Nigeria’s War Against Terrorism Better Than Pakistan, Afghanistan – Maku

The Minister of Information and supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, on Monday lauded the Federal Government’s efforts at curbing insecurity in the country, adding that the war against terrorism has been more successful in Nigeria than in other countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Maku said “in the last one year, we have faced insecurity head-on, particularly the insurgency in the North East of Nigeria” and added that the declaration of State Of Emergency in three north-eastern states made it possible to contain the insurgency within the north east of Nigeria.

“Government’s investment in security has been a success,” he said.

“In the last year, there were less attacks in the north east and even in the north east today, you would notice that a lot of the activities of the insurgents are now contained within Borno and Yobe states,” he said.

Although there have been recent attacks on government installations, Mr Maku explained that surprise attacks are expected but that nation is winning the war overall.

“The success we have recorded in the last one year should not be overshadowed by recent hit-back at the Maiduguri airport and at Bama. The reality of the situation is that the success of the security measures will not be without interruptions (will not be without occasional hit-back by the insurgents).”

He highlighted the situation in Kano, where insecurity has been “largely controlled,” which he credited to increase in intelligence agents and co-operation between citizens and security forces.

He admitted that there are challenges because the war against insecurity is urban guerilla warfare.  “We are not fighting a standing army. We are fighting people that wear civilian uniform, live in congested cities; that strike and run back.

“So long as this is a guerilla war, there would be occasional attacks and surprise attacks by the insurgents, but (for) the overall war; I believe that the federal government and Nigerians are winning.”

“We have succeeded in containing insurgents in Kano, he said and went further to state that Nigeria’s efforts in curbing terrorism have been more successful than that in Pakistan and several other countries. They have had more widespread attacks than we are having in Nigeria today.”

He called on Nigerians to consider the overall development of how the government has performed in containing the insurgents.

Performance of Multinational JTF

Speaking on the performance of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), Mr Maku who said the agency is not failing in its own responsibilities told Channels Television that troops from Chad, Niger Republic and from Nigeria are not “necessarily large enough to contain the entire boundary of Niger, Chad and Cameroon.” “There are weak spots,” he said.

“There is weakness at the Cameroon border and Niger has been unstable. He went further to describe these areas as “a vortex of all sorts of criminals,” where there is a flow of arms. He added that terrorism will not end in the coming year as insurgents will continue to attack and run until the atmosphere becomes completely inhospitable.

He called on government and community leaders in the north east to co-operate with the security agents to divulge more information on the insurgents living amongst them.

Also, he warned politicians in the troubled states to desist from using violence as a means of politics. “These politicians must stop it because it is now costing the nation trillions of Naira which we would have been using for the development of the country.”

Amaechi-Led NGF Calls For Okonjo-Iweala’s Resignation

The Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called on the Minister of Finance  and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to resign her appointment or manage the economy well.

They said the non-compliance with the revenue projections of the Federal Government 2013 Budget, was a direct breach of the provisions of the Appropriation Act, 2013.

These decisions were part of the resolutions of the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led NGF, which met on Tuesday evening.

Amaechi, who read the communique of the meeting, said “Members expressed concern in the management of the economy by the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and called for a strict adherence to the Appropriation Act, 2013.

They also pointed out that the National Economic Council (NEC) is the right body to manage the economy and not the Economic Management Team (EMT).

“Forum observed that the National Economic Council is constitutionally responsible for the management of the economy and should be used for that purpose as opposed to the Economic Management Team constituted by the Presidency.”

The governors also called on the National Assembly to separate the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation from that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government for the purpose of accountability and better management of the economy.

States which were represented by their governors at the meeting were those of Rivers, Niger, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Adamawa, Oyo, Lagos, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara while deputy governors of Edo, Borno and Nasarawa states represented their governors.

Aliyu Urges Aggrieved PDP Members To Sheath Swords

The Niger state governor, Babangida Aliyu, has called on warring factions in the Peoples’ Democratic Party to sheath their swords as efforts are being intensified towards the resolution of the crisis rocking the party.

Governor Aliyu made the plea after a meeting between the seven aggrieved governors of the PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan and other leasers of the party.

The seven governors as well as former vice president, Atiku Abubakar broke away from the party during the special convention which was held at the Eagles Square, in Abuja.

The meeting hosted by the President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa was in a bid to resolve the crisis which has snowballed into  a major crisis as it has started affecting some PDP states. The meeting lasted for several hours, beginning from 5:30 pm until 10:30pm.

