Police Seek Community Collaboration To Fight Crime In Rivers State

Police in River State are calling on other security agencies, community leaders and other stakeholders in Port-Harcourt, to seek practical solutions to fighting criminal activities within the state.

During an interactive session with the community, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Francis Odesanya, said that the era of unknown suspects would soon be a thing of the past.

The Commissioner of Police said intelligence gathering and information sharing were imperative in dealing with security challenges in the state as well as Nigeria.

He also urged the stakeholders to come up with urgent and practical ways of dealing with the security situation in the state, which he said required genuine collaboration.

In his words: “Everyone is encouraged to say it as it is”.

Furthermore, the commissioner advocated for the record keeping of the crime history of arrested suspects, as the police paraded suspected criminals with recovered arms and ammunition.

Also at the meeting was the State’s Commissioner of Information, Austin Tam-George, who said the state government had come up with creative ways of checking criminality.

On what they feel about the meeting, residents said that, though it was not the first time such meetings and activities were carried out by the police, they could only expect more to be done to protect their lives and property.

Suspected Boko Haram Members Kill Security Operative In Kaduna

Boko HaramGunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect have killed a security operative at the Ungwan Keke in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

A Joint team of Security Operatives on Sunday engaged in a gun battle with the suspected terrorists.

An eyewitness said the suspected Boko Haram members, who were residing in the community where the security operatives raided on Sunday, escaped after several hours of the gun battle with the security operatives.

The eyewitness, who is a native of Ungwa Keke village, said the security operatives arrived at the village at about 1:00am and went straight to the home of the suspected terrorists and opened fire on them.

He, however, said the security operatives arrested wives of the suspected members of the sect.

Confirming the incident, the Head of the community, Malam Suleiman Mohammed, said the joint security team, comprising of Soldiers and the State Security Service (SSS) before the raid, ordered residents out of their houses to avoid collateral damages.

Efforts to get the Deputy Director, Army Public Relation of the One Division of the Nigerian Army Kaduna, Colonel Abdul Usman, to comment on the operation did not yield results, as at the time of filing this report.

Military Cautious Of Civilian Casualties In Communities Reclaiming Operations

ArmySome communities in Nigeria’s north-east are yet to be re-captured from the insurgents because the military wants to reduce civilian casualties during the operations, a military official has said.

A spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Olajide Laleye, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the army was carefully planning strategies to adopt in other to reclaim the territories from the terrorists.

At the press conference, Mr Olaleye also attributed the successes the Nigerian Army had recorded in the on-going counter terrorism operations in the north-east to strict enforcement of service regulations.

He said that the regulations had resulted in the court martialing of over 200 soldiers in the last three months alone.

Some of the soldiers have been sentence to death for different offences.

In the last court martial that was held about a week ago in Abuja, the court delivered its verdict in the case of conspiracy to commit mutiny and incitement of mutiny involving five soldiers.

LCPL Sule Ochehepo was discharged and acquitted, while LCPL Bankole Taiwo, LCPL Bankole Olawale, LCPL Isaiah Olofu and PTE Adebayo Gbenga were convicted and sentenced to death.

The allegation against the soldiers was that they asked “inciting questions” from their Commanding Officer of 81 Battalion when he addressed them on September 14, 2013.

The questions pertained to the corpses of some of their colleagues brought to the camp after they were killed by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram, due to lack of weapons.

Meanwhile, a rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked a group of five United Nations human rights independent experts to individually and jointly request that the mass death sentences imposed on 54 Nigerian soldiers found guilty of mutiny should not be carried out.

The Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a petition to the rights group, said it was not right or fair to try everyone in mass proceedings, and that such unfair trial should not send someone to the gallows.

He asked the group to make the request to the Nigerian government and the military.

Mr Mumuni emphasised that imposition of mass death sentences was in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria was a party.

“This Covenant limits the circumstances in which a state can impose the death sentence,” he said.

Situation In North East May Worsen Without State of Emergency – Badewole

Muyiwa BadewoleFormer Director, Army Legal services, Major-General Muyiwa Badewole (RTD), on Wednesday, warned that the security situation in the North East region of the country may worsen if the State of Emergency is not effected immediately.

Last week, President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to the House of Representatives to extent the State of Emergency was declined as lawmakers urged him to make use of his powers as Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces to deploy troops to the area.

However, Badewole has faulted this move, insisting that a lid should not be placed on the fight against insurgency as it may affect the soldier’s capability to defeat the terrorists.

Analysing the current situation on Sunrise Daily, Badewole said “I admit that the President can deploy troops. I mean, operational use of the Armed Forces is there for him but at the same time, I’ve just told you that there are certain privileges that will hinder the operation.

“You need to carry out cordon and search operations, you need to mount road-blocks, but these are things that people can go and challenge and say you are impinging on my right but some fundamental rights under the constitution are suspended in a State of Emergency,” he noted.

