Nigerian Govt Warns ‘Traditional Rulers’, Others Against Conniving With Bandits

Nigerian Govt Warns 'Traditional Rulers', Others Against Conniving With Bandits
A file photo of the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali.

 

The Nigerian Government has warned all persons and groups conniving with bandits to carry out attacks in the north-west region to retract their steps.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, issued the warning on behalf of the government in a statement on Tuesday by his Public Relations Officer, Colonel Tukur Gusau.

He said the Ministry of Defence was concerned about the security challenges in the region, particularly in Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina States, as well as the Birnin Gwari axis of Kaduna State.

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“In spite of the concerted efforts of the Armed Forces and other security, some unpatriotic persons including highly placed traditional rulers in the areas were identified as helping the bandits with intelligence to perpetuate their nefarious actions or to compromise military operations,” the statement said.

It added, “The Ministry of Defence, therefore, wish to warn any person or group of persons who choose to connive or sympathies with the bandits to perpetuate crime against the law-abiding citizens to hence force retract their steps or face the full wrath of the law.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria have been directed to deal decisively with anybody identified helping the bandits under whatever guise no matter how highly placed the person or persons may be.”

The government explained that due to the recent prevailing security situation in the states, the Nigerian Army was conducting Exercise Harbin Kunama IV simultaneously in Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto States.

It noted that the purpose of the exercise was to effectively tackle the activities of criminal elements in the north-west while the Nigerian Air Force has also intensified air strikes against the bandits in Zamfara.

The government disclosed that so far, the combined efforts have yielded successes which led to the killing of many bandits and the rescue of many innocent persons, including the renowned Islamic scholar Sheik Ahmad Suleiman.

It said it was addressing the remote and immediate causes that gave room to the high spate of armed banditry in the states.

It highlighted one of the steps taken as the suspension of all mining activities in Zamfara and environs, following intelligence report which suggested close collaboration between the activities of the bandits and illegal miners.

The statement said, “It is instructive to mention here that insurgency and terrorism are global phenomena that cannot be addressed through military actions only. The whole society has to rise in unison to support the government’s efforts to address the problem.”

In the last three years, the government said several reforms have been carried out towards the reorganisation and expansion of the Armed Forces, in order to meet up with contemporary security challenges across the nation and the sub-region.

It stressed that it was in line with this that the army established 8 Division with the headquarters in Sokoto to cover Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara states while the Headquarters of 1 Brigade was relocated from Sokoto to Gusau.

It added that the tactical headquarters of 8 Division has since located to Gusau, the Zamfara State capital.

The government said the air force also established Quick Response Force in Gusau and landing areas in Gusau and Birnin Magaji respectively.

It gave assurance that the military, in conjunction with other security agencies, would continue to protect the lives and properties of law-abiding citizens.

The government urged Nigerians to cooperate with the military to discharge its constitutional responsibilities effectively.

Insurgency War: Defence Minister Calls For More Synergy Between Media, Military

File: Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali

 

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali has called for stronger collaborations between the security forces and the Nigerian media in the war against insurgency.

The minister, who made the call at a national conference on Civil-Military relations and the Media in Kaduna state, believes that, the ongoing fight against insurgency armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling, cannot succeed if the media continues to downplay the effort of the military in combating the insurgency.

READ ALSO: ‘We Are In Danger’, Obasanjo Laments Level Of Disunity In Nigeria

In his remarks, the Minister of Defence, expressed concerns that beyond the insurgency in the North East, security threats from kidnappers, cattle rustlers, and armed bandits are potential threats to the collective peace of the country, hence, he urged that every hand must be on deck to secure the country.

“Beyond the insurgency in the north east, kidnapping cattle rustling, farmers-herders clash and associated banditry has now threatened the peaceful existence of our country. This situation calls for effective collaboration with the media and increased inter-security agency collaboration particularly in areas of intelligence information sharing and other logistics in order to turn the tide against the criminal elements.”

“It is imperative for the media to be guarded by professional ethics, corporate social responsibility and related principles of responsible and developmental journalism. The media has a duty to exercise restraint about the content of reports on front-line situation in order to avoid feeding the public with graphic facts and sensitive info that may strengthen the enemy’s camp to the detriment of the legitimate authorities.

Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, who was also present at the event, highlighted that  the Armed Forces enjoys vibrant civil-military relations at the strategic level, but the situation is not the same at the operational levels.

He hoped that a strong partnership between the media and the military could be a potent weapon in defeating insurgency in the country.

“The military has intensified efforts to build bridges of understanding between itself and civil populace. This effort has led to the establishment of Civil-Military Affairs Directorate and Department in Defence Headquarters.

“While the structures will continue to serve as a pivot for formal interaction between military and the civil populace, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is open to other acceptable medium of engagement with the citizens in line with global best practice.”

“I wish to urge media practitioners to regard the military as partners in the defence of our citizens and then territorial integrity of our dear nation,” he urged.

Insurgency: Defence Minister Visits Maiduguri

The Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Wednesday visited the command and control centre in Maiduguri, Borno State capital to assess insurgency operation by Operation Lafiya Dole int the Northeast.

He said the meeting followed a presidential directive as a fall out of recent developments in the northeast.

READ ALSO: NAF Fighter Jet Destroys ISWAP Meeting Venue Near Baga

Dan-Ali during the visit also met with some strategic commanders of the counter-insurgency operations in the northeast, including Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Major General Benson Akinroluyo and other strategic commanders of the counterinsurgency operations.

The Minister said President Muhammadu Buhari is interested in knowing what gaps need to be covered, for the operations to run without hitches.

He added that he would be proceeding to the Lake Chad region as part of his mission to obtain first-hand information on insurgency which he is expected to convey to the President.

What We Discussed With Buhari At Security Council Meeting – Defence Minister

What We Discussed With Buhari At Security Council Meeting – Defence Minister

 

The National Security Council meeting began on Thursday with the general overview of the security situation in the country, as it relates to the conduct of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), revealed this in a statement shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the meeting at the Presidential Villa.

He said it recommended the deployment of security agencies to the states, to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conduct the elections peacefully.

Mr Dan-Ali was hopeful that the deployment of security personnel would further douse the tension created by the outcome of the political parties’ primaries and “some desperate persons” to sabotage the electoral process.

According to him, the meeting also addressed an attempt to put pressure on the electoral body by some notable personalities through demonstrations.

 

He, however, said the situation was brought under control by combined efforts of security agencies to avoid the process being hijacked by hoodlums or armed bandits.

The minister pointed out that another area of security concern discussed at the meeting was post-election violence, to prevent “desperate politicians” from whipping up ethno-religious sentiments to create a security situation in the country.

He said the Council discussed the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements with a desire to take laws into their hands at the slightest opportunity.

The Council also called for the concerted effort of all security agencies to ensure that the 2019 general elections were hitch free.

Similarly, it stressed the need for continuous sensitisation of the public by the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

The Council further called for regular meetings of relevant stakeholders including INEC, as well as international and local election observers and the media ahead of the polls.

Although the Chief of Defence Staff was absent, the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Inspector General of Police attended the meeting.

Also in attendance are the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha; and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd).

 

We Are Closing In On Dapchi Schoolgirls, Says FG

We Are Closing In On Dapchi Schoolgirls, Says FG
File photo

 

The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that all the Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists will soon regain their freedom, as the military is already closing in on them.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, gave the assurance during an interview on Dateline Abuja, a Channels Television’s programme which aired on Saturday.

“It can be earlier; maybe a week, it can be two weeks, but we are on it, and I’m telling you with all sense of sincerity that we are closing in on them,” he said when asked to give a time frame when the girls would return.

READ ALSO: We Won’t Rest Until Chibok, Dapchi Schoolgirls Are Free, Says Buhari

 

 

Members of the outlawed group had invaded the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, in Yobe State on February 19, after which 110 students were unaccounted for.

As Nigerians await the rescue of the girls from their abductors, the defence minister revealed that all necessary efforts are being made to ensure that they return safely as soon as possible.

He said, “We have dispatched all the surveillance devices we have in terms of air, human resource, intelligence, and other forces that needed to be in place by all possible means and we have made sure that all that’s needed is being done to see that these girls are being found, wherever they are.”

