APC Youths Accuse Police Of Partisanship In Rivers

APC-RiversMembers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State have accused the Police Command in the state of being partisan.

This is coming in less than two weeks to the rescheduled March 28 and April 11 elections, as a crowd of protesters stormed the gates of the police command to express their grouse over what they call the undue arrests and intimidation of members of the party in the state.

The protesters marched to the gates of the Rivers State Police Command to register their grievance, chanting solidarity songs.

The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Dan Bature, called for calm and demanded for a meeting with some of the leaders of the protesters in his office.

However, the Police Commissioner said his command would not turn a blind eye to criminal activities for the sake of politics.

The Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Dr Sampson Parker, had earlier expressed worries over increasing number of election violence related deaths, saying “the electoral violence  in the the State is epidemic”.

With the elections less than two weeks away, the clamour for violence free polls is not just a call from Rivers people but a cry for help.

However, the Assistant Inspector General of police (AIG) in charge of zone 6, Mr Tunde Ogunsakin, at a gathering of security agencies, security experts and political stakeholders with focus on the conduct of a secure, peaceful and credible polls in Rivers State, stressed that the responsibility of ensuring credible and peaceful polls in the 2015 election is everyone’s call.

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.

Zamfara/Keana Killings: Islamic Group Alleges Persecution Of Innocent Muslims

Troops interrogatingThe Jamatu Nasril Islam, JNI, an organisation that represents Islamic groups in Nigeria, have alleged that there is a grand agenda to destabilize the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria.

In a statement by its Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, the organisation said that the dimension of extra judicial killing of Muslims by the Military on a mere whim of unsubstantiated suspicion leaves much to be desired, which “clearly depicts that Muslims have become endangered species, murdered and maimed indiscriminately in the guise of fighting terrorism.”

The statement read: “The sad incident of Keana 15 is another scenario where innocent Muslims were mercilessly massacred. These are people who have been exonerated by the State Governor as being peace loving people and law abiding. It is questionable that an operation of this magnitude would be carried-out without the knowledge of the Chief Security Officer of the State, nor other relevant security bodies.”

The group argued that the Benue State Governor and his deputy had recently exonerated the Fulani of Benue for the long outstanding relationship and social cohesion between them. It wondered how this could have suddenly changed and the next neighbour is accused because of his simplicity and unsophistication.

It also noted as painful and unacceptable, the various reports of human rights abuses and massacre of hundreds of Muslims in Maiduguri by the Military, as reported by human rights groups.

“We have found the usage of the term Fulani herdsmen, hiding their religious identity an attempt to wipe out Muslims in the guise of fighting terrorism, as it suits the situation and using Muslim terrorist as it suits the other situation as absurd. Why is it when a Christian commits a crime it is not called a Christian crime or terrorism? The fact remains, crime is crime; it is colourless, tribe less and religious less.”

“It is sad to note that a Muslim milk maid, a mother of five, was raped and killed by a military man around Dei-Dei area of the Federal Capital Territory. We are not aware of any step taken by the military authority on the matter. As usual they will buy time and the case will die naturally.

“We can say without any fear of contradiction that there is a grand agenda to destabilize the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. If any Nigerian is in doubt regarding the hidden grand agenda to destabilize Muslims in Nigeria, and cautiously reduce their rising human capital, then the Zamfara State incidence should have removed this doubt.

“An event where vigilante personnel working to restore peace would be the subject of a grand massacre, tells much about the chaos and insecurity some enemies want to push our states into. We call on all our Governors, politicians and indeed every well-meaning citizen to do something before it gets out of hand.

The group warned the military that it was extremely dangerous to polarize security agencies along religious line as this would have far reaching negative effect in the country, especially at a time where the efforts of all are required to cushion the effect of the pains the people are passing through.

The group demanded the bringing to justice of the perpetrators of all crimes against innocent citizens who have the right to practice the religion they choose.

No Faith Or Ethnic Group Is Target Of Counter-Terrorism Campaign

Meanwhile, the military has referred to the statement issued by the Secretary-General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu as spurious and inflammatory.

The Director, Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement that it was imperative to set the records straight, much as the military was reluctant to join issues with a respectable religious organisation like JNI.

The statement read: “The Nigerian military remains non-partisan, non-sectarian and will continue to be the symbol of patriotism and a unifying factor in the face of threats to national sovereignty.  If this wild allegation was meant to cause disaffection or brew disharmony within the military, then it has woefully failed as the Nigerian military does not operate along religious or ethnic lines.

“Contrary to the false claims, no law abiding individual, faith, ethnic group or organisation is being targeted as alleged by JNI. It is unfortunate that the unjust imputation is coming from a respectable and responsible organisation like JNI.  We urge the body not to join in the fray of propagandists bent on discrediting genuine efforts at finding solutions to the nation’s security challenges”, the statement read.

