The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for an international inquiry into Wednesday’s assassination attempt on its leader, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), to unravel the motive and the perpetrators of the dastardly act that could have plunged the country into a deep turmoil, had it succeeded.
In a statement issued in Benin on Sunday by its National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, the party said that it does not have the confidence that the Nigerian security agencies could carry out an impartial investigation, because they work for the Government instead of the nation.
It said that the call has become more urgent because the agents of the Federal Government have started muddling the waters with their statements and actions on the attack.
”How does one explain a situation in which a man who is nothing but a pervert is now being paraded as the suspected ‘mastermind’ of the attack on Gen. Buhari? At what point was this man, who perhaps is nothing but a transvestite plying his trade, arrested? Is it not clear, from the statement released by Gen. Buhari himself after the attack, that it was clearly the handiwork of a suicide bomber?
”Could the person who drove the vehicle that was rammed into the General’s convoy have survived the explosion that was triggered by that action? Could the innocent passers-by who died in the blast not have been arrested and paraded as the ‘suspected masterminds’ if they had survived the blast? Clearly, the arrest of the pervert and his sickening description as a ‘suspected mastermind’ have kick-started the process of muddling the waters, as is usually the case with such high-profile cases.
”This is why an urgent international inquiry into the attack is desirable and imperative, and anyone who is committed to an impartial probe of the attack on the opposition leader should embrace our call”, APC said, adding that the insurgency and its spin-offs were clearly beyond the capability of the Federal Government.
The party also said that the call has been further justified by the statements and insinuations emanating from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency, both of which they accused of “pointing accusing fingers at the same party (APC) that is clearly the target of the failed assassination attempt” on one of its top leaders.
”The questions to ask the purveyors of such repugnant theories are: Did the late Emir of Kano also stage the attack on his convoy? Did the other Emirs who were attacked, with at least one of them killed recently, also stage the attack against themselves? Did Gen. Muhammed, Shuwa, who was killed by gunmen in Maiduguri in 2012, also stage the attack on himself?” it asked.
The party expressed confidence that the masterminds of the failed assassination attempt on its leader would be exposed, whether or not the Government agrees to its call for an international inquiry.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Dickson Iroegbu, says Nigerians should stop playing the ostrich but rather gang up against those who have ganged up against them.
Iroegbu gave the suggestion during a conversation on the award winning breakfast programme on Channels Television, Sunrise Daily.
He urged Nigerians to wake up and realize that there was a common enemy which everybody has to get involved in fighting.
He warned that if Nigerians do not pay attention to the most important things from the family level, if the country should find itself in a full-fledged war; everyone would be forced to get involved.
“My elder brother died a military man. He died on the 1st of October 2013; he was in Yola. So we have been affected directly too”, he said.
Speaking further, he said that the situation in the country was one which should help define the country’s nationhood, as he expects that the need to win the war would help the citizens become conscious of how to move the nation forward.
“I am very convinced that this issue of insecurity will make us activate that spirit of ‘Nigerianess’ that we need”, he said.
Iroegbu, who is also a filmmaker, accused the media of having helped the insurgents by celebrating their activities. He explained that the act of highlighting the acts perpetrated by the insurgents amounted to celebrating evil.
As someone who had a military man in his family, Iroegbu was asked what the experience had been within the family as regards welfare, but he noted that rising up to fight for one’s country should not be monetised.
“First of all, it was a contribution that we have made. When my elder brother decided to join the force, his was ‘I couldn’t sit back and observe at the corner’ and he paid dearly for it.
“He wasn’t in there to go and make money for us. For us he died a hero”, maintaining that “we don’t have to be paid or wait for moments when we are being coerced to be conscious of doing something for Nigeria”.
He, however, revealed that from his interaction with his late brother, he deduced that the Nigerian military had been compromised with politics, religious and tribal sentiments allowed to creep into the military environment.
“A lot of overhauling needs to be done in that area”, he advised.
He also noted that the issues of insecurity and the Chibok abduction have thrown up a lot and Nigerians were more awake to the need to hold politicians accountable.
“Thank God we are going to have elections soon, Nigerians are watching, we’re not fools anymore.”
On the role of the movie industry in the nation’s security, Iroegbu stated that Nollywood has been fully involved in the fight against insurgency. He revealed that the issue of child soldiers was one that he had personally worked on and called on all Nigerians to embrace the motion picture medium better for propagating ideas.
He added that it was not only a good medium to disseminate good ideas, but it was also good business.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Sola Ojewusi, believes that the most important solution to the state of insecurity in Nigeria is for Nigerians to unite.
Mr Ojewusi was speaking on the Thursday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where conversations centered on ‘Finding the Chibok Girls’.
While acknowledging that it was expected that the pains of attacks by insurgents would make citizens point accusing fingers in different directions, especially at the Presidency for the time it has taken to solve the problem, he advised that this was not the best approach.
