Eid-el-Kabir: I’m committed to restoring peace in Nigeria – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said that his administration will “continue to give dedicated, committed, focused and purposeful leadership towards overcoming old and emerging challenges before the nation.”

In a Message to mark this year’s Sallah celebration, the president urged Nigerians to “seize the opportunity of the Sallah season and the public holidays to reflect on how we can bring the ideals and virtues of our religious beliefs to bear on the positive resolution of the many challenges facing us as a nation.

“Nigerians remain a people of great faith with the vast majority of our people professing belief in God either as Muslims or Christians.

“There can be no doubt that we will make faster progress towards the attainment of developmental objectives as a nation if we all resolve to do more to live up to the highest ideals of our religious beliefs including the fear of God, willingness to make personal sacrifices for the collective good, selfless service, respect for laws and constituted authorities, honesty, justice, equity, fairness, dutifulness, peace and harmonious co-existence with others,” he said.

Speaking on the challenge faced by some Muslim Pilgrims in the Holy land, Mr Jonathan said though “the problem was eventually resolved with the positive intervention of the Federal Government, I have ordered a thorough post mortem of the incident with a view to ensuring that our Hajj airlift operations are never disrupted by such problems in future and that no Nigerian pilgrim is ever subjected to such traumatic experience in the Holy Land again”.

He expressed the commitment of his administration to give dedicated, committed, focused and purposeful leadership towards overcoming old and emerging challenges before the nation.

He enjoined all Muslims to remember the plight of the many thousands of Nigerians who have been displaced by the floods which recently devastated many communities across the nation and resolve to contribute whatever we can to ameliorate their suffering.

“In the true spirit of our major religions which enjoin us to be generous to the needy, I urge all Nigerians who can do so, to donate magnificently to the national relief fund for affected persons and communities” he said.

He promised that his administration will monitor the disbursement and utilization of the funds released by the Federal Government and those raised by the National Committee very closely to ensure that they are judiciously and expeditiously expended for the benefit of the flood victims.

Analyst says vacuum in leadership caused unrest in Borno

A policy analyst, Galtima Liman on Monday said vacuums in political as well as spiritual leadership is greatly responsible for the growing unrest in Borno state, North East Nigeria.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Liman said the security challenges in Borno state have been building up in the past 30 years.

“Following the local government reforms that have taken away a lot of power of the traditional, spiritual and political leaders, you don’t really have a rallying point for the elders. There’s a big vacuum there, so who is now speaking on behalf of the elders in Borno State? It’s quite a very big challenge,” he said.

Mr Liman spoke on the roles of the All Nigeria Progressive Party, the former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff and former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari in the growing security challenges in Borno state and other parts on Northern Nigeria.

Watch the video below for the full interview.

Eight arrested in connection to slain police officers in Kano

The Kano State Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Idris on Tuesday confirmed the killing of two police officers at a check point around Kwanar Dawanau along Katsina state road in the North Western state of Kano.

In a press statement issued late evening, the commissioner says following a search and rescue mission by the police, eight suspected gunmen were arrested while three AK47 rifle were recovered, two belonging to the slain police officers while one belonging to the suspects.

“You can recalled that an unknown gunmen had this afternoon attacked a police check point at Kwanar Dawanau where they killed two of our police officers and took away their rifles, however following our search operation around the area we were able to apprehend eight suspects and recovered our rifles with additional one rifle suspected to be in possession of the terrorists.”

The Police Commissioner, who said that investigations are continuing, appealed to the general public to report any suspicious person in their community, assuring that confidentiality of the source would not be compromised.

Bomb blast injures two soldiers in Maiduguri

The military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri on Monday confirmed that two of its soldiers have sustained injuries after they were attacked along Lagos Street in Borno State.

The spokesperson of the JTF in Maiduguri, Sagir Musa, said a JTF patrol van was attacked with Improvised Explosive Device.

“There was a bomb blast involving a JTF Hilux vehicle at about 7:15 am today along Lagos Street in Maiduguri metropolis. It is feared that two soldiers sustained injury. Details on the incident if any will be communicated,” he said.

The bomb according to Col Musa was buried along the highway of the popular Lagos Street of Maiduguri by the hoodlums who were targeting the JTF on routine patrol of the town.

Shortly after the blast the Popular Lagos Street was condoned off while continuous shootings were heard across the Gwange area a stronghold of the insurgents.