The Niger governor assured that the meeting had been cordial and there is commitment on all sides to resolve the issues.

Governor Aliyu announced that the next meeting has been scheduled for Monday October, 17th 2013.

In attendance were the governors of Adamawa, Niger, Rivers, Kwara, Sokoto, Jigawa, Akwa Ibom, Kogi and Kano states.

Also present were the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, and the PDP BoT chairman, Tony Anenih.

We Will Not Relent On Our Mission– Factional PDP

The breakaway faction of the ruling party (PDP) has reiterated that it is serious with efforts at rescuing the party, and will not relent until they achieve a renewed and formidable PDP, as the leadership of the faction, known as the new PDP kicked off its secretariat operations.

In a statement signed by its secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the Kawu Baraje faction insists, it has received huge support among party members and leaders from all the states.

The former governor of Osun state says they will not relent on their mission to make the PDP work again in the interest of Nigeria and its people.

The faction has however agreed to honour the leaders of the party, particularly, President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo to attend a scheduled meeting of the party elders before the end of the week.

Mr Oyinlola says “We respect the elders and will be guided by them even as we stress that we will not abandon the ideals of justice and fairness.”

PDP Warns Five Northern Governors Over Visit To Former Presidents

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur has cautioned the five northern governors who were reported to have visited former Nigerian leaders and President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a statement signed by the media aide to the national chairman, Oliver Okpala, the five governors from Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Niger, and Adamawa were advised to embrace peace and stop dramatizing the few problems within the party.

The statement further said “the governors were also told to desist from any action that tends to overheat the polity and truncate the country’s nascent democratic structure”.

The leadership of the party also told the governors to express their grievances to the party’s leadership or the party’s reconciliation committee instead of going public.

Edo Immigration Deports 120 Illegal Immigrants

The Edo state command of Nigeria Immigration Service has apprehended over 300 illegal immigrants from Niger, Chad, Mali, Ghana and Guinea during an operation conducted by the command in the state.

Parading the immigrants at the command headquarters in Benin City, Controller of Immigration, Edo state command, Mr David Akwo said that after screening the immigrants,120 of those arrested have been deported.

Mr Akwo advised citizens of West African countries not to misinterpret the ECOWAS protocol on movement of citizens of member states across the region.

He added that for citizens to move freely and gain entry into member states, they have to possess valid travel documents and come in through authorized routes.

The controller also urged residents to ensure proper screening and documentation of those employed by them.

Cameroon Says It Has 4,000 Refugees From Boko Haram’s Conflict

Cameroon claims it has received 4,000 refugees fleeing the Nigerian military offensive against Islamists in the northeastern part of the country, the governor of the affected region said on Wednesday, bringing total refugee numbers from the conflict to at least 10,000.

“There are 4,000 refugees who have come in from Nigeria and we are working out a programme with the International Red Cross to set up a refugee camp for them near the town of Mokolo,” Cameroon’s Far-North region governor Fonka Awa said.

The Nigerian Army was not available for comment. The local Red Cross said it was still investigating.

Since the state of emergency was declared in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, military forces have been engaged in a concerted crackdown against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, bombing their bases, raiding neighborhoods where they are suspected to be hiding and cutting phone lines.

The figure was much lower than that given by Senator Hamed Jaha from Borno state, who said on Monday that 20,000 had fled from the Nigerian border towns of Ashigashiya and Ngoshe into Cameroon after army raids.

Last month the U.N. refugee agency said it had registered 6,000 refugees from Nigeria in neighbouring Niger.

Rights groups and aid agencies have warned of fears that the longer the offensive against the Islamists goes on, the more the local population will suffer.

The National Human Rights Commission said this week that violence since President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May had forced thousands of farmers to flee their land. It warned that the exodus could trigger a food crisis.

The group said it had credible reports of killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detention by security forces.

SSS Parades Two Chinese Nationals Over Illegal Mining

The Niger state command of the Depatment of State Security  (DSS), has paraded two suspected illegal miners in Katugba Town in Paikora local government area of the state.

Parading the suspects at the command headquarters in Minna, the director, Larry Obiagwu mentioned that the suspects, Lu Xiaoyong and Huaiming Geng who are Chinese nationals were arrested at the site of the illegal mining.

He mentioned that the suspects are to be arraigned at the Federal High Court.

However the suspects who spoke through an interpreter denied the charges.

