President Muhammadu Buhari has asked border control agencies and security services within member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission to stop the circulation of all illegal weapons in the region.
Speaking at the 16th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission on Tuesday, the President reminded that illegal movement of arms into the region has heightened the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, a situation which continues to threaten the collective peace and security in the region.
Buhari, who is also Chairman of the Commission, noted that although terrorist threats have been significantly decimated in the region, military actions alone cannot effectively win the war against terrorism.
Illuminating budgetary concerns, which according to him, remains a challenge for all member countries, particularly against the backdrop of declining global inflows and increasing demands, Buhari asserted the need to regularly review the development projects and counterterrorism strategies operational in the region.
The 2022 National Inherent Risk Assessment of Terrorism Financing in Nigeria report, which assessed the level of terrorism financing risks the nation was exposed to, identified the affected NGOs to include those operating in terror-prone areas and engaged in humanitarian activities, service provision, and faith-based activities.
“The findings of this report indicate that TF in Nigeria is generally associated with the use of cash. This notwithstanding, field information flowing from law enforcement investigation as well as financial data have revealed constant interactions between the use of cash by terrorist actors and financial institutions, Bureau de Change, fintech firms, and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions,” the report read in part.
“The inherent vulnerabilities of each sector were assessed by the extent to which products and services offered are found in domestic investigations or STRs in relation to TF. Current accounts products associated with Bureau De Change and NPOs/NGOs corporate customers have been observed to be connected with TF activities.
“The use of bank accounts in the movement of TF funds has featured prominently in both intelligence and investigations related to TF.
“Financial data have also shown that the illegal currency exchangers comingle transactions in their personal accounts as well as entity accounts held and controlled by them with that of their BDC activities.”
Based on the report, investigations by security agencies have revealed constant interactions between the use of cash by terrorist actors and financial institutions, bureau de change, fintech firms, and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions.
Channels Television reports that the NFIU report relied on data from intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Department of State Services, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, and various regulatory and supervisory agencies.
Other contributors to the report include the Corporate Affairs Commission, Defence Intelligence Agency, Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Extractive Industries Initiative, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Office of the National Security Adviser and the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering.
Nigeria has been battling insurgency for the past decade. The war has seen many killed and also displaced thousands of people in the North-Eastern part of the country.
The Federal High Court Abuja has adjourned indefinitely the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu in the terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
Justice Binta Nyako put off the trial sine die at the instance of Kanu pending the resolution of the Federal Government’s appeal against the October 13 judgment of the Court of Appeal that discharged him from the terrorism charges.
In the face of the current security challenges bedeviling the nation, retired military officers of the 33rd Regular Course have asked the Federal Government to consider engaging the services of ex-servicemen to add to the number of troops in the military.
Speaking to Channels Television on the sidelines of their Annual General Meeting in Kaduna State, the President of the 33rd Regular Course Association, Air Commodore Ibrahim Umar (rtd) and other members, urged the government to engage ex-servicemen to overcome banditry, terrorism and kidnapping.
According to them, the nation’s Armed Forces is currently over stretched, hence the urgent need to bring back retired military officers who are willing and capable to assist in the training of younger officers and men.
In addition, they also demanded the recruitment of more officers and men into the Armed Forces in order to police some of the ungoverned spaces in the country and around the nation’s porous borders.
The group also believed that the time has come for the Federal Government to consider erecting walls around the nation’s borders to safeguard the country from external aggression and checkmate illegal immigrants into the country.
The firebombing of a United Kingdom migrant processing centre last week was “motivated by a terrorist ideology”, counter-terrorism police said on Saturday.
“Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE)… have recovered evidence that indicates the attack at an immigration centre in Dover on Sunday, 30 October 2022, was motivated by a terrorist ideology,” the body said in a statement.
The evidence recovered — including from devices — suggested “there was an extreme right-wing motivation behind the attack,” it added.
