London Telegraph Is Strengthening Boko Haram Terrorism – Presidency

garba Shehu, London Telegraph, Boko Haram, The Presidency has lashed out at UK tabloid, London Telegraph, over an article it published on July 30 which suggested that the Nigerian government is diverting funds meant to combat terrorism to persecute President Muhammadu Buhari’s political foes.

Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu said in a statement on Monday that the claims were incorrect and unhelpful to Nigeria’s war on terrorism, rather it further strengthens the insurgents’ quest to divide Nigeria.

The London Telegraph’s article “Children Face Death by Starvation in Northern Nigeria” (30th July, 2016) repeats a claim from an earlier piece “Nigeria Using UK Aid to Persecute President’s Political Foes” (12th April, 2016) – that Nigeria is diverting UK aid monies away from defeating the Islamist terror group Boko Haram towards those the newspaper identified as political opponents of the Buhari administration.

“This is as incorrect as it is unhelpful,” Mr Shehu said.

“These claims in both articles are attributed to an unnamed ‘source’ in the United States, and ‘Western officials’. Yet when the first article was published it drew the condemnation of the US Embassy in Abuja as having drawn conclusions directly opposite to the position of the US government.

“To state the facts: the UK government does not give development aid to the Nigerian administration for use in military operations against Boko Haram. Where British military support – such as intelligence – is provided, it is precisely and only, given for operations directly against Boko Haram.

“Similarly, the Nigerian Government is in no position to divert aid monies used for emergency relief for refugees or IDP camps for any other purpose, as these are dispensed directly by DFID, USAID, the United Nations, the International Red Cross, Doctors without Borders and many other organizations – with which we enjoy excellent relations.

“The humanitarian situation in these camps is real. The Administration remains deeply concerned about the medical, health and nutrition challenges and we are doing everything with the limited resources we have at our disposal to improve the situation.

“However, the blame for the plight of refugees lies with Boko Haram. They are its cause, not the Nigerian Government.

“In the light of ongoing efforts, we regret the recent attack on the UN humanitarian convoy in the Northeastern region and are encouraged by the world body’s determination to continue rendering assistance to the displaced victims.

“That the attack was repelled by Nigerian troops escorting the convoy shows precisely how the Government and humanitarian agencies are working together.

“As for claims that the administration is targeting Christians and the opposition, these are without foundation.

“Since assuming office, President Buhari has treated all Nigerians without bias for ethnicity or religion – as the composition of his cabinet and the policies and programmes of his administration demonstrate.

“To suggest his government as deepening Muslim-Christian division is not only untrue, but plays into the hands of Boko Haram who wish to divide Nigerians along religious lines.

“Fighting this group is key priority of President Buhari’s administration. Indeed, the international community has widely acknowledged his determination to defeat terrorism in Nigeria and the entire Lake Chad Basin.

“There is nothing to gain by attempting to mould public opinion against these facts. Therefore, we invite The Telegraph to visit Nigeria to witness first hand, not only the challenges we face, but the administration’s determination to confront them.”

We Support Jonathan’s Non-Withdrawal Of JTF From Borno – PDP

The People’s Democratic Party, PDP has thrown its weight behind President Goodluck Jonathan’s offer to withdraw the military Joint Task Force (JTF) from Borno state only if elders of the state commit to an undertaking making them responsible for further killings and destruction by the Boko Haram sect.

The party said in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh on Sunday, the position of the president clearly shows his “forthrightness and great concern” for the safety of Nigerians including those living in Borno and other troubled spots in the country.

The party commended the president for his approach to extremism in northeast states, and assured that it deeply shares the concerns of Borno elders on the need for peace to return to the state, to enable social and economic activities.

“We commend the President for his humane approach and for his unrelenting commitment to the improved welfare of Nigerians”, the statement said.

“The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP fully aligns with the challenge of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Borno elders on their responsibility vis-a-vis the withdrawal of the military Joint Task Force, JTF.”

While on an official visit to Yobe and Borno States last week, Mr. Jonathan rejected suggestion for amnesty for Islamist militants, and vowed to retain soldiers in the two states except their elders commit to ensuring an end to violence.

The PDP challenged the elders in Borno to take to up the challenge.

“This is a direct challenge to all of us, especially those from the troubled areas to rise to the occasion and re-engage dispassionate avuncular responsibilities in genuine search for peace,” the party’s statement said.

The party said while it understands the worries of Borno elders over the insurgency and its implications for the life of the people, it deems it necessary that the elders reflect on their positions as instruments for restoring peace as stated by the president.

The party also commended the president for his “heart to heart” discussion with elders of Borno and Yobe states, and for sparing time to visit some orphanages.

“The President was not in Borno and Yobe for photo-ops and showmanship as did the Governors of the opposition APC who cooed in the streets of Maiduguri and boasted in the media to invite attention to themselves. The President was on a genuine mission for peace and development.”

Seven Foreigners Kidnapped In Bauchi

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.

Analyst says Boko Haram’s ceasefire conditions are impossible

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.

Expert calls on Boko Haram to surrender unconditionally

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.”

Bomb blast injures two soldiers in Maiduguri

The military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri on Monday confirmed that two of its soldiers have sustained injuries after they were attacked along Lagos Street in Borno State.

The spokesperson of the JTF in Maiduguri, Sagir Musa, said a JTF patrol van was attacked with Improvised Explosive Device.

“There was a bomb blast involving a JTF Hilux vehicle at about 7:15 am today along Lagos Street in Maiduguri metropolis. It is feared that two soldiers sustained injury. Details on the incident if any will be communicated,” he said.

The bomb according to Col Musa was buried along the highway of the popular Lagos Street of Maiduguri by the hoodlums who were targeting the JTF on routine patrol of the town.

Shortly after the blast the Popular Lagos Street was condoned off while continuous shootings were heard across the Gwange area a stronghold of the insurgents.

The early morning incident paralyses activities in Maiduguri metropolis as gun shots continued throughout the better part of Monday.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack though it is believed to have been carried out by the insurgent group, Boko Haram.

FG arraigns two Nigerians suspected to be members of Al-Qaeda

The Federal Government has arraigned two Al-Qaeda suspects before a high court sitting in Abuja for allegedly aiding and abating terrorist activities in the country.

The two accused persons Olaniyi Lawal and Lukman Babatunde both pleaded not guilty to the six counts and were later remanded in prison custody pending their next appearance in court.

The first accused person Mr Lawal, 31, is said to have received monies in Saudi Riyals and in US Dollars equivalent to N1 million from a terrorist organisation known as Al-Qaeda in May 2011 to recruit and transport new members to Yemen for combat training in terrorism.

Mr Lawal alongside the second accused Mr Babatunde, 30, allegedly convened a meeting in June 2011 to further the objective of the proscribed organisation.

Also in the charge sheet, the second accused person was said to have provided facilities and logistics for the meeting.

The offence committed by the duo as stated in the charge is punishable under the terrorism and prevention act 2011.

The trial judge adjourned the case to October 2 and 3.