Xenophobia: Why Air Peace Is Evacuating Nigerians For Free – CEO

The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Airline, Mr Allen Onyema, has explained why the company is offering free service in the evacuation of Nigerians in the wake of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Onyema told Channels Television in an interview on Tuesday that there was no personal motive in extending a helping hand as the gesture was only for the good of the Nigerian People.

“The motivation here is the fact that I want to see Nigeria respected as a nation,” he said while featuring as a guest on Politics Today.

READ ALSO: Reps Recommend Air Peace Chairman For National Award

The airline chief added, “It is unfortunate that a lot of people didn’t know who Allen Onyeama is; it’s not the first time I’ve been doing things like that.”

Air Peace Airline CEO, Allen Onyema.

On Wednesday last week, the airline evacuated no fewer than 185 Nigerians who indicate interest to return home as a result of the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

Another set of about 319 people are expected to return to the country today but the trip suffered a setback as a result of landing permit.

 

The End Of Militancy

Having resolved the issue and secured the permit for the plane to land in Johannesburg, Onyema said the South African authorities gave the airline an arrival time.

He insisted that it was not the first time he was making contribution to the nation’s development and highlighted his role in restoring peace to the Niger Delta in the heat of militancy in the region.

The Air Peace boss said, “I expended more than this pursuing the issue of the Niger Delta question when there was violent militancy in the Niger Delta. I was the one who brought non-violence education into this country for the first time in order to address the issue of violent militancy.

“Everybody says that I was the one who was instrumental in bringing the violent militancy down; it was because of my programme that made it possible for them (the militants) to agree to accept the amnesty in the first place and I was the one who trained over 30,000 of them who were registered.”

Onyema stated that he started the transformation in the region and sponsored repentant militants to South Africa before getting support from the oil companies in the region.

He noted that he spent “several millions of my money” going into the creeks to empower repentant militants in 2014.

On his recommendation by the House of Representatives for a national award, Onyema noted that he was not aware of the development before the interview.

He said, “I’m hearing the national honour from you, I’ve not heard it before. This is the first time I’m hearing something like that.”

NDDC Charges Niger Delta Youths To Embrace Peace

Dr Ibitoye Abosede

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has charged youths in Nigeria’s oil-producing communities to join in campaigning for peace and security in the region.

According to a statement issued on Sunday, the NDDC Director Corporate Affairs, Dr Ibitoye Abosede, made the appeal when members of the Niger Delta Youth Forum visited him in his office in Port Harcourt.

The President of the Youth Forum, Comrade Emmanuel Ekine, had earlier stated that the body was organising awareness campaigns in the region to sensitize the youths on the need to shun violence and criminality, a move which Abosede believes is a step in the right direction.

He stressed the importance of creating the right environment for development to flourish, adding that development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

According to him, promoting awareness campaigns within the Niger Delta region remains a viable tool for development agencies that need peace and security to deliver on their mandates.

He, therefore, advised the youths to be focused and make good use of their talents, and also not be discouraged by temporary setbacks.

On the dangers of militancy and other social vices, he said, “We don’t want protests and agitations in the Niger Delta anymore. Dialogue is the way to go.”

Operation Crocodile Smile II Will Tackle Security Threats In Niger Delta – Military

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar has reassured the people of the Niger Delta region of continuous commitment to fight terrorism along its maritime domain.

The GOC said this after the flag off exercise of the Operation Crocodile Smile II in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.

The Operation according to the military is aimed at tackling armed banditry, militancy, oil pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering, cultism, kidnapping amongst other vices threatening the security of the region.

READ ALSO: Military Begins Operation Crocodile II In Rivers

Carrying out the exercise at the Coastal area of Cross River State from Ikang to Calabar,  the GOC said the riverine patrol will go a long way to combating criminal tendencies that might arise in the state.

“Crocodile Smile cut across three or four divisions. What we have done on the land is what we are doing again. We have conducted an aggressive control of the Coastal area of Cross River State. What the soldiers are doing is to protect our coastal areas with the Navy,” Abubakar said.

Imo Govt. Approves 2bn Naira For Infrastructural Development

Imo Govt. Approves 2bn Naira For Infrastructural Development The Imo state government has approved the sum of two billion Naira as take-off funds for the rehabilitation and construction of major infrastructure in the oil producing Ohaji Egbema and Oguta local government areas.

