, police and army authorities have yet to confirm the identities of the slain men.

When contacted by Channels Television, the spokesperson for Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Ado Isa, said he is not aware of the attack or the video.

He, however, promised to reach out with details once obtained.

Before the killing, a masked man backing a river believed to be around the Lake Chad area spoke in Hausa language.

He threatened that the group would carry out ‘massive attacks’ on military formations and ambushes on the highways in the region.

“We are saying to the soldiers of Nigeria, we will never spare those fighting people practicing the religion of Allah. Because of that we shall attack your barracks, wallahi we shall block you on your roads. The story is, what you hear is not what you see; what lies ahead is tougher and uglier than this, Allahu Akbar,” he said.

Shortly before they were killed, the security personnel narrated that they were abducted from a village located few kilometers to Maiduguri.

Channels Television gathered that some of them were returning to the theatre of operation after a welfare pass to their mother base where they had gone to see their families.

Following the disbandment of most military checkpoints along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road, the insurgents, according to sources, now mount fake check points dressed in full military regalia.

The criminals also took advantage of the “Operation Positive Identification” exercise through which they identified their victims.

Last week, ISWAP had in a statement claimed that it abducted 14 “prisoners” on the same road, six of which were soldiers, two staff of the Red Cross and six others.

The Nigerian Army was silent on last week’s attack.

Shops, Property Destroyed As Fire Guts Market In Maiduguri

 

Several shops and properties have been destroyed following a fire outbreak at a market in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The incident occurred on Thursday night, at the market popularly known as Jagwol and as a hub for GSM traders and artisans.

Although the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, witnesses say that it started from one of the shops and spread to other clustered shops around.

See photos below.

Fire Razes GSM Market In Maiduguri

Numerous properties and shops were destroyed following a fire at the GSM market in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

The market which is popularly known as Jagwol is located at the Post Office area of the Maiduguri metropolis. It is a hub for GSM traders and artisans and the biggest computer village in the city.

The incident occurred on Thursday night, hours after the traders had closed for the day’s business.

READ ALSO: FG Vows To Address Ethno-Religious, Communal Clashes

Although the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, witnesses and sympathizers explained that it started from one of the shops and spread to other clustered shops around.

The fire was eventually put out by men of the Federal Fire service, but many properties were already destroyed.

Temitope David, an undergraduate of the University of Maiduguri who is also an artisan in the market said. “It was a big fire, we were very lucky it didn’t get to our shop but almost half of the market has been affected. Luckily there was no looting as the market was under lock and the security didn’t allow the crowd come close.”

Other traders however were not as lucky, as most of the affected shops were completely razed down.

The Borno State Government has constituted a committee to investigate and access the extent of the damage caused by the fire.

The state Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum who is away on an official trip  in Saudi Arabia, directed his chief of staff, Dr Babagana Wakil to assemble commissioners whose ministries relate to commerce, home affairs, poverty alleviation and jobs creation “to immediately assess impacts of Thursday night’s fire incident at the GSM market in Maiduguri and report to him today. “

This is contained in a statement issued by his Senior Media aid, Mr Isa Gusau.

According to the statement, “Zulum shares the pains of those whose means of livelihoods and assets were torched.”

There Are No Secret Graveyards In The Northeast Theatre – DHQ

 


The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has condemned a publication by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which reports that the army has been burying scores of soldiers in secret unmarked graves, in a bid to cover up the casualty figures in the ongoing war against insurgency within the North East. 

Reacting to the WSJ publication, the DHQ denied the reports stating that there are no secret graveyards in the North East Theatre.

In a communique by the Director Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, the military states that “this insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication.”

It insisted that “the Armed Forces of Nigeria has a rich and solemn tradition for the internment” of its fallen heroes.

The statement further reads, “It must be unambiguously clarified that the Armed Forces of Nigeria does not indulge in secret burials, as it is sacrilegious and a profanity to extant ethos and traditions of the Nigerian military.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Army Buries Soldiers At Night In Secret Cemetery – Report

Colonel Nwachukwu also stated that in tandem with the traditions of the Armed Forces, fallen heroes are duly honoured and paid the last respect in befitting military funeral of international standard, featuring funeral parade, gravesite oration, solemn prayers for the repose of departed souls by Islamic and Christian clerics, as well as gun salutes, aside other military funeral rites.