Tim Jacques, senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, added that while there were “strong indications that mental health was likely a factor”, he had concluded that the “suspect’s actions were primarily driven by an extremist ideology”.
These met the “threshold for a terrorist incident”, he said.
Homemade incendiary devices were thrown at the Western Jet Foil Border Force centre in Dover on Sunday, leaving two staff with minor injuries.
The facility in the busy port town in southeast England processes migrants who have crossed the Channel from northern Europe in small boats.
The attack was carried was out by a 66-year-old man who was later found dead.
“There is currently nothing to suggest the offender was working alongside anyone else and there is not believed to be any wider threat to the public,” the statement said.
The British government is currently grappling with how to deal with a record number of migrants crossing the Channel from northern Europe in small boats.
Since the beginning of the year, an unprecedented 38,000 people have made the perilous journey, the government’s home affairs select committee was told on October 26.
Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman earlier this week caused outrage — and earned a rebuke from the new UN rights chief — for describing the arrivals as an “invasion”.
The military has outlined its recent successes against terrorists and other criminals across the country.
In a press briefing on Thursday, military spokesperson, Musa Danmadami, said scores of terrorists in Borno, Yobe, Abuja and other locations were neutralised between August 11 to 25.
See the full text of the military briefing below:
PRESS BRIEFING BY DIRECTORATE OF DEFENCE MEDIA OPERATIONS ON ARMED FORCES OF NIGERIA’S MILITARY OPERATIONS HELD AT DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS NEW CONFERENCE ROOM ON 25 AUGUST 2022 1. Bi-weekly press briefing on the operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other Security agencies from the various operational theatres in the 6 geopolitical zones of the Country. It is my pleasure also to welcome you today being my first briefing as the new Director Defence Media Operations. The highlights of today’s brief will cover the period from 11 – 25 August 2022. NORTH EAST ZONE 2. Troops in the North East theatre of operation conducted several operations in Gwashiri, Pulka-Kirawa axis, Amanwa village, Tungushe,, Bama town, Mulgwai village, Kwatara, Gubio, Kekeno, Dogon Chuku, Miringa Market and Monguno town all in Borno State as well as, Buni Yadi – Jauro Bashin in Yobe State. During the operations, troops neutralized 12 terrorists, recovered 18 AK47 rifles, 1 RGP, 2 FN rifles, 83 rounds of 7.62mm special, 13 bicycles, 1 golf car, large quantity of substance suspected to be cannabis sativa, bags of maize, 3 grenade, 4 mobile phones, 47 rustled cattle, 6 donkeys, 20 cartons of super cereal, 51 Jerricans of groundnut oil, 2 cartons of cigarettes, medical suppliers, food stuffs and 40 pairs of male and female clothing. Troops also arrested 8 suspected terrorists, 4 logistic suppliers, rescued 4 civilians and the sum of N1,005,360.00 cash. Also as troops of Operation HADIN KAI continue to consolidates on their success against the terrorists more of them surrendered to own troops within the period under review, a total of 1,652 BHT members and their families have surrendered to own troops at different location. The number comprises of 320 adult males, 442 women and 890 children. 3. In a related development, the air component of Operation HADIN KAI on 20August 2022 carried out strikes on terrorists enclaves in Sambisa forest and the Tumbuns in Borno State with various degree of success recorded. Acting on credible intelligence about the gathering of terrorists at a location revealed to be the enclave of a notorious terrorist being hosted by a top ranking commander, believed to be the Islamic State of West Africa Province leader of Sambisa forest who took over the leadership after the demise of Abubakar Shekau. Consequently, the air strikes was carried out on the enclave. Feedback revealed that 25 of the terrorists were neutralized in the strikes with 18 serious wounded. Among those neutralize was a high profile commander known as Uzaifa, who was the ‘MINZIR’, which connotes the fourth in line of the terrorist leadership structure. 4. A similar air strikes was also conducted in the Tumbuns near Lake Chad at a location revealed to be the training camp of the terrorists. Report gathered revealed that scores of the terrorists were neutralized in the strikes. All recovered items and rescued civilians were handed over to the relevant authorities while the surrendered Boko Haram Terrorist members and their families were profiled for further action. NORTH CENTRAL ZONE 5. Troops of Operation WHIRL PUNCH have sustained the momentum to deny terrorists freedom of action in their Joint Operation Area. Consequently, between 13 – 18 August 2022 the air component of Operation WHIRL PUNCH conducted air interdiction operations at a terrorists enclaved in Kurebe in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. The air strike was on the terrorists who had assembled for a meeting hosted by a notorious terrorist leader Aminu Duniya, Report revealed that the air strikes resulted in the neutralization of several of the terrorists. 