Guinea Coup: Osinbajo Seeks Strict Measures Against Nations Where Military Seizes Power

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo represents President Muhammadu Buhari at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member-States on the political developments in the Republics of Guinea and Mali on September 8, 2021.

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has called for stricter measures taken against nations where military takes over government by force.

He made the call on Wednesday at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states on the political developments in the Republics of Guinea and Mali.

According to the Vice President who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the meeting, one of such stricter measures that could be taken would be a suspension from the international community.

“Could we, for example, work out an understanding with the UN, AU, Commonwealth and possibly, even the development finance institutions we are a part of to act in unity to suspend a country where there has been a seizure of power from all these bodies simultaneously?” he asked.

Professor Osinbajo believes such a measure will prevent subsequent coups d’etat in the sub-region, and even on the continent.

The meeting, attended by 10 of the ECOWAS leaders, alongside others, including representatives from the United Nations, comes after Guinean President, Alpha Conde, was ousted by a coup d’etat in the West African country on September 5.

This culminated in his arrest and detention by the country’s military junta, as well as the dissolution of the Guinean government and suspension of the Constitution.

 

‘Zero-Tolerance For Coups’

Osinbajo, who stated Nigeria’s position on the unfortunate development in Guinea, joined other global leaders to condemn the unconstitutional change of government in that – a development which he said could seriously destabilise the Republic of Guinea.

“What happened in Guinea is a brazen disregard for the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which clearly states that every accession to power must be made through a free, fair and transparent election,” he was quoted as saying in a communique by his media aide, Laolu Akande.

“The unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form is simply unacceptable; four coups within the last few months is a dangerous trend indeed.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attends a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member-States on the political developments in the Republics of Guinea and Mali on September 8, 2021.

 

The Vice President Prof. Osinbajo went ahead to table an idea which the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, described as “a proposal of great weight.”

“We are sliding back to the infamous 60s. Our zero-tolerance for coups is important but clearly insufficient. Are there further steps that we can take to prevent coups d’etat? he questioned.

Professor Osinbajo stressed the need for countries in the sub-region to respect the provisions against unconstitutional accession to power and to apply it in all instances.

“The Authority (should) to immediately invoke the provisions of Article 45 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance by suspending Guinea from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies and statutory meetings.

“We should also take any other necessary punitive measures that will ensure that the military junta does not overstay in power,” he proposed.

“We must forestall a repeat of military interventions and the instability it engenders in the West African sub-region. In this connection, Nigeria wishes to once again urge all to always respect the principles of democracy and the constitutions of your respective countries.”

Furthermore, the Vice President urged the ECOWAS body to immediately appoint a mediator to lead the region’s genuine engagement with the military junta, all political actors, and civil society groups in Guinea towards finding a lasting solution that would return the country to democratic rule as soon as possible.

One of the other steps to be taken in finding a lasting solution to the unfortunate development in Guinea, according to him, is for the military junta not to only ensure the physical safety of President Conde and all those detained along with him, but also ensure his immediate and unconditional release.

“The safety of lives and property of the people of Guinea must also be guaranteed. The military must draw up a timetable for a civilian-led transition and commence the process of exiting the Guinean political stage and return the country to constitutional order and civilian rule,” Professor Osinbajo submitted.

Speaking on the update on the situation in Mali, he commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for his continued commitment and engagement with the various stakeholders in that country.

“Let me reiterate the imperative for the Malian Transitional government to strictly respect the electoral timetable unveiled on 15th April 2021,” said the Vice President.

“I further call for the continued support and collaboration of all the major players in the country’s march towards a successful transition.

“Nigeria will continue to closely monitor the situations in Guinea and Mali, as well as work with the ECOWAS Commission, the African Union, and other member-states to facilitate the return of both countries to civil governance.”

Over 5,890 Terrorists, Families Surrender To Troops – Military

 

No fewer than 5,890 terrorists comprising foot soldiers and their commanders have surrendered with their families to troops in the North East, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said.

DHQ spokesman, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, who disclosed this on Thursday at a press briefing in Abuja said the surrender took place between August 12 and September 2.

He highlighted some of the operational efforts of the military that yielded significant results within the period under review in various parts of the country.

READ ALSO: Troops Eliminate Six ISWAP Terrorists, Recover Arms

Onyeuko stated that troops of Operation HADIN KAI sustained their operations to terrorists in the North East theatre, adding that this compelled the terrorists to surrender in large numbers.

According to him, 565 Boko Haram fighters including three commanders and four amirs and their family members were handed over to the Borno State government for further management after thorough profiling.

The military spokesman said the Armed Forces of Nigeria remain steadfast in the fight against all forms of criminality in different parts of the country.

The Military High Command, according to him, appreciates the continuous sacrifices of the troops in the various theatres of operation and salutes their courage, resilience and commitment towards achieving sustainable peace.

He also thanked Nigerians for their continued support and urged them to avail the military with credible and timely information that would facilitate proactive engagements in all the theatres of operation.

A photo released by the army on August 16, 2021, shows some of the repentant Boko Haram fighters who surrendered to troops in Borno State.

 

Read the full text of Onyeuko’s briefing below:

PRESS BRIEFING BY DIRECTORATE OF DEFENCE MEDIA OPERATIONS HELD AT DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS NEW CONFERENCE ROOM ON 2 SEPTEMBER 2021.

Good morning, gentlemen of the Press. You are once again welcome to our bi-weekly briefing on the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s operational efforts.

