Immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General T.Y Buratai, is confident that insurgency in the country will soon be a thing of the past.
“Let me thank my governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum. He has been supportive to me and of course, the Nigerian Army especially in the fight against insurgency,” Buratai who also hails from Borno State noted during a Pulling Out Parade held in his honour at the Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja on Friday.
“He came with a unique leadership and I assure you, collectively, the Nigerian Army and the Borno State Government will end this insurgency within the shortest possible time.”
The Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche has said that Boko Haram insurgents no longer have authority over any part of the country, especially in the northeast where the insurgents once had a stronghold.
Speaking on Channel Television’s Politics Today on Friday, Enenche explained that what the country now has are remnants and a weakened enemy (Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters).
“They are moving from bush to enclave and enclave to bush and no longer have any authority or sovereignty on any territory in the northeast and by extension, to Nigeria,” he said.
The comments come on the same day that the nation marked the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, in honour of the fallen heroes of the military.
While the nation continues to record some successes in its insurgency war, many have faulted the government’s claims of its success, even as many, including frontline officers have had to pay the supreme price.
Still, the government has severally reiterated that the insecurity fight under the current administration has been far more progressive than in previous governments.
General Enenche also restated this position on Friday, noting that “the Armed Forces of Nigeria made a lot of progress last year in the area of packaging itself to further the defense of this country.”
“As of 2015 before this administration came on board, at least 17 and 20 local governments were strongholds of the insurgents… by 2016 the whole of the northeast was recaptured and the government took back full authority,” he said.
He also spoke about welfare packages for families of the fallen heroes.
The Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has described those who are in doubt about the Federal Government’s ability to protect Nigerians as mischievous.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Mr Garba also said the administration has the will and has demonstrated unquestionable capacity to protect Nigerians.
“Those who doubt this Government’s resolve are mischievous,” he said, adding that “it is an administration empowered to draw enormous resilience from innate reservoirs of human resources, a network of reliable intelligence sources, and demonstrated expertise in scenario building and mediation”.
Mr Garba said this against the backdrop of the recent abduction and release of the Kankara schoolboys in Katsina State.
According to him, many of those who continue to doubt the ability of the president to protect citizens, have other motives.
He further stated that while many were heartbroken by the abduction and staying hopeful for good news, others who he described as “crass, shameful and despicable”, were profiting from the misfortune.
“Indeed emergency activists thought they could cash in on these schoolboys and their parents’ misfortune devoid of their conscience.
“While patriotic Nigerians prayed for the boys’ quick return, these merchants of fortune were renting crowds, creating certain suspicious hashtags, opening bank accounts for the sole aim of soliciting funds for a cause they thought would linger. What will they do now with the one million T-Shirts they have produced? This is hugely shameful. These scavengers should now be honourable enough to refund the monies they have so far collected for the now futile campaign to discredit their fatherland”.
After the kidnap of the schoolboys last week, #BringBackOurBoys began to trend on social media, in reference to a similar hashtag used after Boko Haram abducted schoolgirls (many of whom remain missing) in Chibok and Dapchi in 2014 and 2018 respectively.
Although the boys have now been recovered, there have been questions around the circumstances of their release.
But Mr Garba attributed their release to the efforts of the military, saying they do not get the much-deserved accolades.
According to him, the boys were all returned safely, without a scratch – a feat he considers very important, explaining that if as much as one life was lost, it would have tainted the rescue mission.
“Those charged with coordinating the boys’ safe return held tight, stayed focused, refusing to succumb to doubts, taunts, and conspiracy theories.
“They eventually got the job done most transparently and brought back the boys,” the statement titled five takeaways from the safe return of 344 Kankara schoolboys, read in part.
“Once more, the Nigerian Military has delivered on the big stage. They had a plan, kept to it, and got the job done without firing a single shot.
“This is important because one casualty, one dead schoolboy, could have traumatized President Buhari and the parents. One dead student would have tainted the rescue mission.
“The President wanted the boys back alive and delivered to their parents. As a compassionate father figure, he would have been pained if one life had been lost in the rescue process. Bravo to the Nigerian Military and our security agencies for a well-coordinated and professionally executed mission to the President’s order reuniting the boys with their parents.
“There are not enough words to thank our gallant men and women in uniform, the military that continues to make sacrifices for many of us to enjoy and express our freedoms in its various forms and shapes”.