The state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, disclosed this at a meeting with the members of the Imo state Amnesty committee in Owerri, the state capital south east Nigeria.

The meeting is the first of its kind after the inauguration of the Imo amnesty committee in October 2016.

Weeks after granting the amnesty, the government set up the committee, to carry out specific tasks of consolidating on the success of the amnesty and ensuring that peace returns to the areas.

The committee which is headed by the wife of the Imo state Governor Nkechinyere Okorocha, is also saddled with the responsibility of developing and rehabilitating the areas.

3 months after its inauguration, the committee reported that about 2,800 ex-militants registered for the programme and were ready to seek peace in the region.

Mr Okoracha then explained that the funds were being released in order to sustain the success thus far.

In his words “If you can remember, we had amnesty to over 2,000 militants in Ohaji Egbema and Oguta last year and shortly after that, we inaugurated the amnesty committee headed by the First Lady.

“After 3 months, they are back to give their reports and as you can see, they have registered about 2,800 militants with their forms, and in order to meet up their demands, we are approving the sum of two billion Naira for the take off of rehabilitation works and construction in the area” the Governor said

Furthermore, he stated: “We also made available some funds as financial assistance to some of the ex-militants in order to start a business of their choice, this will go a long way to solving their problems”.

Excited about this development, the committee said they would move to the area as soon as possible, to commence the rehabilitation and construction of schools, hospitals and other meaningful projects that would restore the pride of the communities.

Family Of Abu Ali Request Rotational Deployment Of Troops

Nigerian Army Buries Fallen SoldiersThe family of the slain army officer, Lt Colonel Abu Ali, who was killed along with some soldiers by Boko Haram Terrorists in Borno state, have asked the Federal Government to deploy soldiers to fight the terrorists on rotational basis.

This according to them is to allow them spend more time with their families.

They made the request when a non-governmental organisation, Nigerian Fallen Heroes Project, paid them a condolence visit at their Kaduna residence.

It was a very solemn atmosphere as Channels Television also visited the home of the Alis, located at Jabi road, in Kaduna North Local Government Area.

The bereaved family and friends wept profusely over the demise of their son and friend.

The late officer’s younger sister, Amina Abu Ali, expressed desire for the federal government to assist the family, especially in training his children, stating that her brother’s sudden exit will never be forgotten in a hurry.

His wife, Mrs Samira Abu Ali, who is also still in grief, vowed to raise her three children to be like the fallen hero, saying he was a nice and caring husband and father.

With the exit of her husband, she admitted that “the responsibility of training the children unfortunately now rests solely on her shoulders”, a task she has vowed to take up seriously.

Other family members eulogized the late officer, as a caring and lovely person, who has now paid the supreme price for the unity of the nation.

Dr. Kenneth Ibe-Kalu, the leader of ‘Nigerian Fallen Heroes Project’, assured the family that their son did not die in vain.

While calling on the government to assist the family and others who lost their lives in the cause of protecting their father land, the N.G.O announced an award of scholarship to one of the children of the deceased.

Colonel Abu Ali was killed in an ambush by suspected Boko Haram terrorists, who attacked a 119 Battalion Nigerian Army location at Mallam Fatori, northern Borno state.

Although the troops repelled the attack and killed 14 Boko Haram terrorists, five soldiers were killed during the raid, while other soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries during the encounter.

Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, explained that because of Colonel Ali’s exceptional bravery and gallantry, he was recently given an accelerated promotion from the rank of Major to Lieutenant.

Family, friends and the nation at large continue to express grief over the loss.

Security Consultant Says Army Will Neutralise Insurgents

olusegun-ajanoSecurity Consultant, Brigadier General Olusegun Ajano, believes that regardless of the resources that were lost during military operations, and those in possession of the Boko Haram, the Nigerian Army will be re-inforced with equipment that would help them neutralize insurgents.

He said this in reaction to comments that the troops have run short of equipment, following the recent increase in Boko Haram attacks which has also led to the death of some officers.

He also attempted to allay the fears of some Nigerians who believe that the death of Lt. Col Abu-Ali, who was one of the foremost military officers, by the insurgents, will lead to a general loss of morale for the force.