Mr Dan-Ali was also confident that the girls would return in the shortest time owing to the intelligence at the government’s disposal, though he cannot say the exact time when it would be.

Amid calls that the government should secure the girls’ release, President Muhammadu Buhari had said the life of every citizen matters to his administration.

To this end, the President had directed the security agencies to be proactive and ensure that all Nigerians held captive by Boko Haram terrorists are rescued, including the Dapchi school girls and the remaining Chibok girls abducted in 2014.

Military Seeks For Review Of Armed Forces Law

Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, are advocating a repeal of the Armed Forces Act to reflect current realities in the global security landscape.

According to them, while the laws from which Nigeria derived its own have undergone several reviews, Nigeria’s Laws have remained unchanged.

Mr Mansur Dan-Ali and Gen. Gabriel Ol-Onishakin who were speaking at a forum in Abuja made suggestions on the areas to be reviewed.

Dan-Ali noted that “Some notice political areas to be reviewed will include, a command influence in the composition and administration of military justice system, a committee with the convention protocol of the international labour organisation and a critical examination of some of the provision of the act that has become obsolete.

“Furthermore, the welfare of the members of the Arm Forces of Nigeria who have given a good account of themselves in the war against Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east of Nigeria and in similar operations in other part of the country, their review is also expected to address the issue of fundamental human right of men and women while performing their constitutional role and still maintaining military discipline and rules of engagement”

In his part, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin seeks to the government to amend the statutory entitlement of the Armed Forces who has to restore hope and dignity of for the nation.

“While we remain law abiding in an effort to restore hope and dignity of our compatriots, a terrorist especially in the astigmatic welfare we are fighting as nobody to account to.

“I urge you to consider the amendment to the Armed Forces Act that we are called statutory entitlement to members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria that are killed or wounded, as such provision are not available in the instant enactment.”  Gen. Gabriel lamented.

Boko Haram Will No Longer Occupy Any Part Of Nigeria – Buhari

Buhari Orders Payment Of London-Paris Club Refunds To StatesNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has vowed that never again will the Boko Haram terrorists occupy any part of the Nigerian territory.

The President said this at the 2017 Small Arms Championship which held at the Sambisa forest, the former stronghold of the Boko Haram militants in northern Borno state.

The President who was represented at the event by the Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali, said that training in Sambisa forest, otherwise known as Camp Zero, was a showcase of the defeat and degradation of the insurgent group.

Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, noted that the friendly contest was last conducted seven years ago.

According to him, organising the exercise after the long break was part of efforts to restore professionalism and competency in the Nigerian Army.

Meanwhile, the government has also admitted that the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, is not dead but alive and hiding somewhere in the Sambisa forest.

Mr Dan-Ali, however said the military has taken over the forest and will soon capture the leader of the sect.

Military Pledges Continuous Support To President Buhari

Military Pledges Continuous Support To President BuhariThe Nigerian military has pledged its continuous support to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, made this pledge on Wednesday during a meeting of the Security Chiefs with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in the Presidential Villa.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, made this pledge on Wednesday during a meeting of the Security Chiefs with the Acting President in the Presidential Villa.

He applauded the administration’s support in the fight against Boko Haram, and the welfare of troops in crisis-ridden areas in the northeast.

Mr Dan Ali disclosed that more equipment have been procured to strengthen the troop in the fight against the terrorists.

He stated further that over 2,000 people held captive by the terrorists have been released, with several high profile Boko Haram Commanders arrested.

The Minister said normalcy has also returned to Southern Kaduna, following the recent killings in Kafanchan.

He added that efforts are ongoing to construct a military barrack in Southern Kaduna area.

Present at the Security Council briefing are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, and the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed.

Also in attendance are other Service Chiefs as well as Directors and Heads of Security Agencies.

MNJFT: Over 1,300 Boko Haram Members Surrendered In January

MNJTF Says Over 1,300 Boko Haram terrorists surrenderedThe Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) says at least 1,300 members of the Boko Haram terrorist group voluntarily surrendered in January.

The Head of Missions of the task force, Mr Sanusi Abdullahi, announced this at a meeting of Defense Chiefs from the Lake Chad Basin Authority.

He asked the governments of the affected countries to sustain efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region.

The meeting, which held on Friday in Abuja, was attended by Defense Chiefs from Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Benin.

For the past few days, they have been deliberating on how to improve security in the Lake Chad region through multilateral cooperation.

In spite of the remarkable efforts made in curtailing the activities of Boko Haram insurgents and other security threats, Nigeria’s Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali, said peace building and rehabilitation should be given priority.

High point of the meeting was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding among participating countries.

The defense chiefs expressed optimism that the development would translate into peace and stability in the region.

Dan-Ali Solicits Chadian President’s Support For MNJTF

Idriss Deby, Mansur Dan-Ali, MNJTFThe Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has urged President Idris Deby of Chad to use his good office as African Union Chairman to support the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Mr Dan-Ali also asked President Deby to call on countries, organisations and individuals that pledge financial and material support to the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to fulfil their promises, to enable the task force execute its mandate of ending the activities of Boko Haram in the region effectively.

He made the appeal on Wednesday when he led a team of Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Defence Staff from troops-contributing countries of MNJTF which include Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Benin Republic, to visit the Chadian leader after LCBC meeting in Njamena.

The Nigerian Defence Minister also appealed to African leaders to provide a better means of livelihood for their people, to prevent the recruitment of youths into terrorist groups across the region.

In his response, President Deby assured the visiting Ministers and Chiefs of Defence Staff of the support of all LCBC Presidents to the MNJTF operations and promised to impress on the donors to fulfil their promise.

He also paid tribute to the MNJTF soldiers and urged them to rid the region of Boko Haram terrorists as soon as possible.

Mr Dan-Ali’s appeal was made public in a statement by his spokesman, Colonel Tukur Gusau.

Defence Minister Insists Terrorists Have Been Largely Degraded

Mansur Dan-Ali, Nigerian Air Force, Boko Haram InsurgentsThe Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, believes the Boko Haram terrorists have been seriously degraded by the military, in spite of the latest attacks by the insurgents that claimed several lives in some states.

The minister reiterates the commitment of the Federal Government in building capacities of the Nigerian Armed Forces to enable them perform their statutory functions.

He made the remarks during the passing out parade of 99 officers of the Direct Short Service Course (DSSC) 25 at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna State.

Addressing the newly commissioned officers, Mr Dan-Ali asked them to be prepared to play their part in defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity, as well as protecting the lives and property of the people.

He also challenged them to live above board and display a high level of competence and patriotism for the support service of the Nigerian Air Force.

Injecting Fresh Hands

The Defence Minister noted that the Air Force operates on a philosophy of zero tolerance for misconduct and cowardice, stressing that the authorities would demand nothing short of the very best from them.

He also implored the graduating officers to respect both military and civil authorities, as well as resist the temptation of taking laws into their hands.

Speaking to reporters after the parade, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the commissioning of the new officers into the service was in line with government’s effort in curbing terrorism by injecting fresh hands into the force.

The DSSC curriculum covers both military and general service subjects, which broadly introduces the cadets to military regimentation, as well as operations and administration of the Nigerian Air Force.

The cadets were drawn from different academic backgrounds such as medicine, engineering, pharmacy, and piloting among other disciplines.

For six months, they were subjected to rigorous physical fitness and weapon training to develop their endurance level, and have also received lectures on counter terrorism operations.

Anti-terror War Successful Despite Fresh Bomb Attacks, Minister Says

Defence Ministry, Mansur Dan-AliIn spite of the latest attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno and Adamawa States that claimed several lives, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, believes terrorists have been seriously degraded by troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

He expressed this optimism during the passing out ceremony of 99 officers of the Direct Short Service Course 25 at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna State.

The Defence Minister, who reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to building capacities of the Nigerian Armed Forces to enable them perform their statutory functions, asked the graduating cadets to live above board.

They were 99 graduating cadets of the 25 Direct Short Service Course of the Nigerian Air Force drawn from different academic background such as medicine, engineering, pharmacy, piloting among other disciplines.

For six months, the officers were subjected to rigorous physical fitness and weapon training to develop their endurance level, and also received lectures on counter-terrorism operations.

The aim is to transform civilian graduates into proud gentlemen officers of the Nigerian Air Force.