He described insurgency as a specie of “low intensity conflict”, noting that such situations needed perseverance on the part of the troops as well as the populace and political elite.

“Everyone needs to persevere. It doesn’t end quickly,” adding that low intensity conflict has never ended quickly in any part of the world where it has happened”, he said.

He stressed that Nigeria’s case was already moving towards medium-intensity conflict and the “earlier we get it right, that this operation will not end so quickly, the better for all of us; Because we are not in the minds of the perpetrators of these dastardly acts”.

He highlighted that the fight against rebellion in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, had not been brought to conclusive ends.

He praised the Military for trying their best in light of available resources, he noted that there were three aspects to capability including the conceptual, physical and moral components; Hence, delays to certain requests such as the $1 billion to purchase arms may affect the fight against insurgency.

“In so many countries where State of Emergency had been declared, like in India during the Hindu-Chinese conflict, State of Emergency was in place from 1961 to 1967.

“Similarly, when they had the Hindu-Pakistani war, there was a State of Emergency for another six years also between 1975 to 1977 under Indira Gandhi, there was State of Emergency.

“So here we’ve had State of Emergency for 8 months and everybody is fretting and getting worried.”

Asked if there are measures used in determining the success of an ongoing State of Emergency and the effectiveness of the one in the North East in light of continued attacks by Boko Haram, Badewole noted that some laws are suspended to enable the troops operate effectively.

He highlighted that soldiers can act upon information without having to go through legal procedures such as obtaining search warrants.

Security Agency To Question Sheriff Over Alleged Boko Haram Sponsorship

Marilyn-OgarA former Governor of Borno State, in Nigeria’s north-east, Ali Modu Sheriff, will soon appear before the Department of State Services (DSS) to answer questions over allegations that he is one of the sponsors of a terrorist group, the Boko Haram.

Spokesperson to the DSS, Marilyn Ogar, told reporters in Abuja on Friday that the service had once invited the former governor for questioning over the activities of the Boko Haram in the past, but that he would be invited again.

She dismissed insinuations that the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, had any link to the sect.

“I would want to say here that it is absolutely uncharitable for us as Nigerians to reward somebody who laid down his life in pursuing this same people for us to accept that he can in anyway be associated as sponsoring the same sect.

“The military together with this service succeeded in bringing the activities in Kano Okene and other parts of Nigeria to a halt and pushing them to Sambisa forest is the same man we want, because he is no longer in office, to say that he is the one that is sponsoring the Boko Haram. I think it’s being wicked. That should not be the way we should reward people who laid down their lives to provide a secured environment for us,” she said.

An Australian hostage negotiator, Dr Stephen Davis, had accused prominent Nigerian politicians, including former Governor Sheriff, of being primary Boko Haram sponsors.

Dr Davis, a self-appointed negotiator, has been negotiating for the release of some 200 girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect in April.

Meanwhile, she appealed for caution as such allegations by Dr Davis, an Australian was capable of destroying the good works of patriotic Nigerians if not based on facts.

Mr Sheriff has denied the allegation, saying he had no association with any terrorists anywhere.

The Boko Haram sect had carried out series of attacks on villages, churches, mosques, schools and at public places mostly in the north eastern part of Nigeria.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s Remarks At U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission’s Meeting

Opening Remarks for A/S Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s Participation
U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission Regional Security Working Group
Thursday, September 4, 2014 – Abuja, Nigeria

Good morning to you all. I am pleased to be with you today for the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission’s meeting of the Regional security Working Group. Let me begin by thanking {LEAD for Nigerian Delegation} for hosting us here today.

I am pleased to be joined here by U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle. My delegation includes colleagues from the White House, the Department of Defense, including the Africa Command, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and of course, fellow representatives from the Department of State. Many of us have traveled a great distance to be present here today because we are deeply committed to our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

The Bi-National Commission provides the opportunity to have open, frank discussions and to ensure that our partnership is achieving maximum impact. In particular, today we look forward to discussing the security situation in the Northeast and how we can better work together to improve the effectiveness of your efforts.

Yesterday the United States participated in the Ministerial meeting on Boko Haram, organized and hosted by your government. The Ministerial’s conclusions underscore the importance of Nigerian leadership and more intensified cooperation among the countries of the Lake Chad basin to combat Boko Haram and return peace, stability, and economic development to the inhabitants of that region. As Foreign Minister Wali said yesterday, there is an urgent need to stabilize the security situation as a first step to restoring freedom of movement and livelihoods to the hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who have been affected by Boko Haram.

Since we last met in August 2013, the frequency and scope of Boko Haram’s terror attacks have grown more acute and constitute a serious threat to this country’s overall security. Boko Haram has shown that it can operate not only in the Northeast, but in Kano, in Abuja, and elsewhere. We are very troubled by the apparent capture of Bama and the prospects for an attack on and in Maiduguri, which would impose a tremendous toll on the civilian population. This is a sober reality check for all of us. We are past time for denial and pride.