The Armed Forces of Nigeria have sustained their operational engagements across the country against all criminal elements across the country. These operations yielded significant results notwithstanding some negative incidents of the past week.

This is evident in the reduction of the spate of incidents recorded; the massive surrendering of terrorists in the North East as well as a reduction in IPOB/ESN activities in the South East and economic sabotage in the South-South and South West zones of the country.

Today’s brief, therefore, will highlight, some of our operational efforts that yielded significant results between 12 August and 2 September 2021.

OPERATION HADIN KAI

Within the period under review, troops of Operation HADIN KAI sustained their operations to terrorists in the North East theatre. The counter-insurgency efforts of the troops through kinetic and non-kinetic operations compelled the terrorists to surrender in large numbers.

Suffice to note that, within the last few weeks, more than 5,890 terrorists comprising foot soldiers and their commanders have surrendered with their families to own troops in the North East Zone. A total of 565 BHT’s comprising 3 Commanders, 4 Amirs, 5 Nakibs and 5 cattle rustling specialists, out of the surrendered BHTs and their family members were handed over to the Borno State Government in Maiduguri for further management after thorough profiling.

Meanwhile, on 14 June 2021, own troops repelled terrorists’ attack in Borno State as troops, with the support of the Air Component through air interdiction missions, inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists and their equipment. No fewer than 48 of the terrorists, 20 arrested including fighters and commanders were neutralised and their logistic base and facilities including three gun trucks were destroyed in the process.

A total of 52 assorted arms and 1,977 rounds of 7.62mm assorted calibre ammunition including AK-47 and FN rifles with magazines, hand grenades, commando mortar guns, locally fabricated rifles, Dushka anti-aircraft guns, Dane guns and Nigerian Police rifles, among other items were recovered from surrendered terrorists and operations within the period.

Also, a total of seven terrorists collaborators/informants and logistics suppliers were arrested and handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary actions.

OPERATION HADARIN DAJI

In operation HADARIN DAJI, troops have sustained their operations against the bandits’, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the North West Geo-political zone. Troops within the period arrested criminal informants/collaborators whose activities have been causing setbacks for own troops’ operations in the zone.

A total of 15 armed bandits, two armed robbers neutralised, 13 bandits informants arrested, 15 motorcycles recovered, two AK 47 rifles recovered, 33 kidnap victims rescued, 66 criminal elements were arrested and some vandalised railway sleepers/tracks were recovered within the period in focus.

The operations that led to the significant results were carried out at Gidan Zuma village under Kwatarkwashi District and Bakinwa in Gusau LGA; Matuzgi and Gora Namaye village in Maradun LGA of Zamfara State; and along Gurbi – Shimfida Road in Jibia LGA of Katsina State.

Other locations where significant results were recorded include; Magam village in Tangaza LGA of Sokoto State, Faskari Town and Batsari/Ruma general area in Batsari LGA and Jibia Town in Jibia LGA of Katsina State.

OPERATION SAFE HAVEN

On 14 August 2021, security forces of Operation SAFE HAVEN arrested 20 persons involved in the attack and killing of 26 travellers at Rukuba Town in Jos North LGA of Plateau State. The arrested persons have been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further necessary action.

In a related development, on 27 August 21, troops conducted a raid operation at Rikkos, Jos North LGA of Plateau State, also in the course of operation, troops arrested four suspected Sara Suka members. The suspects were profiled and subsequently handed over to the relevant security agency for prosecution.

Furthermore, on the same day, own troops arrested three criminals namely Messrs Mujahid Isah, Kamal Isah and Abdulrahman Jibrin in connection with an attack on Mr Aliyu Mukhtar at Dilimi, Jos North LGA of Plateau State. The suspects are undergoing interrogation and would be handed to the relevant security agency for further action.

In another development, on 28 Aug 21, own troops in conjunction with Nigerian Police and some vigilante group responded to a distress call on attempted kidnap of one Mr Ayuba Pam at Rantiya Gas Plant, Jos South LGA.

Troops engaged the gunmen and neutralised one kidnapper while others escaped with gunshot wounds. One AK 47 rifle was recovered during the encounter. Efforts are ongoing to apprehend the fleeing gunmen.

Similarly, on 29 August 21, own troops on stop and search intercepted one Mr Francis Achi on a motorcycle with three unfinished locally fabricated revolver rifles concealed in a sack along Ganawuri-Manchok road in Riyom LGA of Plateau State. The suspect is currently undergoing interrogation.

OPERATION WHIRL STROKE

Troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE on 13 August 2021, responded to distress calls of armed herdsmen activities at Udei and Ughedu towns in Benue State. During which troops repelled armed bandits’ attacks on villages, destroyed three criminal camps and recovered 23 rustled cows and three motorcycles.

On 14 August 2021 troops on fighting patrol intercepted and arrested nine cultists who had been terrorising Utonkon community in Ado LGA of Benue State. In another development on 15 August, troops acting on credible intelligence ambushed and arrested some railroad vandals at Tse-Guma village and recovered some railroad tracks and sleepers, while the criminals were handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further action.

Additionally, on 16 August, own troops carried out raid and clearance operations on criminals’ hideouts at Terr village in Sankera Uyum Council Ward and Ukpam Community in Guma LGA of Benue State and arrested two notorious armed robbers named, Mr Aondosoo Aba and Mr Emmanuel Gobo, respectively.