6. In a related development, on 13 August 2022 troops of Guards Brigade raided some suspected terrorist hideout at Deidei Abattoir in Abuja Municipal Area Council and Dupka village in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory. During the raid operation 8 suspected terrorist were arrested, 5 AK47 rifles and 3 pump action gun were recovered, while large quantities of items suspected to be cannabis sativa, 3 machetes, knives among other items were also recovered. Similarly, between 14 – 17 August 2022, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN in conjunction with vigilantes and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp conducted operational activities at Mum village, Garga District, in Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State, as well as Mariri Town, Kauru Local Government Area and Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. During the operations, 21 suspected terrorist, 7 suspected kidnappers and 3 suspected vandals were arrested at different locations, while 7 terrorists were neutralized with 12 civilians rescued from the kidnappers den. Items recovered from the suspects include 3 motorcycles, 8 mobile phones, some quantity of illicit drugs and the sum of N60,000.00 7. Furthermore, between 14 – 18 August 2022 troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE in conjunction with the Department of State Service conducted raid operation at bandits camps at Ankya Village, ZakiBiam town in Ukum Local Government Area, Mahaga Community in Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, as well as Jamata in KotonKarfe Local Government Area of Kogi State. During the operation a notorious bandit identified as Timothy Nwagaga (aka Ambiju) was arrested at Zaki Biam town in Benue State. It was revealed that the suspect is a gang member of a notorious bandit know as Anhie (aka short man) who has been on troops wanted list. In the same vein, a wanted gun runner known as Naziru Mohammed was arrested at Murtala Mohammed Bridge, in Koton Karfe Local Government Area of Kogi State. items recovered during the operation include 1,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, large sum of money, 2 mobile phones, 1 tricycle and 1 motorcycle. All recovered items have been handed over to the relevant authorities for further action. NORTH WEST ZONE 8. Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI recorded a major success in the ongoing fight against terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in this zone. On 13 August 2022, in a coordinated joint operation by the land and air component, terrorist enclaves around Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State were engaged. Intelligence revealed that the terrorists had planned to attack villages within the vicinity where there were operating. Consequently, own troops leveraged on the report and conducted clearance operation against the terrorists that resulted in the neutralization of several of the terrorists while other fled with severe gunshot wound. Items recovered include 2 GPMGs, 3 AK47 rifles and 7 motorcycles. Furthermore, troops raided terrorist hideout at Bida village market in Chikun Local Government Area, Zaria-Ikara road around Kwari village in Ikara Local Government Area, Kaya-Giwa in Giwa Local Government Area, Kabode forest in Kachia Local Government Area all in Kaduna State. During the operations, troops arrested 37 suspected terrorists, recovered 11 motorcycles, 8 cutlasses, 3 mobile phones and rescued 8 civilians. 9. In a related development between 16 – 18 August 2022, the air component of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted air interdiction operations at Rugu Forest in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State and within Zamfara State as well as Dukura, Ungushi and Umbutu villages in Kebbi Local Government Area of Sokoto State on terrorist hideouts and enclaves. The air interdiction operation was in response to intelligence report on the gathering of terrorists in the forest. Consequently, the hideouts and enclaves were bombarded and several of the terrorists were neutralized. While troops on patrol engaged terrorist along Magani road within of Zamfara State and neutralized a notorious terrorists commander identified as Sojan Madagwal who was responsible for various attacks and road blocks along Gusau road and also on the wanted list of security agencies with members of his gang. During the operation troops recovered large quantity of different calibres of ammunitions and 2 motorcycles. Similarly, on 18 August 2022, the air component conducted another air interdiction operation on terrorist hideouts around Damba at Kaso Hills, Kajuru, and various locations within its environs in Kaduna State. During the operation troops sighted terrorist’s with large herds of cattle trying to escape on sighting own troop. Subsequently, they were struck with scores of the terrorists neutralized. Also, the air component responded to a distress call on the activities of several terrorists on motorcycles convoy moving from Udawa to Kurebe in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The terrorists were engaged in an airstrike while those who fled to near by bushes were mopped up by the land component. All recovered items were handed over to the relevant authorities for further action. SOUTH SOUTH ZONE 10. Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have continued the war against oil theft and illegal bunkering and other criminal activities in the Niger Delta to sustain a conducive environment for economic activities to thrive in the South South region of the Country. Consequently, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE in the conduct of operations, OCTOPUS GRIP and Operation DAKAR DA BARAWO conducted operational activities in creeks, villages, communities and towns. During the operation troops also discovered and destroyed several illegal refining sites, which includes, 493 dugout pits, 512 storage tanks, 413 cooking ovens and 59 wooden boats. Also, troops recovered 4 tankers, 2 speed boats, one generator, one outboard engine, 14 pumping machines, 3 AK47 rifles, Twenty Five Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy Seven and Fifteen (25,977.15) Barrel of crude oil, Three Million Two Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand One Hundred and Thirty (3,236,130) litres of Automotive Gas Oil, Twenty Six Thousand Five Hundred and Seventy Five (26,575) litres of Premium Motor Spirit and Two Thousand (2,000) litres of Dual Purpose Kerosine. Troops also arrested 21 pipelines vandals. All recovered items and apprehended oil thieves were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action. 11. Cumulatively, a total value of products denied oil thieves from the period in review are One Billion Three Hundred and Thirteen Million Twenty Thousand Two Hundred Forty Two Naira (N1,313,020,242.00) only of crude oil, Two Billion Three Hundred Seventy Four Million Six Hundred and Seven Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy One Naira (N2,374,607,471.00) only of AGO, Four Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Six Hundred and Twenty Five Naira (N4,650,625.00) only of PMS and Fifteen Million Nine Hundred and Eighty One Thousand Naira (N15,981,000.00) only of DPK. Consequently, a grand total of Three Billion Seven Hundred and Eight Million Two Hundred and Fifty Nine Thousand Three Hundred and Thirty Eight Naira (N3,708,259,338.00) only was denied the oil thieves. SOUTH EAST ZONE 12. Troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies have sustained their operation to curb the illegal activities of the Proscribe Indigenous People of Biafra in the South East zone and restore normalcy to the region. Consequently, between 15 – 21 August 2022, the joint security patrol carried out raid and clearance operations in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Anambra State and Abia State and suspected Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network militia camps. During the operations troops arrested one member of the group and recovered one AK42 assault rifle, 6 pump action guns, 1 locally made barretta gun, 5 locally fabricated doubled barrel guns, 98 live cartridges, 2 machetes, 2 axe, 20 motorcycles, a pair of police camouflage uniform, 1 military camouflage uniform and a ballistics vest. SOUTH WEST ZON 13. Troops of Operation ATWASE in the conduct of Operation SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to clamp down on smugglers of contraband in the borders area, bushes and waterside in Ogun State and Kwara State. Items recovered during the raid operations include 1,542 jerricans of Premium Motor Spirit, 311 bags of 50kg foreign rice and a truck loaded with substances suspected to be cannabis sativa. All recovered items were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service in Ogun State and Kwara State for further necessary action. 14. On a final note, I wish to convey the military high command commendations on the efforts of troops in the various theatres of operation across the Country. The media community is also acknowledged for their partnership and continued cooperation with the military and other security agencies in our quest to return peace to our dear Country. Also, the entire populace is hereby appreciated for the support given to the Armed Forces and security agencies in the conduct of their operations while also urging them to continue to provide creditable information on enemies of the state in their locality. MUSA DANMADAMI Major General Director Defence Media Operations 25 August 2022
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday said it has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari for imposing fines on media houses for allegedly glorifying terrorism.