Despite our collective efforts, the situation on the ground is worsening. The conflict has affected the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in the Lake Chad region. Cameroon’s military is increasingly forced to fight Boko Haram within its borders and they flee back into Nigeria without fear. The Chibok schoolgirls and others remain hostages, enduring horrible and tragic suffering. Abubakar Shekau’s bold announcement that Boko Haram is now governing a “caliphate”only adds to the perception that the security situation is steadily worsening. All of these developments are deeply disturbing, and increasingly dangerous with each passing day.

In order to combat this trend, President Obama launched a major security initiative to support Nigeria and the region – the Security Governance Initiative – at our recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington. We are pleased that Nigeria will be at the cutting edge of this effort, which is designed to work with countries to help them improve the transparency, governance, and effectiveness of key elements of their security sector. This is partnership in which both sides work together to identify the problem and design the solution. The United States is close to announcing the launch of a major border security program under our Global Security Contingency Fund, which will include Nigeria and its neighbors Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

We continue to provide technical training to military and police forces engaged in the fight against Boko Haram. As an important part of this effort, we are pleased to provide advanced training to a Nigerian infantry battalion. We applaud the motivation of this unit and the progress it is making. It is critical that the investment in this unit be properly maintained and utilized upon deployment, with clean supply chains and adequate supplies, a strong chain of command, and mission and values that address Nigeria’s counterterrorism threat and keep civilians safe. The reputation of Nigeria’s military is at stake. But more importantly, Nigeria’s and its children’s future is in jeopardy. Failure is not an option.

Security is a multidisciplinary endeavor that requires engagement by all aspects of federal, state, and local governments, as well as civil society in a coordinated effort. Thus, I am very pleased that session two of our working group today will focus on Accountability and the Rule of Law. No conversation about security is complete without addressing issues of accountability, whether we are talking about security or counter-insurgency. The United States stands ready to support Nigeria and its security services as they fulfill those responsibilities with restraint and impartially.

Because we recognize that security solutions are only one part of this complex challenge, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, is establishing new programs aimed at education initiatives and improving livelihoods in the region. These programmes offer broadened education programs to internally displaced persons and others living in these vulnerable regions.

In June of this year, the U.S. Government announced the “Let Girls Learn” campaign to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education. Studies have found one more year of education increases a woman’s income by up to 25 percent. USAID is currently launching a program to increase enrollment for at least 500,000 Nigerian children, including 250,000 girls in northern Nigeria, and to improve early-grade reading for 3,000,000 primary students in Northern Nigeria.

The United States is especially concerned about the more than 700,000 internally displaced persons and reports that those numbers continue to increase. We are deeply troubled by the risks to their personal security and their economic livelihoods as well as the implications of food security. We are concerned about their ability as citizens to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming elections. The fabric of too many communities is coming unwoven under the unrelenting pressure of this threat.

We are eager to hear from you today about your plans for how civilians can better be protected throughout Nigeria. Those plans are critically important as you move forward towards your national elections next February. In our last BNC meeting, we focused on the elections in great detail. We were encouraged by your commitment to meet or exceed international standards and deliver the election that the people of Nigeria deserve.

We know it is possible and we commend you for the successful and peaceful elections in Ekiti and Osun States. For those of you here, whose role in these elections is so critical, I can think of no goal more important than delivering the free, fair, and peaceful election that your citizens deserve.

It is true that this imperative places a heavy burden and responsibility on Nigeria’s security services. You must undertake a critical task: protect civilians and protect the process ot enable citizens to determine who governs them. I cannot stress enough the importance of this responsibility and I urge you to hold each other accountable.

The United States and other friends of Nigeria including your neighbors are watching this election closely and have high expectations for the polling to be peaceful and credible. An inclusive and fairly conducted election is the best way to avoid electoral violence.

As I stressed to the group convened yesterday, in order to continue making progress in countering these threats to Nigeria’s security and the security of the entire region, we must focus on action. The United States is committed to continuing its support for Nigerian-led solutions to these pressing challenges. I know this is not easy. It is not easy for us and it is not easy for you. But it must be done.

Thank you and I look forward to our discussions here today.

Jonathan, Obasanjo Discuss Nigeria’s Security Challenges

Goodluck_Jonathan_Olusegun_ObasanjoA former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has met with President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss possible, effective and lasting solutions to the present security challenges.

The meeting, held on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital, was said to be on the invitation of President Jonathan.

It is coming barely two days, after the former President commended the efforts of the Federal and Lagos State governments in checking the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.

The visit may not also be unconnected with the comment attributed to Mr Obasanjo at the weekend on the state of the economy.

