Amnesty International Asks Government To Up Efforts To Free All Chibok Girls

Chibok girls,One thousand days after the chilling abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok, Amnesty International is asking the Nigerian government to redouble efforts to ensure the release of the girls and all other victims of mass abduction.

The organisation is also calling on Boko Haram to put an end to the girls’ suffering and immediately release them and all other civilians they are currently holding.

The demand is coming few days after one of the abducted Chibok girls taken from their school’s dormitory on April 14, 2014 was recovered by the military with her six-month-old baby.

Her return followed the release of 21 girls by Boko Haram in October, a development that the Nigerian government said was the outcome of negotiations with the insurgents.

41 Other Cases Of Mass Abductions

The demand of the rights group was contained in a statement it issued on Saturday by the Acting Country Director for Amnesty International Nigeria, Makmid Kamara. The group drew the government’s attention to the fact that the girls have remained in captivity for 1,000 days.

It read: “This terrible anniversary is a chilling reminder not just of the tragic disappearance of the Chibok school girls, but also all other individuals – many of whom are also children – who remain captive in Boko Haram’s hideouts across the country. These abductions and other attacks on civilians, many of which constitute war crimes, must stop.

“While the Nigerian government is making considerable efforts to recover the 195 Chibok girls still in Boko Haram’s custody, we are concerned that victims of less well publicised mass abductions have not benefited from comparable efforts to secure their release”.

The group claimed to have documented at least 41 other cases of mass abductions by Boko Haram since 2014.

“Many of the attacks committed by the group, including deliberate killing of civilians, rape, destruction of homes, bombing of places of worship, markets and other civilian structures, constitute war crimes and those responsible should be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty,” Amnesty International demanded.

The rights group further said it recognised the resilience and determination of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigners in Nigeria in getting the plight of the Chibok girls on the world’s agenda and for keeping up the pressure on the government by continuing to demand the release of all the girls.

“Their persistence is notable at a time when the civic space for peaceful protests and gatherings in Nigeria is rapidly shrinking.

“The people of Nigeria, and indeed the world, are remembering the 1000th day after the Chibok abduction primarily because of the relentless work of Bring Back Our Girls.

“We hope that the energy of this formidable campaign will be replicated in demands for justice and accountability for crimes committed by all parties to the current conflict in north eastern Nigeria,” Kamara said.

“The Nigerian government should also dramatically step up its efforts to ensure the safe release of abductees and provide proper psychological and medical support to those who have already been rescued, released or have escaped captivity.”

Crimes Against Humanity

For over seven years, Boko Haram has been carrying out a violent campaign against civilians in north eastern Nigeria through acts of almost daily killings, bombings, abductions and looting. Towns and villages have been pillaged.

Schools, churches, mosques and other public buildings have been attacked and destroyed. Boko Haram is brutally mistreating civilians trapped in areas under its control and has disrupted the provision of health, education and other public services in the seven years of its push for an Islamic state and an end to Western education in the northeast region of Nigeria.

Amnesty International says its research shows that Boko Haram has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity.

After the girls were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Amnesty International said abductions were consistent parts of Boko Haram’s attacks.

The group had on 14 April 2015 released a comprehensive report which documented 38 cases of abduction by Boko Haram.

Since April 2015, thousands of women, men and children who were abducted by Boko Haram have escaped or been rescued.

Terrorism Inhibiting Development In Africa – Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari, Donald TrumpNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday called on African leaders to form a strong united front to defeat terrorism and violent extremism, which he said was inhibiting development in the continent.

At a meeting with Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Buhari expressed concern that the continent was still grappling with acts and effects of terrorism after a successful de-colonisation campaign.

Acknowledging the valued cooperation between Nigeria and Kenya in the fight against terrorism, the President commended the East African country for the recent successes recorded in tackling terrorism in the region.

“A situation in which insecurity continues to obstruct the process of national development should not be allowed to continue”, the President told Mr Ruto, a special envoy to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

On the forthcoming election of a new leadership for the African Union Commission (AUC), President Buhari said African States needed a very strong leadership at the AUC that would encourage member states to refocus their resources and energy toward human and national development.

