The Federal Government has disengaged the heads of the six information-related parastatals under the Ministry of Information and Culture.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, announced the disengagement during a meeting he held with the Chief Executives of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Voice of Nigeria (VON), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Monday.
According to a statement signed by SA to the Minister, Segun Adeyemi, the Minister directed the disengaged Chief Executives to hand over to the most senior officials in their various establishments.
He thanked them for their service to the nation and wished them the best of luck in their future endeavours.
The affected Chief Executives are the Directors-General of NTA, Mr Sola Omole, FRCN (Mr Ladan Salihu), VON (Mr Sam Worlu), NOA (Mr Mike Omeri), NBC (Mr Emeka Mba) and the Managing Director of NAN (Mr Ima Niboro).
The coordinating spokesman of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, has advised Nigerians to be more vigilant, as some members of the terrorist group engage in menial jobs in order to ward off security operatives.
Mr Omeri explained that the military onslaught against members of Boko Haram terrorist group in the north-east had forced members of the group to take up menial jobs.
Addressing a weekly news conference of the Centre in Abuja on Wednesday, Mr Omeri announced the re-capture of more towns in the north-east by Nigerian troops supported by the regional Multi National Force.
He noted that the onslaught against the insurgents would be intensified until terrorist activities were reduced to the barest minimum and eventually wiped out.
Mr Omeri, who commended the renewed support by the regional forces and the offer of assistance from the United States of America, however, appealed to politicians to shun violent acts and provocative comments.
He condemned the recent attack that occurred in Okrika in Rivers State, saying “it is unacceptable for Nigerians to be attacked at a political rally”.
The Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, on Thursday assured Nigerians that efforts are on to ensure peace and stability throughout the period of the general elections .
Speaking during a press conference in Abuja, Mr Moro promised that the Federal Government will deploy security personnel before, during and after the elections adding that the anxiety over a peaceful process is unwarranted.
He asked Nigerians to avoid activities that might instigate violence saying that the country is more important that any individual or group of persons.
Mr Moro also noted that despite the insurgency in some parts of the country, adequate resources are being mobilized to ensure peace throughout the elections and beyond.
The risk of foreigners infiltrating the country during the elections, the threats of violence peddled by individuals over the presidential elections and safety of the citizens were also raised during the meeting.
Meanwhile, at a separate news conference, the Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC), Mr Mike Omeri, drew attention to a planned attack by members of the Boko Haram sect, warning Nigerians to be on high alert especially as the elections approach.
Channels Television’s correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi reports that with roughly two weeks before the elections, many Nigerians view the safety of their lives and property as important as voting their candidates into power.
The National Information Centre have said that President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for a loan of one billion dollars is to enable the military tackle insurgency and other security challenges in the country.
The Coordinator of the centre, Mr Mike Omeri, who addressed journalists in Abuja on Thursday, said that the amount requested was not just to fight Boko Haram but would be used to address some financial needs in the Army.
“The loan being sought for is not just to prosecute the Boko Haram war” Omeri reiterated, ”It is to reinforce the Army as the they have made a request because they have a need.
“So the funding is to ensure the long term provision of the requirement of the Armed Forces”.
Omeri also said that the security operatives were still on the trail of Abubakar Tsiga, the suspected chief mastermind of Nyanya bombing which killed dozens in April.
President Jonathan had requested for immediate approval of one billion dollars external borrowing by the National Assembly to tackle insurgency and terrorism in Nigeria’s northeast.
The President stressed that there was an urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistic of the country’s Armed Forces and Security services to enable them confront the serious threat posed by Boko Haram sect more forcefully and efficiently.
The Federal Government of Nigeria says leading politicians have links to a terrorist group, Boko Haram that has carried out most of its attacks in some states in the northeast.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the coordinator of the Joint Information Centre for Security, Mr Mike Omeri, said the undisclosed politicians had been arrested and were being interrogated.
According to Omeri, some of the items recovered from the suspected members of the Boko Haram sect, implicating the politicians, include some sensitive registration card.
The agency refused to mention the names of the politicians, but promised that the security agencies would not condone involvement of politicians in activities that threaten national security.
“We wish to emphasise that the government, particularly the security forces and security agencies, will not condone involvement of politicians in security matters where the interest of our country is concerned and involved,” he warned.