OPERATION DELTA SAFE

Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE within the period in focus conducted a series of anti-illegal oil operations in their area of responsibility. These operations were conducted at Opuoma and Mmahu communities in Ohaji-Egbema LGA of Imo State; Sand Community in Akwa Ibom State; Madangho Creek in Warri South West LGA, Ndoro and Beneside Communities in Burutu LGAas well as Yokri-Egbe Seashore, all in Delta State.

Other operations were executed at Ibaa in Emohua LGA, Iyala, Buguma and Cawthorne Channel Creeks as well as Samkiri, Orutoru and Dema Abbey Communities, all in Rivers State and Delta State. During the operations, troops discovered and deactivated a total of 33 illegal refining sites with 46 illegal refining units, 94 boiler ovens and nine reservoirs.

Also, a cumulative total of 139 metal storage tanks and 63 dugout pits, all laden with 440.2 barrels and 1,637,500litres of illegally refined AGO as well as 62.2 barrels and 572,000litres of stolen crude oil and shelter stations were discovered and treated accordingly.

Other illegally refined products intercepted and immobilised were a wooden boat used for transportation of illegal oil products; 321 polythene bags, 16 drums and 15 jerry cans laden with illegally refined petroleum products.

Furthermore, within the period, own troops disconnected all illegal pipes connecting to Shell Petroleum Development Company pipelines around Okporowo Right of Way in Ahoada East LGA and Edeoha Community in Ahoada LGA of Rivers State. In the same vein, troops discovered and immobilised a Cotonou boat laden with 2,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

In addition, troops carried out a cordon and search operation around Bonny LGA Recruitment and Empowerment Centre in search of the mastermind of kidnap incidents at Abalamabie Community in Bonny LGA, Rivers State. During the operation, troops arrested a notorious kidnapper identified as Mr Promise aka Bummi, who had been on the security forces watch list.

NON-KINETIC ACTIVITIES

In his continued consultations with the Military Veterans of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the various Geo-political Zones of the country, the Chief of Defence staff (CDS) General LEO Irabor affirmed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remained at the forefront in tackling the myriad of security threat confronting the nation.

He stated this while interacting with the retired senior military officers in the North Central Geopolitical Zone held on 18 August 21 in Makurdi, Benue State. In the same vein, while in Yola, Adamawa State North East Geopolitical Zone on 24 August 2021, General Irabor hails citizens’ support, allays fears on surrendered insurgents as he engaged senior retired officers on security parley.

He expressed his appreciation to the citizen and residents of the Zone for genuinely supporting the ongoing intensive clearance operations by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards the restoration of permanent peace in the Zone.

He equally allays fears of the general public on the ongoing mass surrender of Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province ex-fighters. In a related development, on 27 Aug 2021, the CDS held a security interaction with the retired senior military officers from the South-South Geopolitical Zone in Asaba, Delta State.

The CDS maintained that the military remains at the forefront of leading the war against every form of criminalities as the Constitution avail the Armed Forces the mandate of supporting the civil authority. He stressed that the retired senior officers are the best hands, most qualified in the fight against insecurity and champion of peace and security in the Country.

He urged them to join hands with the military to bring lasting peace to the Country. He said security challenges in the Niger Delta needed a holistic approach and called on stakeholders to contribute their quota.

CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF VISIT TO PLATEAU STATE

In his quest to entrench lasting peace in Plateau State, the Chief of Defence Staff General LEO Irabor undertook a working visit to Jos on 1 September 2021. He held a stakeholders’ meeting in Jos Plateau State with the Governor His Excellency Simon Lalong, all the traditional rulers, religious leaders and community leaders in the State at Government House Jos where discussions were held on the security challenges in Plateau State.

The discussions are largely successful as all stakeholders pledged their support for peace in the state. Thereafter, the CDS paid a visit to the palace of the traditional rulers of Jebbu Miyango Community the Mbra Ngwe Rt Rev Ronke Aka and that of Anaguta Community HRM Pozo Johnson Jauro Magaji the Uja of Anaguta, where he commiserated with the traditional rulers and the people of those communities on the recent unfortunate incidents in their domains.

Finally, the visit was another success story in the CDS non-kinetic initiatives in achieving peace and stability in the country.

The Armed Forces of Nigeria remains steadfast in the fight against all forms of criminality in different parts of the Country. The Military High Command appreciates the continuous sacrifices of the troops in the various theatres of operation across the country.

It salutes their courage, resilience and commitment towards achieving sustainable peace in the country. We appreciate the general public and the press for their continued support and further encourage all to avail the Armed Forces with credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements in all the theatres of operation across the country.

Thank you and God bless.

BENARD ONYEUKO

Brigadier General

Acting Director

2 September 2021

Nigeria, Russia Sign Military Pact

Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd) and Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugaev, during the signing of a military pact in Russia on August 25, 2021.

 

Nigeria and Russia have signed a new military-technical cooperation agreement, a statement by the Nigerian Embassy in Russia said.

The agreement which provides a legal framework for the supply and servicing of military equipment, training of personnel as well as technology transfer, was signed in Russia on Monday.

While the Defence Minister, Major-General Bashir Magashi (rtd.), who led top military officials to Russia, signed on behalf of Nigeria, Dmitry Shugaev, Director of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation signed on behalf of Russia.

In attendance at the signing were the Nigerian Ambassador, Professor Abdullahi Shehu, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Auwal Gambo, and representatives from the Army and Air Force.

The signing marks the termination of the 20-year similar agreement entered on March 6, 2001.

Shehu explained that the partnership was purely for complementary and mutual benefits.