Mr Ajano said, “in the theatre of war, you cannot have it all your way, nobody will take a line of action that will lead to the killing of its own troops”.

“Equipment are the live wire of military operations, and I believe that whatever equipment that we might have lost, the government is making efforts to replace them,” he added.

Furthermore he stated that “the average training of an officer is that you have to give purposeful leadership and I am sure that young man (late Col. Abu Ali), did it all the way.

Chibok Girls

He also sees the release of 21 of the abducted Chibok girls as “a welcome development to most Nigerians at a time when everyone was almost thinking there was no hope of getting the girls back.

“Nigerians’ hopes have been triggered with expectation that more of the girls will be recovered.

“From the way the government has handled it so far, if what they require is all the secrecy and the cooperation of the international bodies to be able to get the insurgents to discuss and probably reach some terms to secure the release, everyone would want to support them.

On the unexpected release of the girls, he said “nobody has been able to predict who did what, although a lot of local media have stated that a ransom was paid and some members of the detained insurgents, who may have been released, may be responsible for the recent attacks.

“Its an issue where the government has to be consistent in putting their points across and I think the government has already gone someway in meeting their own side of the bargain.

“(If) some of the detained insurgents were released, albeit, it could be the very deadly ones among them that were caught before.

“If these ones have gone back into action, I also believe that we could have done some things to prevent them from going back into action.”

With the recent increase in insurgent attacks, many Nigerians believe that the agreement reached with the Boko Haram may have led to strengthening them and Gen. Ajano agreed that “the soldiers that were killed, are probably victims of some of the complexities involved in the negotiations and efforts to get certain things done.

“Whatever exchange arrangement that was done and probably as a result, some form of resources, got to the hands of Boko Haram, definitely they will use it. They cannot use it in support of Nigeria, they will use it against Nigeria.”

However, he maintained that the Nigerian military has not run out on tricks to play in winning the fight against insurgents.

“If there are proven indications that whatever might have gotten into their clutches is now being deployed against our own troops, we certainly believe that we have not run out on tricks that we can play to ensure that whatever they might have acquired, we still have the capacity to neutralize them,” Mr Ajano said.

Air Chief Positive About Ending Niger Delta Militancy

NigerNiger Delta, Air Marshall, Militancyian Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, says that the Niger Delta needs a comprehensive solution to end militancy.

These were his words during his visit for the commissioning of personnel blocks at the premises of the special operations group, of the Nigerian Air Force in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

The Chief of Air Staff decried the loss of professionalism associated with personnel, living in non-military environment.

On the sidelines, Mr Abubakar told journalists that Air Force operations have become more clinical in the fight against Boko Haram, through the use of more intelligence surveillance air crafts.

This was in response to the plea of one of the 21 rescued Chibok girls who asked the force to be mindful of their of operations in order not to wipe out the other girls still in the clutches of the Boko Haram group.

Furthermore, he said “there is no military operation in the world that can guarantee zero casualty when engaging a legitimate military target.

“That incident the rescued girl is talking about happened sometime in 2015 when we just had two intelligence surveillance aircraft, now we have six and we will do everything humanly possible to avoid casualties in our fight against Boko Haram,” he asserted.

We’ll Continue To Protect Nigeria’s Oil Assets – President Buhari

Muhammadu-Buhari-London-Anti-Corruption-SummitPresident Muhammadu Buhari has restated the determination of his administration to continue to protect the country’s oil assets and installations.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday with the Director of Global Upstream of Shell Oil Company at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said he will leave a legacy of improved infrastructure, particularly in the power sector, and also ensure better security in the Niger Delta.

“It is only by doing this that investor morale and confidence will return, and the economy will be positioned on the path of growth,” He said.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari commended Shell for their faith in the economy and staying power.

The president also gave assurances on some issues of concern raised by the company especially the protracted issue of cash calls.

The minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, some weeks ago, revealed that the Federal Government has not been able to fund its counterpart Joint Ventures Companies, JVCs, and cash calls totaling $6 billion for several months due to revenue shortfalls.

The President assured other oil firms that the Federal Executive Council will soon consider a proposal for the easing of unpaid arrears owed by the government.

President Buhari said the security of oil infrastructure will continue to be priority of his administration which will include the dialogue with the stakeholder-communities in the Niger Delta.