He was quoted as saying that “the present state of the economy is going the way of the Late Abacha’s regime, where the middle class was almost wiped out”.

While addressing reporters in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on his arrival from Abuja, Mr Obasanjo said that the meeting with President Jonathan was purely on security matters.

“Yes, I can confirm that I met with Mr President on his invitation.

“In fact, he had wanted to come down to Abeokuta, but as a sign of respect to the office of the President, I had to go. We had discussions on the country’s security issues and that is all,” he said.

Obasanjo, who appreciated the invitation of President Jonathan said he would continue to make himself available on national issues in the interest of peace and progress of the country.

Nigeria’s major security challenge has remained the acts of terrorism in the north, perpetrated by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram.

They have carried out series of attacks on villages, churches, mosques, schools  and public places, a situation that led to the declaration of a state of emergency in three north-east states – Adamawa, borno and Yola – where the attacks have occurred more.

Military operations have been on for over three years in the region to end the insurgency, but attacks have continued with the terrorist group declaring Gwoza, a town in Borno State, an Islamic caliphate few days ago.

The government dismissed the claims, saying it would not cede any of its territories to any group and that the military would continue to tackle the insurgents.

Nyanya Blast: Health Ministry Says 72 Dead, 164 Injured

Onyebuchi-ChukwuSeventy-two persons died while 164 were injured in the bomb blast at the Nyanya Motor Park, about 16 kilometres from Abuja, on Monday, Nigeria’s Ministry of Health has said.

After collecting data from the scene of the bomb blast and at various hospitals within the Federal Capital Territory, where the victims were taken, the Ministry said the total number of victims stood at 236, out of which 72 are dead.

The ministry’s official statement says 71 of these were brought in dead from the site while one severely injured person subsequently died at the National Hospital, Abuja.

The Minister of Health, Professor Chukwu, who had, after the blast, told reporters that the ministry would release the official number of casualties, emphasised that the figures were provisional and do not include victims whose bodies were totally dismembered.

“Thirteen hospitals and clinics are handling the patients within the Federal Capital Territory,” the statement read.

Professor Chukwu commended all emergency agencies for their prompt response to rescue victims of the bomb blasts and Nigerians who had donated blood to the patients.

No terrorist group has claimed responsibility of the blast.

The Boko Haram sect is known to have carried out similar attacks in the north eastern part of Nigeria and they are suspected to be responsible for the attack.

President Goodluck Jonathan had described the blast as unnecessary distraction that is pushing the country backward.

During his visit to the scene of the explosion, he assured Nigerians that the issue of Boko Haram was temporary and that the country would surely get over it.

Fashola Says Security Challenges Not Portraying Nigerian’s True Nature

FasholaaThe Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says some of the images of the current security challenges being faced by Nigeria do not represent the true nature of Nigerians who are naturally hospitable.

In a meeting with the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Liu Kan, at the Lagos House on Monday, the Governor stated that the challenges would go away, but the warm hospitality, industrious nature and entrepreneurial spirit of the people which had endured for several decades would not go away. 

He assured the Government and people of China of the Lagos State government’s support.

“As long as the interest of the people of Lagos and that of Nigeria are taken into the fairest consideration in the process of the discharge of your responsibility, you will enjoy the support of the government.

“I think that every diplomatic relation must be predicated on the self interest on the first basis. What is in it for the people of Lagos and what is in it for the people of Nigeria and also for the people of the Republic of China? We have had partnerships because we believed we have something on both sides for both sides,” he stressed.

Many Horsepower Relationship

Fashola observed that Nigeria could learn commercial diplomacy from China, pointing out that the Chinese government had done very well in spite of the existing difficulty in global legal order about how nations should interfere and interrelate with one another under the United Nations’ Convention and Declaration.

“I think the time for change of some of the rules of engagement between nations and sub- nationals is upon us. I am sure that a legal order will emerge that will formalise what the Peoples Republic of China has probably done in an informal way by doing business at national and sub- national levels simultaneously,” he said.

Governor Fashola wished the people and Government of the People’s Republic of China, a happy new year which the country has just celebrated and represented by the symbol, of horse.

He said: “I expect that China and Nigeria will experience a relationship that has many horsepower and that Lagos will be the beneficiary of that horsepower.

Mr Kan said he had felt very much at home, enjoying the hospitality of the People of Nigeria and Lagos since he arrived in Nigeria a couple of months back.

“I will like to work with the Lagos State Government which is one of the strongest states in Nigeria that has contributed to the socio-economic development of Nigeria by encouraging Chinese investors to come to Lagos,” he said.

The Consul General also said he would work assiduously to develop the friendly relations between China, Nigeria and Lagos.

Other State government officials at the meeting were the Commissioners for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Sola Oworu, Works and Infrastructure, Dr Obafemi Hamzat and Science and Technology, Mr Adebiyi Mabadeje.