Nigerian Military, Foreign Assistance And Corruption: Security Experts Discuss Issues

Military-Nigeria2Security experts, Ona Ekhomu, Dare Ogunlana and Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd), on Saturday discussed the issues surrounding terrorism in Nigeria, examining the agitations concerning the capability of the Nigerian military to rescue 234 abducted schoolgirls, combat and overcome the Boko Haram insurgency, the suspicions over foreign aid provided by America and other countries and alleged corruption in the Army.

Mr Ona Ekhomu, who commended the on-going search and high level investigation, said the Army should be assessed based on progress made since the foreign experts arrived, noting that there was no progress made before then.

“The security problem is the unknown location of the girls. You have to find them first making rescue a secondary activity,” he said, adding that technical help from foreign assistance will help locate the before the soldiers are sent in for the rescue.

On suspicions that the foreign assistance given by the international community, especially America was an excuse to take over the country’s military apparatus, Ekhomu said the Americans are not to take control of the security apparatus and the Nigerian military is in the driver’s seat.

He stressed that the foreign experts were offering technical help which Nigeria lacked.

On his part, Dare Ogunlana, said “we have everything, that capability of stopping the insurgency and conducting the search” for the missing girls but regarded it as unwise to reject the offer of the international community.

He insisted that the nation had failed, for so long a time, to put the right peg in the right hole, question the Army on how it spends the security vote and deal with alleged corruption within the Army.

He however maintained that the various issues concerning the Army would not affect the search but added that some level of dialogue with the insurgents would be needed for the rescue mission to succeed.

“If we want to get these girls alive, it is important also to use diplomacy,” he said.

He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to be mature in tackling the issue of terrorism. “As a Commander In Chief, you have to be able to motivate your men”.

Meanwhile, Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd), commented on the shooting of a General Officer Commanding by his subordinates, disclosing that the incident did happen.

According to him, there were internal battles in the Army that the Americans cannot fight, an example of which is the act of mutiny by the soldiers.

Contrary to Ekhomu’s belief that shooting was an emotional outburst from the soldiers and was not as a result of corruption and ill-treatment in the military, Aliyu said the foot soldiers, who are at the end of the event chain, made a statement by shooting at their commander.

“The soldiers may be tried for mutiny but the commander has questions to answer,” he stated, noting that the soldiers were being shortchanged and their welfare not taken care of adequately.

“Those boys need to have better toys to fight with but they don’t.” he said, maintaining that the government may keep running away from the issues, but there are a lot of things that need to be in order at the Defence Ministry level.

On the attacks by villagers against Boko Haram members, Aliyu said it was evidence of citizens losing trust in the government and warned that such a trend has its downside.

Borno School Abduction: Headmistress Appeals To Govt, Education Commissioner Speaks

Borno CommThe Principal of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State has appealed to the Government to do more to save teenage girls abducted by suspected Boko Haram members on Monday.

Mrs. Asabe Kwambula, has also been appealing to the kidnappers to have mercy on the students.

The Principal said that she was with the parents, praying continuously for the teenagers’ safe return.

Her plea is coming after the Borno State Government said that 84 girls were still missing and 45 in total have managed to escape.

The Borno State Commissioner of Education, Mr. Musa Kubo, in a telephone interview with Channels Television, appealed to parents to bear with Government as everything was being done to rescue the abducted girls.

In his update for Saturday, April 19, the Commissioner said: “Only one of our missing students returned today. She was not among those abducted. She was however one of the 129 girls at the hostel on that black day the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok was attacked.

“She ran out of the school during the attack and thereafter, went to her parents. She was brought back by her mother today (Saturday).

“Remember I told you in my first statement that we made announcements calling on parents and guardians whose daughters might have ran home to bring them back so we could take account to be precise on the number of students missing out of the 129 that were in school during the attack.

“So far, we now have 45 students back in school. Out of this number, 28 escaped from abduction while 17 fled home during the attack and returned home. You may recall that in my Friday update, I told you that 14 students escaped from their abductors. Out of them, 3 were helped back to the school in Chibok while 11 escaped from captivity to a town along Damboa/Biu road in Borno State.

“We are hopefully expecting the return of our 84 students as intensive search and rescue efforts continue.

“On behalf of the Borno State Government, my ministry, staff and students of the affected school, parents and relations of affected students, I very well appreciate the Nigerian and international media organisations for their most helpful support which we need to sustain till by the grace of God, these students – who are so important to us as a Government and parents – are found in sound health.”


Borno School Abduction: 16 More Girls Found, Reunited With Families

child brideThe story of the missing school girls in Chibok, Borno State, North-eastern Nigeria, had begun to look better, as reports say 16 more girls have been found alive near the Cameroon border forest.

The Borno State Commissioner for Education, Musa Inua Kubo, said that with the 16, it brings the total number of those reunited with their families to 30.

There had been confusion over the release of girls kidnapped from the secondary school in Chibok, Borno State.

The Ministry of Defence had put the number of those released at 121, but later retracted that claim on Thursday.