Nigeria and Russia had both signed military cooperation, trade agreements in 2017 and 2019,

The 2017 deal allows Nigerian servicemen to be trained in Russia’s military educational establishments as both countries agreed to exchange peacekeeping experience on piracy and terrorism.

In the 2019 accord, the cooperation extended from military collaboration to oil, gas, trade, rail development, among others.

The pact was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit. Nigeria is also seeking the advancement of nuclear power.

Insecurity: The Govt Knows Sponsors Of Boko Haram, Says Former Naval Officer

 

Former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi on Wednesday hinted that the Nigerian government knows those behind the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the country. 

He made the comment during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“They [government] know. Of course, it is in the news,” Commodore Olawunmi said.

“In April this year, the government said they had arrested 400 Bureau De Change (BDCs)-related people that were sponsoring Boko Haram. They told us.”

The presidency had earlier said it would publish names of those behind the Boko Haram war with the development generating heated controversy across the country. 

But months down the line, the long-waited list is yet to be made public, a situation the ex-military officer says does not bode well for the government which he accused of shielding criminals. 

“Try them, we know them. Why can’t this government, if not that they are partisan, bring those people out for trial?” he asked, corroborating calls from several quarters for the Federal Government to make good its promise. 

He claimed that the government has developed cold feet in fighting the insurgency because some of those backing Boko Haram are now top-ranking government officials.

“I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that the boys we arrested mentioned,” he said, referencing his time as a member of the military intelligence team in 2017.

“Some of them are governors now. Some of them are in the Senate. Some of them are in Aso Rock.”


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‘We Can’t Use Same Strategy’

Commodore Olawunmi believes the Nigerian government is not sincere in the fight against Boko Haram.

 

Olawunmi’s remark is the latest in the continued debates about how Nigeria can end the Boko Haram war which has led to thousands of deaths and displaced millions especially in the northeast and some neighbouring countries. 

While the military says the ongoing onslaught against the terrorists has yielded results and the criminals surrendering in ‘droves’, calls for granting amnesty to some of the “repentant” members of the sect have also divided opinions among stakeholders. 

Advocates, citing the amnesty programme of the ex-President Musa Yar’Adua to ex-Niger Delta militants, say it will bring peace to the troubled North-East. 

But Olawunmi has faulted the move. 

“The challenge we have in this country cannot be solved the same way we solved the problem of the Niger Delta. I told them we can’t use the same strategy for Boko Haram,” he argued, citing when he served a security and intelligence brief at the Defence Headquarters between 2016 and 2017.

According to him, fishing out the sponsors is a major way of ending the war.

 “The centre of gravity of Boko Haram and insurgency in Nigeria are the sponsors of that programme,” the professor of Intelligence and Global Security Studies, added. 

 

Army Nabs Suspected Drug Traffickers With 50 Bags Of Cannabis

A map of Ondo, a state in southwest Nigeria.

 

Troops of the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army based in Akure, the Ondo State capital have handed over two suspected drug traffickers to officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the state.

The suspects; Ezenwa (55) and Stephen (35) were apprehended at Isua-Akoko military checkpoint on Monday, with substances suspected to be Cannabis Sativa otherwise known as Indian Hemp carefully concealed in 50 bags.

They were said to have been arrested in a white colour Toyota Sienna minibus with registration number RBC 334 BG while on their way from Owo to Abuja.

The suspects were masked and dressed in Nigeria Police uniforms while they replaced the original vehicle number plate with a fake Nigeria police vehicle number NPF 1651D.

On behalf of the Brigade Commander, the officer in charge of the provost company at the 32 Artillery Brigade, Major Emontimi Kontei, handed over the suspects with the seized items to the NDLEA.

Death Toll In Philippines Military Plane Crash Rises To 50

 

Philippine security forces searched among coconut trees on a remote southern island Monday for the flight data boxes of an aircraft that crashed and killed 50 people in one of the country’s worst military air disasters.

The C-130 Hercules transport plane was carrying 96 people, most of them recent army graduates, when it overshot the runway on Sunday while trying to land on Jolo island in Sulu province — a haven for Islamist militants.

The plane “skidded” and burst into flames in a village, killing 50 people including 47 military personnel and three civilians, said military spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo.

Another 53 were injured, most of them soldiers. It was not clear if the pilots were among the survivors.

“This is one of the worst tragic incidents that happened in our armed forces,” Arevalo said.

The three civilians killed were not on the flight and had been working in a quarry, village leader Tanda Hailid told AFP.

Photos of the scene released by the military’s Joint Task Force-Sulu showed the damaged tail and smoking wreckage scattered in a coconut grove.

“We have people on the ground to make sure the integrity of the pieces of the evidence that we will retrieve, most particularly the flight data recorder,” Arevalo said.

“Aside from eyewitness accounts, we are also looking for recordings, radio conversation recordings between the pilot and the control tower.”

Arevalo said the military had secured the crash site and would ensure militants on the island do not disrupt search efforts.

Dental records were being used to help identify the charred remains of victims.

Most of the passengers recently graduated from basic military training and were being deployed to the restive island as part of a counter-insurgency effort in the Muslim-majority region.

The military has a heavy presence in the southern Philippines where militant groups, including the kidnap-for-ransom outfit Abu Sayyaf, operate.

‘Worst crash’

C-130s have been the workhorses of air forces around the world for decades, used to transport troops, supplies, and vehicles.

The second-hand Hercules that crashed Sunday was acquired from the United States and delivered to the Philippines earlier this year.

