Mike Ejiofor Sees Need For Report On Chibok Girls To Be Made Public

Mike-EjioforA former Director with the State Security Service (SSS), Mike Ejiofor, says it is necessary for the Nigerian government to make the report on the abducted Chibok girls public.

The former SSS boss, who was part of the team that investigated the girls’ abduction, said the girls were taken from their dormitory as claimed.

“We looked at the register of people writing the exams and WAEC enrolment and the people who were not available to write the exams,” he told Channels Television on Friday while giving his opinion on Nigeria’s security situation and the efforts to rescue the over 200 girls abducted two years ago.

Mr Ejiofor, however, declined to speak further on the findings since the report had not been released.

He also said he had expected that the government would have released the report, but expressed optimism that the government, being a continuum, would do so soon.

Mr Ejiofor pointed out that the issue of the abducted Chibok girls taken by members of the Boko Haram sect on April 14, 2014 from their school’s dormitory was a puzzle that the government must solve.

On why it has become so difficult to rescue the girls, he said: “We do not have sufficient intelligence on the whereabouts of the girls and this necessitated the Senate to invite the Security Chiefs”.

The former SSS official also said he was never against negotiations with the terrorists on the release of the girls.

“The problem we are actually facing is the issue of getting credible leadership from within the Boko Haram to negotiate with the Federal Government.

“I am not opposed to negotiation especially in the release of the girls because it is one issue that the government must solve.

“The worrisome aspect of it is that since these girls were taken two years ago, several rescues have been made but we have not found one of the girls among those rescued,” Mr Ejiofor pointed out.

The UN had few days ago said in a report that the number of young girls being used as suicide bombers by Boko Haram had increased.

But Mr Ejiofor believes that the girls being used for the suicide bombing were not the Chibok girls.

“The age range of the girls being used are between nine and 12. The girls that were taken, none of them will be less than 19, going by the fact that they were taking their final exams in secondary school,” he stressed.

The former SSS boss also urged the Nigerian government to re-introduce the National Information Centre for coordination of information given to the media on security issues facing the nation.

“The previous administration established the National Information Centre where all services were represented and information is co-ordinated.

“The establishment should be reintroduced to ensure that the government speaks with one voice,” the former SSS Director stated.

 

 

 

FG Denies Presence Of ISIS Militants In Nigeria

Mike_Omeri2The Nigerian Government says there is no evidence, suggesting that the militant group, Islamic State, is operating in Nigeria.

The Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, told reporters on Wednesday, that the attempt by the Boko Haram insurgents to seek assistance from ISIS, was a confirmation of the kind of pressure the group was receiving from multi-national forces.

Mr Omeri appealed for support from Nigerians in the fight against the Boko Haram, noting that so far, 36 towns had been reclaimed from the insurgents.

An Act Of Desperation

Mr Omeri had on Tuesday described Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State group as a sign of weakness and a result of pressure on the Jihadist militants by the Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Mr  Omeri said the pledge was “an act of desperation and comes at a time when Boko Haram is suffering heavy losses”.

The Islamists’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, made the announcement in an audio message on Saturday night.

“Troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have claimed a series of successes against the militants since last month, pushing them out of captured territories in northeast Nigeria”, adding that “Boko Haram is on the way to being eliminated.

“No foreign extremists can or will change this fact –- as long as the Nigerian military continues to receive cooperation and commitment from its citizens and allies.

“There will be no Islamic State in Nigeria, the only state that will exist is the united Federal Republic of Nigeria.”, he said.

Boko Haram Members Do Menial Jobs To Stay Under Cover – Omeri

Boko Haram Attack GombeThe 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”.

Sporadic gunshots by unknown hoodlums had scuttled the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship rally at the National Secondary School, in Rivers State on Tuesday.

Before the disruption, Channels Television’s correspondent, Charles Eruka, explained that three explosions were heard before the APC governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside, arrived the rally venue.

Troops in a military operation spearheaded by highly coordinated air assaults completed the mission of clearing terrorists from Monguno in Borno State and environs, a military official said on Monday.

The spokesman for the military, Major General Chris Olukolade, in a statement said that a number of the Boko Haram terrorists were captured in the course of the operation on Monday morning.

Major General Olukolade further said that truck loads of rice, beans and other logistics meant for resupply to the terrorists operating around Baga were also captured.

FG To Investigate Suspected Terrorists From Chad

TerroristsThe Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, has announced government’s intention to thoroughly investigate five Chadians who were involved in the recent terrorists attack on Biu, Borno State.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Mr Omeri reaffirmed the Nigerian Government’s commitment to rescuing the schoolgirls who were abducted from Chibok town in April 2014.

He said that the Federal Government also remained committed to ensuring the security of all Nigerians and persons resident in the country.

Biu is the second largest town in Borno State where 42 insurgents including 15 Chadians were killed on Wednesday during a ground battle by the Military and the terrorists.

Also speaking at the conference, the Director, Search and Rescue of the National Emergency Management Agency, Air Commodore Charles Odegbade, disclosed that the agency was currently providing humanitarian service for 981,416 Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria with 107,997 of them living in IDP camps.

Jonathan’s Meeting With Parents Of Abducted Girls ‘Never Too Late’ – Omeri

Mike-OmeriThe coordinator of the National Information Centre in Nigeria, Mr Mike Omeri, has dismissed critics’ reactions to President Goodluck Jonathan’s meeting with the parents of the abducted Chibok girls, saying “it is never too late for the president of a country to meet with citizens”.

Mr Omeri’s comment is coming on Wednesday, a day after president Jonathan met with the parents of the abducted girls and some of the girls that escaped from the members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, that abducted the girls form their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14.