On Kenya’s request for Nigeria’s support for the candidature of Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Kenya’s Foreign Minister who is vying for the AUC Chairperson, President Buhari said Nigeria would hold robust consultations with other African leaders on the need for strong and capable leadership that would respond to the current challenges facing the continent.

In his remarks, Deputy President Ruto commended President Buhari for his leadership, particularly on regional security and the fight against corruption.
Mr Ruto said President Buhari’s effort to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism had emboldened the continent’s resolve to achieve lasting peace and security.

Buhari Pushes For Africa’s Permanent Seat On UN Security Council

Muhammadu-Buhari-addressing-the-UN-General-AssemblyNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday pushed for a permanent seat for Africa in the United Nations Security Council.

He also sought the establishment of United Nations Agency for Youths, saying it will enable countries take advantage of the number of youths and their creative energy.

He told the Assembly that youths were in the majority in Nigeria and in most other member states.

President Buhari made the demands while addressing the UN General Assembly.

He highlighted that Africa’s permanent membership on the UN Security Council would reflect equitable and fair representation and greater transparency.

“Nigeria therefore reiterates its call for the reform of the united Nations security council in particular to reflect equitable and fair representation and greater transparency, legitimacy and inclusiveness in its decision making.

“Africa should be adequately represented on the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member.

“Nigeria is ready to serve Africa and the world on a reformed Security Council to advance international peace and security,” he told the gathering.

On harnessing youth potentials for growth, the President said: “We must take advantage of the numbers and creative energy of young people who are in the majority in Nigeria and in most other member states.

“We acknowledge the importance of youths in national development and remain committed to harnessing the potential of the increasing youth bunch.

“Therefore, at the international level, we call for the establishment of United Nations Agency for Youths to achieve this strategic objective,” stated.


‘Terrorism Can Be Defeated’

On terrorism, the Nigerian leader reiterated his nation’s commitment to the fighting terrorism, giving a breakdown of efforts in the northeast of the oil-rich nation to end the activities of Boko Haram terrorists.

“International consensus should collaborate in combatant efforts against terrorism.

“We in Nigeria, having been victims of terrorism ourselves, have made remarkable progress in our resolve to defeat Boko Haram whose capacity to launch attacks has been severely degraded.

“In the last few months their operations have been reduced to using IEDs on soft targets.

“Nigeria has continued to combat terrorism based on established rules of engagement and in conformity with international best practices.

“The Nigerian government is employing judicial tool to investigate and treat cases of human rights violations,” he stated.

Collaborations with Chad, Niger and Cameroon have contributed largely to the decimation of Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast, an experience President Buhari told to the Assembly, urging countries battling terrorism to adopt the strategy.

“Our experience today is evidence that with determined international cooperation, terrorism can be defeated,” he stressed.

President Buhari stated that efforts were on to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons in the northeast return to their homes and start life afresh.

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-Barack-Obama-meet
President Muhammadu Buhari held talks with President Barack Obama earlier in the day

On corruption, President Buhari further emphasised Nigeria’s commitment to fighting corruption, which he pointed out was part of his administration’s strategic objective.

“Our objective is to stimulate the economy and restore growth.

“We are taking measures to reduce the cost of governance, and increase revenue.

“Fighting corruption remains a cardinal pillar of our administration, as corruption undermines the achievement of sustainable development goals.

“The recovered funds are being channelled to development of critical infrastructure for our people.

“We are making efforts to ensure transparency and good governance,” President Buhari told the gathering.

The President also told the UN General Assembly that his administration was making efforts to clean Ogoni land in Niger Delta that had been devastated by oil spill.

He also expressed Nigeria’s support for a ceasefire deal between U.S. and Russia, which he hoped would end the war in Syria.