“Our approach is to look at how everybody can bring hands together to solve the problem of security.
“It is now clear that it is not just Jonathan’s problem, it’s a national problem. It is not PDP, it is not APC, it is everybody’s problem. That is the essence, the essence of unity”, he said.
Making reference to the Wednesday twin bomb attack in Kaduna, he noted that “everything boils down to one particular enemy and that enemy is the enemy of the nation of Nigeria” adding that Nigerians need to go beyond “abusing the owner of the house, leaving the thief”.
Although Mr Ojewusi admitted that the responsibility for Nigeria’s security was on the President and citizens were justified demanding same of him, he explained that “security is not a one man thing”.
“Even if you have a guard in the house, there is a street before the thief gets to the house, perhaps there’s a gate to that street, there are a lot of people surrounding. Sometimes when armed robbers and thieves come to a community, they tend to do surveillance”, he explained.
Speaking about the continued abduction of schoolgirls from the Chibok community in Borno State, Mr Ojewusi wondered what had been done from the wards where the locals are from, considering the view that some of the terrorists also have their backgrounds in the communities.
He stated that rather than seek solution “from the top”, there was need to ask; “what are the people from the environment doing”.
Many observers have criticized President Jonathan for taking too long before meeting with the parents of the missing Chibok girls but Ojewusi also defended the President. He explained that there must have been some level of intelligence gathering which the Presidency would have access to and which would negate the idea of visiting Chibok.
He warned that while Nigerians express emotions, they should not lose sight of the importance of security as regards bringing the girls back alive. He maintained that the Government and security agencies could not afford to make their moves public.
He added that the unconventional nature of the war on terror required patience from all citizens.
Mr Ojewusi also threw his weight behind the President’s request for the approval of a loan to upgrade security in the country. According to him, this was a necessary move as there was need for not just the purchase of military equipment but also major upgrades in intelligence and border security.
He, however, warned that the proper management of the funds remained an important factor the President must ensure.
Several people have been reported killed as gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram attacked Damboa in Borno State on Friday morning.
The gunmen were said to have stormed the village at about 5AM, according to a vigilante official in Maiduguri, Abbas Gava, who said that he spoke with some of his men in the Damboa village.
According to him, since the Boko Haram sect attacked security formations in Damboa about two weeks ago, only a handful of youth vigilante group, known as Civilian-JTF, and some few vigilante officials were available to protect the people.
The Boko Haram gunmen were also said to have taken over the highway and continued to engage soldiers in ambush attacks that have forced them to return to Maiduguri on two occasions.
“Since the attack, Damboa has no Police or soldiers, it is only the vigilantes that are there and we know their limitations”, Mr Gava said.
He said that the “casualty could be very high because my contacts in Damboa said they are still picking and piling the corpses. But many houses, nearly half of what remains of the several attacked town has been burnt”.
A senior security personnel, confirmed the attack to Premium Times but said that there were “no details on extent of damage or casualty yet”.
The Special Adviser to the Bayelsa State Governor on Security, Colonel Bernard Kenebai (Rtd), has identified the role of security in economic growth as one the state takes seriously.
The SA was speaking on the Friday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
The Governor, according to him, inherited a lot of security challenges but through his style of leadership, has been able to create a peaceful environment which has made development possible over the years.
He said that the efforts of the Dickson-led administration towards security has led to the state security system being awarded as the best crime bursting squad in West Africa by an international organization.
He also said that the state has an emergency number – 0706464644 – that is functioning and a coordination centre that works 24 hours, explaining that although it is not yet toll free, the number has been able to still serve the citizens as it can accommodate up to 10 calls simultaneously.
The issue of militants also came to the fore and Colonel Kenebai disclosed that many of the militants have turned around to become cooperative with the State Governments and its programmes. He also said that more were being rehabilitated.
Speaking on the back of the 1st Bayelsa Investment and Economic Forum in Yenagoa, he also said that the formerly notorious activities of cult groups in the state has also ben stemmed by the Government, helped by the Governor’s experience as a trained detective and lawyer, as many of them have been made to renounce cultism.
He noted that the Government’s robust activities in the area of law enforcement and security has not in any way impeded its respect for the rule of law as the Government has maintained a good synergy with the judiciary and has also improved the condition of prisons in the state.
The retired Army officer also spoke about the different revolutions going on in the state which he said affects every sector, revealing that one of the targets of the Government was to ensure that the developments outlive his administration; a vision he said necessitated the provision of legislation for every project. An example of this, according to him, is the transparency bill which would ensure that the people know the resources available to the state per time and how they are being used.
He admitted though that they have their own challenges in the state but they were optimistic that they would be surmounted. Kidnapping was one of the well-known challenges in Bayelsa and Kenebai said that the state has gone after 90% of the kidnappers with many of the prosecuted.