SERAP also wants the court to “declare arbitrary and illegal the N5 million imposed on Trust TV, Multichoice Nigeria Limited, NTA-Startimes Limited and TelcCom Satellite Limited, over their documentaries on terrorism in the country.”
The suit which was co-filed by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) has the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) joined as defendants.
Channels Television had reported how NBC imposed the fines on the media house on the grounds that their documentaries glorified the activities of bandits and undermined national security, an act that contravenes the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
But the groups in suit number FHC/L/CS/1486/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP and CJID are seeking: “an order setting aside the arbitrary and illegal fines of N5 million and any other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC on these media houses simply for carrying out their constitutional duties.”
“The NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed have not shown that the documentaries by the media houses would impose a specific risk of harm to a legitimate State interest that outweighs the public interest in the information provided by the documentaries,” a statement issued by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, partly read.
“The documentaries by these independent media houses pose no risk to any definite interest in national security or public order.”
The plaintiffs stated that “It is inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] to invoke the grounds of ‘glorifying terrorism and banditry’ as justifications for suppressing access to information of legitimate public interest that does not harm national security.”
It argued that the documentaries by the independent media houses are in the public interest, and punishing the media houses simply for raising public awareness about these issues would have a disproportionate and chilling effect on their work, and on the work of other journalists and Nigerians.
“The action by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed is arbitrary, illegal, and unconstitutional, as it is contrary to section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, and international human rights treaties including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Nigeria has ratified.”
The suit filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo read in part: “A fine is a criminal sanction and only the court is empowered by the Constitution to impose it. Fine imposed by regulatory agencies like the NBC without recourse to the courts is unfair, illegal, and unconstitutional.”
“The grounds of ‘glorifying terrorism and banditry’ used as the bases for sanctioning the media houses are entirely contrary to constitutional and international standards on freedom of expression and access to information.”
“Imposing any fine whatsoever without due process of law is arbitrary, as it contravenes the principles of Nemo judex in causa sua which literally means one cannot be a judge in his own cause and audi alteram partem which means no one should be condemned unheard.”
“Article 19 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights establishes the right to freedom of opinion without interference. Article 19(2) establishes Nigeria’s obligations to respect ‘the right to freedom of expression,’ which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information, regardless of frontiers.”
“Under article 19(3), restrictions on the right to freedom of expression must be ‘provided by law’, and necessary ‘for respect of the rights or reputations of others’ or ‘for the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health and morals’”
“Although article 19(3) recognizes ‘national security’ as a legitimate aim, the Human Rights Council, the body charged with monitoring implementation of the Covenant, has stressed ‘the need to ensure that the invocation of national security is not used unjustifiably or arbitrarily to restrict the right to freedom of opinion and expression.’”
“The grounds for imposing fines on these independent media houses fail to meet the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.”