President Buhari also reaffirmed Nigeria’s abiding faith in the UN and her capacity to support member state to deliver on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

His speech came hours after he met with the U.S. President Barack Obama, where issues on terrorism, corruption and the nation’s economy which is in recession were discussed.

Boko Haram Kills Vigilantes, Abducts Women In Borno

Boko Haram, Islamic StateSome suspected members of the Boko Haram terrorist group have killed four persons and abducted four women from Kutuva village in Nigeria’s northeast Borno State.

The terrorists on six motorcycles attacked the village on Tuesday, a statement by a spokesman for the army, Colonel Sani Usman said.

After the attack, the local vigilante in Kaya mobilised immediately to the village and trailed the terrorists up to their suspected hideout located somewhere south of Sabon Garin Bale.

The vigilante members engaged the terrorists in a gun battle, before they escaped into a nearby bush. The vigilantes, however, destroyed the terrorists’ camp and took down all hoisted Boko Haram terrorists’ flags.

They also recovered three Fabrique Nationale (FN) rifle magazines, two AK-45 rifle magazines and 24 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition.

Colonel Usman said that the vigilantes also rescued an 11 year old girl who stated that she was abducted by the terrorists from Batha village.

“Sadly however, the vigilante could not trace the terrorists or the abducted women.

“Effort is ongoing to trace and rescue them,” he said.

Hard And Unbearable

In a related development, a team of local vigilante in Damboa, also in Borno State, led by Sarkin Yaki Ali Gwoza, intercepted some persons along Njaba road, south of Damboa town while on patrol.

During preliminary interrogation, they confessed that they were Boko Haram terrorist group members and that were compelled to join the insurgency against their will. They said that they were on their way to Damboa to surrender to the military.

They attributed their decision to give up their nefarious activities to continued military onslaught and that life had become hard and unbearable for the terrorists generally.

According to Colonel Usman, further screening confirmed 17 of them as hardened Boko Haram terrorists trying to escape and infiltrate the society.

Also, a combined patrol team of 7 Division Garrison, 101 Special Forces Battalion and 3 Civilian JTF, while on clearance patrol on Tuesday morning, intercepted a Golf car with registration number BX 508 RBC, suspected to be carrying suppliers of logistics to Boko Haram terrorists along Kayamla general area.

Some of the items being conveyed were spare parts and Improvised Explosives Devices making materials.

The suspected suppliers abandoned the vehicle and fled into the bush on sighting the patrol team.

The vehicle and its contents have been confiscated and taken to an unidentified military location.

Boko Haram Fighters Have New Uniforms, Army Claims

Boko Haram new uniform
A picture tweeted by the Army showing the new uniform of the terrorist group attacking communities in Nigeria’s north-east

The Nigerian Army says it has discovered that the Boko Haram terrorists now have new means of identification.

A statement by a spokesman for the Army, Colonel Sani Usman, said troops of 22 Brigade Garrison and elements of Three Battalion that went out on Monday on a long range fighting patrol to Gima village in Ngala Local Government Area made the startling discovery.

“The patrol came in contact with some elements of the Boko Haram that started escaping in disarray on sighting the team.

“They were able to apprehend two terrorists in their new styled uniform of green colour and use of ropes on their legs and necks.

“This is a new development in the ongoing clearance operations of the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast,” the statement read.

Colonel Usman also stated that the patrol team recovered one Isuzu Canter lorry which was found concealed with grasses, five motorcycles and two bags of guinea corn.

Other items recovered include three Dane guns, a Solar panel, three bows and arrows.

The arrested terrorists are currently being interrogated to further assist in the clearance operations.

Lawmakers Say Chibok Girls Continued Captivity Is ‘A National Shame’

chibok girlsThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has described the abduction of the over 200 Chibok girls and their continued captivity as a national shame.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, made the statement on Thursday during plenary that was highly focused on the need for security agencies to rescue the girls.

The lawmakers also directed the Ministry of Interior to pay compensation to the families of the abducted girls.

They expressed concerns that the whereabouts of the girls abducted on April 14, 2014 had remained unknown.