It was one of four in the country’s fleet and was in “very good condition”, the military said. Two others are being repaired while the third has been grounded following the crash.

“These are all seasoned and experienced pilots, that’s why we are also unable to immediately say how this… (happened),” said Arevalo.

“Even if these (military assets) are not brand new… these are airworthy.”

“This ranks as the worst crash of a Philippine military aircraft with 50 dead so far as compared to the 40 dead in a 1971 crash of a PAF C-47,” Jose Antonio Custodio, a military historian and analyst, told AFP.

It was the latest in a series of recent military air accidents in the Philippines.

Last month, a Black Hawk helicopter went down during a night-time training flight, killing all six on board. The accident prompted the grounding of the country’s entire Black Hawk fleet.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said Monday the incidents would provide “impetus for further modernisation” of the armed forces.

“The whole country is mourning,” he said.

National Security: 235 Military Officers Get Counter-Terrorism Training

 

The Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji in Kaduna State has conducted a special training course for a total of 235 junior military officers on counter-terrorism and peace support operations.

The training which involved the Army, Air Force and Navy, was aimed at equipping them with the necessary skills to function as Grade-Three Staff Officers and Junior Commanders in their various military services and organisations.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony on Saturday, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, noted that the training became necessary as a result of the myriad of security challenges confronting the nation.

He also noted that the challenges require effective training of officers and men in the art of counter-terrorism, peace support operations and disaster management.

Among those who participated in the training were also allied officers from Liberia, Ghana, Gambia, Cameroun, Sierra Leone, and Benin Republic.

Read Also: Air Force Trains Personnel To Tackle Incessant Aircraft Crashes

Addressing the officers, Rear Admiral Gambo, urged them to apply the skills learnt from the college in the ongoing war against terrorists in the northeast, bandits in the north west and north central as well as other related crimes across the country.

The Naval boss also reminded them of their expected roles in the realisation of the Federal Government’s Change Agenda and war against terror.

Speaking further, he asked them to imbibe the cardinal virtues of a soldier which include discipline, team spirit, time management and self-confidence among others.

Lebanon Too Broke To Pay Soldiers Enough, Army Warns Ahead Of Donor Meet

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 28, 2020 Lebanese army reinforcements arrive in the northern port city of Tripoli during clashes with protesters as anger over a spiralling economic crisis re-energised a months-old anti-government movement in defiance of a coronavirus lockdown.  (Photo by Ibrahim CHALHOUB / AFP)

 

Lebanon’s military needs aid to help its soldiers survive the financial crisis, an army source warned Wednesday, ahead of a UN-backed donor conference to shore up one of the bankrupt country’s key institutions.

Unlike previous conferences designed to provide training, weapons or equipment for Lebanon’s armed forces, the virtual meeting hosted by France on Thursday aims to offer the kind of humanitarian assistance usually reserved for countries grappling with conflict or natural disaster.

“We are in need of food parcels, healthcare assistance” and other support that comes on top of soldiers’ pay, a military source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The devaluation of the Lebanese pound is affecting soldiers and they are in need of support. Their salaries are not enough anymore.”

Lebanon’s economic crisis, which the World Bank has labelled as one of the world’s worst since the 1850s, has seen the local currency lose more than 90 percent of its value on the black market.

The crisis has eaten away at the value of soldiers’ salaries and slashed the military’s budget for maintenance and equipment, further threatening the country’s stability.

A regular soldier earns around 1.2 million Lebanese pounds a month — $800 at the official exchange rate, but only about $80 on the black market.

Already towards the middle of last year, the army said it had scrapped meat from the meals offered to on-duty soldiers, due to rising food prices.

– Milk, flour, medicine –
“We are doing the impossible to ease the suffering and the economic woes of our soldiers,” army chief Joseph Aoun said in a speech on Tuesday.

“We are forced to turn to allied states to secure aid, and I am ready to go to the end of the world to procure assistance so that the army can stay on its feet.”

Around 20 countries, including the United States, several EU member states, Gulf countries, Russia, and China have been invited to take part in the conference alongside UN representatives.

It follows a visit by Aoun last month to Paris, where he warned that the army could face even darker days without emergency support.

“The Lebanese army is going through a major crisis, which could get worse due to the deteriorating economic and social situation in Lebanon, which may worsen when subsidies are lifted,” he said.

He was referring to a government plan to scrap subsidies on essential goods such as fuel, food and flour to shore up dwindling foreign currency reserves.

A source close to French Defence Minister Florence Parly said Wednesday that the crisis was alarming as the Lebanese military is the “key institution” maintaining security in the country.

The army has highlighted “very specific needs” for milk, flour, medicine, fuel, and spare parts for maintenance, the source said.

– ‘Morale is low’ –
Aram Nerguizian, an expert on the Lebanese army at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Carnegie Middle East Center, said the military had already lost more than 3,000 members since 2019, dropping to a force of 80,874 at the start of this year.

“Morale is low, officers are increasingly demoralised,” he told AFP.

Nerguizian said donors could provide “in-kind assistance that helps LAF (army) personnel gain access to staple goods they would otherwise spend their now-severely diminished salaries on,” such as food, fuel, and medicine.

But aid that supports salaries is “more difficult”.

“For most of the LAF’s Western partners, there are laws and mechanisms in place specifically not to have aid used in that way,” Nerguizian said.

“Those systems are in place to prevent corruption, nepotism, and a twisted form of dependence on foreign aid for the current portion of national defence spending.”