The military promised that it would continue to be driven by patriotism and commitment to the cause of the nation and its law abiding citizens.

It called on all responsible organisations to cooperate in the efforts at addressing the nation’s security challenges rather than compound the problem, advising that individuals with similar prejudices should abandon such biases as the challenges at hand call for prayers and support of all well-meaning organisations and groups.

It added that the Armed Forces comprises Nigerians from all religious persuasions and could not be used against any particular religion as purported, as the military would not be distracted by unfair imputations from any quarter.

The statement concluded: “Individuals apprehended in the course of counter-terrorism campaign will continue to have access to justice as provided by law.“

Fight Against Terrorism: Nigeria-Pakistan To Step Up Joint Effort

Pakistan on BHThe Pakistani Government is partnering with Nigeria to fight terrorism in the country.

Nigeria and Pakistan both face a common problem of insurgency and terrorism by Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram terrorist groups.

However, Pakistani Ambassador to Nigeria, Lieutenant-General, Mohamud Shalim, in an interview with Channels Television, said that Pakistan and Nigeria have been having meaningful interaction in fighting terrorism by exchanging intelligence information and training of security personnel.

“Nigeria should continue fighting, that is what I can really advise because this kind of fight is not one day’s fight. It takes very long to really finish this manner of terrorism because (if) you kill one terrorist there are 20 more who would take part.”

The Ambassador also said that fighting terrorism requires a multidimensional approach, as this is a continuous issue and not one that requires just military action.

“We like what we are doing in Pakistan; fighting, talking and some of the development issues and some social projects taking place in that area. The objective is to close the space for the terrorists, and that space can only be closed through a multidimensional approach, not through just fighting”, he said.

Nasarawa Killings: Gov. Al-Makura Demands Review Of Military Operations

NasarawaThe Nasarawa State Government has called for a review of the military operations in the state, following Thursday’s killing of herdsmen in Keana Local Government Area.

Governor Tanko Al-Makura made the call when he paid a condolence visit to the affected village where scores of Fulani herdsmen were attack during a burial ceremony.

He described the attack as misplaced priority by the military authority, who were deployed for counter insurgency operations.

He added that the attack on the residents while performing a funeral ceremony was totally out of place and promised to take up the matter at the appropriate level and ensure justice is done.

“This is a settlement that has been there for decades, they were mourning the death of an elderly person and all of a sudden, soldiers came and gathered all of them and pulled them to a nearby place, not more that 100metres away.

“They were crying and yelling that they were mourning the death of an elderly person. They wouldn’t hear any of that and before you realise they had shot all of them, and what I seem to be hearing is that these were insurgents.

“I think it has to be corrected. This is a settlement that everybody knows within the vicinity of Keana Local Government, they couldn’t have been insurgents”, the Governor said.

Borno-Yobe People’s Forum Oppose State Of Emergency Extension in North-East

State of Emergency in NigeriaA group known as Borno-Yobe People’s Forum has called on President Goodluck Jonathan not to extend the State of Emergency declared in three states in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.

Spokesman for the group, Air-Marshal Allamin Daggash (Rtd) told a news conference in Abuja that the declaration of the State of Emergency in the North East has failed to improve the security situation in the region.

The spate of gruesome killings and the destruction of lives and property in the North-Eastern part of the country brought together the group, made up of elders from Borno and Yobe states, and they have asked the Federal Government to unmask the sponsors of the Boko Haram group as a thorough consideration for implementation  of the various reports presented to the Federal Government over the insurgency in the region would reveal who the sponsors are.

The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, appealed for new strategies that would address issues of insecurity in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, while other members of the group also opposed an extension of the State of Emergency in the affected states.

The current State of Emergency is expected to end on April 19.

Boko Haram: PDP Governors’ Forum Urges Military To Overhaul Combat Strategies

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio

Cracking the insurgency in the North East is not a challenge before military and the federal authorities alone, as state governors are also worried about the senseless killings by the Boko Haram sect.

Rising from their meeting in Minna, Niger State, North Central Nigeria, the People’s Democratic Party Governor’s Forum condemned the slaughter of secondary school students by the sect in Yobe.

Chairman of the forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State also urged the military to work out new strategies of combating the insurgency.

Governor Akpabio further reached out to aggrieved members of the party, and asked them to sheathe their swords.

Boko Haram: Do Not Politicize Military Motivation – Major Anyanya (Rtd)

Major Lancelot AnyanyaA former Army Major, Lancelot Anyanya, has warned Nigerians at all levels to resist the temptation to play politics with the current fight against terrorism in the country, especially as it concerns the motivation of the military personnel.

