The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima has said that no ransom was paid for Monday’s release of Nigeria’s first Petroleum Minister, Shettima Ali Monguno, who was abducted on Friday.
The governor said Mr Monguno, who has since been re-united with his family, could not have paid any money to his abductors since he spent all his money on philanthropy, hence had nothing to give to the abductors.
“Obviously Monguno was a philanthropist, who had spent all he had in the cause of humanity.
“So the issue of money was out of it because the family had no money to pay,” the governor said.
Mr Shettima said that the abductors of Mr Monguno made contact with the family after several appeals from Nigerians for his release.
He added that the abductors were touched by the numerous appeals and they decided to release him unconditionally.
The governor said, “They contacted his family after several appeals from Nigerians for his release.
“But his family also made an appeal to the abductors to release him.
“They sent words that he should be picked in the morning, so we sent his personal aides with a vehicle to get him home.”
The governor told newsmen in Maiduguri that Mr Monguno was released by his abductors on Monday morning in Kirenowa, in Marte Local Government Area of the state.
Gunmen had abducted Mr. Monguno after Friday prayers at his mosque in Mafoni, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Mr. Monguno was also a one-time Minister of Internal Affairs, as well as Minister of Defence in charge of the Nigeria Air Force.
The Kaduna State Governor, Muktar Ramalan Yero has visited Aduwan Gida village in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of the state where he promised to bring to book the culprits of last Saturday’s attack in which five members of a family were killed.
The attackers reportedly stormed a compound and opened fire on the family members observing the anniversary of the death of the leader of the family. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kaduna State has seen similar shootings where gunmen raided villages, killing scores in what police often describe as armed robbery attacks.
At the home of the family of the deceased, Mr. Yero condemned the attack, describing it as unwarranted, while giving the assurance that the perpetrators of the act will be apprehended and prosecuted accordingly.
Also at the residence of the traditional ruler of the village, Nuhu Bature, the governor restated government’s commitment to safeguarding the lives and property of the entire people of the state.
The governor also visited the surviving victims of the attack at the Saint Louis hospital where he directed that they should be transferred to the 44 Nigerian Army reference hospital for proper medical attention.
While reiterating his administration’s commitment to ensuring genuine peaceful co-existence in Kaduna State, Mr. Yero vowed to deal with any person or group found attempting to cause a breach of the peace.
Gunmen on Sunday killed a guard and kidnapped seven foreign workers from the Setraco construction company site in Jama’are town in Bauchi State.
The Associated Press, quoting the Local government Chairman, Adamu Aliyu reported that those kidnapped were from Britain, Italy, Greece and Lebanon.
The Commissioner of Police in Bauchi, Mohammed Ladan, who confirmed the incidence, said the gunmen attacked a police station and a prison overnight before storming the construction firm’s compound in Jama’are town.
“We repelled the attack on police station and the security men at the prison yard also repelled the attack, but they burnt two vehicles in Jama’are police station,” he said.
“They then attacked Setraco construction, killed a local security guard and they succeeded in kidnapping people.”
The Italian foreign ministry confirmed one of its nationals was taken in the raid. A spokesman for the British Embassy in Abuja said it was investigating.
Setraco Nigeria, a construction and civil engineering company, is a subsidiary of Setraco International Holding group.
The Nigerian company, which was established in 1977, is currently working on expanding a major road in northern Nigeria.
President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned religious violence in the country saying that those who kill in the name of religion cannot be said to be worshipping god.
President Jonathan made the observation in his remarks at a service organised to mark the 30th Episcopal Ordination and Celebration of the Elevation of Cardinal John Onaiyekan as a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, Pro-Cathedral, Area 3, Garki, Abuja.
The president described Cardinal Onaiyekan as a bridge builder and a true messenger of God expressing the confidence that one day the papal father will come from Nigeria.
He observed that most of the violence in society stem from people of questionable characters and called on the church to braze up to the responsibility of moulding people’s character.
The president said, “The Church, the government and the political actors have the same responsibilities and we believe that the Church is at the centre of society building.
“Some of the challenges we face today arise because of the character our people have.
“If the Church moulds the people especially starting from the children, Nigeria will be a better place,” he said.
He congratulated Cardinal Onaiyekan on his elevation, describing it is a significant achievement and honour for the clergyman and the nation.
He described the office of a cardinal in the Catholic Church as a position of great responsibility and service to humanity.