He, however, urged oil companies to take more responsibility in the protection of oil installations to complement the efforts of Nigerian Navy in the region.

The Shell director, Andrew Brown, revealed that the company has resumed oil exportation through the Forcados terminal following its restoration.

He also commended the anti-corruption stance of President Buhari’s administration as well as the efforts to streamline and stabilize the economy for long term projects.

Police Beef Up Security Ahead Of Sallah Celebrations

police, security, sallah, kaduna, benueThree days to the Sallah celebrations, the Police have already beefed up security in some states in the northern part of Nigeria.

The Federal Government had declared Monday and Tuesday, September 12 and 13, 2016, as public holidays to mark the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

In the north-central state of Kaduna, officers have been placed at strategic areas, including places of worship as the state looks forward to a hitch-free sallah.

Reports say that men of the Mobile Police would also be placed at the Abuja – Kaduna expressway, to ensure the safety of travelers.

The P.R.O Kaduna State Police Command, Usman Aliyu, said that the force wants to ensure prompt response to distress calls whenever they arise.

He stressed that the Police would deal with anyone who attempts to disrupt the peace of the state.

Also in Bauchi state, north-east Nigeria, the Police are in partnership with other security agencies to carry out regular patrols of notorious areas.

The Police command in Bauchi said that it has so far arrested about 68 persons, suspected to belong to a gang of kidnappers.

The Police Eminent Peoples’ Forum has also been formed in Cross River state and members have appealed that more should be done to stop militancy in the creeks.

Furthermore, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has said that it would begin its awareness campaigns to ensure compliance to road traffic laws.

According to Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi, the FRSC is set to deploy 10,000 officials and marshals for the Sallah special patrols.

He explained at a press conference that it has recorded over 5,000 road crashes leading to 3,000 deaths between January and August 2016.

Anti-corruption Fight Will Last Beyond My Administration, Buhari Tells Kerry

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-John-KerryNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday told U.S. Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, that he would institutionalise the anti-corruption crusade to ensure it lasts beyond the current administration.

At a meeting with Mr Kerry in Abuja, the President said his administration “will insist on the standards it is establishing”.

“We are laying down administrative and financial instructions in the public service that must be obeyed.

“Any breach will no longer be acceptable.

“We will retrain our staff, so that they understand the new orientation.

“And those who run afoul of these rules will be prosecuted, no matter who is involved,” he stressed.

He, however, stated that the government would be fair, just and act according to the rule of law, assuring the American envoy that “anyone perceived corrupt is innocent till we can prove it”.

President Buhari said that his administration would work very hard to establish documentation for successful prosecution and that those in positions of trust would sit up.

He appreciated the intervention of the U.S. before the 2015 polls, demanding free and fair elections in Nigeria, stressing that “America did not do it because of what it stands to benefit from us. You did it for the Nigerian people.

“It tells so much what the U.S. stands for in the world”.

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-John-Kerry-2
Mr John Kerry and Linda Thomas-Greenfield in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari

On the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, President Buhari thanked the U.S. for both hard and soft military help.

“The training and intelligence that we could not muster ourselves, we received.

“The training has made Boko Haram less of a threat to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region, while the military hardware has given our troops added confidence,” he told Mr Kerry.

Militancy In Niger Delta

President Buhari said although Militancy in the Niger Delta had impacted negatively on the nation’s economy and affected the positive intentions of international and local investors, the government was showing restraint not to use real force, “except when constrained to do so”.

On the economy, the President assured the American envoy that the focus of his administration was on the diversification of the economy “having learnt our lessons from years of over dependence on oil”.

Ready-made Playing Field

Mr Kerry commended the courage of President Buhari in fighting corruption.

He said: “We applaud what you are doing. Corruption creates a ready-made playing field for recruiting extremists.

“You inherited a big problem, and we will support you in any way we can. We will work with you very closely.

“We don’t want to interfere, but will offer opportunities as you require”.

The American Secretary of State also pledged to assist in tackling the humanitarian challenges in the North-east, assuring the Nigerian President that his country would get the UK, France, and others “to augment the support”.

“Nigeria is priority for us. We won’t miss the opportunity to work together, because you are making significant progress,” Mr Kerry said.

