Boko Haram: Amnesty Can’t Be Undertaken In A Vacuum – Osuntokun

A public affairs analyst and former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Akin Osuntokun, on Tuesday said before the government could consider granting amnesty for the members of Boko Haram, the group must have a structure.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Osuntokun said the situation was not that of the government versus the Boko Haram sect but a case that should involve all Nigerians.

He said: “I personally would have wished that General Buhari (Muhammadu Buhari) would have lent his status to helping in mediating in some kind of peace but he flatly rejected.”

Asked why he believed General Buhari was in a better stead to mediate with the extremist sect, Mr. Osuntokun said it was because the former head of state possessed credibility and integrity that the sect leadership could trust.


Kano Bombing: Senate Warns Of Military Takeover

As the death toll in Kano bombings continue to rise, one of the Senators representing Kano State, Kabiru Gaya has warned of a military takeover of government if solutions are not quickly found to the bloody terrorism ongoing in Nigeria.

Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya

He disclosed this while contributing at Wednesday’s Senate plenary on matters of urgent national importance.

Senator Gaya, a former Governor of Kano State said Nigeria has gradually become a failed state.

He notes how school teachers and kids in Kano no longer attend schools, like their Borno state counterparts, for fear of being bombed by Boko haram.

Warning of dire consequences if solutions are not found to the intimidating bombings and terror attacks on Nigerians, the Senator feared that the country may drift apart.

Uche Chukwumerije, who jointly moved the motion with Senator Gaya, claimed that about 100 to 120 persons had been confirmed dead in the Kano blast.

TheSsenate asked the executive arm of government to diversify its approach to tackling the problem of insecurity in the country.

Raising a point of order in the chamber, Senator Chukwumerije condemned Monday’s bomb attack on a motor park in Kano pointing out that 80 per cent of the victims were from a particular part of the country.

He also expressed concern over what he termed the perceived indifference of Kano state government to Monday’s bombing of the motor park.

He said it was sad that more than 24 hours after the destruction, the Kano state governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, had not seen it fit to pay a visit to the motor park.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, condemned the attack and asked the executive to effectively tackle the insecurity challenges in the country.



Jonathan Reasons For Withholding Amnesty From Boko Haram Is Illogical – ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on Monday said that the argument advanced by the President Goodluck Jonathan for denying amnesty to Boko Haram members is as illogical as it is puerile.

Reacting to the president’s visit to Borno and Yobe states last week, the main opposition party in the country said that the visit which it labelled a ‘show-off’ has worsened the insurgencies that has killed and maimed hundreds of innocent people, especially in the two states.

It would be recalled that President Jonathan’s visit to Borno and Yobe States last week was mainly to salute the patriotism of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) for keeping down the maiming and killings of residents in the states.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the ACN said while the decision to grant amnesty to any person or group is the prerogative of the government, the argument advanced by the President for denying amnesty to Boko Haram members is as illogical as it is puerile.

It said “for a President who has unwisely stayed away from the beleaguered part of the country for too long, last week’s visit only succeeded in inflicting additional pain and insults on the victims of the insurgency, who could have used a little dose of succour and empathy from their leader.

”There is no doubt that there has been an upsurge in attacks and killings since the President’s visit, with the clashes between the JTF and the insurgents leaving many dead, drive-by shooting in Kano claiming the lives of innocent people and the unfortunate killing of foreign hostages who were abducted last month in Bauchi.

”If this upsurge can be used as a barometer to measure the success or otherwise of the President’s visit, then one can only reach one conclusion: The visit is a total failure!” ACN said

The party also expressed shock at the way the President, openly displaying anger when what was needed was temperance, talked down on the people, who have suffered so much in the hands of Boko Haram, at his town hall meetings.

It said the misplaced anger of the nation’s number one citizen, who virtually tongue-lashed the prominent citizens who spoke on behalf of their people at the town hall meeting, can only attract sympathy for the insurgents among the beleaguered population, thereby worsening the crisis.

”The President wanted to appear tough in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgents. There is no problem with that, except that he directed his anger at the wrong people, the same people who have been victimized by Boko Haram.