The early morning incident paralyses activities in Maiduguri metropolis as gun shots continued throughout the better part of Monday.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack though it is believed to have been carried out by the insurgent group, Boko Haram.

JTF kills 30 suspected Boko Haram members, arrest 10

The military Joint Task Force (JTF) said on Monday they killed 30 members of Islamist sect Boko Haram, including a senior commander, and arrested 10 others in a weekend raid on the north eastern city of Damaturu.

Part of a car used for detonating a bomb is seen at the scene of a blast in Kaduna

Lieutenant Eli Lazarus, a spokesman for the JTF in Yobe state, said in a statement that they had conducted cordon and search operations at a suspected Boko Haram hideout in Damaturu on Sunday and “engaged in a gun battle with the suspected terrorists.”

“About thirty suspected Boko Haram terrorists were killed in the battle which lasted several hours … The notorious one-eyed Bakaka, the field commander of Boko Haram in Damaturu and a close associate of Abubakar Shekau was killed,” he said.

Ten others were arrested and “are presently assisting investigators to track other senior members of the terrorist group,” he added. Three homemade bombs, six assault rifles and 90 rounds of ammunition and several knives were seized, he said.

There was no immediate comment from Boko Haram.

Boko Haram is waging an insurgency against President Goodluck Jonathan’s government with the avowed aim of reviving an ancient Islamic kingdom in majority Muslim northern Nigeria.

Styled on the Afghan Taliban, the sect’s purported leader Abubakar Shekau has said he wants to impose Sharia law on the country of 160 million people, around half of whom are Christian and the other half Muslim.

The sect’s fighters have killed more than 1,000 people in bomb or gun attacks since they intensified their struggle in 2010, rights groups say.

A military crackdown on the Islamists in the north appears to have weakened them, leaving them less capable of carrying out large-scale, sophisticated attacks like the one that killed 186 people in Kano in January.

Jonathan decorates new service chiefs; charges them to fight terrorism

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday decorated the new Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim; the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh, with a marching order to deal decisively with terrorism and oil theft.

President Jonathan, who decorated the new military chiefs with the assistance of Vice-President Namadi Sambo at the Council Chambers of State House, Abuja, said they must put an end to both vices.

“I will like to use this forum to specially charge you to raise the many security challenges confronting our nation today, the president said.

“More specifically the Chief of Naval Staff along with his officers and men have the honourable responsibility of up scaling security in our territorial waters. The unacceptable rising incidences of crude theft must be tackled frontally. Even the direct adverse implication of the activities of crude oil theft on our national economy, I expect the Chief of Naval Staff and other serving Chiefs to immediately go to work to urgently bring the issue of crude oil theft to an end.

“May I further reiterate that the security of life and properties in all parts of this country is a sacred obligation which our administration will do everything in its power to live up to. We can’t allow threat to National Security to compromise our National transformation effort.

“While we remain repositioning Nigeria for sustained growth and development, we shall pro-actively prosecute the fight against terrorism with total commitment and effectively check the activities of all criminal elements in our dear land. In this regard, we will step initiatives aimed at strengthening and repositioning our security agencies for greater efficiency to discharge their constitutional responsibilities.

“In my capacity as your Commander in Chief, I assure you that you have held your appointment on the basis of your commitment to professional excellence, diligence and faith in a strong, stable and prosperous Nigeria. As you bring these worthy attributes to bear in charge of your onerous duties, you can assured of my full support at all times.”

President Jonathan also paid tribute to members of the country’s armed forces and security services who had paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.

He said, “I must place on record our gratitude to the gallant men and women of our armed services for their total commitment in defence of our unity, the preservation of our territorial integrity and the entrenchment of stability and security in our nation.

“I will like to pause and pay special attribute to members of our armed forces and security services who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our nation.

“While praying for the repose of our fallen heroes, we assure those they left behind that we shall do everything necessary to mitigate the pain of their losses.”

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, was not decorated as he retained his position as the Chief of Army Staff.

In his response the Chief of Defence Staff said it was a rare privilege to be asked to serve at this moment of the history of the country and assured the president that they are mindful of the security challenges facing the country and assured of the determination to deal decisively with the security challenges.