Critics had said that the meeting had been long overdue, but Omeri insisted that the peculiar nature of the Chibok issue had led to the purported delay.

One hundred days are gone and over 200 girls are still in the custody of their abductors waiting for the rescue day, that President Jonathan had promised since they were abducted.

Again, at the Tuesday meeting, President Jonathan reassured the parents of the abducted girls that their children would be rescued soon.

Mr Omeri said that the meeting was quite frank, as it was able to put issues in perspective and ensured that parents got assurance from the President.

“At the meeting, the parents were able to communicate what happened to the President.

“When the girls that escaped from the member of Boko Haram after they were taken on April 14 told their stories, they said that they were helped by Nigerians who they met in the bush and that goes further to state that the Nigerian spirit of wanting to help each other is still in us.

“The President would have gone to Chibok, but the concentration as at the time it happened was towards rescuing the girls and stopping the insurgency and that may have explained the initial gap in meeting the parents,” Mr Omeri explained.

“Finding Peace Where It Is Missing”

While the military is striving to quell the insurgency and attacks mostly in the northeast by terrorists, calls have been made for adequate orientation of citizens geared towards establishing and enforcing peace.

Mr Omeri said that quite a number of orientation programmes were ongoing.

“Before the abduction, we had initiated a workplace peace orientation programme. I visited a number of camps for displaced persons and cattle ranches and farmers residents. We came together to design architecture that will sustain peace building and peace enforcement.

“Participants demonstrated the commitment to finding peace where it is missing and supporting the government’s efforts to ensure that peace permeates the system.

“We will take external measures to ensure that the peace project reaches all corners of the country,” he said.

Few weeks after the girls were abducted, several protests were held in Nigeria, but a group, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls Campaigners’, had continued a sit-out protest at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, demanding for more efforts from the government in securing the girls rescue.

However, the government had asked the group to direct their protest at the abductors of the girls and not at the government, alleging that the protest has being politicised.

Asked what his thought was about the group’s protest, Mr Omeri said that to the extent that the protesters were focusing their attention on the global challenge on terrorism, it was a just course.

He, however, said: “Where the issue at hand is taking us away from the primary concern of rescuing Chibok girls, we will certainly not be in the same boat.

“When the messaging is shifting, then the local Bring Back Our Girls could be said to be communicating the wrong message and attracting attention.

“‘He who has taken should bring back’ that is what they are asking for and we should all make that demand,” he emphasised.

Where Are The Girls?

On the strength of the military to tackle the Boko Haram sect, Mr Omeri pointed out that the military had ruled Nigeria for long years and that most of the leaders had one experience or the other with the military.

“That is not to say that they do not have military equipment because they were able to use what they had to achieve peace and secure territories within Africa and even outside Africa.

“We should commend the administration that has seen the need for us to re-kit and retune military hardware. We need to have and build a sustainable stock and asset for the military,” he said.

A question that has remained in the mouths of many Nigerians is:  “Where are the girls”?

A military Chief in May said that the locations of the girls had been identified and that the military was making plans to rescue them but were being cautious to ensure that there would not be casualties.

Mr Omeri also confirmed the claims but said that he would not disclose where the girls were or the time they would be rescued, citing security reasons.

Meanwhile, military operations have continued in the northeast against the Boko Haram sect that are demanding for an Islamic State and an end to western education, with international community providing support in area of intelligence gathering.

 

Jonathan’s Loan Request Not To Fight Boko Haram Alone – NOA

Mike Omeri on Security LoanThe 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.

 

Omeri Confirms Attack On Villages Near Chibok

Mike-Omeri2The 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.

FG Refutes Abduction of 60 Girls In Damboa

Mike_OmeriCoordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri has refuted claims of the abduction of over 60 girls in Damboa, Borno state over the weekend.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, Mr Omeri also disclosed that 144 out of the 486 persons intercepted in Abia State have been released while 342 others are still been interrogated.

He said that information gathered from the suspects reveals that they were mobilised to travel to Port Harcourt to carry out an assignment yet to be ascertained.

At least 60 girls were said to have been abducted in a Borno village by gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram.

The abduction, reportedly took place in a village called Kummabza, a farming community not more than 25km away from Lassa town in Askira-Uba local government area of Borno State.

But the fresh abduction, which was said to have been carried out on Saturday, was not made public until Monday when members of the local vigilante broke the news to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

Governor Kashim Orders Investigation

Meanwhile, the Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima has directed the Chairman of Damboa Local Government Area urgently investigate the widely publicised case and report to him as soon as possible.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication, Isa Gusau said the governor is concerned that the widely reported case of abduction of 60 persons in the area requires serious investigation in order to obtain relevant and accurate information with a view to taking necessary measures.

The statement urged the chairman of the council to liaise with elders and leaders of the community with a view to authenticate the abduction.

Security Agencies Asked To Check Petrol Tankers Thoroughly

tanker_fireThe 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.

 

 

Military Dismisses Rumours Of Coup D’etat, Pledges To Defend Democracy

Alex-Badeh2The 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.

 

FG Working To Ensure Speedy Extradition Of Sadiq Aminu- Omeri

sd_mike_omeri_on_making_the_foi_act_work_201212As the Federal Government awaits the extradition of Mr Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, a terror fugitive who was arrested in Sudan, Co-ordinator of the National Information Centre and Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Mr Mike Omeri today said relevant officials are working round the clock to fast track his extradition.

At a joint news briefing in Abuja, Mr Omeri announced the arrest of the father of Mr Sadiq Ogwuche who had earlier signed a bail bond for his son over his inability to produce him at a time he was needed by security agencies.

Mister Omeri also confirmed the Kala-Balge incident where local vigilante groups repelled an attack by Boko Haram insurgents and appealed to residents to protect and defend their communities.