Nollywood actress and Special Assistant to the Imo state Governor on Public Affairs, Nkiru Sylvanus, who was kidnapped last Sunday in Owerri the Imo state capital has been released by her abductors. Ms Sylvanus was kidnapped along with former Mr Nigeria, Kenneth Okolie as both were together on that night. They were both released on Thursday night.
Both Ms Sylvanus and Mr Okolie were kidnapped close to the Concorde Hotel, Owerri.
The kidnappers had initially contacted some friends of Ms Sylvanus demanding a ransom of N100 million but it is not clear if the ransom was paid to secure the release of the actress.
The Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to investigate how criminals sacked the Police Area Command and Divisional Police Station, freed inmates and held Auchi town in Edo North hostage for over three hours with no response from the police. The governor, who made the call during a visit to the paramount ruler of Auchi, said there is need for the police to do soul-searching to see if there are no men within the police who did not compromise security.
“To think that a police station with arms could be attacked and the police could not gun down one criminal gives cause for worry,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
He continued: “I was not happy that the police had to park the Armoured Personnel Carrier behind the Area Commander’s office instead of being at strategic locations in Auchi town. It shows that the police are not using the funds given to them maximally. I am not impressed because the APC ought to be in operation.
“The fact that the APC was packed at the back of the station and bombed there means that it was not put to maximum use. It is unacceptable. They should begin to account for their negligence of duty, incompetence or both. Until we begin to do that, this lamentation will continue and criminals will continue to operate and demystify the state and make us look like a collection of mushrooms that can be consumed with minimal efforts.
“I believe the police will have to do investigation to reassure us that we are safe. The fact that they can attack two police formations and do that kind of damage shows the need to revisit the role of policing and their operational order,” the governor said.
The governor, however, praised the Army for the five soldiers who repelled the attack and killed one of the bandits who attacked and attempted to bomb a private residence where the soldiers reside.
“The point has been made that if you attack a military base you will pay a huge price. For me, that is a little relief that one of the bandits was killed by the soldiers in the sense that his identity will help us to assist the security agencies in their investigations,” he noted. The governor expressed shock at the sheer guts of the criminals, saying that investigations being carried out by the security agencies will help to unravel what happened.
“The security agencies are investigating and I have no reason to believe that their investigation will not lead to positive outcome that will help us to identify these criminals. But much more important is to learn the right lessons from the incident to take security issues more seriously than has been the case.”
He continued: “I am troubled by what I saw, but we are not giving up. The criminals cannot win; they must be defeated and brought to justice. Let reassure your highness that the irreducible responsibility of any government is to protect lives and property. If government cannot protect lives and property, then we are in trouble.
“I accept responsibility as the Governor of Edo State for what happened. We have a duty to contribute in ensuring security. I do hope that you appreciate that what has happened is not because of wont of efforts, it is in spite of efforts.”
The Otaru of Auchi, Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III, while responding to the issues raised by Mr Oshiomhole, stressed the need for security agencies to demonstrate the will and capacity to carry out their jobs.
The robbers also attacked military quarters but were repelled by the five soldiers in the premises while each side suffered one casualty.
The Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Compass and Westerner Magazine, Sina Kawonise was on Monday shot by suspected armed robbers while on his way from Anambra State.
Mr Kawonise, a former Commissioner for Information in Ogun State had gone to attend the 17th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Anthropological and Sociological Association which was held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka where he presented the keynote address.
The incident took place near Ikeji Arakeji in Osun State. The robbers shot at the vehicle in order to force it to stop. The robbers were however repelled by the two policemen who accompanied Mr Kawonise as they fired back at the robbers.
While the Nigerian Compass boss was hit in the leg, one of the policemen also suffered gunshot wounds.
Both men are reportedly being treated in a hospital in Osun State.
A presidential aspirants in the 2007 general election under the plateform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and a consultant to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Galtima Liman on Friday said the conditions for negotiation with the Federal government proposed by the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram are unrealistic and impossible to meet.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Liman said President Goodluck Jonathan as the president of the country cannot be dictated to.
A purported spokesman of the Boko Haram sect on Thursday proposed to dialogue with the federal government and to planning a ceasefire if the government is willing to honour certain conditions.
The conditions for negotiation according to the sect include the arrest and prosecution of former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff for allegedly arresting and killing some of their members.
The second condition is that the venue for the dialogue with the government must be in Saudi Arabia.
The group also listed the names of the negotiators both from their side and from the federal government side.
The purported Boko Haram’s spokesman, who gave his name as Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, listed the mediators from the government side to include Shettima Ali Mongonu, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Gaji Galtimari and Barrister Aisha Wakil and her husband.