At least 18 Nigerian Army generals have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), military sources told Channels Television on Sunday.
The infected military officers were said to have had contact with late Major General Olu Irefin who died from COVID-19 complications last week.
According to the sources, the affected senior army officers were attendees of the 2020 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre in Abuja.
Besides, late General Irefin was said to have visited some of his colleagues at home before he attended the conference.
Thereafter, all the officers who attended the conference, their wives, and other members of their families who live with them, have been directed to isolate themselves for a week by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Footage presented by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has shown that several trucks said to belong to the Nigerian Army, were indeed deployed to the Lekki Tollgate area of Lagos State on October 20.
In the video presented on Saturday to the judicial panel of inquiry and restitution set up to investigate incidents of police brutality and extrajudicial killings, a number of trucks were seen arriving at the Lekki Toll Gate at about 6.43 pm on that day.
But after about three hours of watching the footage, the counsel to the #EndSARS protesters, Adeshina Ogunlana, who was earlier given access to the video complained that the footage is not the one that should have been played.
He claimed that a particular recording was skipped, explaining that he was given tapes tagged t1 and t1 full.
The panel is investigating the Lekki Tollgate shooting and other issues regarding the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and is hoping to unravel the circumstances surrounding the controversial intervention by the Nigerian Army during the #EndSARS protest.
At the resumption, Justice Doris Okuwobi (rtd), said she was calling up the Lekki Toll company first so that the footage of the happenings around the Lekki Toll Gate would be watched by all parties including the Nigerian Army.
The Army had initially denied its role in the incident, describing such reports as fake news.
They, however, later came out to admit that officers had been deployed to the area on the orders of the state government after a curfew had been imposed to quell the violence that erupted amid the #EndSARS protest.
But the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has yet to make any definite statement about the who gave the orders.
Addressing the panel last Saturday, Commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, reacted to the situation saying: “the Nigerian army was not happy about two things. The first is his (Governor Sanwo-Olu’s) denial that he asked us to intervene when in actual fact, it was the proper thing to do,”.
Speaking of the incident itself, Brigadier Taiwo insisted that only blank bullets containing gunpowder were fired on that day.
According to him, if real bullets were indeed fired, one bullet had the potency to kill three persons at one shot.
But the testimony contradicts what was seen in live footage from the scene.
Disc Jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch was one of those who filmed the incident live on Instagram.
In her live stream at the scene of the incident which immediately went viral at the time, many injured persons were seen, as some protesters tried to extract bullets from bleeding people after the men in military uniform had opened fire.
Some were also seen administering CPR to revive other injured victims.
It was also widely reported by some eyewitnesses that several had been killed and the security officers were clearing up the bodies – claims which the military immediately dismissed all as fake news.
A recent investigation from the Cable News Network, (CNN) also faults the claims of the military, raising more questions from Nigerians.
The Nigerian Army has denied reports that it set up a manhunt for Disc Jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch.
The Commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, who appeared before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Saturday, stated that the claims were “further from the truth”.
Since the shootings that took place at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, it had been widely reported that DJ Switch was being hunted by security agencies allegedly for streaming the incident live on Instagram.
In her live stream at the scene of the incident which immediately went viral at the time, many injured persons could be seen, as some protesters tried to extract bullets from bleeding people after the men in military uniform had opened fire.
Some were also seen administering CPR to revive other injured victims.
It was also widely reported by some eyewitnesses that several had been killed and the security officers were clearing up the bodies – claims which the military immediately dismissed as fake news.
The incident came hours after the Lagos State Government declared a 24-hour curfew as part of efforts to stop the violence which had broken out in some parts of the state by criminal elements who have been hijacking the peaceful protests.
There have also been reports that DJ Switch fled the country following threats to her life which immediately sparked various hashtags across social media, including #ProtectDJSwitch.
While her whereabouts remain sketchy, her boss, one half of the now-defunct P-Square group, Peter Okoye, last week confirmed that she was out of the country for safety reasons.
Some said she had sought and been granted asylum in Canada.
But the Canadian embassy in a recent statement clarified that individuals cannot directly apply for resettlement.
The embassy, however, did not make any direct reference to the DJ.
In light of recent events, we have received great interest in Canadian immigration programs.