“The requirement of necessity also implies an assessment of the proportionality of the grounds, with the aim of ensuring that the excuse of ‘glorifying terrorism and banditry’ and ‘national security’ are not used as a pretext to unduly intrude upon the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”
The plaintiffs are also seeking the following reliefs:
A DECLARATION that the act of the Defendants imposing a fine of Five Million Naira each on the independent media houses is unlawful, inconsistent with, and amounts to a breach of the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and therefore a violation of the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom;
A DECLARATION that the use of the Broadcasting Code by the NBC to impose sanctions on the independent media houses for an alleged infractions without recourse to the court constitutes an infringement on the provisions of sections 6 & [b] and 36 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 and Articles 1 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party;
A DECLARATION that the provisions of the National Broadcasting Commission Act and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which are arbitrarily being used by the Defendants to sanction, harass, intimidate and restrict the independent media houses are inconsistent and incompatible with sections 36, 39 and 22 of the Nigerian Constitution, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and are null and void to the extent of their inconsistency and incompatibility;
A DECLARATION that the Defendants lack the legal power and authority to impose penalty unlawfully and unilaterally, including fines, suspension, withdrawal of license or any form of punishment whatsoever on the independent media houses for promoting access to diverse opinions and information on issues of public importance;
AN ORDER OF COURT setting aside of the fine of Five Million Naira imposed by the Defendants, through the 3rd Defendant, each on Trust TV, Multichoice Nigeria Limited, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV) and NTA-Startimes Limited for televising the documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation “BBC Africa Eye” titled “Bandits Warlords of Zamfara”;
AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants or any other authority, persons or group of persons from unlawfully shutting down, imposing fine, suspension, withdrawal of license or doing anything whatsoever to harass and intimidate or impose criminal punishment on the independent media houses or any of Nigeria’s journalists and media houses for promoting access to diverse information on issues of public importance;
AND any other order or other order(s) that the Court deems fit to make in the circumstances
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
The Leadership of the Senate is meeting with the service chiefs over the security crisis in the country.
Present at the meeting are the Chief of Defense Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval staff, Chief of Air Staff, DG DSS and a representative of the National Security Adviser.
The bi-partisan closed-door meeting with the Service Chiefs is aimed at reviewing the current security strategies and discuss new solutions.
Speaking at the commencement of the meeting, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the security challenges have lingered and the Senate had hoped that the situation would have been better.
Lawan said the situation is frightening, adding that there is nowhere to hide or go. He stressed that it is dire at this time to come up with an effective solution, as the crisis is dislocating where the head of government is situated.
Senator Lawan while noting that security agencies are doing their best, stressed that more can be done.
Responding, the Chief of Defense Staff General Lucky Irabor said a lot is being done to improve security.
General Irabor emphasized that the troops are still committed to the cause, adding that no one is leaving any stone unturned in addressing the problem.
The meeting between the Senate and the Service Chiefs comes few days after members of the National Assembly threatened to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari if he fails to properly tackle the security crisis in the country within six weeks.
In an unexpected move, Senators, mostly those belonging to the opposition parties, staged a walkout following their call to impeach President Muhammadu.
According to them, the laxity with which the security issue is being treated is appalling and as such a steeper measure to correct the anomalies has become imperative.
Joining their counterparts in the Senate, the minority caucus of the House of Representatives also handed President Muhammadu Buhari a six-week ultimatum to fix insecurity or face impeachment in the National Assembly.
Minority leader of the House of Reps, Ndudi Elumelu, while disclosing the caucus’ position on the matter, said signatures will be gathered to impeach the President if the security situation is not addressed.
In his defense, the president has said that his government is doing its best to stem the tide of insecurity threatening to swallow the nation.
According to President Buhari, the Nigerian military are not helpless in the fight against the insurgents and bandits who pose a grave threat to the peace and sovereignty of the nation.
Buhari, however, called for more more international collaborations to tackle insecurity in the country.
The president in a recent interview promised that he will leave no stone unturned in crushing bandits and terrorists, adding that the service chiefs have been kept on their toes to ensure that banditry and terrorism are decisively addressed.
The Nigerian government is making efforts to tackle banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated this on Tuesday while receiving the letters of credence from the new Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador James Kingston Christoff and Ambassador of Mexico to Nigeria, Juan Alfred Miranda Oritz, at the State House in Abuja.