Efforts are ongoing to ensure the rescue of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State by members of the Boko Haram sect on April 14.
The spokesman for the joint counter-terrorism forces, Major General Chris Olukolade, assured Nigerians that operations were ongoing to ensure the rescue of the girls soon.
“Operation is everywhere that we suspect or have reasons to know is the locations of terrorists. Sambisa Forest just happen to be one of them and everywhere they are located in this country, security forces will go after them,” he said.
Few weeks after the girls were abducted, a group began a ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign aimed at pushing the government and security forces to increase efforts to rescue the girls.
The spokesperson for the Department of States Services, Marylyn Ogar, warned the campaign group to be civic with their activities, as security operatives would not tolerate actions aimed at undermining government’s effort to fight insurgency.
“It is an ordinary movement seeking to act or put pressure on the government or security operations to release the girls. There will be no need for the groups to begin to have tags or insisting that they must be properly registered.
“We know that they have bank accounts. We also know that they want to go to Asokoro extension to assimilate some false movement where they have foreign media to say that they are matching into Sambisa or Chibok,” Ogar said.
The Boko Haram activities have wrecked serious havoc in Nigeria in the last four years, leaving several persons dead and many others maimed.
Their actions have been condemned by the international community that are now providing Nigeria intelligence support to ensure that the acts of terrorism cease.
The Nigerian government has confirmed Sunday’s attack on three villages near Chibok in Borno State, where over 200 girls were abducted from their dormitory at the Government Girls Secondary School on April 14.
The coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, said the villages were Kautikeri, Kwada and Birnjuzu, 10 kilometres from Chibok, believed to have been attacked by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.
According to Mr Omeri, the government is yet to ascertain the extent of damages and casualties’ figures.
Meanwhile, when asked why the insurgents seem to be having their ways in the region, Mr Omeri and the police spokesman, Mr Frank Mba, said the security operatives were guided by laws.
Personnel of the Nigerian Armed Forces have been on counter terrorism operation in the region with three of its states under emergency rule.
There have, however, been calls for the military to do more and end the insurgency that began since 2009 in the region by a terrorist group, Boko Haram. The group is demanding for an Islamic state and an end to western education.
Earlier reports say at least 10 persons were killed in the attacks on the three villages by suspected members of the Boko Haram.
Suspected members of the sect were said to have invaded churches in Kautikari village with bombs and guns while the victims were holding services.
Desperate residents had to send out text message, calling for help from security operatives and the government.
Members of the Boko Haram have carried out series of attacks on churches, schools and villages in the northeast.
Sunday’s attack is coming after another deadly attack in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State northwest Nigeria, leaving at least 25 people dead.
The gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen are reported to have struck the two communities in the area in the late hours of Saturday.
Chairman of the local government, Emmanuel Adamu, confirmed the killings to Channels Television. He said the gunmen came in through the thick forest between Sanga and Plateau State.
He appealed to the government to carry out an air survelience in the area to fish out the terrorist.
Chibok town had become popular after secondary school girls were abducted form their dormitory by Boko Haram members.
The girls are still in their custody, but the government has continued to assure Nigeria’s that the girls would be rescued.
The coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, has cautioned Nigerians against peddling rumours of impending attacks on schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At a joint press briefing in Abuja on Friday, Mr Omeri assured Nigerians that security operatives had been mobilised to ensure adequate security in schools.
He said that messages were being circulated in the social media with the view to creating panic and anxiety among citizens to the effect that some schools are being targeted for attack in the FCT.
“The security agencies are working round the clock and had taken measure to ensure that schools are safe and that academic activities continue uninterrupted and unhindered.
“We appeal and advise citizens and members of the public to desist from spreading false alarm messages that could create panic and to work closely with security agencies and to make effective use of security alert phone number made available to the public,” he said.
He called on Nigerians to remain vigilant and report all suspicious movement to security agencies.
Mr Omeri’s statement is coming two days after a bomb blast at the Emab Plaza in Maitama, Abuja left 21 dead and 17 injured.
The Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, has advised security agencies in Nigeria to beef up its check operations on petrol tankers after a security alert of an alleged plan by insurgents to use patrol tankers for attacks.