Canadian Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, Consulates General or Honorary Consulates do not accept refugee applications directly from people. pic.twitter.com/mnL8llCUOx
The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up to investigate cases of police brutality and the incident at the Lekki tollgate area of the state has resumed its sitting with the Nigerian Army continuing its testimony.
Commander 81 military intelligence brigade, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, speaking before the panel on Saturday, claimed that the events that culminated in the incident of October 20 at the Lekki Toll Gate had its remote causes in the wider EndSARS protest and its immediate causes in the lawlessness that ensued from October 18. Brigadier Taiwo explained that the attack made the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to call on the army to interfere in the crisis and due to the urgency of the situation, the governor imposed a 24-hour curfew which was to commence at 4:00 pm on October 20 but was later shifted to 9:00 pm.
According to him, the time was not communicated to the Nigerian Army, and troops were deployed immediately upon receipt of the signal to activate phase 4, meaning immediate deployment of soldiers outside the barrack to help control the crisis of internal security.
He insists that the troops were not only deployed to the Lekki tollgate, but to other areas like Badagry, Ikorodu, Apapa, Alimosho, Epe, Lagos Island and the entire state to restore normalcy.
Brigadier Taiwo added that the army were shooting into the air at the Lekki tollgate and not at the protesters, backing his statement up with several video clips of what he says transpired that night.
Furthermore, he claimed that after the soldiers left the area, hoodlums went on to destroy the toll gate plaza.
He also insisted that the troops used blank bullets that contain gun powder, and cannot cause any damage to the flesh, and if real bullets were used one bullet would have killed three persons per shot.
Commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, has said that the Nigerian Army is unhappy that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, denied inviting them to come and restore calm at the Lekki Tollgate area of the state in the heat of the #EndSARS protests.
Brigadier General Taiwo said this on Saturday while addressing members of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the state government to investigate cases of police brutality.
“The Nigerian army was not happy about two things. The first is his (Governor Sanwo-Olu’s) denial that he asked us to intervene when in actual fact, it was the proper thing to do,” he said.
“He called the Chief of Army Staff and the GOC 81 division and asked for intervention because the police had been overrun”.
The Army Commander made the comments after presenting videos to the panel as part of evidence of the violence that had erupted across the state.
“I’m sure that after we have watched everything, we have seen that he had reasonable grounds to ask the army to intervene,” he added.
Who Really Gave Orders?
Brigadier Taiwo reiterated the army’s earlier position that officers were only deployed on the orders of the state government, particularly in relation to the events of October 20.
But on his part, the governor has yet to make any definite statements about who ordered the deployment or the shootings by the army.
At some point, he attributed the unfortunate incident to ”forces beyond his control” – a situation which has left many Nigerians puzzled over the facts of the matter.
Also in an interview with CNN, the governor said: “from the footage that we could see, because there were camera’s at that facility, it seemed to me that they will be men in military uniform which should be the Nigerian Army.”
When asked further if military forces ordered the shooting of the peaceful protesters, he said: “yes, they were there, that’s what the footage shows”.
Viral eyewitness videos from the scene of the shooting had shown several persons who sustained gunshot wounds, raising fears of multiple fatalities.
But contrary to what had been widely reported, the governor said only two persons are confirmed to have died from the incident so far.
“Two dead bodies. That is what we have seen from all the morgues, that is what we have going to hospitals, that is what we have seen as records.
“What has happened is, there have been so many footages that people have shown but we have not seen bodies.
“We’ve not seen relatives, we have not seen anybody truly coming up to say indeed I am a father or mother to someone and I cannot find that person.
“I have been to the ground and there’s no scratch of blood anywhere”.
The judicial panel which was set up nearly three weeks ago, is expected to look into the case, as well as other cases of police brutality with a view to ensuring justice for the victims.
In previous sittings, some survivors have come forward to share grisly details of their encounters in the hands of the rogue officials of the now-defunct unit at the heart of the protests – the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
One of the victims narrated how he had spent over a month in detention, and he was tortured to the point where he lost two of his teeth.
Another person said he had been thrown off a story-building and was now confined to a wheelchair after he broke his spine, while a woman alleged that she had lost pregnancies.
Nigerian Army troops of Operation Lafiya Dole said they have neutralised five terrorists and recovered a cache of arms during an operation against terrorism in the North-East zone.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche during a briefing in Abuja.
He explained that the continuous onslaught of the military against the insurgents and terrorism is yielding results.