While according to Mr Abdulaziz, negotiators from the sect would include himself, Abu Mohammed Abdullaziz, Sheik Abu Abas, Sheik Ibrahim Yusuf, Sheik Sani Kontagora, and Mamman Nur.
A strategic security consultant, Max Gbanite on Friday said the conditions for ceasefire offered by the fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram to the Federal Government are unrealistic insisting that the group should surrender unconditionally.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Gbanite said like the civil war and the insurgency in the Niger Delta, the uprising by the Boko Haram is a domestic affair that should be treated in Nigeria and not in the Saudi Arabia as proposed by the sect.
“To say that the Federal Government must come to Saudi Arabia to negotiate is unacceptable,” he said.
He added that it is time to “for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to invite the ambassador of Saudi Arabia and ask him what particular area of influence Saudi Arabia has with Boko Haram?
“This is the time to bring in the Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency and his operations department and ask questions: Who are the Nigerians who are Boko Haram in Saudi Arabia.”
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.
Human Rights Watch on Thursday said widespread and systematic violence by the dreaded militant group Boko Haram amounts to crimes against humanity. In a statement on its website, the group said that government security forces also are responsible for numerous abuses, including extrajudicial killings.
Human Rights Watch has released a nearly 100 page report entitled Spiraling Violence: Boko Haram Attacks and Security Force Abuses in Nigeria. The document also explores the role of Nigeria’s security forces, whose own alleged abuses contravene international human rights law and might also constitute crimes against humanity. The violence, which first erupted in 2009, has claimed more than 2,800 lives.
“The unlawful killing by both Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces only grows worse; both sides need to halt this downward spiral,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
“Nigeria’s government should swiftly bring to justice the Boko Haram members and security agents who have committed these serious crimes,” he added.
Rona Peligal, deputy director of Human Rights Watch, Africa Division said compiling evidence was difficult and dangerous.
“For one thing, the security conditions on the ground were menacing, and we had to be very careful about how we did the research in Northern Nigeria. In addition, we were monitoring attacks by Boko Haram and security forces over a three-year period. Finally, these are really difficult, nettlesome and polarizing issues, which made the report more complicated to write, but I think the report is balanced and fair and comprehensive,” she said.
Boko Haram attacks, which began in 2009, are concentrated in northern Nigeria and have targeted police, government forces, Christians and Muslims.
“What we did was we looked very closely at the kinds of attacks that we were seeing by Boko Haram. The fact that the attacks were widespread – that they were systematic – that they were targeted – that they were focused on particular groups of people, who had nothing to do with any kind of abuse or bad behaviour. And we decided that both the intensity of the abuses, the extent of the abuses rose to the level of crimes against humanity,” said Peligal.
She said these are the most serious human rights violations that a person or group can commit. She said they demand investigation and prosecution. Peligal also points out the International Criminal Court is monitoring the situation, including the attacks on innocent civilians.
“People who were killed in churches while they were praying. The report has a photo essay with pictures of people who died while they were in church. And it’s absolutely heart-breaking to see wedding pictures, graduation pictures of young and promising people, whose lives were taken as a result of this callous violence,” she said.
The report also criticizes Nigeria’s Joint Task Force, or JTF, which is trying to track down Boko Haram members and end the attacks.
“They have begun to crack down on Boko Haram, but in a way that’s quite violent. And that in itself has contributed to its own abuses. The government itself has engaged in extrajudicial killings – has engaged in excessive use of force in communities where Boko Haram members might be located. And sometimes these have an impact on the neighboring communities,” she said.
The Joint Task Force issued a statement Wednesday denying reports soldiers killed more than 30 people and burned shops and houses in Maiduguri. Residents in the northeastern city say soldiers became violent following a bomb attack that killed at least one soldier. The JTF statement read, in part, that there is “no recorded case of extra-judicial killings, torture, arson and arbitrary arrests by the JTF in Borno State.”
Peligal said, however, the deaths continue to mount.
“The violence between both Boko Haram and the security forces has claimed more than 2800 lives. But of those we estimate that 1500 have been committed by Boko Haram, and that the remainder are largely because of security force abuses and killings. In the first nine months of 2012 alone, more than 815 people have died from this violence. And that’s more than in 2010 and 2011 combined,” she said.
Human Rights Watch calls on Boko Haram to “immediately cease all attacks and threats of attacks that cause loss of life, injury and destruction of property.”
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.
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.