Members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram, has carried out series of attacks on villages, schools and churches in Nigeria’s north east.
The information centre had received a tip-off that the group is planning to hijack petrol tankers for planned deadly attacks on crowded areas in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Mr Omeri further advised members of the petroleum tanker drivers association to report any attempt of seizure of their vehicles to security agencies.
The group has shifted attacks in recent days to football viewing centres and security agencies has warned Nigerians to avoid such centres.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in Nigeria, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has dismissed rumours in some quarters of a possible coup d’etat, affirming the commitment of the Nigerian military to the defence of the nation’s democracy.
He said that the rumours were untenable and stressed that “the military is an arm of democracy”.
Air Chief Marshal Badeh’s comments were contained in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the National Orientation Agency, Mr Paul Odenyi, released on Wednesday after a meeting between the Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Mike Omeri, and the Air Chief.
The meeting held at Badeh’s office was for the formal presentation of the Nigerian Centenary Flag to the Nigerian military.
After he received the flag, he gave an order for the immediate hoisting of the Centenary Flag in military formations across the country.
According to Badeh, the military as a professional group “has no option but to love Nigeria” and do those things that will ensure security and protection of lives within the nation.
Air Chief Marshal Badeh, who expressed surprise at the rumours, was emphatic that democracy had come to stay and that the military had no intention of truncating democracy.
“Why should anyone be thinking in negative fashion? Tell them we will not do it. Those rumouring coups must be living elsewhere and not in Nigeria. The Armed Forces are defenders of democracy. We are an arm of democracy, so how can an arm of democracy work against the democracy that we are part of?” the CDS asked.
“Do the Right Thing”
The Defence Chief commended the NOA for “living up to expectation” in its activities as typified by the Centenary Flag produced by the Agency, which he described as unique and of standard, as well as the coordination of the National Information Centre (NIC).
He expressed support for the Agency’s programmes and policies, including the renaming of the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) Brigade of the Agency to Community Support Brigade (CSB) and the Word Waste Bin initiative, urging the NOA to step up the ante in mobilizing Nigerians.
Mr Omeri had disclosed the Agency’s plan to soon launch a security awareness campaign tagged “Do the Right Thing: Know Your Neighbour”.
He said the campaign was, among other things, to complement efforts of the Armed Forces and also ensure return to that age old and celebrated value of being our brother’s keepers.
Presenting the nation’s Centenary Flag to the Defence Chief, the NOA Director General said the flag was symbolic of the nation’s history and heritage which it seeks to pass on to future generations of Nigerians.
He expressed the gratitude of the NOA for the support and commitment of the Defence Headquarters towards the National Information Centre, noting that such was a clear statement of the Armed Forces’ dedication to the speedy resolution of the security issues confronting the nation at the moment.
Omeri made a call for a day to be set aside by Nigerians to celebrate the Nigerian Armed Forces for their courage, professionalism and patriotism, pointing out that Nigerians owed the military a debt of gratitude for its selfless sacrifice for the nation.
President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the immediate release of relief materials to families of the deceased and affected victims of the bomb blasts that claimed many lives and destroyed properties in Jos, the Plateau State capital on Tuesday.
The coordinator, joint security information center, Mr Mike Omeri, told a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday said 75 people lost their lives while 70 others sustained varying degrees of injuries.
The explosions, believed to have been caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), occurred around the busy Jos main market, between railway terminus and the temporary site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital.
While advising residents to desist from rushing to bomb blast scenes in order to avoid being victims, Omeri said that the federal government had asked the UN Security Council to place an embargo on the Boko Haram sect and a response is expected soon.
The Federal Government has not ruled out the possibility of entering a negotiation with the Islamist sect, Boko Haram to secure the release of the abducted school girls.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Mr Mike Omeri said that the federal government is studying a video purportedly from the sect, showing the Chibok school girls.
He also noted that the “government will continue to explore all options for the release and safe return of our girls back to their homes” and asked Nigerians to disregard an “earlier report by a section of the media purported to have been issued by government”.
The Director, Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade added that the military is carrying out surveillance of the area and offering intelligence support to the joint task force in the north east.
Major-General Olukolade also presented a video of the military surveillance of the area.