Police discovers bomb factory in Minna

The Niger State police command has discovered a bomb manufacturing factory in Maitunmbi area of Minna, the Niger state capital believed to belong to the dreaded radical Boko Haram sect

Acting on the tip-off by one of the five suspects in regard to the killing of three Policemen in two separate operations in the Minna last week, a team of armed plain cloth men stormed the sect’s bomb factory located behind a popular private school in the area at about 8:30pm on Saturday.

Item recovered during the raid which lasted about two hours included two 1.5gms gas cylinder cans already prepared for explosion.

Other lethal weapons found in the house include about 30 cans of disposable food beverage and soft drinks also stockpiled with explosives, 25 kilograms of fertiliser, batteries, remote control devices and other electrical gadgets.

An officer in the team that raided the bomb factory who spoke in confidence to Channels Television in Minna explained that the operation lasted for about two hours.

”We took our time before we stormed the bomb factory. We did not want to cause any chaos in the area and in the town. We also want to avoid any loss of lives and this we were able to achieve,” he said.

Efforts to get the residents of the sleepy town to speak to Channels Television failed as all the people approached refused to divulge any information about the house and its occupant.

When contacted the state Police Public Relations Officer, Pius Edobo refused to speak on the raid, but promised to give full details later.

Damaturu: JTF kills 4 suspected Boko Haram members; arrests 11

The military Joint Task Force (JTF) on Sunday killed four suspected members of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram and arrested 11 others in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

The Yobe State Commissioner of Police, Patrick Egbuniwe, who confirmed the incidence, said the JTF carried out an operation to check the activities of the sect within Kandahar area of Damaturu.

He said three AK 47 rifles, one mark 4 rifle, one US Cabin rifle and 78 assorted ammunitions were recovered.

The Commissioner, who said no casualty was recorded on the side of the JTF, revealed that security forces were ambushed two days ago by the hoodlums where three members of the JTF suffered minor injuries and are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.

He said the operation will continue until the insurgents are wiped out completely and normalcy is restored in the state.

Mr Egbuniwe called on Damaturu residents to partner with the JTF, in the fight against the rebels.

Recently, gun battle between the JTF and the insurgents has become a daily affair as residents have gradually become use to sounds of gun shots and explosives as they go about their normal activities.

Gunmen kill over 20 students in Adamawa

Gunmen on Tuesday opened fire on students at campus hostels used by students at Federal Polytechnic Mubi, Adamawa state killing and wounding an unknown number, official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.

Mass exodus of students from Mubi Town after an attack by suspected members of Boko Haram on a student hostel in the town.

“Definitely there are casualties but we don’t yet know how many dead or injured,” said the spokesman of NEMA, Yushua Shuaib.

Some residents put the number of victims at 35 persons. The dead and injured persons are mostly students of the polytechnic.
The school have not issued any official reaction to the attack.

The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which usually targets politicians or security forces, has also attacked students in the past and has cells in Adamawa.

Mr Shuaib said it was not clear if the attack was carried out by Boko Haram or if it was related to a dispute between rival political groups at the college.

Only a few days ago, the military Joint Task Force had conducted a major operation against insurgents in the town, killing a major Boko Haram figure, and arresting more than a hundred.



Jonathan addresses UN General Assembly, condemns denigration of religious beliefs

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday in New York, addressed the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, saying the freedom of expression and religious tolerance should be complimentary to each other for the peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths and religious beliefs.

Mr Jonathan also condemned the deliberate denigration of the religious beliefs of others; stressing that freedom of expression should never be construed as a licence for actions that may lead to violence and disorder.

Speaking against the background of recent protests in Nigeria and other parts of the world over the publication on the internet of a video which denigrates Prophet Mohammed, the President according to a statement by his Special Adviser of Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said, “Events of recent weeks have demonstrated how interconnected our world is and the extent to which one incident can spark off general mayhem and conflagration.

“Freedom of expression should not be a licence to incitement. The freedom that we all hold dear and true should be exercised wisely and cautiously. Freedom of expression and religious tolerance must not be mutually exclusive but should be complimentary to each other.

“Much as we eschew violence and deplore the needless losses of lives and destruction of property, we also condemn the deliberate denigration of religious beliefs and sensitivities which in turn lead to counter reactions,” Mr Jonathan said.

Fighting terrorism

President Jonathan told the UN assembly that his administration has adopted a multi-faceted strategy in dealing with the threats of terrorism and militancy.