The United States remains the biggest financial backer of the Lebanese military, and has bumped up funding for the army by $15 million for this year to $120 million.

France, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey are among the army’s main food donors, while Iraq and Spain have offered medical assistance.

COAS Appointment: Military Denies Enforcing Mass Compulsory Retirement Of Officers

A file photo of the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Faruk Yahaya.

 

Military authorities have dispelled the rumour of mass compulsory retirement of senior military officers, following the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Farouk Yahaya.

The Acting Director of Defence Media Operation, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, faulted the claim at a press conference on Thursday at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“At this point, you are all aware of the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya. This has stirred up a lot of rumours in the media about mass retirements in the military,” he told reporters at the briefing.

He added, “I wish to use this medium to dispel such unfounded rumours. Retirement is only on a voluntary basis for senior officers who desire to do so. At this point, no retirement has been authorised by the Military High Command.”

The military spokesman also highlighted some of the feats recorded by troops in the course of various operations in parts of the country.

According to him, there is no gainsaying that the military and the security agencies are committed to ensuring peace returns to the country.

Onyeuko also assured Nigerians that the military remained resolute to take decisive and adequate actions to abate the activities of terrorists and bandits, as well as other vices in Nigeria.

“The Military High Command will not be weary of appreciating the general public for their support and continue to encourage them to provide credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements in the theatres of operations.

“The Military High Command also lauds all efforts of the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their resilience and indefatigable commitment,” he said.

The successes recorded by troops are highlighted below:

Gentlemen of the Press, it is my honour and privilege to once again update you on the operational efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies conducting operations to tackle insecurity in our dear Country. This brief highlights our operational activities across the Country between 20 May and 2 June 2021.

The operations are the combined efforts of the military and other security agencies, involving land, maritime and air operations. It is worthy to note that these operations are conducted simultaneously in the various theatres of operation on daily basis across the Country.

The unrelenting and committed efforts of the gallant troops as well as the cumulative results of our operational activities in the various operations and specific events will be highlighted under the different operations.

Within the period in focus, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria intensified their operational efforts in the fight against terrorism, banditry, hoodlums and militancy as well as other criminalities across all the geo-political zones of the Country. Troops conducted series of clearance patrols, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments.

Others are anti-piracy, anti-illegal oil bunkering, anti-crude oil theft, anti-pipeline vandalism and anti-smuggling operations were also conducted within the period. There were also extensive air operations, which included air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support for ground troops. These operations within the period yielded appreciable results.

 

Operation Hadin Kai

The troops of Operation HADIN KAI between 20 May and 2 June 2021 carried out series of operational activities. They rescued kidnapped victims, neutralized scores of terrorists, destroyed terrorists’ enclaves, arrested terrorists and intercepted terrorists’ logistics items including vehicles. On 20 May 2021, troops had contact and engaged BHT criminal elements in Gwoza LGA of Borno State.

This occurred as troops swiftly responded to a distress call by farmers on the attack on their location. Troops gallantly rescued the farmers. During the encounter, several terrorists were neutralized, while some others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.

Also on the same day, troops while conducting aggressive clearance operation on BHT’s hideouts at Ngaiwa, Tongunle, Washelle, Mo’o, Mudollo, Mugdalla and Amtul villages, all in Dikwa LGA of Borno State, killed scores of the terrorists and recovered large caches of arms and ammunition.

In related developments between 21 and 25 May, troops conducted cordon and search, raid operations and arrested BHT logistics suppliers at Ngamdu Town in Kaga LGA of Borno State, New Barracks Location along Damaturu – Potiskum road as well as Kukareta Town in Damaturu LGA of Yobe State. Items recovered during the operation include; large numbers of jerry can and drums of PMS, assorted arms and ammunition and assorted logistics items.

This large consignment of logistics has drastically dislocated the terrorists’ logistics network in the region. Meanwhile, on 23 May 2021, the Air Task Force of Operation HADIN KAI conducted extensive air interdiction missions near Gudumbali in Guzamal LGA and the Toumbuns of Lake Chad of Borno State. The air interdiction missions executed with various NAF platforms resulted in the neutralization of scores of BHT criminal elements and the destruction of their camps and logistics facilities.

 

Operation Hadarin Daji

Between 20 May and 2 June 2021, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted and executed series of concurrent operations. These operations led to the arrest of kidnappers/bandits and gun runners, rescue of kidnapped victims, repelling of armed bandits’ attack and neutralization of scores of armed bandits as well as recovery of caches of arms and ammunition.

These operational achievements were recorded during troops’ aggressive patrols’; response to distress calls as well raid and ambush operations. The operations were executed at Jalawa Village in Kibiya LGA of Kano State; Shombo Warari Market Road in Rijau LGA of Niger State; Lugu Village in Wurno LGA of Sokoto State; Hayin Daudu Village under Mada District in Gusau LGA of Zamfara State; Dangeza Road in Batsari LGA of Katsina State.

The troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have remained vigilant and dominated the operational areas with constant aggressive patrols.

 

Operation Safe Haven

Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN and other security agencies in the North Central Zone of the Country conducted several kinetic operations between 20 May and 2 June 2021. These operations resulted in the rescue of kidnapped victims, neutralization of scores of bandits, destruction of bandits’ hideouts and arrest of bandits.

On 20 May 2021, own troops conducted a raid operation at Gana Ropp Village in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State. The operation which took out some illicit drug peddlers’ hideouts, led to the arrest of some of the peddlers and impoundment of large quantities of Cannabis Sativa. All arrested persons and recovered exhibits have been handed over to the relevant agency for prosecution.

In another development, on 24 May 2021, troops intervened in a clash between farmer/herder at Fubur in Jos East LGA of Plateau State. The clash which was provoked by the destruction of farmlands by herders’ cattle was amicably resolved by troops, who invited both parties to peaceful dialogue.

In a similar development, troops were able to restore normalcy by ensuring the release of a herder who was abducted by Berom youths at Byei Village in Riyom LGA of Plateau State. The swift intervention of troops in both incidents averted imminent reprisal and retaliatory actions that would have resulted in bloodsheds in the Region.

 

Operation Whirl Stroke

Troops operational activities in Operation WHIRL STROKE between 20 May and 2 June 2021 include the arrest of cultists and raid on bandits’ hideouts. On 20 May 2021, troops on the heels of credible intelligence arrested some cultists at Koko area of Adikpo Town in Kwande LGA of Benue State during a raid operation.

Exchange of gun fires ensued between the troops and the cultists during the encounter, before some of them were arrested. Some arms and ammunition, as well as other dangerous weapons, were recovered from the cultists; however, 2 of our troops paid the supreme price during the encounter.

In another encounter, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE on 26 May 2021, neutralized several armed bandits and incapacitated some others in a raid operation. The raid operation was conducted on the bandits’ hideouts at a forest in Ankur Village in Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State. Several arms and ammunition were also recovered from the criminal elements during the encounter.

 

Operation Thunder Strike/Whirl Punch

Troops within Operation THUNDER STRIKE/WHIRL PUNCH theatres of operations engaged in various kinetic operations between 20 May and 2 June 2021. On 23 May 2021, troops responded to a distress call on the abduction of four travellers along Gidan Waya – Godogodo – Jangindi Road in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.

The swift response by troops led to the rescue of 2 of the victims, while efforts are ongoing to rescue the remaining 2 victims. Also, on 24 May 2021, troops conducted a raid operation on a criminal hideout at Aiyedayo – Iyah – Gbede Road in Ijumu LGA of Kogi State. The kidnappers among other criminal activities abducted some residents from Iyah – Gbede Community a day before. During the operation, the criminals were arrested and handed over to the appropriate agency for prosecution.

 

Operation Delta Safe

The troops of Operation DELTA SAFE conducted series of kinetic operations against economic saboteurs and other socio-economic vices between 20 May and 2 June 2021. In Rivers State, troops immobilised several illegal refining sites along with numerous reservoirs and polythene bags of illegally refined oil products at different sites.

Troops also intercepted and deactivated boats and vehicles used for illegal bunkering and illegal economic activities as well as recovered large quantities of oil products and other items of economic value. The operations were conducted at Ibaa and Elele-Alimini general areas of Emohua LGA; Komkom Community in Oyigbo LGA; Isaka axis in Degema LGA and Okpoworo area in Ahoada LGA. Other locations were, Bonny Town, Tamgbolo – Susu Community and Samkiri Community general areas as well as Coconut Estate Waterways, all in Bonny LGA.

In Delta State, within the period in focus at different locations, troops arrested wooden boats and immobilized speed boats laden with contraband items and illegally refined oil products and crude oil in jerry cans. These operations took place at Abiteye area in Warri South and Opuama Creek in Warri North as well as Warri South LGAs of Delta State. Troops also arrested cultists on Oshoni Street at Ozoro in Isoko North LGA of the State. The arrested cultists have terrorized innocent people in the area.

In other encounters, own troops in Ikot Ekpene area arrested some IPOB/ESN members at Essien Udim LGA of Akwa-Ibom State following credible intelligence on the hoodlums’ activities in the area. The suspects were identified to be part of the IPOB/ESN members involved in the killing and burning of policemen and stations in the area.

Also, troops arrested some members of the Scorpion Confraternity, who have been terrorizing and robbing people at Ikong-Offiong in Akpabayo LGA of Cross River State. Relatedly, troops on 23 May 2021 repelled members of IPOB/ESN attack on troops at Amoka Village in Udi LGA of Enugu State. During the encounter, a member of the IPOB/ESN was neutralized in contact and some arms and ammunition were recovered.

Furthermore, troops arrested some members of IPOB/ESN, including one Mr Black who has been on the security operatives wanted list, at Ikot Akpan Town in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa-Ibom State. The criminals are reportedly among those responsible for the current wave of attacks, killings and burning of police operatives and stations in the Southern part of the Country. The hoodlums have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary action.

 

Operation Awatse

Between 20 May and 2 June 2021, troops of Operation AWATSE maintained constant vigilance and operational tempo as well as patrolled our waterways. On 20 May 2021, troops of Operation AWATSE arrested some members of the Aiye Confraternity at Omiyale Junction in Owode Egbado Village, Yewa South LGA of Ogun State.

The cultists are said to be a group of notorious criminals who have been terrorizing innocent people in the area. The arrested cultists and weapons recovered have been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for necessary action.

Buhari Directs National Flag To Fly At Half-Mast, Declares Monday Work-Free Day For Military Personnel

A file photo of the Nigerian flag.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the national flag be flown at half-mast in all public buildings, facilities, and official residences across the country.

The directive is with effect from Monday to Wednesday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, announced in a statement on Sunday.

He explained that the presidential directive was to honour the memory and services of the late Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, as well as the senior military officers and service members who died in a plane crash on Friday last week.