The occasion opened with a colourful parade after the Minister of Defence, who was also the reviewing officer of the parade, arrived.

The officers marched in slow and quick time before awards were presented to deserving cadets.

Addressing the newly commissioned officers, Mr Dan-Ali told them to be prepared to play their part in defending the territorial integrity of the nation and protecting the lives and property of citizens.

“You must display a high level of competence and patriotism for the support service of the Nigerian Air Force,” he told them.

While reminding the officers that the Nigerian Air Force operates on a philosophy of zero tolerance for misconduct and cowardice, the minister told them that the authorities would demand nothing short of the very best from them. He also implored them to respect both military and civil authorities as well as resist the temptation of taking laws into their hands.

“When this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board, our goal was mainly to build capacities in all areas to enable the Nigerian Armed Forces adequately perform their statutory tasks. Ever since, we have remained focused, as evidenced in the overall performance of the Nigerian Armed Forces in our effort in tackling the enormous security challenges confronting our dear nation.

“For the passing out cadets, while you may have every reason to be proud for what you have achieved, it is important to bear in mind that this is yet the beginning of another journey. I am confident that, armed with the quality of training you have just received, you will confidently face the task ahead with great commitment and due diligence.

“You are aware that the military profession requires absolute discipline, loyalty, perseverance and sacrifice especially at this crucial point in our history.

“Let me state here that you may be called at all times to make sacrifices to ensure the peace and stability of the nation. This call will require you to exhibit courage, commitment and patriotism in the discharge of your duties.

“As you are aware, the Armed Forces of Nigeria has made tremendous effort to stamp out terrorism and insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgents in the North East,” he told the cadets.

The minister further emphasised that their efforts were needed in addressing issues of cattle rustling, renewed militancy in Niger Delta, kidnapping and other acts of criminality across the country.

He pointed out that the Nigerian Air Force, together with other sister services, was currently at the forefront of the efforts to rid the nation of these criminal elements and restore normalcy, stressing that it was gratifying to see the capacity of the insurgents to launch coordinated massive attacks had been sufficiently degraded through the coordinated effort of the armed forces and other security agencies.

“Therefore, as you pass out today, I urge all of you to be prepared to play your part in defending the territorial integrity of our great nation and protecting lives and properties. You must remember that as commissioned officers of the Nigerian Air Force, you will be expected to add value to our society, to respect the dignity of all law abiding Nigerians and to be decisive in dealing with those elements that are undermining our national security and sovereignty.

“Your initial training was designed to prepare you for the challenging career in the Nigerian Air Force. As specialists in your various fields, you are now expected to bring to bear your expertise on the overall service delivery, knowing full well that the Air Force, as a highly technical service, requires very knowledgeable and highly skilled manpower to operate and maintain its array of sophisticated equipment,” he highlighted.

On the prevailing economic recession, the minister told the gathering that the government, through appropriate policies, had re-ordered its priorities to optimise the use of available resources.

After the parade of the new cadets, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, told reporters that the commissioning of the new officers into the service was part of the Federal Government’s effort in curbing terrorism through injection of fresh hands into the force.

”These gentlemen and ladies came into Air Force about six months ago as civilians. As professionals, doctors, engineers , lawyers and so on. But today, they are leaving not only as professionals but as professional airmen and women who stripple and assemble rifle, who can put on the rifle to defend this nation And also ensure that Nigerians go about their normal business without fear.

“So, we are really happy to have them. We are expecting another 105 very soon in another six months, making a total of 210 and then in 2017, we are expecting that we could have more again.

“Some are coming from NDA while we are training some locally here especially the professionals,” he stated.

The Chief of Air Staff also told reporters that the northeast operation was going on very well, saying that the military is doing everything humanly possible to ensure that Nigerians are secured.

“Isolated cases of bombings like I told you last time are things that cannot be totally eradicated. What is important is that we all have a role to play as Nigerians. We need intelligence. There is no way a fighter aircraft can dictate a 13 year old girl carrying bomb,” he added.

The Direct Short Service course is designed for graduates from approved tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Its curriculum covers both military and general service subjects, which broadly introduces the cadets to military regimentation as well as Nigerian Air Force operations and administration.