Kenebai noted that another major challenge was that 80% of Bayelsa State was riverine with isolated communities only linked by waterways and the criminals understand the terrain better than the security operatives and this has made policing the region quite challenging.
Although the marine division of the Police has been doing its best, and the State Government has also put in a lot of resources to equip them especially in terms of modern communication technology, there was more to be done.
Colonel Bernard Kenebai gave assurances that Bayelsa State remained a safe place for investments.
The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says the Federal Government’s Safe School Initiative is targeted at restoring confidence in the nation’s education system in the North Eastern part of the country.
This is owing to the insecurity in the region where over 200 schoolgirls were abducted in April and several other children have been out of school.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at a meeting of the committee of the Safe School Initiative in Abuja, said that the initiative would also carter for the rehabilitation and equipping of schools affected by the activities of insurgents.
“I think it’s worth noting that the idea for this initiative predated the incident in Chibok and that former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has been discussing this with the President for some months before now but the incident we had crystalized the need to move quickly.
“The reason is that our Chibok girls, whom we will not relent until they come back, must also come back and find a new environment that is different from the ones they left, where boys and girls are not intimidated and where the environment is more conducive to learning”, the Minister said.
The meeting had in attendance the Governor of Borno State, a representative from Adamawa State, the Minister of State for Education and representatives of the National Emergency Management Commission.
Efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan to meet with the parents of the Chibok girls have hit the walls.
This followed the refusal by the Nigerian ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners to allow 12 parents of the girls, who were in Abuja, to meet with the President.
The leadership of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners have, however, denied the allegation. While they said that they would want more parents to be involved in the meeting, the Federal Government believe the campaigners are more interested in more showmanship than the plight of the children.
The Presidency said that Malala nearly missed her flight while pleading with the leadership of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign to allow those parents to meet with the President since they were already in Abuja.
Briefing State House correspondents on the development, the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Doyin Okupe, said that the President has, however, directed that a fresh letter be written to the Chibok parents to enable them to meet next week.
While the arguments rage in what looks like a power tussle between the campaigners and the Federal Government, the parents of the girls in captivity have gone back to Borno frustrated.
The suspected mastermind of the April 2014 bomb blast in Nyanya, Abuja, Aminu Ogwuche, has been extradited from Sudan where he allegedly escaped to after the incident which claimed several lives.
Addressing newsmen at the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, flanked by the Force Public Relations Officer and the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the Department of State Service, said that Mr Ogwuche was arrested and extradited from Sudan with the cooperation of the Sudanese Government.
Mr Omeri assured Nigerians that the Federal Government was committed to winning the war against insurgents.
“The fight against insurgency and the efforts to get our girls back is top priority of the Government of Nigeria.
“Besides that, this is also evidence that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and security services and all agencies are working hard to put this thing behind us as a nation.
“Therefore it is time for all of us to come together, stand with our people, stand with our Government, stand with our Armed Forces and the security services so that we can build a peaceful, united, progressive and prosperous country once again.”
The Department of State Service, DSS, in May, arrested five men for the April 14bombingof Nyanya Park.
While briefing the press on the arrest, the spokesperson for the DSS, Marilyn Ogar, declared both Rufai Abubakar Tsiga and Ogwuche wanted for allegedly masterminding the bombing.
She said: “It is noteworthy that the UK born Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, with Service Number 95/104 deserted the Nigerian Army in 2006. He served in the Intelligence Unit of the Nigerian Army between 2001 and 2006 and was posted to the Nigerian Defense Academy in 2006, but rather than reporting at the academy, he deserted.
“Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche was arrested by this service (DSS) on 12 November 2011 at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja on his arrival from the United Kingdom for suspected involvement in terrorism related activities, but was released on bail on 15 October 2012 to his father, a retired Colonel, Agene Ogwuche, following intense pressure from human rights activists who alleged human rights violation.”
While Tsiga is still at large, Ogwuche’s arrest is seen as a major breakthrough for the security agencies in their fight against insurgency.
A worrisome report has purportedly been posted by Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the islamists insurgent group, Boko Haram online claiming they have made incursion into Lagos, South West Nigeria.
The video, AFP claimed, made available to them, shows Shekau claiming responsibility for the explosion which he said the Police and the Lagos State Government said resulted from gas cylinder.
Shekau said “I ordered the bomber to detonate the explosive.”
The Lagos Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, had dispelled the claims as mere industrial accident and that the incident had nothing to do with Boko Haram activities.
Mr. Manko asked Lagosians to carry on with their daily activities and as far as Lagos State was concerned there was nothing to fear as regard Boko Haram attacks.
Shekau has now been quoted to have said “A bomb went off in Lagos. I ordered (the bomber) who went and detonated it.
“You said it was a fire incident, well, if you hide it from people you cannot hide it from Allah.”