While calling for more international collaboration to tackle insecurity, Buhari stated that Nigeria has made meaningful progress in tackling insecurity with the support of friendly countries including Canada and Mexico.
“The political instability in Libya continues to fuel terrorism in the Sahel, West and Central African regions,” Buhari said.
“Nigeria is not left out of the equation as we are fighting to rid our country of banditry, kidnapping, herder/farmer clashes and insurgency. We are however making meaningful progress with the support of friendly countries like yours to sustain this fight until we overcome these challenges.”
The Commander-in-Chief lamented the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, saying it has undermined efforts in boosting global food security.
He also believes that global insecurity as well as the COVID-19 pandemic which struck the world in 2020 has affected major economies.
At the event which signals the assumption of duty of the new ambassadors, President Buhari tasked them to build on the achievements of their predecessors, insisting that Nigeria further counts on their support particularly in addressing issues of marine-related crime, among others.
In the 2023 general elections, the President asked the diplomats to monitor political activities in the country but should remain apolitical.
He added, “I urge you to also build friendships and acquaintances in the course of your stay in our country. Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the devastating effect of global insecurity, climate change and the post-coronavirus era have devastated global economies.
“Nations continue to struggle to recover from these multiple global challenges. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has undermined the progress countries have achieved in tackling food security in the last decade.”
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “urgently instruct Mr Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture to withdraw the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust over their documentaries on terrorism in the country, whether through the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) or any other agency of government.”
According to reports, Mr Mohammed had last Thursday stated that the Federal Government would sanction the BBC and Trust Tv for airing documentaries that allegedly “glorify”, “promote”, and “fuel” terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
In a letter dated 30 July, 2022 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said, “The media has the duty to impart information and ideas on issues of public importance. If carried out, the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would inhibit the media from reporting on issues of public interest.”
According to SERAP, “Media houses and journalists ought to be given the room to determine how best to present information of public interest, especially information about the growing violence and killings across the country.”
The organization said, “Rather than punishing the media for promoting access to diverse opinions and information on issues of public importance, your government should focus on delivering your promises to ensure the security of Nigerians.”
The organization also said, “Carrying out the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would lessen the flow of diverse viewpoints and information to the public.”
The letter, read in part: “We would be grateful if the requested action is taken within 48 hours of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions in the public interest.”
“A free, uncensored, and unhindered press or other media is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression and the enjoyment of other rights. It constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society.”
“Sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust would be entirely inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s obligations under article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
“The threat if carried out would impermissibly restrict the constitutional and international rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and victims’ right to justice and effective remedies that are central to public debate and accountability in a democratic society.”
“Access to information is essential for the enjoyment of other human rights and freedoms and constitutes a fundamental pillar for building a democratic society and strengthening democracy.”
“Allowing the media to freely carry out their duties is essential to building secure society and leaving no one behind. Conversely, imposing impermissible restrictions on media houses, journalists and other Nigerians undermines the security that builds a healthy and vibrant society.”
“The grounds for sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust as stated by Mr Mohammed fail to meet the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.”
“The requirement of necessity also implies an assessment of the proportionality of the grounds, with the aim of ensuring that the excuse of ‘glorifying, promoting, and fuelling terrorism and banditry’ are not used as a pretext to unduly intrude upon the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”
“Any interference with the constitutional and legal duties of the BBC and Daily Trust would not be justified in the context of the right to information.”
“The Federal Government has not shown that the documentaries by the media houses would impose a specific risk of harm to a legitimate State interest that outweighs the public’s interest in the information provided by the documentaries.”
“The documentaries by the BBC and Daily pose no risk to any definite interest in national security or public order.”
“It is inconsistent and compatible with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] to invoke the grounds of ‘glorifying, promoting, and fuelling terrorism and banditry’ as justifications for suppressing freedom of expression or withholding from the public information of legitimate public interest that does not harm national security.”
“It is contrary to both the Nigerian Constitution and international standards to threaten or punish journalists and media houses such as the BBC and Daily Trust for disseminating such information.”