This is called double whammy,” the party said.

On the President’s argument that amnesty cannot be granted to ”ghosts”, ACN said he simply missed the mark.

”If the President claims that Boko Haram members are ghosts, who then are the members of Boko Haram that the JTF regularly claims to have arrested or killed? Does it mean the 52 Boko Haram members that the JTF claimed to have killed, in its latest press release dated March 9th 2013, are actually ghosts?

”What about the Boko Haram members that are being tried in court? Could the government have been trying ghosts?

“And what about those Boko Haram members who were declared wanted last year? Are they also ghosts? Also, the government’s spokesmen have said publicly that the government is talking with Boko Haram through back-channels.

“So the Jonathan Administration has indeed been talking to ghosts?

”Mr President, there is nowhere in the world where insurgents have erected a headquarters building and put up a sign to say ‘we are insurgents, come and get us.’ By their nature, insurgents don’t engage in a march past, displaying their weapons. That is why intermediaries are used to reach out to them,” the party said.

The ACN said while it strongly condemns the Boko Haram insurgents, their senseless killing of innocent people and attacks on the security agents, it believes that the use of force is not the only option open to the government to end the crisis.


Boko Haram: Expert Advocates Justice Not Amnesty

A security consultant and a lecturer at the Redeemers University, Femi Adegbulu on Thursday said the government must muster strong political will backed with decisiveness in stamping out militant insurgency in Northern Nigeria.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Adegbulu said advocating amnesty for members of the extremist group, Boko Haram is “an insult on the common sense of those who have lost their children, their wives, fathers and mothers.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammad Saad Abubakar had urged President Goodluck Jonathan to declare amnesty for the members of Boko Haram, as part of the measures to halt the insurgency by the group.

Boko Haram: Don Says Jonathan’s Visit To Borno Unnecessary

A security consultant and a lecturer at the Redeemers University, Femi Adegbulu on Thursday said President Goodluck Jonathan can solve the militant insurgency in Northern Nigeria without having to leave his office in Abuja.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Adegbulu said as the Commander-In-Chief of Nigeria’s armed forces, a single command from Abuja is all that is needed for peace to be restored in the troubled states.

“The president does not really need to leave the seat of governance in Aso Rock to go to a particular state with a view to addressing a problem. He is the Commander-In-Chief, his word alone carries a lot of weight,” he said.

President Jonathan will today begin a two-day visit to crisis-torn Borno and Yobe states, the first time he would be making such visit since the 2011 presidential election campaign.

The visit follows last Thursday’s presence in Maiduguri of opposition state governors under the platform of the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC).

Critics have accused the president of failing to visit the epicentre of Boko Haram terrorist activities, which have led to the death of many people and destruction of property worth millions of naira.

Explosion Near Kaduna Market Causes Scare

There was confusion on Tuesday in Kaduna after an explosion at a refuse dump behind a market in Kachia caused a scare among the residents of the town.

Security personnel arrive at the site of a blast in Kaduna

This incident comes after Saturday’s attack by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen at Aduwan Gida Village in Zango-Kataf Local Government Area, also in the southern part of the state, in which five persons, including a six-year baby and his mother, were killed.

Channels Television’s correspondent gathered that an object suspected to be a bomb exploded in the area and forced the residents of the area to scamper for safety.

The incident took place just as the state Governor, Ramallan Yero was on a visit to the area (Southern part of the state) where the Fulani herdsmen allegedly attacked residents of Aduwan village on Saturday.

An eyewitness said that the incident which took place at about 11am, caused panic among residents of the area.

It was also learnt that the Anti-bomb Squad of the State Police Command was dispatched to the area and they discovered that “it was no bomb after all.”

Also, the Vice Chairman of the council, Alfred Maisamari confirmed to journalists that it was not bomb explosion as being rumoured, saying that it was an empty shell of mosquito insecticide that exploded.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Kaduna State Command, DSP Aminu Lawan, while confirming the incident, said the empty can exploded as a result of bush burning in the area.