Claiming responsibility for the bombing of Lagos, the leader of Boko Haram sect also said that the sect was responsible for the Abuja bombings that killed many people at Emah Plaza, located in the Federal Capital Territory.
“We were the ones who detonated the bomb in filthy Abuja,” Shekau said.
The security situation in Nigeria, especially in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states came to the fore on the Sunday July 13 edition of Rubbin’ Minds on Channels Television.
The three states have been under a State of Emergency for over a year having been extended by the Nigerian Government. However, something many do not know is that Nigeria has been rated to have the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDP) in Africa with a figure of 3.3million.
A report by the Internal Displaced Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), “Global Overview 2014: people internally displaced by conflict and violence,” stated that the number of internally displaced persons in Nigeria is approximately a third of the IDPs in Africa and 10 per cent of IDPs in the world.
In 2013 alone, 470,500 persons were displaced in Nigeria and this is the third highest in the world, behind Syria with 6.5 million and Colombia with 5.7 million.
The Executive Director, Action to Yield Aid for Hopeful Adults and the Young (AYAHAY), Mariam Augie, and a Security Expert, Nnamdi Anekwe, were on the programme to discuss issues surrounding this and efforts at offering support.
Ms Augie noted that the issue of displaced persons was very new to Nigerians because reports have always mainly focused on attacks and the number of deaths but not the people suffering from the aftermath of such violence.
She noted that while there were 3.3 million Nigerians directly affected by the insurgency, another 9 million were indirectly affected, a situation which called for the efforts of everyone to help those affected and shift attention to those who survived the attacks, as Government agencies alone cannot handle it.
Speaking about the current efforts being made to cater to the refugee victims of the insurgency in Nigeria, she stated that the notable help coming for the displaced persons has been in form of the accommodating nature of Nigerians with communities helping to provide shelter as there were no camps created but noted that there is a limit to how far this would help.
Mr Anekwe, also added that some individuals and leaders in Adamawa State have been setting up initiatives to come to the aid of the displaced persons. He, however, advised that it was important for camps and alternative accommodations to be provided.
Although Ms Augie shared the view that host communities may have been so far preferred over camps by authorities because of security reasons, she agreed with Anekwe and warned that if the situation got worse, the country would have no choice.
“From eating 3 square meals a day to one square meal a day, 500 people to one toilet, no water, sanitation, health facilities are almost obsolete, so we know that it’s a really terrible situation”, she said, as she decried the living conditions of victims of insurgency in the affected region.
Mr Anekwe also spoke about the implications of having such number of displaced persons on the country. He highlighted the level of sophistication of the insurgents and noted that fighting them should not be left alone to the Government.
Both guests also warned against allowing the bombings and other attacks to continue with children growing up with the idea of violence on their minds, as this would be more detrimental to the future of the country.
Ms Augie also provided an insight into the activities of her organisation, which is made up of individuals who fearlessly came together to design a plan on how to help the victims of insurgency in North-East Nigeria.
She explained that they started out by contacting agencies like the Red Cross and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to know what their needs were, as the mission of the AYAHAY was to complement Government efforts and the international organisations that were already helping out, as they also believed that the international community should not be left to fight Nigerians’ battles.
“From mattresses to mosquito nets to grains, insecticides, female kits and anything within your reach, anything it is that you can give, we will appreciate it”, she said.
The Former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has stated that for Nigeria to surmount its current socio economic and political challenges, Nigerians must demand a new and normal social contract from its leaders.
Ezekwesili made the call in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while delivering a lecture titled ‘Renegotiating Nigeria’s Social Contract after 100 Years of Nationhood’ marking the 80th birthday celebration of Nobel Laurette, Prof Wole Soyinka.
Ezekwesili, who also advocated on good governance, challenged the citizenry to live up to their responsibilities by putting their leaders on their toes in re-positioning the country’s path of sustainable growth.
She said; “It is not Nigerian to be known as an underperforming country, it is not Nigerian to be known as a corrupt country, it is not Nigerian to be known for every negative label.”
The lecture put together by the National Association of Seadogs, formed by Professor Wole Soyinka in 1948 at the University College Ibadan, was aimed at promoting good governance, social justice, and the advancement of democratic ideals.
It was also to honour the man fondly called “Kongi” by friends and admirers whom to them remained a different personality.
Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, referred to the celebrant as “a colossus of our current era”, he added, “the Government and the people of Ogun State are proud of Professor Soyinka, our illustrious son.”
The Catholic Bishop Of Sokoto State, Mathew Kukah, said, “I’m not assessing him on whether he’s a good footballer or whether he plays tennis well, I’m concerned with what church he worships in, if he worships at all, I’ve only come to celebrate what I consider the greatest human being to come out of our continent.”
In his remarks at the occasion, former Military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, expressed confidence in the future of the country despite current challenges. He said that he believes in Nigerians being able to keep the country together.