“The vague and overbroad definitions of ‘glorifying’, ‘promoting’, and ‘fuelling’ raise concerns that the threat by the Federal Government if carried out would unduly interfere with the rights to access to information, and disproportionate to any purported legitimate governmental aim. Ill-defined and/or overly broad grounds are open to arbitrary application and abuse.”
“The broad definitions of what may constitute ‘glorifying’, ‘promoting’, and ‘fuelling’ also heighten concerns of overreach, confer far-reaching discretion on the government, and suggest that the grounds cited by the Federal Government are more intrusive than necessary.”
“These words do not indicate precisely what kind of individual conduct would fall within their ambit.”
“The use of these words by the Federal Government, given their opaque and ambiguous meaning, leaves open the possibility for application beyond unequivocal incitement to hatred, hostility, or violence. Such words may function to interpret legitimate reporting by media houses, journalists, and other Nigerians as unlawful.”
“The grounds cited by the Federal Government for sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust also fail to establish a direct and immediate connection between the reporting by the media houses and any risks to national security and peace.”
“The threat if carried out would also create an environment that unduly deters and penalizes media houses and journalists, and the reporting of government wrongdoing more generally.”
“The cumulative effect of any attempt to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would be the gagging of the media from reporting on cases of violence and killings by terrorists and kidnappers, the reporting and information that is clearly in the public interest.”
“SERAP recalls that in your 2022 new year message, you raised concerns about persistent insecurity in certain parts of the country and promised to remain ‘resolute in giving utmost attention to the problem.’”
“While your government has the obligation to maintain national security, this obligation is not set apart from the obligation to protect and ensure human rights. National security is a necessary and integral part of the right to security guaranteed to each person individually.”
He said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Adesina Soyemi, has directed the transfer of the suspect while intensifying the search for other fleeing inmates.
“Sequel to the attack on Kuje Maximum Custodial Centre and subsequent escape of inmates, on July 9th, 2022 at about 0130hrs, one Hassan Hassan ‘M’ whose name and picture was amongst the escaped inmates with Boko Haram/Terrorism Case was recaptured by the Eagle-eyed Police operatives of the Nasarawa State Police Command at Keffi,” the statement read in part.
“The Commissioner of Police, CP Adesina Soyemi has ordered for the transfer of the suspect to a safer location while an intensive search for other escapees and handing over process of the arrested inmate progresses.
“The Commissioner of Police, however, appreciated the efforts of the Police operatives for a job well done and assured members of the public of the Command’s unrelenting efforts at making the public space safer for all.”
The fleeing suspects are identified in the photos below:
In his speech, President Buhari said resources meant for the development of countries had been channelled into fighting violent crimes, leaving many governments with fewer options for investing in people to meet the targets of Sustainable Development Goals.
According to a statement issued by his media aide, Garba Shehu, President Buhari highlighted four items on the recommendation for immediate action based on the presentation of a report on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa at the meeting.
He said, “It is for this reason, Mr. Chairperson, that we endorse the key recommendations contained in your report. Some of the recommendations which we believe should be implemented immediately include;
“Increasing troop levels in situations of combating terrorism, and enhancing intelligence capabilities of deployed troops, including improving the operational cooperation of contingents in the operation areas;
“Ensuring the readiness of the African Standby Force for immediate response when a Member State is under terrorist threat;
“Strengthening the fight against cybercrime, money laundering, drugs and arms trafficking, smuggling of persons and counterfeit goods, which facilitate terrorist financing; and
“Ensuring that specialized institutions like the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism and AFRIPOL, are adequately resourced in order for them to effectively discharge their mandate.”
The President underscored the need for political will to forge a “Coordinated Continental Approach to tackling insecurity.”
He said the recommendations if implemented, will go a long way in increasing the capacity of affected States to respond to the threats posed by terrorists and violent extremists in their respective countries.