In the upper chamber, Senators requested that the Service Chiefs appear before them to give an update on efforts being made to rescue the over 200 girls abducted from their school’s dormitory by Boko Haram in 2014.

The girls were taking their final year examination when they were abducted.

Both chambers are asking security agencies to do everything possible to ensure that the girls are rescued.

The federal lawmakers are also asking the Borno State government to rebuild Chibok Secondary School in the interest of children in the community.

It has been two years that the girls were abducted. Their abduction had triggered protests in different nations, with demands for more efforts to rescue them.

None of the girls have been rescued.

Army Chief Says Troops Have Contained Terrorism In Northeast

Yusuf-Buratai-Army-Chief on terrorism Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, says insurgency and terrorism have been contained in the northeast and some other parts of the country.

He said the feat was made possible by the support of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and good citizens of Nigeria.

General Buratai made the declaration on Thursday when he visited Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, in his one-day working visit to the state.

He reassured Nigerians that the army would continue to live up to expectation and work within the provisions of the constitution in securing the country and its citizens.

At the Governor’s lodge in Amawbia where the army chief and the Governor met, Mr Obiano commended General Buratai and his men for their exploits in the troubled areas of Nigeria.

He told him of the great support he was receiving from the army in the state, saying that their collaboration with other security agencies in the state had brought sanity, safety and security.

The army chief’s declaration of terrorism containment is coming days after over 20 persons were killed in an attack by two female suicide bombers in Umarari-Mulai, in the outskirt of Maiduguri in Borno State.

The first attack targeted a mosque, while the second blast occurred about 50 metres away, a few minutes later.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but the Boko Haram terrorist group is largely suspected.

The group has carried out similar attacks in the past on communities in the northeast.

Army Chief Meets Joint Task Force Troops In Baga 

Army ChiefThe Chief of Army Staff,  Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has visited Sector 3 of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) stationed in Baga area of Borno State.

The Army Chief’s visit is the first since Baga became the Sector 3 headquarters of the force.

Gen. Buratai was in the theatre of operation to obtain firsthand information on the welfare of troops and confidence building.

In 2015, an unspecified number of soldiers attached to the 118 and 157 Battalion in Baga were killed after they came under intense attack from Boko Haram terrorists in Gudunbali.

The Army Chief has also been consulting with the Borno Elders Forum.

This group had requested that the previous administration should grant amnesty to terrorists, as well as withdraw the military Joint Task Force from Maiduguri and other areas in the state, over alleged human rights abuses.

‘If Sheriff Is A Goliath, Then He Has Met His David’, Says Fani-Kayode

Fani-KayodeChief Femi Fani-Kayode has reacted to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s threat that he will be dealt with.

The former Aviation Minister, in a statement made available to Channels Television, said he is amused by the Senator’s threat and he is waiting with baited breath for his actions.

Mr Fani-Kayode who is a member of the PDP and one of the party leaders who are unhappy with the process which brought Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the new PDP national chairman, criticised the emergence of the former governor of Borno State as the new PDP Chairman, raising allegations of a link of the new party leader with the Boko Haram sect, a terrorist group which has killed hundreds of innocent Nigerians since it began its operations few years ago.

The former minister says “we are more than ready to meet Senator Ali Modu Sheriff in court. It would be a pleasure to expose him for what he is. The days of intimidating, silencing and threatening others are long over.

“If sheriff is a Goliath, let him be rest assured that he has finally met his David. Needless to say we stand by everything that we have said,”he added.

 

NIMASA Fraud: Court Grants Order To Seize Tompolo’s Property

TompoloThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an order for the seizure of some properties belonging to former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo. 

Justice Ibrahim Buba granted the order after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court that the whereabouts of Tompolo is unknown.

According to the EFCC, a combined team of Nigerian Police and military officers had been combing the creeks for weeks without success.

Justice Ibrahim Buba had issued a warrant for the arrest of Tompolo on February 8, 2016 after he shunned repeated invitations to appear before the EFCC for questioning.