After the meeting with the President, the American envoy is met with some governors from the northern part of Nigeria.

They are governors of Borno, Benue, Kwara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Sokoto and Zamfara.

Earlier at a meeting with the Sultan of Sokoto, Mr Kerry stressed the need for the fight against corruption to be a global security of the first order to bring violent extremism to an end.

Delivering a speech on Resilient Communities and Religious Tolerance in Countering Violent Extremism, Mr Kerry said extremists do not only kill people but also turn the most vulnerable among the society into killers.

FG Promises Relentless Support To Security Agencies

 Obanikoro 422x280The Federal Government has given assurance that it would continue to give security agencies in the country the necessary support they require to overcome the security challenges facing the country.

The reaffirmation was made by the Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on behalf of the President, during his familiarization tour of Nigerian Navy facilities in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria.

With special focus on the Nigerian Navy, the Senator noted that most of the nation’s wealth in form of natural resources come from the maritime domain, and further stressed the Federal Government’s commitment to eradicate challenges that impede the efficiency of the Nigerian Navy.

Obanikoro noted that though the challenges of the Navy were many, inadequate funding appeared to be the most challenging of them. He assured that he would work to change the situation so that the Navy can live up to its primary responsibilities, especially given the current security situation in the country.

The Commanding Officer, Forward Operation Base, Ibaka, Navy Captain Kelechi Osuoji, who described the Minister’s visit as significant, expressed optimism that most of the challenges of the Navy in the zone would be addressed and reduced to barest minimum.

The Minister was accompanied by other security officers in the region, including the Commander of NNS JUBILEE, Ikot Abasi, Commodore Joel Ifeanyi Ogazi and the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Charles Medani among others.

Nigeria has been battling various security challenges ranging from militancy, piracy, Boko Haram insurgency, all of which constitute major threats to the country’s economy and internal infrastructural development.

The assurance by the Federal Government came shortly after President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $1 billion (N162bn) to finance the war against insurgency.

 

National Conference Will Check Violence Rate In Nigeria – Wale Oshun

Nigeria’s proposed national conference billed to start in March has been described as a solution to the lingering security challenges.

On Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, a former Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr Wale Oshun,  said that the conference was necessary as it could help resolve the crisis that had be-deviled Nigeria particularly in the military interregnum and in particular the violation that took place during the time that General Ibrahim Babangida was in office.

“The issue to have a conference to resolve all the lingering crisis of confidence in nation building started as far back as 1993,” he said.

Mr Oshun said Nigeria’s structure was difficult to operate because of its multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic makeup and that the conference was aimed at addressing and resolving the disenchantment that these multiplicities had caused.

Suffering Grave Consequences

According to him, “people resort to violence because there are no other options of being listened to,” saying “anyone can start a mob action, but it becomes difficult to stop”.

When asked if the decline in governance was as a result of disenchantment of the citizens, he said “the position is that any country that is multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic, must have a fairly and a truly practical federal system if you  must run it and not have the clog on the wheel of progress like Nigeria has which has been since the military intervened in 1966″.

“We have all these factors of differences in religious, culture, ethnicity and yet we have an over centralisation that have made us a completely a unitary state,” he further said.

Mr Oshun said the nation was suffering grave consequences because of shift from the federal system of government that was once in practice.

“We have moved completely away from the federal state we had when we got independence, when every federating unit could pursue its idea of development. The consequence is the Boko Haram, oil theft, militancy, kidnapping and the unrest all over the place. Because we don’t have a system of government that takes into consideration the objectives, beliefs and differences of the units of the federation, people go into voilence. There is a need to respect the differences, as the bonds that bind us together should be a voluntary one and not out of compulsion,” he insisted.

Explaining the amalgamation treaty of 1914, the former lawmaker said the amalgamation was not an act of parliament, as the provision was that the ruling sovereignty at that time could be revoked, altered or amended.

“It was not an act of parliament but an order in council which was submitted for the information of parliament. It was not sacrosanct. It will be sacrosanct if all the federating units agree to come together. It therefore meant that if any portion is dissatisfied, it could discuss or revoke the amalgamation treaty. If a people chooses within the ambit of their own belief to be ruled in a particular way, they should be allowed to,” he stressed.