According to the DHQ spokesman, “The cemetery described in the publication, which is situated in Maimalari military cantonment is an officially designated military cemetery for the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the North East theatre, with a cenotaph erected in honour of our fallen heroes.

“The official cemetery has played host to several national and international dignitaries, where wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen heroes.

“It is, therefore, a far cry from the sacrilegious impression being painted by Wall Street Journal.”

The DHQ urged members of the Armed Forces and the general public to disregard “such a misinformed publication and see it as a figment of the imagination of the writer, whose knowledge of military valued ethos and traditions is grossly misplaced”.

10 Years Into Jihadist Rebellion, No Reprieve For Nigeria’s Displaced

 

Maiduguri resident Ahmed Muhammed wanders through the rubble left behind as he recalls the outbreak of fighting in his city a decade ago that launched the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

“We heard shooting — badadadadadada — here, there, everywhere around us,” the 44-year-old railway worker told AFP.

“We thought the end of the universe had come.”

In late July 2009, tensions between the hardline Islamist sect and authorities in northeast Nigeria boiled over as the group launched a wave of attacks and security forces fought back ruthlessly.

The epicentre of the violence was the compound of the group’s founder Muhammad Yusuf.

After several days of fighting, Yusuf and hundreds of Boko Haram members were dead and a conflict had been unleashed that would devastate the region.

The mosque and the homes that once stood there are now just a pile of debris — an unmarked monument to the suffering of the past 10 years.

In the decade since the uprising began, some two million people have been uprooted from their homes and 27,000 killed as the bloodshed has spilt into neighbouring countries.

Boko Haram has turned vast swathes of territory into a no man’s land and forced its way into international headlines by abducting hundreds of schoolgirls.

While the Nigerian army has pushed the fighters from major towns, the jihadists have splintered into factions and spawned an offshoot aligned to the Islamic State group that has unleashed its own campaign of violence.

‘No option’

Waves of the conflict crashed over Hadiza Bukar’s village near Baga close to the shores of Lake Chad in 2015 when Boko Haram fighters stormed through the area.

Bukar fled with her newborn twin sons, leaving behind her husband and two other children.

She has not heard from them since.

What remains of the family is now among the roughly quarter-of-a-million people displaced and struggling to survive in and around Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Studded across the city are government-approved camps and informal settlements of corrugated iron, sticks and shreds of tarpaulin.

READ ALSO: 65 Killed In Boko Haram Funeral Attack

The only place Bukar found to live is at the ground zero of the insurgency that tore her life apart. Her makeshift home stands on the edge of the ruins of Yusuf’s former compound.

When the downpours come in the rainy season the place turns into a quagmire.

“Many people told us stories about what happened here. They warned us there was a history,” she said, of the bloodshed in 2009. “But we had no option. We have nowhere to go. We decided to stay.”

Across town in another district Idrissa Isah, 45, scrapes by as best he can.

Isah used to send cows to Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos, but now all he has is a small patch of earth near his shack that a local landowner lets him till.

The little he grows helps supplement sporadic handouts from international aid groups and feed his family. He says he has had no government support.

Isah is desperate to return to his village of Makulbe about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Maiduguri, but the risk is too high.

“If I could go back I would — I would have a big, big farm,” he said.

“There is no way I can.”

Attempted return

Finding a way home for the displaced is seen as key to solving the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria.

After forcing the jihadists back to remote hideouts, the government insists the security situation is stabilising.

But attacks persist outside heavily fortified towns.

Over just a few days in July, five soldiers were killed and six aid workers kidnapped.

On Thursday, a Boko Haram raid killed at least two people in a displaced camp near Maiduguri.

So far this year, 130,000 people have been displaced in northeast Nigeria, the International Organization for Migration says.

Ibrahim Bukar, 48, is comparatively lucky.

The local government accountant still receives his official salary of about $80 (75 euros) a month even though he has not worked in his hometown Bama, 65 km from Maiduguri, since it was devastated by fighting more than four years ago.