Mustapha added that the President has approved Monday as a work-free day for members of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The remains of the late Attahiru and 10 other officers who died in the plane crash in Kaduna were laid to rest on Saturday at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.

The late Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other officers were buried on May 22, 2021 at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
The late Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 other officers were buried on May 22, 2021, at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

Other officers and who lost their lives included Brigadier-General MI Abdulkadir, Brigadier-General Olayinka, Brigadier-General Kuliya, Major LA Hayat, Major Hamza and Sergeant Umar.

Flight-Lieutenant TO Asaniyi, Flight-Lieutenant AA Olufade, Sergeant Adesina, and ACM Oyedepo also died in the crash

Elsewhere, President Buhari spoke with Mrs Fati Attahiru, the wife of the late Chief of Army Staff, on Sunday evening.

Details of his conversation are highlighted in the statement below signed by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu.

PRESIDENT BUHARI SPEAKS WITH FATI ATTAHIRU, PRAISES MILITARY’S EFFORTS TO FIGHT TERRORISM AND BANDITRY

President Muhammadu Buhari has described Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, the late Chief of Army Staff as an outstanding soldier and an institution builder, who fought valiantly for Nigeria until he breathed his last.

In a telephone conversation Sunday evening with Mrs. Fati Ibrahim Attahiru, the wife of the late COAS and the spouses of the other deceased officers through her, President Buhari hailed the sacrifices of the military men who lost their lives and the Armed Forces in general, saying that Nigerians will continue to appreciate and support the fearlessness with which our courageous soldiers are confronting the threats facing the nation.

He gave the grieving spouses assurances that the nation will never forget the supreme sacrifice of their spouses, urging them to take solace in the surge of extraordinary feelings of emotions across regions, religions, and tribes all over the country in appreciation of their sacrifices.

The President who had earlier given directives to the Defense headquarters and the Ministry of Defence to do everything a government can do to provide comfort and ease the hardships of the families of the deceased prayed to Almighty God to repose their souls and grant their families the fortitude to bear the losses.

Mrs Attahiru, on behalf of the rest of the families, thanked the President for the love and care he has shown to them.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

May 23, 2021

Military Remains Loyal To Nigeria’s Constitution, Civil Authority – DHQ

A file photo of soldiers on a military vehicle. Photo: Channels Television/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The military is restating its commitment to the Nigerian Constitution with a promise that it will remain apolitical and loyal to the civil authority and the President who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, who is the acting Director of Defence Information, made the pledge on behalf of the military in a statement on Monday.

The pledge of loyalty followed comments by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Robert Clark, which the military said suggested that the current political leadership should hand over power to it for the purpose of restructuring.

While distancing itself from the comment, the military pledged that it would continue to discharge its constitutional responsibilities professionally, especially in protecting the country’s democracy, defence of its territorial integrity, as well as protecting the lives and property of the citizens.

It added that the current security challenges in the country were not insurmountable, saying the Armed Forces and other security agencies were working assiduously to ameliorate the problems.

Read the full statement by the military spokesman below:

NIGERIAN MILITARY REMAIN LOYAL TO THE CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA

The attention of the military high command has been drawn to a statement purported to have been made by one Robert Clark SAN, suggesting that current political leadership should hand over power to the military for the purpose of restructuring.

The Nigerian Military wishes to dissociate itself from such anti-democratic utterance and position.

Let it be stated categorically that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remain fully committed to the present Administration and all associated democratic institutions.

We shall continue to remain apolitical, subordinate to the Civil Authority, firmly loyal to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the 1999 Constitution as Amended.

We shall continue to discharge our constitutional responsibilities professionally, especially in protecting the country’s democracy, defence of the territorial integrity of the country as well as protection of lives and properties of citizens.

The Military High Command wishes to use this opportunity to warn misguided politicians who nurse the inordinate ambition to rule this country outside the ballot box to banish such thoughts as the military under the current leadership remain resolute in the Defence of Nigeria’s Democracy and its growth.

We also wish to remind all military personnel that it is treasonable to even contemplate this illegality.

The full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on any personnel found to collude with people having such an agenda.

The current security challenges are not insurmountable. The Armed Forces of Nigeria in partnership with other security agencies are working assiduously to ameliorate the challenge. Nigeria will know peace again. PLEASE BE WARNED!

ONYEMA NWACHUKWU

Brigadier General

Acting Director Defence Information

3 May 2021

Senate Committee Summons Finance Minister Over Military Funding

A photo combination of Senator Ali Ndume and Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.
A photo combination of Senator Ali Ndume and Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.

 

The Senate committee on Army on Thursday summoned the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, to give account of releases to the military for operation Lafiya Dole and the war on terrorism.

The committee issued the summons after the Minister was absent at a meeting called by the committee.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry of Finance Aliyu Shinkafi represented the Minister but the committee was dissatisfied and insisted that the minister must appear before them.

The Permanent Secretary however told the committee that N75 billion was appropriated and released in 2019 while additional funds appropriated from the service wide votes was also released 100 percent. The sum of 2.5 billion was also released.

He added that In 2020, N75 billion was appropriated but N74.99 billion was released.

In 2021, N100 billion has been appropriated and N19.4 billion released for the first quarter.

Just yesterday, he said, the ministry released N19.95 billion for the second quarter.

However, Senator Ali Ndume, Committee Chairman, presented a letter from the Chief of Defence staff where he stated that military authorities complained of a shortfall in releases from the Finance ministry.