FG Restates Offer To Dialogue With Boko Haram

The Federal Government on Monday restated its offer to dialogue with members of the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram on the condition that the group renounces violence.

The National Coordinator of Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in the office of the National Security Adviser, Major General Sarki Bello (rtd) made the offer at the National Defence College in Abuja.

The event was a visit by the capstone course of the National Defence University in the United States.

The Coordinator of the national counter terrorism and counter insurgency office told the visitors that Nigeria is making significant progress in the fight against terrorism and is doing more to ensure that insurgency is effectively curbed.

Major general Bello said a national counter terrorism policy has been put in place with a plan to set up a national counter terrorism centre to curb terrorist activities in the country.

He also announced the establishment of multinational strategies with Niger, Chad and Cameroun following intelligence reports that Boko Haram camps are in these countries bordering Nigeria.

General Bello expressed optimism that the ceasefire recently declared by the Islamic sect may be effective. He however said members of the sect must renounce violence before any dialogue with the militants.

Speaking on Nigeria’s operation in Mali, the Deputy Commandant of the national defence college said beyond restoring the territorial integrity of Mali, key to Nigeria’s participation in Mali is to contain the in-flock of extremists back in to Nigeria.

While the Nigerian government appreciates that more need to be done in the fight against terrorism, it believes that everything is on course to win the war against terror and extremism.

Boko Haram: Analyst Says Gap Between Rich And Poor Induces Criminality

A diplomacy and security analyst, Femi Adegbulu has identified the increasing gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria as a great inducement of criminality in the country.

Mr Adegbulu, who disclosed this on Monday while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, advised the Federal Government to deal with the issues of corruption, unemployment and poverty in Nigeria as the sustainable way of solving insurgencies in the country.

He said, “You see an individual, who has stolen the whole community dry, who has mortgage the future of his own people and he is given a slap in the wrist. No deterrent. People who are not in that position will be gearing up to get there so that they can also steal with impunity.

“Until we deal with the culture of impunity in the country, there can be no end to the Boko Haram thing; there can be no end to kidnapping; there can be no end to ritual murder; there can be no end to all these criminalities we see.”

FEC Condemns Attack On Ado Bayero

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday condemned the last Saturday’s attack on the convoy of the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero.

The Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero

Addressing State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting which was presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the Council particularly commiserated with the emir over the incident, which led to the death of four people.

He said Council condemned in totality the attempt on the emir’s life and the killing of innocent people during the attack.

“Also today, the Federal Executive Council commiserated with the Emir of Kano over the incident where he was attacked by unknown gunmen in Kano, leading to the lost of his staff.

“We hold the Emir of Kano in high esteem. He has been one Nigerian who has been highly cosmopolitan.

“The Emir of Kano, for the period he has led Kano, has brought in international exposure, rare leadership to the people of Kano.

I also know that his period has coincided with a lot of expansion in the development of Kano.

“He is one of the rare leaders in this country that believes completely in Nigeria’s unity and he has continued to work with all leaders in the country and to ensure the unity of country, peace and stability in our nation.

“We, therefore, condemned in totality the attempt on his life and we will continue to pray for him to recover from this incident and continue to serve the people of Kano and the people of Nigeria.”

Mr Maku reiterated the determination of the government to hunt, apprehend and prosecute all those behind the attack.

He called on all Nigerians to continue to support the ongoing battle against religious extremists bent on creating social disorder in the country.

Jonathan Vows To Catch Attackers Of Ado Bayero

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said he would stop at nothing in bringing to justice those responsible for the attack on the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, which claimed the lives of four of his aides last Saturday.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, the president, who noted that the attack on the Emir underscored the need for all Nigerians to be vigilant to the security challenge posed by terrorist group in the country, said the attack was senseless in all ramifications.

He said, “Once again, terrorism reared its ugly head when gunmen attacked the revered Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero on Saturday 19 January 2013.

The unfortunate incident which led to the regrettable death of three persons including three of his security guards and his driver underscored the continuing need for collective vigilance to defeat the scourge of terrorism which has crept into our environment.