French, Niger troops kill Islamists holding out at Niger base

French special forces and Niger troops shot dead on Friday the last two Islamists involved in a twin attack on a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger claimed by the mastermind of January’s mass hostage-taking in Algeria.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a one-eyed veteran of al Qaeda’s North African operations, said in a statement that his Mulathameen brigade organised Thursday’s raids with the MUJWA militant group in retaliation for Niger’s role in a French-led war on Islamists in Mali.

The coordinated dawn attacks killed 24 soldiers and one civilian and damaged machinery at Areva’s (AREVA.PA) Somair mine in the remote town of Arlit, a key supplier of uranium to France’s nuclear power program. The attacks raised fears that Mali’s conflict could spread to neighboring West African states and brought an Islamist threat closer to France’s economic interests.

Niger’s government said French special forces had helped to end the resistance of two Islamists fighters who were holed up inside the army barracks in the desert town of Agadez early on Friday.

“Niger is more determined that ever to fight terrorism in all its forms,” the government spokesman, Justice Minister Amadou Marou, told state television.

He said a total of 10 Islamists died in the attacks: eight in Agadez and two in Arlit. “The government reassures national and international opinion that every step is being taken to protect people and property across the whole of the country.”

Two military cadets were killed by the cornered Islamists, the minister said. However, a military source, asking not to be identified, said the cadets were shot dead in Friday’s raid.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM television that special forces had intervened at the request of Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. France stationed special forces in northern Niger to help protect its desert uranium mines, which provide a fifth of the fuel for France’s nuclear reactors.

Niger has emerged as a firm ally of France and the United States in the fight against al Qaeda-linked groups in the Sahel. It has deployed 650 troops in neighboring Mali and sought to shut its porous desert borders to Islamist groups that are thought to have shifted their bases to southern Libya.

Belmokhtar, signing his statement with his pseudonym Khalid Abu al-Abbas, said the raids were a response to Issoufou’s public claims that the Islamists had been defeated in Mali.

“We will have more operations by the strength and power of Allah and not only that, but we will move the battle to inside his country if he doesn’t withdraw his mercenary army,” the communique, whose authenticity could not be verified, said.

JTF Set To Release Boko Haram Suspects From Detention

Consequent upon the directive of the President, the Defence Headquarters is to release from detention a number of persons being held in connection with terrorist activities in Nigeria.

The defence spokesman, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade

The move, according to the defence spokesman, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, is in furtherance of the Federal Government’s position regarding the requests by the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Reconciliation.

He said the measure which is in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s magnanimity to enhance peace efforts in the country, will result in freedom for suspects including all women in custody.

The army spokesman said the details of the directives and those to benefit from this gesture have been communicated to field units and the Joint Task Force.

He said the beneficiaries will be released to the state governors who will be involved in further rehabilitation before these suspects are released to their respective community leaders and relatives.

Niger Jails Ally Of Ex-president In Graft Probe

Niger jailed a close ally of former president Mamadou Tandja on Monday on suspicion of embezzling some 20 billion CFA francs ($40 million) as head of the state electricity company, judicial sources said.

The arrest marked another blow against corruption in the poor West African nation by President Mamadou Issoufou’s government, which has made tackling graft a priority since taking office in 2011.

“Foukory Ibrahim, the former head of Nigelec, was imprisoned on Monday in the framework of an investigation into embezzlement at the company,” a magistrate in the capital Niamey told Reuters, asking not to be identified.

Ibrahim ran Nigelec until February 2010 when Tandja was toppled in a coup. He has been a member of parliament for the opposition MNSD party for two years but was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in March 2012 as part of the investigation.

He was detained in a non-military prison in Kollo, 35 km (22 miles) southeast of Niamey.

The landlocked former French colony remains one of the poorest countries in the world despite rich uranium deposits.

In February, Niger arrested about 20 doctors suspected of embezzling funds from a charity backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote vaccination in poor countries, the Gavi Alliance.

Last year, Issoufou fired two ministers suspected of illegally awarding state contracts.

APC Is A Wake Up Call To PDP – Aliyu

The Governor of Niger state, Muazu Aliyu, has said that the merger of opposition parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC) is a wake up call to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor who stated this during the swearing in of new members of the State Executive Council at the Government House, Minna explained that the merger of the opposition political parties will lead to the formation of two strong political parties, which is good for the political development of the country.

He also mentioned that with the merger Nigerians will now have credible choices during any election.

During the occasion of the swearing in of seven new commissioners, the governor appealed to them not to see their appointments as a means to enrich themselves but a call to serve the people of the power state.