The girls were abducted after the group raided the host community in Chibok, a town on the border between Borno and Adamawa States.

Witnesses said the gunmen, who came in Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles, stormed the town and kept firing sporadic gunshots before setting ablaze several houses and shops.

It was also disclosed that the hoodlums carted away several bags of grains and other food items into waiting trucks and buses as residents fled into bushes and farmlands.

Borno School Abduction: Security Expert Tells Government To Work Harder and Smarter

vlcsnap-2014-04-17-08h21m38s186A Security Consultant, Ona Ekhomu, has said that the Government needs to work smarter and harder on their ability to respond to distress calls, when there is an attack.

Speaking on the abduction of about 200 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, North-East, Nigeria, Mr. Ekhomu said that these attackers were convicted in the rightness of what they were doing and suggested that they be combated such that they would be uncomfortable doing it.

Mr. Ekhomu shared this view on the Thursday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

Narrating the incident, he noted that the abduction of the girls had no link with money, rather a way of marrying them at a little age or for domestic activities as “they are useful in the scheme of things in their own sub-culture.”

He backed the need for the Government to revamp its security architecture, as “Nigeria doesn’t have enough troops on the ground to police every kilometer” and “if there is no prompt response the bad guys will run away.”

While emphasizing the need for security agencies to be more proactive, he noted that the group that mounted the attack on the school girls were not so resourced, owing to the fact that they (the group) had a broken vehicle and had to push which made some of the girls escape.

He explained that if the security agencies had better engagement with the State Government, Federal Government and citizens of the state to enable communication where emergency arises and distress calls were made, the situation would have contained.

He maintained that the number of men of the JTF spread round the country was not enough to police every square inch of the North, therefore there should be an engagement between the Government and the citizens to reduce these attacks.




Security Experts Advise On The Need For Joint Effort In Curbing Insurgency

A Security Analyst, Ona Ekhomu, says that efforts need to be put in place in the fight against terrorism because “some leaders in the Northern part of the country have come to realize that Boko Haram is a grave threat to the nation” and previously the leaders of the north didn’t know that it was a big challenge to the society.

Painting a scenario, he said that the issue is “like using a wrong drug to treat a particular illness or defining the wrong problem entirely” and policy makers have a misinterpretation of the happenings in the north and said until these issues are identified the insurgency will remain.

On Channels Television Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, another security expert, Patrick Keku said that the northern leaders have identified their mistakes and stated that if all join hands together, the Boko Haram issue will be a past thing.

Mr. Ekhomu noted that these terrorists don’t go into hiding when they want to attack, and explains how they can be curbed.

On logistics, Mr. Ekhomu stated that if the government can put 60-70 vehicles full of armed soldiers on the road during an attack , it will curtail attacks by the insurgents.

He also explained that there should be checks in bushes and on high ways, stating that where there is more concentration on the high way, these insurgents could make their way into the bush and hide.

Both security experts advised that our security should be “re-architectured” for better performance.

Experts Examine Solutions To Insurgents In Nigeria

Over the past 10 days, there has been series of violent attacks in different parts of Nigeria. Starting with the clash between security operatives and suspected members of the Boko Haram sect in Baga, Borno State where over 187 people were killed to the killing of over 20 police officers by cult members in Nasarawa state.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday had to cut short his trip abroad and rushed back to the country to hold emergency meetings with security chiefs in a bid to find solution to the growing insecurity in Nigeria.

Three analysts – Security Expert, Ona Ekhomu, Rights activist, Dare Dairo and the National Coordinator, WANEP, Ifeanyi Okechukwu, who were guests on Channels Television weekend programme, Sunrise, examine steps that should be taken to stem the growing tide of insecurity in Nigeria.

Security Experts Advice FG To Shun Dialogue With ‘Faceless’ Boko Haram

Security experts today advised the Federal Government not to dialogue with the Islamist Boko Haram group.

The experts, who were speaking as guests on Channels Television’s weekend flagship programme, Sunrise Saturday, said the president was right in refusing to offer amnesty to the “faceless” group.

A civil rights activist and security don; Razak Oladosu called for proper use of available information channels to combat crime in the country. He advocated the use of combined forces, from the local community and military personnel, in the fight against the Boko Haram sect.

Another security expert, Nojeem Shobo charged the Federal Government to locate the operational base of the group and send equipped soldiers to clear the place within three months.

Similarly, Ona Ekhomu, said “the dreaded sect members do not have reasons to be granted amnesty as they haven’t presented their grievances and have their hands soiled in blood”.

If amnesty is to be considered then the bloodshed has got to stop, but because the blood still flows, there isn’t basis for the talk of amnesty because we don’t know what the issue are’’.

The Sultan of Sokoto had called on President Goodluck Jonathan to offer amnesty to the sect in order to end the violence in the northern part of the country.

Boko Haram: Expert calls for increased border security

Combating the security threats in Nigeria will require not just a better patrol of the nation’s borders but a proactive approach from the law enforcement agencies.

This suggestion is coming from a security expert, Ona Ekhomu.

Mr Ekhomu was speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast program, Sunrise Daily.