He sent this warning through a telephone interview on Channels Television flagship breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

While admitting that material motivation was indeed highly important for men of the military, who are within the crisis regions, he said that he believed that Government was doing its best in that aspect, adding that no responsible government would send its troop on a mission without providing the enabling environment for them to operate and be successful.

He warned that nothing kills morale more than the statements being made by people apportioning blames in the name wanting to score political points.

Major Anyanya, however, also admitted that more could be done in terms of motivation for the military personnel fighting terror and the war can indeed be won, but the collective will of all Nigerians as a nation is what the success would be dependent on.

When asked about the possibility of some persons within the Nigerian military benefiting from the situation as a reason behind the perceived slow progress in the terror combat, Major Anyanya said, “This is laughable, who would that be and what would be their motivation?”

He stressed that the military were the ones on the battle field, whose lives are on the line and whose family were bearing the pressure of the danger in the region and should be appreciated rather than criticized.

He also responded to the possible complicity of military men with the insurgents, as alleged in some quarters that the insurgents have been spotted wearing the military uniform to ease the execution of their attacks.

Anyanya warned against assumptions that the uniforms worn by the insurgents were from the Nigerian military, stressing that a uniform is just a piece of clothing that could have been produced anywhere. He argued that the military has its own way of dealing with internal loyalty, and they also have the right intelligence service to deal with such situations.

Making reference to a similar occurrence in the Niger-Delta region when men of the military were indicted to have been supplying militants with uniforms, he recalled that the Nigerian Army took all disciplinary actions against the men who were found guilty, but in the case of the Boko Haram sect, there was no empirical evidence to support the allegation that the same was happening again.

He urged that Nigerians should mourn with the families of these men as they mourn with other victims of the attacks, not demoralize them with mundane allegations.

On the continued attacks of the Boko haram sect, Major Anyanya warned that Nigeria may be dealing with an Al Qaeda affiliate, and should be prepared to deal with some of these challenges because of the peculiar nature of its large borders and the presence of communities in those border areas.

He, however, emphasized the need to further tighten the borders, no matter how large they are.

Boko Haram: Adamawa Governor Cuts Short Visit To Shuwa

There was pandemonium in Shuwa, in Michika Local Government of Adamawa State on Friday when sporadic gunshots from a nearby village purportedly forced the State Governor, Murtala Nyako to abort his scheduled visit to Shuwa town.

Shuwa is one of the four villages raided on Wednesday by insurgents, and over six people were reported killed.

Governor Nyako and his team were on condolence visit when gunmen suspected to be members of the sect allegedly opened fire, forcing the Governor and his delegation to retreat.

Addressing journalists in Yobe, the Governor criticized the Federal Government over what he called continued raids by the members of the sect, which the military authorities seem to have no answers to.

According to him, “there is no excuse whatsoever. We want to know what is happening, we should be able to know where these arms are manufactured and even the signatures of the weapon.”

Meanwhile, the Director Defence Information, Major-General Olukolade, in a statement, has described the claim as “an unsubstantiated report that should be disregarded.”

He said: “The truth is that the governor visited Michika and Shuwa areas of Yobe State to sympathise with the communities that were attacked by terrorists and while returning, the convoy came across a noticeable alarm raised by some people who had mistaken a military convoy on patrol at Kirchinga village, for another impending attack by terrorists.”

Major General Olukolade said that the troops had discovered an entry and exit point of terrorists into the country through the state and was working on blocking it.

He assured the community of their safety as normalcy had returned.

Yobe School Killing: Survivor Recounts Gory Ordeal

FGC Boy Recounts OrdealOne of the surviving students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, Nigeria, has given his account of how the attack on his school was carried out.

Speaking to Channels Television on the hospital bed, through the pains of a gunshot that ripped his arm and exposed his intestine, he recounted his ordeal in the hands of the gunmen who attacked their school.

In a vivid emotional account, the school boy narrated how he was shot by the group and then he struggled into a nearby bush before he was eventually rescued and rushed to the hospital.

Gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect attacked and killed students of the Federal Government College Buni-Yadi in Yobe State, north-east Nigeria in the early hours of Tuesday and also burnt down the school.

Earlier reports had said that the students were attacked in their hostels and slain by the hoodlums instead of the usual gun to avoid the attention of security men within town.

The Federal Government College Buni Yadi is a co-educational institution located some 55 kilometres south of Damaturu the Yobe State capital, and the attack is the fourth recorded on schools in Yobe since the commencement of the insurgency, as GSS Damaturu, GSS Mamudo and College of Agriculture, Gujba were attacked in 2013.