“While we condemn this in the strongest possible terms, this once again underlines the senselessness of terrorism in all its ramifications.

“While we reiterate our determination to address all genuine grievances in the national polity, we want to emphasize that the Federal Government of Nigeria will not succumb to the threat of terrorism and utter disregard for human lives by purveyors of violence.

“President Jonathan commiserates with the families of those who lost their lives in the incident, and assures Nigerians that the security agencies will do everything possible to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are identified, and brought to justice according to the laws of the land.”

Youth Employment Will Eradicate Boko Haram – Borno Governor

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has said that the “madness” occasioned by the activities of radical sect, Boko Haram in the state would “evaporate” once the youths are gainfully engaged.

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima

Mr Shettima, who spoke on Tuesday at the signing of tripartite agreement for the establishment of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) in three geo-political zones, including the North-east, North-central and South-south zones, said he believed the insecurity and hardship in the state would be a thing of the past once it was able to create jobs and engage the youths.

The governor said, “We are going to partner with the CBN to see to the realisation of this very noble and lofty initiative of the central bank towards ameliorating poverty and creating employment opportunities in the northeast sub-region of the country.

“We are not going to disappoint you; we would fulfil our own part of the bargain of the EDC and create the enabling environment for the EDC in the North-east sub-region,” he assured.

“Believe me, beneath the mayhem of Boko Haram, beneath the madness, lies extreme poverty and joblessness and hopelessness of the people. Once we create jobs, once we engage the youths, believe me, this madness will evaporate,” the governor stated.

He said he believed the issue of Boko Haram would be a thing of the past within the next two years.

Jonathan, Obasanjo Trade Words Over Fight Against Boko Haram

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government’s anti-terror strategy as he called for more efforts in ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

Mr Obasanjo, in an interview with CNN aired on Tuesday, said the government’s approach to fighting Boko Haram would not lead to the quick resolution of the insecurity the Islamic sect has unleashed on the country since 2009.

According to him, more could be done to reach out to Boko Haram to find out what had led the sect to wage a war against the state.

He urged the administration of President Jonathan to adopt a multifaceted approach rather than just cracking down on the group.

“To deal with a group like that, you need a carrot and stick approach. The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them. When you try to reach out to them and they are not amenable to being reached out to, you have to use the stick,” he said.

The former president said President Jonathan was “just using the stick” in his efforts, adding, “He’s doing one aspect of it well, but the other aspect must not be forgotten.”

He said that he had tried to reach out to Boko Haram about a year and a half ago through a lawyer who was acting as the group’s proxy, and had asked if they had external backing.

The lawyer, he added, told him that the group was receiving support from other Nigerians who have resources overseas or “other organisations from abroad.”

“If they had 25 percent support a year and a half ago, today that support has doubled,” the former president said.

Asked if Boko Haram’s activity was undermining progress in Nigeria, Mr Obasanjo said, “Boko Haram undermines security, and anything that undermines security undermines development, undermines education, undermines health, undermines agriculture and food and nutrition and security,” he said.

Jonathan fights back

Apparently angered by Mr Obasanjo’s assertions that he was not doing enough to stem the activities of terrorist group, Boko Haram in Nigeria, President Jonathan lashed out at the former president, describing him as a confused and unstable man.

President Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati took to Twitter to express the anger of the presidency over Mr Obasanjo’s comment , labelling him a confused man whose counsel or view the government does not care about.

In four different tweets, Mr Abati said, “In Nov. 2012 in Warri, fmr Prez. Obasanjo accused federal govt of being soft on Boko Haram. He recommended the Odi solution: genocide.

“In Jan.2013, OBJ tells CNN Govt shd adopt a carrot and stick approach to Boko Haram. Genocide & dialogue? Where exactly does he stand?

“OBJ’s position on Boko Haram= Contradiction and Confusion writ large.

“One report says OBJ is recommending a multifaceted approach to Boko Haram. This govt certainly doesn’t need a lecture on that!

“Jonathan administration has shown creativity & purposefulness in handling the BH challenge. Hence, the progress we witness.”