“Troops executed attacks on terrorists’ hideouts and repelled attacks on own troops’ locations. During the encounters, the superior firepower of own troops resulted in the decimation of several BHT/ISWAP terrorist elements.
“Notably, between 7 and 8 November 2020, the gallant troops of 27 Task Force Brigade located at Buni Gari of Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State neutralized 5 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists. In the course of the encounter cache of Arms and Ammunition were recovered,” he said.
Enenche adds that in one of the operations conducted on November 8, 2020, troops of operation accord acting on credible intelligence on the movement of suspected gun runners at Tangaza town in Sokoto State arrested two suspects, Abubakar Mohammed and Ansi Usman Janare and recovered one light machine gun, four AK47 rifle magazines, 586 rounds of 7.62mm nato ammunition, 100 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and one motorcycle.
He, therefore, appealed to Nigerians and other residents to avail security agencies with the necessary information that will be useful to the nation’s collective objective of taking out the criminals from the country.
As part of efforts to reduce insurgency to its barest minimum, the Nigerian Military says 312 bandits have been killed while 91 kidnapped victims have been rescued in the northwestern part of the country between July and September 2020.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche explained that scores of terrorists have been neutralized and their camps destroyed through the ground, maritime and air operations.
General Enenche while giving a breakdown of military operations within the last three months disclosed that 9,040,300 litres of stolen AGO and 33, 500.00 litres of DPK were recovered during various clearance operations by troops.
The General who is the Coordinator Defence Media Operations said 1, 708 criminals were arrested in connection with various crimes while a large cache of arms and ammunition were also recovered.
He urged members of the general public to continue to support the military by providing credible intelligence to troops operating within their localities.
A Nigerian army corporal has been sentenced to five years in prison by a military court martial, after he was found guilty of defiling a 13-year-old girl in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
Besides the five-year sentence, the court martial on Wednesday, also dismissed the corporal after the trial which lasted for over two years.
The 7-division General Court Martial of Operation Lafiya Dole had charged him for assault and defilement of the girl who had newly returned to her hometown after years of displacement in Maiduguri.
The prosecution had described in graphic details how Corporal Yakubu waylaid and raped the minor, abandoned her in an uncompleted building after beating her to unconsciousness.
The survivor who later gained consciousness staggered out and was sighted by a passerby who helped her home. Yakubu, on the other hand, had already fled the crime scene.
Military authorities commenced investigation when the assault was reported, leading to the identification of the suspect who had a ready-made alibi claiming that he had traveled out of Bama town on the “31st of June.”
The President of the Court martial, Brigadier-General Arikpo Ekubi, said the arraigned soldier in an attempt at defense, sought to back his claim that he was in Maiduguri at the time material to the case.
“A unit armourer from 202 tank battalion who kept a book to record passes tendered the book as exhibit “D” but it ended up strengthening the case of prosecution that the accused person traveled the very day of the incident as stated by the investigating police officer,” he explained.
According to him, “it is noteworthy that the accused person did not specifically deny assaulting the victim as he tried in respect of count one, he only relied on his failed alibi without debunking the glaring issue of assaulting the victim.”
The President of the court martial, Brigadier-General Arikpo Ekubi, while handing down the judgement described the actions of the corporal as barbaric and capable of dragging the name of the Nigerian Army in the mud.
“This court hereby sentence you as follows: Count 1: Five years imprisonment. Count 2: Dismissal from service. These sentences are, however, subject to confirmation by the prescribed authority as provided by sections 151 SS 1d and 157 ss 1b of the Armed forces Act,” Ekubi declared.
The dismissed soldier broke down in tears as he was escorted out of the courtroom.
Nigerian Army troops of the Operation Accord have neutralised two bandits and injured several others while conducting search and rescue/ clearance operations at Dajin Kajuru in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Major General, Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, John Enenche on Tuesday.
According to Enenche, during the exploitation, two magazines, 36 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition and two motorcycles were recovered.
In the same vein, the Force noted that following credible intelligence on the criminal elements who escaped from the onslaught earlier, troops apprehended three of the criminal elements in Kujeni village.
“Currently the gallant troops have dominated the area with aggressive patrols to deny the criminal elements freedom of action,” Enenche said.
He further noted that the Military High Command commends the gallant troops for their dexterity and encourages them to intensify the onslaught against the enemies of our country.