Defence Chief Advocates Stronger Military And Media Synergy

Defence Chief, Gabriel OlonisakinThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has called for a better synergy between the military and the media in the interest of national security.

General Olonisakin made the appeal on Thursday in Abuja while giving a speech on “constructive reportage as an important ingredient for national security and integration”.

He advocated more cordial relationship between the military and the media, as a panacea to building the bridge between the civilian populace and the military to strengthen national security.

The Defence Chief said that although the military and the media play different roles and may see things differently, all parties must be responsive to the overriding task of nation building and security.

He also touched on the ongoing war against terror in northeast Nigeria, which he said is being won, but requires more commitment from all Nigerians.

The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Danjuma Sheni, also solicited for increased support for the military from the civil populace.

Nigerian Military Discredits Amnesty Report

Nigerian military, AmnestyThe Nigerian military has described as false, the recent Amnesty report which says that at least 149 detainees have died “in horrendous conditions” at a military detention centre in northeast Nigeria in 2016.

The disclaimer was made by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Rage Abubakar, who said the report was an ‘attempt to score cheap point’.

According to him, contrary to the claims of Amnesty, the International Human Rights Organisation and other organisations have had access to the detention centre.

“A Place Of Death”

Abubakar stated that some of their recommendations had been implemented, wondering where the report emanated from, especially when the writer claimed he did not have access to the facility.

He urged the international organisation not to work as a distraction to the military, as it enters its final phase in the war against terror.

In the report, Amnesty said 11 of those who died at the Giwa Barracks were young children, including four babies.

The organisation called the centre “a place of death” and said it should be closed.

Troops Uncover Boko Haram Female Wing Members

Boko Haram WomenThe military hierarchy, on Friday, told newsmen that it has arrested three suspected female terrorists who it says have been secretly recruiting ladies into the female wing of the Boko Haram sect.

The suspects, Hafsat Usman Bako, Zainab Idris and Aisha Abubakar, were said to have been intercepted while travelling to Madagali, Adamawa State from where they were to transit to the forest to reunite with their cohorts.

Investigations carried out by the military revealed that the suspects, led by Hafsat Bako, were on their way to recruit members into the female wing, as well as conduct espionage for the group.

According to the military, Hafsat’s link with the terrorists group had earlier been a subject of investigation in 2012, when security agents on a man-hunt for one Usman Bako, her husband, who was identified as a terrorist, stormed their residence in Jimeta.

This is said to have resulted in the discovery of an AK 47 rifle and 2 loaded magazines.

Before the arrest of the trio suspects, the women were hiring ladies especially widows and young girls by enticing them with male suitors who are mainly members of their terror group.

The military says it has continued to make good progress in the war against terror.

Show Political Will To Tackle Boko Haram, Analyst Tells Government

Lack of political will to tackle the terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been identified as the major problem hampering the fight against insurgency in the north eastern part of Nigeria.

The National Coordinator, Initiative for Public Safety, Security and Educational Development, Mr Emaka Nwanevu, on Tuesday stressed the need for the Nigerian government to show more commitment and willingness to tackling the activities of the Islamic sect, emphasising the comments by the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, on the persistent insurgency.

Governor Shettima had on Monday, stressed the need for the government to show more commitment to tackling the activities of the terrorist group, insisting that what is currently being done is not enough to win the war on terror.

“The leaders should be held responsible for the failure of leadership,” he told reporters in Abuja after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue.

Unimplemented Recommendations

Commending the governor for accepting that there is leadership failure in Nigeria, Mr Nwanevu insisted that the insurgency had continued because the government had failed to do the right things at the right time.

He also pointed out that the insurgency had persisted because of the failure of the government to implement recommendations and reports by various committees that had been set up to proffer solutions to challenges.

“They set up committees that will come up with recommendations and they will not implement it. There are lots of recommendations.

“The political will to ensure that the police become functional and efficient is not there,” Mr Nwanevu, who was a former member of a Presidential Committee on Police Reforms, set up in 2009, said.

He explained how the predecessor of Governor Shettima contributed to the increase in insurgency in the region.

“My organisation in 2009 went to Borno State, conducted a research and got statements from some people about this group. One of the very top officers of the police then, we got to know, had intelligence information about the group and gave it to the governor and nothing happened.

“Our own report, we submitted to the National Assembly, which was to conduct a public hearing on the report but nothing happened.

“This shows lack of political will to tackle the challenge,” Mr Nwanevu insisted.

Need To Review Military Programme

He stressed that the governor’s comments should be taken seriously, as they bear credence to the fact that the ‘war on terror’ was failing.

“If a governor leaves his state to go to the president to make this comment, he must have seen beyond what the ordinary people may have seen. I take him very seriously on his choice of words.

“If it is what it takes for the Federal Government to review the programme of the military, the Joint Task Force, the police formation within the north-east and the zonal command, I think it is time.

“I insist that if those comments are what we require as a nation to go deeper into our response to insurgency, I think it is timely,” he stated.

He believes that politicians, especially from the north, have privileged information that they can provide that will help to solve the problem.

He recommended a review of security heads’ activities and results it had yielded within a specific period of time.

“I recommend a situation where the governor or Borno will hold a meeting with the governors of the north-east and some political leaders of the north who can provide the needed information and strong advice.

Motivation Of Security Agencies

Poor motivation of security agencies was also mentioned by Governor Shettima as one of the reasons the agencies could not defeat the Boko Haram, an opinion Mr Nwanevu also supported and called for a consideration of the welfare of the agencies.

“Up till now there has been nothing about the police pension scam. And this has become a source of worry for police officers that are not sure of what the future holds after service.

“I have met several police officers and they say, ‘we don’t know how to access our pension and we do not know how it is done’,” he said.

Mr Nwanevu also suggested that the government should be proactive and involve more in intelligence gathering which is very vital in fighting terrorism.

He urged the Nigerian president to give a timeline to security chiefs in the country and evaluate their performance within a specific period.

“If the person fails, he should be removed,” he said.

The Boko Haram terrorist group has continued to carry out strategic attacks in Nigeria’s north-east states, leading to slow pace of development in the region that had seen huge migration of its citizens to other parts of the country where they can find peace.

You need our help to defeat Boko Haram, former US soldier tells JTF

A former US military intelligence officer, Chris Moghalu on Tuesday said the Joint Task Force (JTF), which is currently waging a war against the Boko Haram insurgent, can be more effective if it allowed Nigerians in diaspora to make inputs.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Moghalu said Nigerians in diaspora, who have security training often face discrimination when they offer to assist in fighting terrorism in the country.

“They (the JTF) are addressing the fundamental problem but they need help,” he said.

Mr Moghalu said the Nigerian security forces need to partner with “some of the Nigerians in the diaspora. For example, those that worked in the CIA, FBI, US military intelligence, British military intelligence.”

He said: “These Nigerians are willing to come back to Nigeria to work with us to solve this problem. But we find out that when we come home we face a lot of discrimination from our fellow security forces here.

“Some of them are angry that we left, that we went to the US to learn more. That’s not the point. We are here to protect the citizens of Nigeria. We have a wealth of information that they need. So we need to come together and work together.”