But the wage does not cover rent and he squats with his wife and four children in the one-room servants’ quarters of an acquaintance’s house.

Last October, after more than four years away, he decided to go home.

“There was nothing,” he said.

“No food, no potable water, no health services, no teachers — don’t even talk of electricity.”

Beyond the town, he said, you cannot travel safely for more than a kilometre. After three months, Bukar gave up and headed back to Maiduguri.

Camps still filling

The displaced camps are still filling up.

A sprawling site around the city’s main stadium opened in March and has already reached its capacity with over 12,000 people.

Fatima Mohammed, 38, moved into a tarpaulin shelter three weeks ago with her husband and two children.

She arrived from an overcrowded camp not far away, having been displaced several times since being forced from her village five years ago.

She has no idea if, or when, she will see home again.

“All depends on god — if there is peace I will go back immediately,” she said.

“But if there is no peace then there is no way I can return.”

AFP

Many Injured As Terrorists Attack Mosque In Borno

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

Several persons sustained injuries on Saturday when insurgents attacked a mosque in Sajeri village, at the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

According to eyewitnesses, the insurgents suspected to be Boko Haram members were said to have opened fire on the congregation who were observing their prayers.

Read Also: Buhari Seeks OIC Support For National Development

On hearing the news, the Governor, Babagana Umara visited the community to condole with the victims.

Details later…

894 Child Soldiers Released From Civilian JTF In Maiduguri – UNICEF

Over 3,500 Children Recruited By Insurgents, Says UN

 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that 894 children have been released from the ranks of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Maiduguri.

The children, including 106 girls were released on Friday as part of commitments to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the fight against insurgents.

According to a statement from UNICEF, the release would be followed up with reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life.

“Any commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right direction for the protection of children’s rights and must be recognised and encouraged,” said Mohamed Fall, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria and the Co-chair of United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations (CTFMR).

“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict. They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence. This participation in the conflict has had serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being.”

READ ALSO: Women Protest In Abuja Over Sexual Assaults By Police Personnel

The organisation further stated that since September 2017, when the CJTF signed an action plan committing to putting measures in place to end and prevent recruitment and use of children, 1,727 children and young people have been released. Since then, there has been no new recruitment of children by the CJTF.

It also noted that the children and young people released today will benefit from reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life, seize new opportunities for their own development, and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria, as productive citizens of their country.

According to the UNICEF, without this support, many of the children released from armed groups struggle to fit into civilian life, as most are not educated and have no vocational skills.

More than 3,500 children are said to have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in the conflicts in northern Nigeria between 2013 and 2017.

According to UNICEF, others have been abducted, maimed, raped and killed.

“We cannot give up the fight for the children, as long as children are still affected by the fighting. We will continue until there is no child left in the ranks of all armed groups in Nigeria,” Fall said.

The organization says it would continue to work closely with state authorities and partners to support the implementation of reintegration programmes for all children released from armed groups, as well as others affected by the ongoing conflict.

The gender and age-appropriate community-based reintegration support interventions include an initial assessment of their well-being, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods.

At least 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities, have accessed such services between 2017 and 2018.

Buhari Arrives Maiduguri To Inaugurate Developmental Projects

File Photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Maiduguri the Borno state Capital for an official visit. 

The President is expected to commission some developmental projects, especially in the sectors of education, health care and roads.

Buhari’s visit comes after the President had on Wednesday inaugurated the newly digitalised Ayinke House which is also known as the Institute of Maternal and Child Health in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

READ ALSO: Buhari To Commission Projects In Borno, Proceed To UK On Private Visit

Ayinke House is Nigeria’s biggest Maternity Hospital which was upgraded from an 80-bed facility to a 170-bed healthcare centre with state-of-the-art medical equipment, as well as information technology services.

The President also commissioned the 500-seater Lagos Theatre in Oregun, Ikeja.

The ultra-modern theatre is one of the four simultaneously constructed by the Ambode administration to increase arts spaces and create standard platforms for talented citizens of the State to showcase their skills.