Last week, the Commission declared the ex-militant wanted.

Tompolo, Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and eight others are accused of a multibillion Naira fraud at the agency.

At the court sitting on Friday, no lawyer announced appearance for Mr Ekpemupolo, a situation the prosecution noted was disrespectful to the court.

With Tompolo still at large, Mr Keyamo then moved a motion for an adjournment to enable the prosecution separate the charges to enable the trial of the other accused persons go on.

The prosecution counsel also filed an application urging the court to order the seizure of all identified properties belonging to Ekpemupolo.

The assets listed include property at No. 1 Chief Agbamu Close DDPA Extension Warri (Effurun), Delta State, All property of Muhaabix Global Services Ltd; a River Crew Change Boat named MUHA – 15; the property known as “Tompolo Dockyard”, by the end of Enerhen Road, Effurun, Warri.

Others are; a property known as “Tompolo Yard”, at the end of Chevron Clinic Road, next to Next Oil, Edjeba, Warri; the Diving School at Kurutie, at Escravos River; the property known as “Tompolo House” at Oporaza Town, opposite the Palace; and any other property discovered by the EFCC, movable and immovable, belonging to the first accused person.

“This application is to further secure the attendance of the first accused person. The law says that the court can order the confiscation of his properties until he appears,” Mr Keyamo said.

“Any third party can bring an application later, but we have intelligence reports that those properties and companies belong to the first accused person.

“If he fails to appear within three months, the federal government will auction off all the assets,” he added.

‎In his ruling, the judge granted the order for the seizure of all the listed properties and adjourned till March 22, 2016 for the separation of charges on the defendants.

Possible Locations Of Chibok Girls Identified – Air Force

chibokThe Nigerian Air Force says it has been able to identify possible locations of the abducted Chibok girls.

The Director of Public Relations at the Nigerian Air Force, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, told Channels Television that the Air Force is abstaining from attacking the area to make sure that the girls are not hit.

He explained that the latest aerial bombardment of Sambisa forest had been aimed at the logistics base of the Boko Haram sect and not areas where the Chibok girls could be located.

“We have no fears that the girls are not there because hat particular location has been under surveillance for quite a while and we suspected maybe its a kind of ammunition depot or maybe a workshop that they are using as their logistics place.

“Once you take off the logistics base, of course you gradually weaken the resolve of the enemy to be able to prosecute any campaign,” he said.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa also explained some of the tactics used by the Air Force to locate the girls.

He said, ” The UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) has become a force multiplier for us because its cheaper to run these platforms, you are not putting men there (and) the risk of  losing human beings is greatly reduced.

“Again the UAVs have the capability to be airborne for up to eleven hours and its quite cheap to maintain. So, we have been able to employ the UAV to a great extent to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance basically for intelligence gathering on the activities of the Boko Haram.”

He said that the UAVs have also helped the Air Force to understand the terrorists’ pattern of movement and “how to be able to counter them should they want to strike or spring any surprise”.

 

Insurgency: Air Force Seeks Cordial Civil-Military Relations

Air ForceThe Nigerian Air Force has established a Directorate of Civil-Military Relations to earn and sustain the support of the civil populace for its operations and activities.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Friday, the Director of Civil-Military Relations of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Afam Chukwu, said the security challenges faced by the nation, especially in the northeast, required a holistic approach by all Nigerians for the military to achieve sustainable success.

He also announced the establishment of a Public Information/Complaints Desk in the directorate in order to smoothen outstanding rough edges and enhance the mutual benefits between the military and the civil populace.

Counter-terrorism operations have continued in the northeast region of Nigeria, with the Air Force providing surveillance support to ground troops.

On February 2, the Nigerian Air Force’s Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UAV) destroyed a logistics base used by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The UAV destroyed the base of the insurgents in Borno, one of the states the terrorist group has attacked in its over six years insurgency.

According to the Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, the UAV was on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission when it came across the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists at Garin Moloma, about one kilometer north of the Sambisa forest.