“Our response has been multi-faceted, as we seek to address the root causes of these threats, exploring opportunities for dialogue, improving law enforcement to ensure public safety and security.

“International cooperation has also been a key factor in tackling our security challenges. We have signed agreements with our neighbours, Cameroon, Niger and Chad bilaterally, and multilaterally, on the platform of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“These efforts are aimed at safeguarding the security of our individual countries and denying terrorists the use of our region as sanctuary. We are confident that these measures will stem the flow and access to small arms and light weapons, which have indeed become Africa’s weapon of mass destruction,” he said.

President Jonathan it is important to establish a conflict Mediation Commission under the Office of the Secretary-General to further strengthen the peace building initiatives of the United Nations.

“Experience elsewhere gives us reason to believe that there is value in the creation of this mechanism. Nigeria stands ready to work with other countries to make the protection of innocent civilians caught in conflict situations a priority of the United Nations,” he said.

The President called for the adoption of a global, legally-binding arms trade treaty, saying that it would galvanise the international community to regulate the transfer of conventional weapons and curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

“There is no doubt that the absence of a global consensus to control the flow of such weapons, including small arms and light weapons, is fuelling conflicts, constraining growth and development and increasing human rights violations,” he said.

On other matters, the President said that the imperatives of achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 are still top priorities for his Administration.

“We shall intensify efforts to ensure that the health- and education-related aspects of the MDGs are addressed continuously to ensure their successful implementation. While we have made considerable progress on basic education and poverty alleviation, challenges remain in the areas of maternal and infant mortality. We will not rest on our oars until further progress is made in these areas,” he said.

JTF uncovers bomb factories in Adamawa as Mubi gets 24-hours curfew

The military Joint Task Force in Adamawa State said it has uncovered bomb factories in Mubi area of the state just as members of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram are reportedly making efforts to annex the town as one of their operational base in the north east region of the country due to its closeness to Borno state.

This latest discovery, which was confirmed by the Commander of the 23rd Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General John Nwaoga is coming barely 24 hours after the JTF raided an enclave of suspected gunmen, in which one suspected sect member was killed while 156 others were arrested and several arms and ammunition confiscated including improvised explosive devices.

Meanwhile, the Adamawa State government has extended the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on Mubi to 24 hours.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Kobis Thimnu who said that the extension was targeted at availing the JTF the opportunity to carry out the on-going “sweeping exercise” in Mubi.

Mr Thimnu therefore urged residents of the area to come out and assist security operatives with useful information that will lead to the apprehension of miscreants in the area.

JTF kills 2 Boko Haram commanders

The military Joint Task Force (JTF) on Friday said that it has killed two commanders of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

In a press statement issued by the JTF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa and made available to newsmen in Maiduguri said “at about 2:20pm on Wednesday, a combine team of the JTF acted on intelligence had killed two members of the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram top terrorists commander along Maiduguri- Kano road as they were escaping arrest from security forces.”

Col Sagir said that the killed Boko Haram commanders were believed to be coordinating the activities of the sect in Mubi and Yola of Adamawa and Yobe states adding that the two sect members were traveling in a Honda accord 2000 model with registration number BAM 214 AA.

The JTF Spokesman also said that the terrorists were on their way to Damaturu for a planned special operation to attack civilians and military locations on Thursday 20 September, 2012 pointing out that intelligence equally revealed that they were planning to launch attack in Maiduguri soon.

Items recovered from the terrorists according to Col Sagir include a Honda Car and 5 GSM handsets and weapons.

The statement also stated that a total of eight terrorists were equally arrested in Nganaram, GRA and Lawanti areas of Maiduguri metropolis in earlier operations within the troubled city.

Those arrested according to Col Sagir were confirmed to have travelled into Maiduguri from neighbouring states, pointing out that items recovered during the arrests include a Silver coloured Camry car of 1988 model with Yobe Registration number AE 74 DTR suspected to have been stolen for possible suicide mission and weapons for the dastard act.

Boko Haram has managed large-scale, damaging assaults, including one in January where at least 186 people died in coordinated attacks in Kano, the biggest city in Northern Nigeria.

This week, authorities said they had killed the sect’s spokesman Abu Qaqa and another senior commander while members of Boko Haram were suspected of killing a former Comptroller of prison and the Commission for Justice in Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital.