Nigerian Navy deploy warships, helicopter for multinational military exercise.

The Nigerian Navy on Thursday deployed three warships and a helicopter in a joint multinational maritime exercise comprising 29 foreign Navies.

James Oluwole, rear admiral and commander, Task Group 17.1, flagged-off the exercise tagged: “Obangame Express 2017” in Onne, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers.

Mr. Oluwole said the exercise was aimed at promoting inter-agency and transnational cooperation on maritime safety and security, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.

According to him, the exercise, which would commence on March 24 and end on March 28, would be conducted in Nigeria’s territorial waterways.

“Exercise Obangame Express is a multinational maritime exercise sponsored by the United States Africa Command that brings together African, European, South American and U.S. forces, as part of a global network of Navies.

“The purpose of the exercise is to test multinational maritime forces in a broad range of naval operations to deter piracy, illicit trafficking and other maritime threats.

“The exercise will also involve land-based maritime operation centres throughout the region to improve their level of interoperability and coordination.

“Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Okpabana, NNS Centenary, NNS Sagbama and one helicopter will be participating in the exercise designed to promote regional cooperation between Navies in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

Mr. Oluwole, also the Flag Officer, Commanding Eastern Naval Command, said the three Nigerian warships and helicopter would sail alongside French Navy ship, Jacoubet, from Cameroon into Nigerian territorial waters.

He listed some of the countries that would participate in the exercise to include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Cote d’Ívoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark and Equatorial Guinea.

Others are: France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Norway, Mauritania, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Also participating are: Spain, South Africa, Togo, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the United States of America.

“The exercise will be conducted along with regional organisations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

“The ships will perform several exercises with intent to create realistic scenarios that reflect past piracy incidents whereby a hijacked vessel will transit from one territory to another.

“Additionally, the exercise will test each individual maritime force to patrol their exclusive economic zones, detect and prosecute illegal activity accordingly,” he said.


Source: NAN

Military arrests Rivers community leader for alleged unlawful shutdown of oil wells

The joint military force in the Niger Delta known as ‘Operation Delta Safe’ has confirmed the arrest of a community leader in Ogba Ndoni Egbema local council, Rivers State, Mr. Chikeobi Alali for unlawful closure of 11 oil wells belonging to Agip.

The wells were shut down by the host community over unresolved issues they have with the oil company.The community accused Agip of failing to review a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two parties.

The spokesman of the military outfit, Major Abdullahi Abubakar condemned the action of the community, saying it is wrong to take laws into their hands. He added that troops in the area had reinforced security around the oilfield and re-opened the facilities for operations.

According to her: “My husband was arrested by soldiers and taken away. When we traced them to the headquarters in Yenagoa, they feigned ignorance of his detention. After much pressure, they admitted that he is in their custody but I was denied access to him.”

“Efforts by his family and lawyer to secure his bail has been unsuccessful. My husband is the chairman of the local council oil and gas landlords association, he was arrested with the secretary and one other person. The others have since been released.”

Reacting to the issue, a social activist, Mr. Pat Obiene, called for immediate release of the community leader.“This is counter-productive and not in line with the peace initiative of the Federal Government. The military should promote dialogue which the Vice President preached during his recent tour to the region,” Obiene said.

Meanwhile, the former Provisional Council Chairman of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) and a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Ben Naanen, says the government needs extraordinary measures to check oil theft.

Naanen spoke at the National Conference on Oil Theft and Illegal Artisanal Refineries in Nigeria, organised by Social Action in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.He said government has not done enough to stop oil theft by enforcing the existing anti-bunkering laws.

“The issue of illegal and artisanal refinery would be difficult to eradicate from the Niger Delta, except the government deals with poverty, rehabilitation and empowerment of youths in the area,” he added.


Source: The Guardian

Hameed Ali VS Senate: A Case Of Democratic Power Versus Military Mentality – Yinusa Tanko

Human Rights Activist and National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, has described the situation between the Senate and the Customs Comptroller General, Colonel Hameed Ali, as that of democratic power versus military mentality in a democratic setting.

He made the position known while addressing the issues that led to the summoning of the Customs CG by the Senate and the compulsion to appear in his complete uniform.

“The senate is trying to consolidate its power to say, this is the representative of the people, this House represents the interest of Nigerians and so when we call you, Nigerians call you and you must answer to the question of Nigeria.

“Here, you have an ex-military man, who comes from a big military background, who is trying to show that I’ve been a military man and in this my own profession that I have learned, there are things that cannot go down well with me as an ex-military man.”

Although Col. Ali had argued that there was no law to his knowledge that compelled him to wear the uniform, the NCP Chairman stated that according to some of the Senators, Section 2 of the Customs Act compels the CG to be in his uniform.


According to him, it must be understood that this is a democratic setting and the processes that brought him in must be understood.

Meanwhile, many hold the opinion that the real issue which led to the summoning of the Customs Comptroller General had been pushed to the background, and the focus had shifted to whether or not he appeared in uniform.

On his part, the NCP Chairman admitted to the fact that some of the major issues had been ignored, while also advocating that policies should be made in the interest of Nigerians.

“People who take up offices do not really read up on the kind of laws governing those offices and this is why anyone who is applying into any leadership role should read up on the laws guiding that office.

“If You want to achieve an aim, in ensuring that the system is clean, where there is need for you to do some things in order to get to that particular place, do them so that you would not have this particular altercation that does not depict the kind of person that you are”.

Mr Ali had been summoned to explain the Service’s new directive on duties to be paid on imported vehicles.


Source: Channels TV

Reps Ask Military To Stop Destruction Of Illegal Refineries

The House Of Representatives has asked the Nigerian Armed Forces to stop setting ablaze illegal refineries and adopt a more acceptable method of destroying them.

This resolution followed a debate on the menace of black soot which, according to a lawmaker, is causing panic in Port Harcourt and some parts of Rivers state.

The House also wants the Ministries of Environment and Health to have a team of experts identify the source of the soot and propose a remedy.

The Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike, had earlier appealed to the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to adopt more refined ways of destroying illegal refineries in the state.

He stated that the methods currently adopted by security agencies in destroying illegal refineries were harmful to the environment and formed part of the reasons why the state suffers from black soot.

Wike then stressed that his administration would continue to take steps to protect Rivers state from such environmental hazards by also engaging all  the necessary stakeholders.


Source: Channels TV

Audit Report: Military, MDAs owe power companies N51 billion

An audit report of debt by Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to power distribution companies (DISCos) has revealed an indebtedness of N59.3 billion by top 100 customers, like defence, military and security agencies owing N51 billion.

This was the communiqué at the 13th meeting of power sector stakeholders yesterday with the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, hosted by the Transcorp Power Limited, Ughelli, Delta State.

The report stated that all verified bills would be recommended for payment on a first-come first-serve basis as a demonstration of government’s determination to lead by example with regards to payment for electricity delivered.

In their comments, Fashola and Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa charged power generating companies (GENCos) and the DISCos to do more to ensure regular power supply to Nigerians.

They maintained that regular electricity is critical to the nation’s industrial, technological and infrastructural development.

Fashola also chided the DISCos for failing to strengthen their transformers, thereby leading to epileptic power supplies as a result of frequent breakdowns.

Okowa slammed the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) for the poor power supply in his state. He declared: “No matter what you generate, if it does not get to the common man, then it becomes a problem.”

Okowa charged all stakeholders to ensure peace in their communities to ensure peaceful operation of the power companies.

The Chairman of Transcorp Power, Mr. Tony Elumelu told the minister and governor: “We have two issues: one is liquidity. We want the minister to fast-track access to the Liquidation Assurance Programme funds. The second is gas. We want to do, but there is no gas. We can generate 620WM but due to poor access to gas supply we are handicapped.”

The power sector operators present included the NERC, managing directors and CEOs of GENCos, DISCos, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), as well as various government agencies such as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) and other operators in the electricity industry.


Source: The Guardian

Nigerian troops ‘destroy 80 illegal refineries’ in Niger Delta creeks

The Nigerian army says it has destroyed 80 illegal refineries in creeks in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.

The raid was conducted through the Operation Delta Safe, spokesperson for the operation, Abubakar Abdullahi, said on Monday.

Abdullahi noted that three suspects were arrested in Obhoyohan and Ngiri creeks in Nembe local government area of Bayelsa.

“The troops discovered and destroyed seven illegal refineries containing 150,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Three suspects were also arrested in connection with the illegalities, and are currently undergoing investigation,” he said.

“While in Delta State, the troops that patrolled the Sara Abileye swamp in Warri South-West Local Government Area discovered a network of six illegal refineries made up of four storage tanks. In all, about 80 illegal refineries were destroyed.

“They were in Ajoloso Creek in Elume community, Warri South-West; Udu, Ughelli-South Local Government Area; Bolo in Bonny Local Government Area and other parts of the states.

“This is in addition to 25 others earlier raided at Ijokiri in Bonny LGA. We appeal to all law-abiding citizens to continue to support Operation Delta Safe activities with valuable information.”

Military pledges continuous support to President Buhari

The Nigerian military has pledged its continuous support to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, made this pledge on Wednesday during a meeting of the Security Chiefs with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in the Presidential Villa.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, made this pledge on Wednesday during a meeting of the Security Chiefs with the Acting President in the Presidential Villa.

He applauded the administration’s support in the fight against Boko Haram, and the welfare of troops in crisis-ridden areas in the northeast.

Mr Dan Ali disclosed that more equipment have been procured to strengthen the troop in the fight against the terrorists.

He stated further that over 2,000 people held captive by the terrorists have been released, with several high profile Boko Haram Commanders arrested.

The Minister said normalcy has also returned to Southern Kaduna, following the recent killings in Kafanchan.

He added that efforts are ongoing to construct a military barrack in Southern Kaduna area.

Present at the Security Council briefing are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, and the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed.

Also in attendance are other Service Chiefs as well as Directors and Heads of Security Agencies

South Africa opposition seeks court order barring military from parliament.

South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance said on Friday it was seeking a court ruling on the deployment of armed soldiers in parliament saying the move, during President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation speech, was unconstitutional.

The president’s address was delayed by more than an hour and descended into chaos on Thursday as far-left lawmakers brawled with officials after interrupting the speech and the main opposition party walked out.

Mr. Zuma had authorised no fewer than 400 soldiers to join the security team at the parliament building during the speech, an unprecedented move his opponents described as a “militarisation” of parliament.

“Armed military police, with live ammunition, on the precinct of parliament is completely untenable in a constitutional democracy,” Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters.

Mr. Zuma told state broadcaster SABC the disruption in parliament did not reflect a divided nation.

He said: “I doubt that it’s a reflection of the national character. `

“I think it is a reflection of a few kind of people like some parties in parliament.

“Democracy is not about angry young people, democracy is about debating what we need to do with our country.”

He said of the opposition’s actions in parliament: “It does not bother me.

“The fact that you could make parliament not to talk and undermine the choice of the majority of this country because you have your own feelings, I think it’s a misplaced kind of vision, in fact there is no vision at all.”

Previous speeches in parliament by Mr. Zuma have also led to disruption, but Thursday’s, in which he said the government would push for a greater role for blacks in the economy, was the most violent, with the scuffles spilling over into the precinct of the building.

Mr. Zuma, halfway through his second five-year term, ousted Thabo Mbeki in his African National Congress (ANC) party and became president in 2009.

He has been dogged by persistent corruption allegations that he has denied.

In September, the president took out a home loan to repay state money spent on non-security-related upgrades to his rural home, in compliance with a court order.

The president’s popularity has waned in tandem with an economy that has slowed sharply over the past five years while unemployment has hit a record 27 per cent.


Source: Reuters

Southern Kaduna: FG To Provide Two Military Battalions to quell violence

The Senior Special Adviser, (Media and Publicity) to the President, Garba Shehu says solution is on the way as the President has ordered the establishment of two military units to provide security in southern Kaduna.

This is coming as most residents in the region, are now afraid to return to their homes, following the killings in the state.

Mr Shehu gave the assurance while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

“Government has intensified a lot of activities. As we speak, there are ongoing efforts to establish two military battalions. One in kachia, one in Zango-kataf.”

Furthermore, he hinted that military had begun surveillance, while “the mobile police quadrant had been put in place – the entire place is drenched with a lot of security, so many police.


He then stated that “It would be assumptious to think that these things would just go away with the wave of a hand.

“Some rascally elements would still stray and perpetuate crime, but I think that the measures put in by the government are having effect.”

The President’s aide then urged citizens to also help in the fight against criminals and insecurity as the government alone cannot solve all the problems.

“We often make mistakes, leaving matters of security to the police and to the army, but there are enormous responsibilities that lie on all of us in our various communities.”


Source: Channels TV

Buhari’s Military Action In The Gambia Without Approval, Senate Says.

The Nigerian Air Force had moved a contingent of 200 men and air assets, led by Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, to Dakar, Senegal, which is the base of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) military intervention to force President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia out of power.

The Nigerian troops, who left from the 117 Air Combat Training Group camp in Kainji, Niger State, on Wednesday, joined troops from Senegal, Ghana and other countries in the West African sub-region.

But Senator Chukwuka Utazi, while raising a constitutional point of order, said what the Buhari-led government did was against the law, citing Section 5 (4) of the Constitution.

Section 5(4) states, “(a) the President shall not declare a state of war between the federation and another country except with the sanction of a resolution of both houses of the National Assembly sitting in a joint session; and (b) except with the prior approval of the senate, no member of the armed forces of the federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria.”

Utazi added, “I am saying this because of the happenings in our friendly country in Gambia. The ECOWAS countries have been discussing on this issue; on how to ensure that democratic crisis of the people of Gambia are protected. But to ask that this country will go on a warfare in another country without a recourse to this constitutional provisions is an affront of the 1999 Constitution and it is a breach of the Constitution, and we have failed even when the Senate has been cooperating with the executive.

“Let it be on record that if anything of this nature happens in this country; that this national assembly have to be informed properly in writing.”

President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, however cited Subsection 5 of the Constitution to counter Utazi.

Retirees sue Nigerian military for non-payment of allowance

Retired military officers on Tuesday dragged the Army, Navy and Air Force to court over non-payment of debarment allowance instituted in 2012.

The retirees instituted a class action against the forces at the National Industrial Court Abuja, claiming they were yet to access the funds since 2012.

The debarment allowance is a lump sum to be paid to all retirees, made up of 10 per cent of their total emolument per annum, multiplied by the number of years served.

The essence of the allowance is to equip the retired officers for other endeavours to foreclose them from taking on their wealth of military training on the society.

Joined as co-defendants in the suit are the Chief of Defence Staff; Director, Military Pension Board; Attorney-General; and Accountant-General of the Federation.

The retirees, among other reliefs sought, want the Harmonised Armed Forces Terms of Conditions of Service and Financial Regulation of the Armed Forces effected as instituted by law.

They claimed that effecting these two programmes was ample to the payment of debarment allowance to all retirees of the armed forces, dead or alive; irrespective of rank.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the defendants and their counsels were conspicuously absent in court.

However, letters from the Chief of Defence Staff and Director, Military Pension Board explaining their absence were admitted in court.

Ex-Militants Offer To Help Military Uncover Oil Pipeline Bombers.

Leaders of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in Edo state say they are willing to work with the military to fish out those who are involved in the bombing of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region.


Mr Reuben Wilson spoke on behalf of the ex-militants under the aegis of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative during a press briefing in Benin City the Edo state capital.


He said that the approval of the 2017 budget for the amnesty programme by President Muhammadu Buhari was a sign of his commitment to restore total peace to the Niger Delta region.


“We were there before embracing amnesty and we know every in and out of that area. That is why I said it here that we will work hand to hand with the security agencies.


“That place is not strange for us, it is (a place) where we have operated in those days before accepting amnesty.


“So we will go down and work hand in hand with security agencies if we are accepted. That is one thing. If the security agencies want us to work hand in hand with them, we will work and we know total peace will come back,” he said.


The Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh said the ex-militants have embraced the agriculture programme of the Federal Government.


He said: “Like the Peremabiri Rice Farm, am making arrangement with the Minister of Water Resources. That farm is not under the Ministry of Agriculture, it is under the Ministry of Water Resources.


“I met with the Minister and he is very happy and we are planning to go together even though I have the knowledge of the place so that we can use it as part of the training ground to train the ex-agitators so that they can have first-hand information about how rice is being farmed.”

Ijaw youths kick as military arrests ex-militant leader in Delta State.

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) yesterday warned that the Federal Government was inciting crisis in the Niger Delta by the continued invasion of the oil-rich area, arrest and detention of its residents, especially former agitators.

The group’s spokesman Eric Omare, who spoke on the heels of last weekend’s arrest of former militant leader, Bounanawei Smith (alias King of the Forest) in Warri, Delta State, noted that such aggression was inimical to the sough peace in the region.

Bounanawei, The Guardian learnt, was arrested by a combined team of military personnel while hosting some IYC members in his guesthouse.

He disclosed that a couple of days before his arrest, the ex-militant leader had hosted Ijaw and Urhobo leaders with a view to resolving the perennial inter-communal clashes among Ogbe-Ijoh, Isaba, Diebiri and Aladja communities.

The group wondered why the security agents would arrest such a peacemaker like a common criminal in handcuffs amid sporadic shooting instead of honourably inviting him over to clear any issues with them.

Omare maintained that such invasions were fast becoming a norm, claiming that on January 1 this year, military officers stormed Gbaraun community in Southern Ijaw Local Council of Bayelsa State, shooting sporadically as well as arresting and detaining till date a youth leader, Kalami Saturday Inakemeduo.

He added that several other Ijaw youths were languishing in military detention. Omare listed them to include Aboy Muturu, Ezekiel Daniel, spokesman for the group’s Abuja chapter, IYC Victor Odogu, among others.

He alleged that the affected persons have been in Department of State Services (DSS) and military detention for more than eight months without trial.

IYC warned: “These arrests are capable of truncating the Niger Delta’s peace process. We are surprised that in one breath, the Federal Government is sending Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to Gbaramatu, Delta State to kick-start the peace process on Tuesday (tomorrow) and in another breath, invading and arresting ex-agitators like Bounanawei Smith.”

The group, therefore, called for the immediate release of Bounanawei and the rest captives.

Military Detains Borno Government Official For ‘Hiding’ Boko Haram Militant

A serving local government chairman in Borno State, Shettima Mafa, was last week arrested and detained by the military for allegedly keeping a suspected Boko Haram militant in his Maiduguri home.

News of his arrest, which began as a rumours, suddenly generated an uproar in the state when it began to trend in the social media.

The Borno State government confirmed the incident on Sunday, describing it as a “worrisome twist” in the war against Boko Haram insurgency.

At the weekend, the news got to the media that a council chairman, whose local government was one of the strongholds of Boko Haram, was picked by the military for allegedly keeping a suspected insurgent in his house.

He was said to have been picked from his home to the military barracks. He has not been released since then.

The authorities at the 7 Division Nigeria Army, Maiduguri and those in the Theater Command of Operation Lafiya Dole, have not issued any statement to this effect.

Apparently embarrassed by the trending news about one of its most “trusted” council chairmen, the Borno government released a statement on the matter.

The statement, released by the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said the government doubted the complicity of the council chairman in the activities of Boko Haram.

The commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Usman Zanna, said the arrested council chairman had been in the forefront of assisting security operatives in the fight against Boko Haram. As such, he should not be the one being linked with the insurgents.

The Commissioner said he had to speak because his ministry supervises the chairmen of the 27 local government areas in Borno ?State.

Mr. Zanna said, his Ministry “neither questions the judgment and authority of the military nor exonerates the chairman of any wrongdoing in order not to preempt the outcome of ongoing investigation”.

“?If not because of media reports on this matter, the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs which oversees the affairs of the 27 local government areas in Borno State, would have preferred not to make public comment over a matter that is still being investigated by our competent and patriotic military establishment involved in the fight against Boko Haram.

“It has become necessary that this statement is issued in order to put some records straight. First of all, contrary to media reports, the caretaker chairman in question was not arrested. He actually reported himself to the military command in Maiduguri after he got information that he was needed by the military.

“Secondly, contrary to reports by the media that he was arrested at the 1,000 housing estate along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, there was never any issue at all at 1,000 estate. The Chairman lives at 505 housing estate, which is located on an entirely different route, along Dikwa and Mafa which is the way to the Chairman’s office in Mafa.

“The Chairman actually reported himself to the military last week and was detained pending the outcome of ongoing investigations being conducted by the military.

“While we do not intend to question the intelligence gathering, judgment and authority of the military, to us at the Ministry for Local Government and Emirate Affairs, the whole development is a worrisome twist.

“It is a twist because, for years, the caretaker chairman has been known for his courage in joining hunters to go into front lines to battle Boko Haram fighters. His commitment in the fight against insurgents is known to different Army Commanders that served in Mafa local government area in the last two years. The likes of Major Manga can bear testimony to this. It is mainly due to his passion for the fight against insurgency that he has been successively reappointed as caretaker Chairman of Mafa for renewable term of six months as provided by laws of Borno State.

“The Chairman is also known to champion the course of citizens fleeing from communities after attacks by insurgents. From information available to the military, the Chairman recently got involved in assisting some citizens trapped in a village within his local government area and he is believed to have Internally Displaced Persons living in his residence at 505 estate like most adults in Maiduguri, Jere and parts of Konduga do have fleeing relatives and friends living with them.

“There is an information that a certain suspected member of the Boko Haram might have joined some of the citizens he helped last week but whether he knew the identity of the suspect and deliberately hid him and for whatever purpose is what we look forward to being determined by the military.

“This investigation is particularly important to us because it affects the safety and integrity of the Ministry. As we acknowledge, it would amount to sitting on a keg of gun powder if anyone dealing with the Ministry, involves in harbouring any criminal, especially insurgents that have killed our parents, wives, sons and daughters in addition to sending our families out of their communities to now live with us in pains.

“We assure citizens of the 27 local government areas; other concerned Nigerians and the International community that we are usually very thorough in identifying those appointed either as local government chairmen, ward councillors, traditional rulers, vigilantes and members of the Civilian JTF deployed to the 27 local government areas of Borno State. As can be confirmed by security agencies, we do not engage any youth as vigilante or in the Civilian JTF unless he or she is verified by the Department of State Security in addition to fingerprints and photographs of everyone captured into a database.

“We anxiously look forward to the outcome of the investigation while we shall abide by publicly known position of Governor Kashim Shettima that anyone found having any connection with insurgents is an enemy of Borno State and it’s people,” Mr. Zanna, said.

Military operation in southeast will lead to more human rights abuses, CSOs warn FG

A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has expressed shock at the deployment of soldiers to the southeast despite allegations of human rights violations against them.

On November 24, Amnesty International had released a report cataloguing violations including extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, unlawful arrest and detention of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members and supporters by the military.

Owing to a seeming lack of action on the report, the groups called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately set up an independent panel to investigate the allegations.

“We are further particularly alarmed, that despite these chilling allegations, authorities at both federal and state levels of government have instead decided to further militarise the affected areas in the guise of ‘operation python dance’.

“While acknowledging the need for the protection of law and order across the country, we consider the recent announcement of increased deployment of military personnel to the south-east region as an unnecessary move that risks stoking further tensions within the communities,” a statement issued by the CSOs through Amnesty International, Nigeria, read.

“We also believe that the deployment of the military to police public gatherings across the country has directly contributed to the high numbers of casualties. In many recent incidents, including those documented in the Amnesty International report, the military seems to have chosen tactics designed to kill and neutralise an enemy. Many of the shootings were clearly outside any concept of public order management and amounted to extrajudicial executions.”

They also called on the government to immediately end the involvement of the military in public order operations throughout the country.

“Additionally, we are worried that military personnel assigned to this operation, will see it as a carte blanche for committing further human rights violations. The government’s decision to turn immediately to the military to control internal public order situations has seriously undermined the role of the Nigerian police and has led to unnecessary loss of lives.

“We therefore call on the authorities to ensure that they make public, the rules of engagement for this operation and take steps to prevent acts of human rights violations.”

“The governors of Abia, Anambra, Delta and Rivers states should set up judicial commissions of inquiry to investigate the allegations documented in Amnesty International’s report,” they added.

Some of the CSOs are Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy,  Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and CLEEN Foundation.

Military Begins Road Construction Into Sambisa Forest

The Nigerian military on Wednesday said it had commenced the construction of roads into the Sambisa and Alagarno havens of the Boko Haram insurgents.

The military also revealed that over 80 per cent of the Sambisa Forest had been captured from the insurgents as it insisted that the counter-insurgency war in the North-East would soon be over.

The military equally disclosed at a press conference by the head of counter-insurgency operation in the North-East (Operation Lafiya Dole), Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, that 1,880 civilians mostly women were rescued from the insurgents in the last one week.

Irabor also revealed that in the last one week, 504 suspected Boko Haram insurgents were arrested while 19 insurgents surrendered voluntarily.

He noted that 37 foreigners were arrested by the military and they were undergoing interrogations to ascertaining their relationship with the terrorists.

Irabor during the press conference in Maiduguri, televised live to the nation, said, “We have embarked on roads construction within the Sambisa Forest to open up the area and also to ease our operations within the theatre.

“I call on individuals and corporate organisations to come in and support the military, as everything cannot be left to government alone. They can support us with construction materials and other materials, as roads are essential in reviving the economic development of the North-East,” he said.

Irabor warned members of the public, especially female students of tertiary institutions to be wary of new recruitment website, insisting that “Boko Haram insurgency is an evil that is meant to destroy the society.”

“I also urge the general public to continue to support the military in our final move to wipe out insurgency in the North-East through the provision of useful information and not to follow the ways of some media outfits that are bent on bringing down the military,” he appealed.

Credit: punchng

Nigerian Military Set To Reopen Key Borno Roads After 3 Years Of Closure


The governor made the announcement while meeting with Muhammad Dandano, governor the Diffa region in the Niger Republic. Diffa, like Borno, has been ravaged by Boko Haram attacks.


According to Mr. Shettima, the Borno State government will begin to rebuild Damasak in 2017 so as to allow local residents to return to their homes. He explained that the government is prioritizing Damasak due to the vulnerability of people in that area.


“Rebuilding Damasak is our priority. The Borno Abadam, Mobar and Magumeri people are rich farmers; they do not need any help if you return them to their communities,” he said.


The governor lauded the government of Niger for its cooperation in protecting and supporting internally displaced persons (IDPs).


“We commend the Republic of Niger for hosting about 90,000 internally displaced persons,” Mr. Shettima said.


Mr. Dandano said his government would continue to support the IDPs and others affected by Boko Haram violence. He added that Nigerians and Nigeriens are living peacefully together in Diffa.


“We are giving the IDPs our maximum support, as many of them have taken up farming and other ventures,” he said. “When you go there, you will hardly differentiate between an IDP from Nigeria from a Nigerien.”

Military moves to unravel financiers of terrorism

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, says investigation has begun to uncover financiers of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East region of the country.

Buratai, who made the disclosure yesterday in Owerri when he led about 18 senior officers on a courtesy call on Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, thanked the troops for containing the menace.

‘’We are still investigating. That is the truth of the matter,” he said.

He said they were in the state to take stock of the last 12 months and project for the coming year in terms of training, capacity and civility

Buratai revealed that three communities in the state were benefiting from the military’s free medical outreach and hopes to fortify ties with the state.

On the army’s attitude towards agitators, he said there were at liberty to protest but noted that could only be impeded on “stringent conditions.

Responding, the governor lauded the military for a good job in the North East and other parts of the country where one form of crisis or the other arose.

In a related development, the Swedish government yesterday delivered household and health consignments worth $56 million (N22.4 billion) for the resettlement of United Nations (UN) humanitarian workers living in unsafe houses within the camps of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri camps and its environs.

The country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Inger Ultvedt, said the gesture was to alleviate the plight of the relief workers, especially those working outside Maiduguri, the state capital.

“This will also facilitate the quick return of IDPs to their liberated communities,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government and Pakistan have strengthened military ties with a joint partnership on air power.

To this end, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday took delivery of four Super Mushashak aircraft on behalf of the country.

Speaking at the induction ceremony presided over by Pakistan Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman at the Nigerian Airfoce (NAF) Base, Kaduna, Abubakar said the acquisition would further fortify the force.

He said the country had made tremendous progress in platform reactivation, training and welfare of personnel.

Military rescue 5,235 Boko Haram hostages.

The Nigerian military has said that through its “Operation Finale” has rescued 5,235 persons held hostage by Boko Haram insurgents from October to November 2016, recovered many weapons and killed several insurgents across various locations of the theatre.


The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, who disclosed this at a press briefing held at the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole, at Maimalari Cantonment Maiduguri, yesterday, said due to the ferocity of the attack by the Nigerian military the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists were fleeing their camps as many of them were being killed.

He said the Operation Finale which started on November 6th, 2016 was aimed at rescuing the Chibok girls and any other persons held hostage by the Boko Haram insurgents in the Sambisa forests and its environs, and also clear the remnant of the Boko Haram terrorists in the dreaded forest.


Irabor stated that during the period under review, his troops had killed several Boko Haram insurgents and arrested their food and other logistics suppliers at different locations within the theatre of operations, adding that the troops will not relent till the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents were completely wiped out.

BREAKING: Obasanjo strikes again, attacks Buhari, NASS, Military.

The honeymoon between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo seems to have ended.

For the one and a half year that Mr. Buhari has been in power, Mr. Obasanjo remained one of his staunchest backers, visiting him repeatedly and publicly defending most of his actions.

But speaking in Lagos Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo served signal that the era of being soft on the administration Mr. Buhari leads is over.

Delivering the keynote at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture, Mr. Obasanjo lashed at the Buhari administration for repeatedly lumping the country’s three previous administrations together and then accussing them of misgovernance.

He also advised Mr. Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, saying since he was elected to change the country, he should concentrate on clearing the mess he inherited.

“Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

“It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.

“And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”

The former president also criticised plans by Mr. Buhari to take about $30billion loan to fix critical administration.

“I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.

“Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved.

“The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism.

“Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.”

The former president did not spare the National Assembly which he says stinks to high heavens and the Nigerian military, which he said needed to be purged.


Read full speech below.

Lecture by
His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo
At the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture
Lagos, November 23, 2016


When my sister, ’Toyin Olakunri, phoned to alert me about this Lecture, the telephone connection was poor and I could hardly hear her but I got the name of Mr. Akintola Williams which has always struck reverence and awe in me.

Mr. Akintola Williams has seen active days and has been an active participant in Nigeria of the past, Nigeria of the present and by God’s grace, will be part of Nigeria’s future for some time to come.
’Toyin, who was a tremendous help to me when I was in government as she served as the Executive Chairperson of Education Trust Fund, knows that any request by her is taken as an order by me. But that request being made to honour a great man of Mr. Akintola Williams calibre cannot be refused. And what is more, the topic assigned, “Nigeria Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Governance and Accountability”, is so relevant to the time we are in that it is irresistibly attractive and befitting for an occasion like this where we celebrate an icon, Mr. Akintola Williams, who is a paragon of propriety, rectitude and integrity.

This afternoon, I will reflect with you on this topic which will take us on a time travel into a bit of Nigeria’s past, cruising to the present and with a quick peep into the future.

Looking around the hall, I can see among the audience by age, yesterday, today and future or put in the title of a hymn book, “ancient and modern”, with the future sprinkled within. I hope you will all go along with me on this enchanting journey. But before we embark on our journey, let us do first thing first.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here purposely to celebrate and honour an unusual specimen of human being, Mr. Akintola Williams, a nationally-renowned and globally-acclaimed accountant. He was the first African to qualify in that profession as a Chartered Accountant.

Apart from him being the first African to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, he founded the first indigenous chartered accounting firm in Africa, at the time the accountancy business was dominated by foreign firms. As some clips from his enviable biography goes, Mr. Akintola Williams played a leading role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960 with the goal of training accountants. He was the first President of the Association. He was a founding member and first President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Let me commend ICAN for establishing Akintola Williams Foundation, in perpetuity, in honour of our celebrant. He deserves this and more.

He was also involved in establishing the Nigerian Stock Exchange as well as being Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON). He is still actively involved with these organisations even in his resplendent old age. He is a founding member of this prestigious Club hosting this meeting, the Metropolitan Club of Lagos. There is something unique about Mr. Akintola Williams for all his momentous achievements and contributions to nation-building and national development. He has never been in government and yet his contributions surpassed those of many others who passed through portal of government without much positive achievement or contribution to show for it.

I must confess that my interactions with Mr. Akintola Williams were tangential for a number of reasons. When those of us in the military in the province like Kaduna, where I was, came to Lagos in the mid-1960s, we were looking at the likes of Mr. Akintola Williams at a distance with great administration and in awe.

My longstanding friendship and close relationship with one of his junior associates, friends and brothers, who turned ninety earlier this year, provided me with the leeway or the alley through which I managed to tiptoe to the presence of our celebrant. Over the past fifty years, I have directly and indirectly enjoyed his advice and support. In his cucumber-cool, sober and unruffled disposition, he inspires you and warms you to himself. His reflections and piercing insights and insistence for truth and accountability cannot but inspire anyone close to him. I often admire his calm mien and disposition and when I asked a friend, “why is he always so calm, composed and methodical? He answered, “it is because he has strong internal antenna for control!”

Now back to our journey of reflection on the past, present and future of Nigeria, from good governance and accountability point of view. I will gravitate my reflections today on the important subject of accountability in governance. As I begin, it is helpful to say a few words on the terminologies that will ring throughout this address. These are good governance, accountability, transparency and trust. Like the web of a spider, the four concepts are interwoven and intertwined in their dependencies. I intend to touch briefly on democratic underpinning of governance, particularly good governance and I cannot conclude without a word on the economy.

There is no single and exhaustive definition of “governance” and “accountability” nor is there a delimitation of their scopes that command universal acceptance. But I take good governance to mean legitimate, accountable, and effective ways of obtaining and using public power and resources in the pursuit of widely accepted social goals. Good governance is essentially about the adherence to the laid-down processes for making and implementing decisions. Good governance is not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about adherence to the best possible process for making those decisions. In effect, a good decision-making process, and therefore good governance, share several characteristics. All have a positive effect on various aspects of government including consultation policies and practices, meeting procedures, service quality protocols, role clarification and good working relationships.

The major hallmarks of good governance are:
– Transparency,
– Accountability,
– Adherence to the rule of law,
– Responsiveness to needs and demands of the citizenry.

Good governance, properly nuanced, is highly participatory and as a fall out of that, good governance is equitable and inclusive. That is why good governance is effective and efficient.

Accountability, which is one of the cornerstones of good governance, is the degree to which government has to explain or justify what it has done or failed to do. Accountability ensures that the actions and decisions taken by leaders, public officials or persons in authority are open to oversight so as to guarantee that government initiatives meet their outlined aims and objectives and respond to the needs of the society. Accountability and transparency are intertwined. They both promote openness, truth, morality, free flow of information and forthrightness in the running of governmental affairs particularly the budget and financial aspects of government affairs.

Let us take the issue of trust. Trust is a crucial element for the existence of good relationship between the governed and the authority. A society that lacks trust between the ruler and the governed is founded on false foundation. A government that is not trusted by its citizens will definitely not get the cooperation and confidence of the generality of the citizens; hence its ability and capability to achieve development will be curtailed. The product of an admixture of good governance, accountability, transparency and trust is development, all round development for all. This mixture ensures that resources are judiciously allocated and expended, that authority is properly exercised in conformity with the rule of law for the benefit of the society.

Let us now begin our time travel with the past. For the purpose of this address, I define the past as the period between 1914 and 1999. The narration of accountability in governance within this 85-year period will take hours but as I hinted in my opening statements, I will only provide brief highlights. I will begin with what I consider to be the most important tool for accountability in governance. This is the Constitution. All previous Constitutions gave a lot of prominence to accountability. For instance, the 1999 Constitution made provisions for separation of powers as a mechanism for checks and balances and as a plank to leverage accountability.

The British parliamentary system, sometimes called cabinet government, operates essentially through elected representatives of the people in parliament. The representatives in parliament exercise sovereign power on behalf of the people, with the actual conduct of the government being in the hands of the leading members of the majority party (Ministers) which form the government, thereby constituting the cabinet. To assist the executive (Ministers) in carrying out their responsibilities to the people through formulation of policies and implementing same, is a group of people called the civil servants whose tenure, unlike the politicians, is permanent and who man the administrative structure called the bureaucracy. Despite the assistance of the bureaucrats, the ministers are still individually and collectively held responsible to the parliament for the activities of the government.

This is the doctrine of ministerial responsibility and accountability, a fundamental part of British parliamentary system. The exclusion of the bureaucrats from this responsibility rests on the assumption that the ministers as heads of their respective ministries are totally in charge and must be abreast of everything happening there. Second, the bureaucrats who are expected to observe the ideals of anonymity, impartiality and political neutrality as enunciated by Max Weber in his conceptualization of the ideal bureaucracy, are not responsible for policy making but only for policy implementation under strict watch and directives of the ministers.

Put differently, the ministers are not expected to lose touch or political control of their ministries. As former prime minister, Harold Wilson puts it in1966, “civil servants, however eminent, remain the confidential advisers of ministers, who alone are answerable to parliament for policy; and we do not envisage any change in this fundamental feature of our parliamentary democracy” (Adamolekun 1986). However, the concepts of accountability and control measures were engineered when it was realized that public servants may need some restraints in their dealings with the public especially during the execution of their official duties.

Thus, the word ‘control’ as used in reference to administration signifies administrative control, measures aimed at restraining and checking the behaviour of civil servants with a view to preventing the abuse or misuse of bureaucratic power. Accountability, on the other hand, “focuses attention upon the sanctions or procedures by which public officials may be held to account for their actions” (Gould and Kolb, 1964). Thus, although, accountability as a concept is broader than administrative control since its scope includes both political and administrative officials, we are using it here as a synonym to administrative control.

The British, therefore, introduced certain systems of controlling the administration which became a legacy that the colonies inherited. The parliamentary control of the administration was effected through such political and devices as question time, letters by members of parliament to the ministers, and parliamentary committees. In addition to these, the British system also employed two other methods which were also inherited by the colonies.

These were internal and judicial controls. The internal control measures refer to certain internal arrangements peculiar to the bureaucracy and which was aimed at preventing the abuse of bureaucratic power by superior on the subordinate. The measures are, therefore, connected with the hierarchical structure of the bureaucracy, and they mediate the kind of relationship between superior and subordinates, career expectations and penalties for contravening rules and regulations governing the conduct of government work. Judicial control was put in place as a form of legal accountability which provided judicial remedies to any citizen who may be adversely affected by administrative actions or inactions contrary to law.

By independence in 1960, the existing colonial “West minster model” and the methods of parliamentary control not only remained unchanged, but there were also no doubts that the indigenous politicians also accepted them as the norm. After all, there were no other alternatives they could choose from, not after being exposed to these methods since the colonial days. Thus, it was a wonder to note that shortly after independence, the methods that had worked for generations in Britain and which had constituted the backbone of British democratic system, suddenly became ineffective in Nigeria, with the politicians who were ‘schooled’ in its use, deliberately thwarting its implementation and effectiveness.

All these could be seen as deliberate and not due to problems accompanying transplantation of models or ideas from one locale to another. For example, the tradition of question time in parliament which had been an effective instrument for turning the searchlight on the public service and for probing the conduct of administration in the inherited British model was the first to be stifled. The reasons for this are as numerous as they were personal to the politicians who were interested in ‘killing’ everything that would have hindered them from their primary preoccupation of self-perpetuation and enrichment.
Consequently, the absence of these parliamentary methods which would have called the civil service to order through the political ministers in charge of them paved the way for the abuse and misuse of bureaucratic power and subsequently corruption.

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, gombeenism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Thus, the link between political and bureaucratic corruption was further concretized. Theoretically, many reasons could be adduced for the abandonment of the question time. The first was that the majority of the questions asked were mainly concerned with the distribution of amenities such as electricity, postal services, water and roads instead of how the service was doing in implementing decisions and their relationship with the citizens. Second was the short duration in which the parliament sat for business. This was because the politicians preferred to be busy looking for opportunities to feather their nests. There was, therefore, no adequate time for serious business to be discussed or searchlight turned on the conduct of the public service. Records have it that between 1960 1965, the Nigerian parliament sat for about 38 days per annum.

When compared with the British equivalent of about 160 days for the same period, there is no doubt that the Nigerian parliamentary members preferred other preoccupation to the one they pledged to and which they were voted for by the citizens. Third was the fact that the question time session took an air of inquisition, an opportunity which the opposition saw to ridicule and castigate the ruling party for inefficiency. Therefore, the majority of the ministers were unfavourably disposed to answering questions such that their continued absence at such sessions eventually led to its abandonment.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), another control method, was rendered ineffective also as a result of almost similar reasons. Between 1960 and 1965, the effective functioning of the PAC was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of the senior public servants, the limited knowledge of the members concerning their responsibilities, the high turnover rate of membership and more importantly the preponderance of pro government members on the committee including the chairman (Adamolekun, 1974).

The Nigerian judicial system operates at three levels, the Federal Courts, State Courts and Customary Courts. There is no public law system. Therefore, the courts have responsibilities for settling conflicts between private individuals and between private individuals and the state. The remedies used in settling disputes include the order of mandamus, prohibition, order of certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction, doctrine of ultra vires, natural justice and the rule of law. In Nigeria, this system of judicial control and remedies has persistently proved ineffective in curbing instances of bureaucratic and judicial corruption. A major factor for this was the long time it takes for justice to be done in our courts. It is not impossible for a case in court to drag on for years until the aggrieved party loses all interests in the case or he dies before the final verdict is given. Of more importance is the cost of litigation which in Nigeria, is now not mitigated by a system of legal aid.

The ineffectiveness of all administrative control measures in Nigeria, some have argued, is due to imperfect imitation and transplantation (Adamolekun, 1974). The confusion can be traced to the doorstep of the colonial government. For example, the introduction of a quasi parliamentary system of government in Nigeria in 1952 was not based on the established British model of a government and an opposition. Instead, a national government was formed in Lagos whose composition reflected a search for national consensus that was expected to emerge from the sharing of power by the three broad interests groups represented by the country’s three regions at that time.

However, at the regional level, the political arrangement was that of a government and an opposition. By independence, the national consensus arrangement was jettisoned for the government and an opposition arrangement and without question, this feature proved inappropriate for the Nigerian milieu. This was because at independence, two of the prominent political parties – the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) and the National Council for Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) – formed a coalition national government with the third major party, the Action Group (AG) acting as the opposition party. However, this may not be a sufficient justification as the politicians had enough time to learn and master their workings under the British colonial government.

Rather, it should be seen as more of a deliberate action on the part of the culprits. The politicians’ deliberate move to stifle all possible control measures that may hinder them from realizing their purpose of using their position for self-enrichment also enabled the administration to do likewise. As a matter of fact, the preoccupation of the political class to consolidate their hold on their positions while enriching themselves left the bureaucracy without political direction and monitoring, hence the bureaucrats were able to become a power onto themselves.

Thus, the collapse of every form of political control of the bureaucracy enabled the bureaucrats to hijack power and in most cases acted as a decision-making organ, thereby resulting in the bureaucracy’s unholy romance with politics. This was particularly the case on the incursion of the military into the politics of Nigeria. Bureaucratic power now provides veritable opportunities for self-aggrandizement of the civil servants and this realization had necessitated that the system should frustrate every control measure that may hinder this possibility. The bureaucracy has become a festering ground for corruption and the age long Weberian norms governing administration are no longer respected. Ministers started collecting 10 per cent of the contract sum as money for administration of their political parties. One ugly example of this was a Minister of Communications inviting all contractors wanting to do business in his Ministry and saying to them “To get contracts in this Ministry, there will be 10% for the party and 10% for me and all of these must come through me.” The eras of First and Second Republics witnessed unprecedented level of venality by high-ranking politicians. Corrupt practices were also manifested in the manipulation of the electoral process, politicization of the judiciary and resort to false accusation charges to intimidate political opponents of the government.

Who will guard the guardians? Deriving from the discussion so far, therefore, it becomes very clear that the British colonial elite who supervised the political development of Nigeria did bequeath to the post independent Nigeria certain political cum administrative legacies which the metropolitan dominant elite held sacrosanct and which they had become committed to. These legacies provided the post-independent leaders and politicians the opportunity and a framework within which to operate. As we have been at pains to show, these legacies did not survive the immediate period after independence. The reality was that the interest of the political and bureaucratic elite changed drastically after independence. This change of interest could also be interpreted to imply a change in support of liberal democracy, its institutions and the process of government.

The increasing level of intolerance that has characterized political rule in Nigeria since 1960 and the entry of the military into the political arena are pointers to the abandonment of the values of liberal democratic values and institutions. It is our candid opinion that the abandonment of all values of liberal democracy by the political elite was deliberate and was a prelude to the removal of all administrative checks on excesses. This leads to only one conclusion, that the political elite accepted the liberal form of democracy under British colonial rule mainly because of the constraining effects it had on the colonial administrators. On the other hand, they rejected its continuation after independence precisely because they did not want such constraints on their own rule.

Democracy in the western style, wherever it is being practised, has certain desirous effects. More than any other form of government, liberal democracy of the western type increases the probability that government will follow or be guided by the general interest. This is because, how governments act is affected by the constitutional systems through which they emerge and democracies will ensure that governments pursue policies in the general interest or for the common good (Lively 1975).

In both parliamentary and presidential systems of government, the locus of competition rests with the political parties and normally victory is ensured if a political party can produce good policies that will satisfy the majority of the citizens. This notwithstanding, the dictates of good governance requires that government should submit itself to periodic assessment and renewal of mandate. Within the framework of alternative choices, this implies that the government in power and which wishes to retain power must be responsive to the wish of the governed. Second, the liberal democratic form of government also imposes some restraint on the state. The state’s right is limited by the constitutional provision that it must respect the rights of individuals and groups in the society.

Thus, in this regard, the “temptation of the political leadership to wield absolute power is restricted by the competitive nature of democracy” (Perry, 1969). Thus, by definition, liberal democratic government is a limited government as arbitrary use of power is curtailed. This probably provides us with one of the reasons that endeared liberal democracy to the generality and that it protects them from arbitrary state interference. Third is that competitive democratic system compels attention not just to the form of government but also to the substance of politics in as much as political parties compete on the basis of what they have to offer to the electorate. A fourth one is that democracy provides the citizenry with more opportunities to get involved in political decisions. The literature on mass society and political participation suggests that citizens’ participation in decision can be either as individuals or members of groups. It is only in this sense that representative democracy encourages “a belief by the masses that they exercise an ultimate self determination within the existing social order…a credence in the democratic equality of all citizens in the government of the nation” (Anderson, 1977).

Finally, the primary concern of democracy with the formal political equality of all citizens, majority of whom are economically disadvantaged, provides for the economically advantaged and powerful groups to dominate and often times hijack the system thereby undermining the notion of political equality. Perhaps more than any other reason, this particular advantage made democracy quite attractive to most elite. As Nairn (1977) has rightly observed, the representative mechanism converted real class inequality into the abstract egalitarianism of citizens, individual egoisms into an impersonal collective will, what would otherwise be chaos into a new state legitimacy.

It is right to conclude, therefore, that the Nigerian elite were very interested in restraining the power of the state when they were not part of the state government, but very reluctant to have their power restrained once they became part of the government. Deriving from our analysis, it becomes easy to note that all subversion of democracy, its tenets and institutions have taken the form of elite reluctance to conduct itself within the prescribed rules of the democratic game. These rules are intended to restrain and compel the elite to subject their performance to the judgment of the masses.
This becomes possible in liberal democracies and perhaps impossible in our own democracy because as Mayer et al. (1996) have postulated, democracy seems to require a cultural context within which to operate, a cultural context in which the democratic format has acquired a deep seated legitimacy that exceeds one’s commitment to any given set of political outcomes. Within this cultural context, politics is generally thought of as conflicts of interests rather than conflicts between right and wrong or good and evil.
Politics based on considerations of class and the distribution of material well being leads to greater tolerance of opposition and the propensity to compromise with one’s opponent than does the politics of symbols emanating from such divisions as linguistic, religious, ethnic or cultural cleavages. This seems paradoxical because experience has shown that it is primarily because of these same considerations of class and the distribution of material well being, who gets what and how, that have generated a culture of intolerance thereby causing the political elite to subvert all democratic tenets which the same elite in western liberal democracies hold sacrosanct.

Deriving from this point, it should be realized that accountability is essential for the efficient functioning of the bureaucracy especially as it is the primary and major implementation arm of government. Accountability acts as a quality control device for the public service and so the public as citizens and consumers in the public realm can expect to receive the best service. Accountability also underscores the superiority of the public will over private interests of those expected to serve and ensures that the public servants behave according to the ethics of their profession. The public expects nothing more or less and it is in this regard that the argument has been made that where professional ethics and accountability have been eroded or abandoned, the servants become the master and corruption thrives. On the other hand, the concept of accountability cannot be excised from democracy and the enjoyment of the democratic life by the public. This is basically because democracy implies the supremacy of the public will and the citizens in the governing process. The idea and notion that appointed and elective officials of government be accountable is at the very core and root of democracy. This is very important in the face of the tendency by these officials to abuse and misuse their positions for personal gains and accumulation of wealth (Ekpo, 1979; Reno,1995). As Olowu (2002) has further pointed out, accountability is very necessary now especially in the face of a sharp decline in resources available to most African states and aggravated by the rising expectations of the citizens which has further imposed tremendous pressure on governments to ensure that they give the citizens minimum possible value for their money. Finally, it is pertinent to reiterate that the peculiar character of the Nigerian democracy has made it possible to defy all attempts at instituting control and accountability measures mainly because the dominant groups’ support for democracy, even where it ever existed, was purely instrumental rational in that it continues for as long as the institutions enable them to protect and promote their material or sectional interests.

Their support for democracy and its institutions, especially the control and accountability measures, ceases when the exercise of these measures begin to threaten the basis of their economic and political power and dominance. This may explain partly the reason for the various cover up acts and secret cult like attitude of the elected representatives of the people at the national and state levels when it comes to their various acts of corruption, demands and sharing of illegal money. This may also explain in part the present attitude of the Executive who has discovered that the only way to tackle the problem of corruption at this level is to personally intervene and expose them since the various control and accountability measures instituted in the Constitution have been rendered inoperative or impotent by the same people who are expected to make them work. This was what partly informed the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to combat acts of corruption by both public and elected officials of the state by my Administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The 1999 Constitution that we are operating today, though partially amended, provides for the establishment of some institutions to set the ground rules and promote accountability. These include the Offices of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Auditor-General of the Federation. We also have the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Public Complaints Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Bureau for Public Procurement, the Office of the Ombudsman and several others. With all of these being put in place to ensure checks and balances within the system, little could be achieved. What is starkly and shamefully lacking is compliance.

Let me comment on recent issues concerning corruption and accountability. Three weeks before the first three judges were arrested for corruption, I was talking to a fairly senior retired public officer who put things this way, “The Judiciary is gone, the National Assembly is gone, the military is sunk and the civil service was gone before them; God save Nigeria”. I said a loud Amen. Three weeks later, the process of saving the Judiciary began. And if what I have gathered is anything to go by, there may be not less than two score of judicial officers that may have questions to answer. That will be salutary for the Judiciary and for the Nation.

While one would not feel unconcerned for the method used, one should also ask if there was an alternative. The National Judicial Council, NJC, would not do anything as it was all in-breeding. As now contained in our Constitution, the President of Nigeria cannot influence or make any appointment to the Judiciary at the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court level. He can only transmit the decision of the NJC to the Senate even where Senate confirmation is required. The Constitution which was heavily influenced by the Judiciary ensured that. And yet a drastic disease requires a drastic treatment. When justice is only for sale and can only be purchased by the highest bidder, impunity and anarchy would be the order of the day and no one would be safe.

A drastic action was needed to save the situation, albeit one would have preferred an alternative that would serve the same purpose, if there was one. In the absence of that alternative, we must all thank God for giving the President the wisdom, courage and audacity for giving the security agencies the leeway to act. And where a mistake was made in the action taken, correction must take place with an apology, if necessary. There is virtually no corrupt Judge without being aided by a member of the bar. The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has the responsibility to clean up its own house and help with the cleaning of the Judiciary. It is heartening though that some members of the NBA have recently called for judicial reform. Such reform must be deep, comprehensive and entail constitutional amendments as appointment and disciplines of Judges are concerned. May God continue to imbue the Executive with the necessary wisdom and courage to clean the dirty stable of the Judiciary and the Bar for the progress and the image of our Nation. It must also be said that the good eggs within the Judiciary must be proud of themselves and we must not only be proud of them but also protect them and their integrity.

If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary? Budget padding must not go unpunished. It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians.

Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of whistle blower is deplorable and undemocratic. What of the so-called constituency projects which is a veritable source of corruption? These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all. The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time. Members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and offices they do not have or maintain. Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15 million a month for a Senator and N10 million a month for a member of the House of Representatives. The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.

Like the Judiciary, the National Assembly cannot clean itself. Look at how re-current budget of the National Assembly with the so-called constituency projects has ballooned since the inception of this democratic dispensation. What were their budgets in the 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015? The revelation was both alarming and scandalous. Once, when I was President, I asked outside auditors, both normal and forensic, to audit the account of the National Assembly, they frustrated it on the basis of separation of power. They claimed they had oversight responsibility for their corruption and misdemeanour and nothing can be done. It is like asking a thief to watch over himself. There must be full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner at all levels.

Budget transparency is a precondition for public participation in budget processes. The combination of budget transparency and public participation in budget processes has the potential to combat corruption, foster public accountability of government agencies and contribute to judicious use of public funds. The National Assembly budget process is not only carried out in opaque and corruptive manner but also in grossly unconstitutional manner. Hence, our lawmakers are lawbreakers. They are the accused, the prosecutor, the defenders and the judge in their own case. Most of them conduct themselves and believe that they are not answerable to anybody. They are blatant in their misbehaviour, cavalier in their misconduct and arrogant in the misuse of parliamentary immunity as a shield against reprisals for their irresponsible acts of malfeasance and/or outright banditry.

We should not continue to live with the impunity and corruption of the National Assembly. Yes, I believe that something can and should be done. The President should ride on the crest of the popularity of what is happening in the Judiciary to set up a highly technical team of incorruptible investigators to look into the so-called constituency projects of the past and the present and bring culprits to book. The President has overall responsibility and accountability for any fund appropriated under his watch. There would be many of such projects and the National Assembly would try to frustrate such necessary investigation. But the project sites are known and magnitude of funds voted for them are known. The investigation will reveal the true situation.

Nigerians will be shocked with what such enquiries would unearth. Measures to be taken should include stopping spurious constituency projects with immediate effect. And if our lawmakers-turned-lawbreakers manage to smuggle any so-called constituency projects into the budget, money should not be released for such scandalous projects. They would, as they tried with me, threaten impeachment. But a clean Judiciary and a cheated Nation should stand with the President. There should be no going back.

By our Constitution, the Revenue Mobilisation, Fiscal and Allocation Commission should be responsible for fixing the remunerations of the Executive and the Legislative arms of the government. Any salary, allowance or perquisite not recommended by the Commission should not be budgeted for; but crooks and crocked that most of the members of the National Assembly are, they will try to find other ways which must be blocked. In the past, they even instructed the Clerk of the National Assembly not to reveal to the Executive details of their remuneration. May God give the President the wisdom, courage and audacity to be able to do with the National Assembly what is being done with the Judiciary. Mr. President must be assured that he will earn the accolade and support of most Nigerians and indeed most friends of Nigeria within and outside Nigeria.

Another means by which the National Assembly embarks on corruption spree is their so-called oversight responsibility. They instigate and collude with Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies to add to their budget outside what was submitted by the President with the purpose of sharing the addition or they threaten such units to reduce what was submitted by the President unless there is a promise of kickback. They can also set up a spurious committee to investigate a project while they call on the contractor to pay them or the executive officer in charge of the project to cough up money, otherwise they would write a bad report.

The National Assembly stinks and stinks to high heavens. It needs to be purged. With appropriate measures, the budget of the National Assembly can be brought down to less than 50% of what it is today. God will help Nigeria, but we must begin by helping ourselves.

How I wish that the military has not descended into what it has descended to in the last seven or eight years! It is sickening! When the military is corrupt, it affects its fighting ability in many ways. Poor, used and inappropriate equipment and materials are purchased by the military for the military at the expense of the lives of fighting troops in the warfront. In some cases, nothing at all is purchased. How callous, for a General, an Air Marshall or a Naval Admiral to be so cruel and unpatriotic as to buy such inappropriate weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials for men facing the rigour and ruthlessness of an enemy force like the Boko Haram!

It is more damnable for nothing to be bought and yet the money disappeared into their private personal pockets. I can only say to these officers that I am not proud of them, rather I am ashamed of them. Whether they are alive or dead, their family members should also be ashamed of them. And what is more, the blood of those men who died because of their nefarious and sordid acts and actions would be on their hands. I know what it could be to be poorly equipped or starved of essential weapons, ammunition, equipment and materials to fight a war. Surely, God will deal with such offenders and capital sinners, but, in addition, those who have responsibility for dealing with them here on this side of the veil should not fight shy otherwise they become accomplices.

Finally on the military, the procurement system has to be streamlined and taken back to what it used to be. The military is not a buyer of its own weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials. It is only a recommender and a tester of the weapons and equipment that could perform the role and function assigned to it. The procurement is normally by a Committee which includes defence, finance, legislature, foreign affairs and the military only as observer or adviser to ensure quality and standard. With ridiculous statements and claims that insult the intelligence of Nigerians by immediate past leaders in government and their collaborators and accomplices either outside government or still within the corridor of power, all reports must be made public for Nigerians to know the truth and be able to make up their minds about the past and the future. With some shocking revelations and magnitude of stolen money so far reported, it will be absurd and insensitive to extreme for anybody in charge to claim innocence or show no remorse, especially when the Central Bank was prepared and staffed to bankroll the Presidential campaign of 2015. Such action and reaction is height of insults to this Nation and its citizens. That cannot be the right way to go.

It is heart-warming and certainly encouraging that the President has taken the bull by the horn by taking the first right step. He has ordered thorough investigation. But the next step is the immediate and appropriate actions on the reports no matter who is involved, and this requires greater wisdom, courage and cold decision. May God grant the President all the attributes he will need to clean the augean stable of the military. If not done as it should, it will undermine the fight against corruption and the President will not escape the charge of weakness or leniency towards his former constituency, the military.

Apart from the recovery which is most important, selective and symbolic prosecution should be made to serve as permanent deterrence. Otherwise, it will be a game of denial or litigations in future by shameless culprits. As the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home”. The President’s action against offenders in the military should strengthen his hands against offenders in other constituencies, i.e. judicial, political, executive, police, para-military, educational institutions, diplomatic, civil service and parastatals.

The anti-corruption war in the past has landed some Governors in jail while some still have their cases pending in courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. To my surprise, I found out that most State Governments prefer not to always take advantage of funds made available as counterpart fund by Federal Government or what they have access to on the basis of rendering previous accounts. The simple reason is that they do not want to account to the Federal Government for such funds because it will open them up to outside party scrutiny because they don’t want to be transparent and be held accountable. This situation has led to money being available but not being utilised by States in such areas as basic education, UBEC, where the Federal Government provides counterpart funding. UBEC is one example, there are others. Incumbent Governors should be reminded that there will be accountability and judgement after the government house. EFCC and ICPC must buckle up.

If corruption is continued to be fought courageously and relentlessly, there will be substantial recovery from within and from without coupled with plugging the holes of wastes in Ministries, Departments, Educational Institutions and parastatals and we will need less borrowing if we would need borrowing at all, to get us out of recession than we might have thought. Of course, we must be ready to bite the bullet of spending less on luxuries and the unneeded and what we can do without and earning more on production, services and trading. I believe that going for a huge loan under any guise is inadvisable and it will amount to going the line of soft option, which will come to haunt us in future.

We immediately need loans to stabilise our foreign reserve and embark on some infrastructure development but surely not $30 billion over a period of less than three years. That was about the magnitude of cumulative debt of Nigeria which we worked and wiped out ten years ago. Before that debt relief, we were spending almost $3 billion to service our debt annually and the quantum of the debt was not going down. Rather, if we defaulted, we paid penalty which was added on.

The projects listed for borrowing are all necessary in the medium- and long-run for our economy but we have to prioritise. Railway is a necessary service but it is not profit-making anywhere in the world today. We need steady and continuous but manageable funding on the railway project. Mambilla hydro is the same; necessary but it cannot pay itself, especially with the global energy sector of shale revolution, hydrogen fuel and increasingly cheap renewable energy such as solar. OPEC itself has projected that the price of oil will be hovering in the region of $50 per barrel for the next fifteen years or so.

The argument of concessional mixed with commercial does not hold water. When the concessional and the non-concessional borrowings are put together, interests alone will be in the region of 3% to 4%. The bunching of debt service will be a problem to confront other administrations in future. Soft option alone is not the answer, a mixture of soft and hard options is the way to go. Telling us that those projects will pay themselves cannot be the whole truth. We were told there was rainy day when we lavished our reserve and excess crude on frivolities. When we now have the rains beating us, there is no umbrella over our heads.

Again, now we are being told the projects will pay themselves when we know damn well they will not. If we borrow some thirty billion dollars in less than three years, we would have mortgaged the future of Nigeria for well over thirty years to come. There may also be the problem of absorptive capacity which will surely lead to waste. A careful scrutiny of the projects with priotisation and avoidance of waste and taking into account avoiding bunching of debt service in future especially when no one can accurately forecast the global and national economy, will indicate less than thirty per cent of the foreign loan being requested as prudent.

We must not be unmindful of internal borrowing either. It impacts somewhat differently on the economy but it must not be allowed to crowd out the ability of the private sector to borrow to grow the real economy which is to lead us out of the recession.

We must be hard and harsh on those who stay outside, whether they are Nigerians or expatriates, and piece inside our economic house through smuggling, dumping and cheating on duty payment and lying on custom classification. We must make our neighbours realise that encouragement of acts to undermine our economy by allowing their countries to be used a smuggling route and dumping grounds for entries of unwanted commodities into Nigeria will be treated as an act of hostility. We must be ready to close our borders with such neighbours to protect our economy. We must also empower customs to close the shops and factories of cheaters and immigration to deport hostile expatriates within our midst. The act of underpinning and destroying our economy should be regarded as an act of hostility and treated as such.
If we do not fix the economy to relieve the pain and anguish of many Nigerians, the gain in fighting insurgency and corruption will pale into insignificance.

No administration can nor should be comfortable with excruciating pain of debilitating and crushing economy. Businesses are closing, jobs are being lost and people are suffering. I know that President Buhari has always expressed concern for the plight of the common people but that concern must be translated to workable and result-oriented socio-economic policy and programme that will turn the economy round at the shortest time possible. We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect things to change. That will be a miracle which normally doesn’t happen in normal national economies. We have people inside and outside who can be brought together to help device the right economic policy and programme to get us out of the pit before we fall over the precipice into a dark cave. Economy requires a great element of trust to get it out of the doldrums let alone out of negativity. That trust and confidence has to be created.

Coming back to the issue of corruption, there is always need for institution reform to go along with recovery to make gains from fight against corruption last. Such reforms may have to be strengthened by legislation like the military procurement I mentioned earlier. But where the guard is the thief like we have seen in recent times, it makes things difficult, if not impossible.

All in all, everybody must be held accountable. There should be no sacred cow or witch-hunting or untenable excuses to let the camel through the needle eye. Those who must be made accountable must be made accountable with stick and carrot. However, I remain optimistic even though the grounds for optimism keep shrinking. Or, how do you explain having to go into any debate at all whether or not a judge found corrupt should be properly and lawfully dealt with or not? Worse still, how do you explain the situation where people are shamelessly protesting in favour of a person being arraigned in court for corruption offences? Whether those protesters are put to it or they put themselves to it, it is the greatest disservice to the Nation. It is shamefully disgraceful for both the culprit and the protesters. And it is an indication of how much our values have been debased. We cannot be a strong, great and respected nation in the world without political stability and cohesion, strong economy, robust and enduring values.

The Media should be more discerning, sensitive and responsible in reporting and commenting on corruption issues. We should realise that the entrenched interests, internally and externally, in corruption, will not go away. We need to discover and find permanent solution, otherwise some will bend, others will lie low while some others will be dormant; but all of them will spring up later and move on with vengeance as if nothing had happened. That has been our experience in the past. We must put an end to that. Part of sustenance of fight against corruption will be moral rearmament and resurgence of core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, justice, hard work and sense of shame, not impunity and indignity.

We must think and act out of the box to put the monster of corruption and impunity behind us permanently. For some unclear reasons, the government at the centre has not been able (I hope not lack of willingness) to present to the Nation the true position of our economy and our finances. For instance, how much did we receive from major revenue earning and collecting points – petroleum and gas, FIRS, maritime, aviation, VAT, etc. And how much should we have received. If there was any discrepancy, why, how and how much? How was the receipt distributed and how was the Federal allocation spent? Such a clear picture will let Nigerians and their friends know where we are.

It will help people to understand exactly the position of government with true economic and financial situation, and what more pains and sacrifices we have to take and make to get us out of recession. Nigerians must know the truth to work our way out of recession. Easy options will not get us there. Blanket cover or cover-up is no accountability. I was shocked to know that the ECOWAS’ money collected out of 0.5 per cent import surcharge for ECOWAS was spent by Nigeria in the last five years or so. How was that for responsibility and accountability and particularly leadership within ECOWAS?

The blanket adverse comments or castigation of all democratic administrations from 1999 by the present administration is uncharitable, fussy and uninstructive. Politics apart, I strongly believe that there is a distinction between the three previous administrations that it would be unfair to lump them all together. I understand President Buhari’s frustration on the state of the economy inherited by him. It was the same reason and situation that brought about cry for change, otherwise there would be no need for change if it was all nice and rosy.

Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based. I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.

Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved. The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism. Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning. It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.

And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.

There is one aspect of accountability in governance in Nigeria that I consider paramount and which is often overlooked. That is accountability for our unity, cohesion, peace and security. All other issues can be fairly well attended to, addressed and dealt with if our unity, cohesion, peace and security are unassailable. It is normally the responsibility of government to mobilise the citizenry for all hands on deck to ensure good governance and accountability. All men and women of goodwill in Nigeria must be part of the exercise.

The fundamentals to achieving such a situation are justice, fairness, equity, popular participation and equal opportunity. In the last seven to eight years, we have slipped back on these fundamentals. The result is that our country is today more factionised than we were ten years ago. For the purpose of nation-building, it is not a satisfactory situation to be in especially when we need all hands on deck to work and walk our way out of recession. For those at the helm of governance, accountability, for unity, cohesion, peace and security as basis for development, growth and progress is not any less important than accountability for management of resources. It must be seen as the symbol of any political administration and what the welfare and well-being of the people hang on. Accountability in governance is the litmus test of any administration. It is the accountability of institutions which is the hallmark of democracy that promotes both political and economic good governance. Open government must be seen and made to work as partnership in which all have a stake and an interest.

Consistent with the law and policy, government must take appropriate action to disclose information rapidly and timely in form that members of the public can easily access and utilise. With the latest in digital technology, information about government operations and decisions should be readily available online. The public should be solicited for feedback to identify information of greatest and most vital use to the public. When I was President of Nigeria, I adopted regular public discussion on radio and television with questions and answers as one means of achieving this objective. The value of openness in government engagement with citizen to improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation and create safer and more secure communities must be upheld.

There must be ‘disciplined nationalism’ to manage resources, internal or foreign, for maximisation of growth and for the benefit of all. A torrent of money in the hands of weak, corrupt and incompetent government is a disastrous waste for a nation. Nigeria has experienced that in the not-too-distant past.
Apart from the reforms necessary in all arms of government, for the immediate and the future, we must embark on very close x-ray of all people seeking elective offices at any level and all political, judicial and legislative appointees.

The x-raying must be open and transparent and the burden of proof must be that of the person seeking elective office and/or any of the public appointments mentioned.

In the past, we have not done enough background checks and enquiries about the past of people seeking elective offices or being appointed to public offices. The same is the case of people being awarded national honours and awards to the extent that national honour and award have been cheapened and debased. I know an officer who was removed from the Army for embezzling N300,000 of troops’ salary and was given national honour under the last administration.

I dare say also that a situation where a person supposed to be screened by the National Assembly for public appointment is told to give a bow without any screening because he or she had been a member of that Assembly amounts to dereliction of duty on the part of the national body. If people know that their total past will be x-rayed and the burden of proof will be theirs, they will be guarded, careful and more circumspect. Public office is public trust of integrity, honesty, incorruptibility and total good conduct and good behaviour. Therefore, anybody with a question mark should be considered ineligible for elective office or for appointment into public office.

Before I conclude, let me commend all the foot soldiers in the war against corruption – the different panels of enquiries, the ICPC but particularly the EFCC which is now showing that it is a bull dog that can bite. It has, of course, continued to get rid of bad eggs within its rank. We must appeal to the Judiciary not to frustrate the efforts of these soldiers through flimsy technicality and interminable adjournments. Corruption is corruption and it cannot be explained as the proceeds of sale of rice and gari by a judge nor can millions of dollars be explained as medical fee or gifts without identified sources by a public officer or spouse of such a public officer.

The foot soldiers in anti-corruption war must be encouraged to soldier on through commendation and appreciation of their efforts. In the final analysis, we must ensure that by law, review of our Constitution, convention, advocacy and awareness-raising, we stamp out brazenness, impunity and utter irresponsibility in governance and ensure accountability in any arm, ministry, department, parastatal or unit of government.

Let me conclude on a note of optimism with caution. Nigeria has shown great resilience and capacity to bounce back from the edge of the precipice in the past and our people, boldly and courageously, went out to seek greener pasture with remarkable success. Events in the world are showing that the opportunities are diminishing. If we do not get it right in good governance and accountability, the fuze of anger of the citizenry particularly the youth may be getting shorter.

Correction must be made while there is still time. If that correction is timely made, Nigeria has the quantity and quality of resources particularly human resources to make it a great nation to be counted among the comity of nations within two generations as the undisputed leader of Africa and the black race in all ramifications.
May God continue to give us what we need in governance at every level and accountability for now and in future.

Thank you for listening.

Military court jails soldier for stealing bullets, demotes three others.

A military general court martial in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Tuesday sentenced a soldier to 18 months in prison for unauthorized possession of live ammunition outside his assigned duty post.

The court also ruled that three officers would not be promoted for periods ranging from 18 months to two years for unprofessional conduct in the fron-tline.

The court martial, headed by Olusegun Adeniyi, a Brigadier General, tried Private Mcdonald Chukwu on a two-count charge after he was caught at a bus station with 89 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition inside his traveling bag.

He was arrested by a female police sergeant, Sarah Peters, who frisked his bag as he was about to board a commercial bus in Maiduguri.

Mr. Chukwu, in an earlier statement, admitted being in possession of the ammunition, but said he forgot them in his bag when he returned from his duty post, as he hurried to get money from an ATM machine to travel.

He later disowned the statement, saying the ammunition were not found in his bag.

An Army Major, Usman Inyam, was made to forfeit 18 months of his seniority status, for professional misconduct that involved his abandoning duty post in such a manner that may have endangered the lives of troops in the front-line.

His lone charge indicated that as a commanding officer in charge of infantry troops in Takumbare area of Gwoza local government, Mr. Inyam abandoned a post frequently used by Boko Haram insurgents when under attack by soldiers.

He will forfeit his seniority by 20 months, while a captain, Christopher Leche, was stripped for two years.

The court martial would continue its sitting on Wednesday when it is expected to deliver judgment on more cases before it.

Few weeks ago, a Special Court Martial demoted Maj.-Gen. Patrick Falola, to Brigadier-General for admitting students for clinical training without permission from higher authorities.

Boko Haram overrunning Chibok communities, leaders cry out

Weeks after they celebrated the release of 21 of their abducted daughters, the people of Chibok in Borno State say their communities are being overrun by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

They said at least nine communities under Chibok local government area have been either attacked, sacked or burnt down by rampaging Boko Haram insurgents.

The federal government has said that talks are continuing with Boko Haram for the release of some 196 Chibok girls still in captivity.

But the recent upsurge of hostilities by Boko Haram within and around Borno State, has raised concerns about the prospect of such talks.

The chairman of Chibok local government area, Yaga Yarkawa, on Monday, told journalists in Maiduguri that the most attack on Chibok communities took place was in Thlaimaklama village.

He said hundreds of persons fled their homes as the insurgents torched houses, looted foodstuff and stole livestock.

“Chibok is now under Boko Haram siege,” he said.

“Contrary to claims by government and security operatives, Chibok is not safe. There has been series of renewed attacks on our communities. As I am talking to you now the villages of Kuburmbula, Tsilari, Kamdzilari, Kuburnvwu, Kautikari, Kwada, Buftari and Kakulmari have all been attacked, and burnt down completely in the past weeks.”

Most of the villages bordering Damboa and Sambia forest parts of the state.

He said the latest attack took place at the weekend in Thlaimaklama village where the insurgents carted away farm products in 15 vehicles, after setting ablaze three vehicles and several numbers of houses without any confrontation from the military.

He said the insurgents came at the peak of the harvest period, and loaded their vehicles with the fresh harvests from the villagers’ farms.

“I have no doubt that the insurgents are in control of Kuburmbula, Tsilari, Kamdzilari, Kuburnvwu, Kautikari, Kwada, Buftari, Klaima and Kakulmari villages,” he said.

Confirming the development in Chibok, a leader of the vigilante group in Chibok, Commander Aboku said, “The Boko Haram terrorists have been on the move destroying every community they enter”.

He added that the fluid nature of their movement makes it difficult for them to confront them.

Mr. Abogu however said that the vigilante were able to kill two of the insurgents and recovered two AK47 rifles and a Hilux vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft gun.

He called on the military to move into the area and collaborate with the local vigilante who have better understanding of the difficult terrain.

Military Releases List Of 55 Wanted Boko Haram Suspects

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, has released a banner containing photographs and names of 55 suspected Boko Haram terrorists wanted for various attacks and terror activities in the northeast where the military is currently prosecuting a war
against the insurgents.

He launched the latest batch of the terrorist suspects on Monday in Maiduguri, bringing the total number of those declared wanted by the military since last year to 155.

The Army had late last year published the first set of 100 suspected members of the terrorist sect, Boko Haram wanted by the Nigerian state, and another batch early this year when the launched the Motorbike Battalion in Damboa, Borno State.

“I urge all to facilitate the tracking down the suspects for the good and development of the country,” the defence chief said while releasing the banner at a brief event at the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maimalari Contonement of the Nigerian Army Maiduguri.

“With this launching of an additional list of wanted terrorists, it is hoped that the public will collaborate to identify the wanted Boko Haram wherever they are,” he added.

He however, urged Boko Haram members who wish to surrender their arms and embrace peace to do so in time so as to benefit from the military Operation Save Corridors programme for repentant terrorists.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, noted that the army first published a wanted lists of Boko Haram late 2015, adding that it released the second later.

Buratai said the fresh lists which contained the name and photograph of Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader, was the third list released to the public.

He said the military published the list for the purpose of emphasis, urging the people to provide useful information regarding the Boko Haram men. He promised that such information will be treated with secrecy.

Credit: thisdaylive

Militants’ attacks: Military removes Commander in Niger Delta, appoints replacements.

A new commander for Operation Delta Safe in the Niger Delta has been appointed. He is Rear Admiral Apochi Ogabu Suleiman.


Suleiman relieves Rear Admiral Joseph Osa Okojie who has now been reassigned.


Until his appointment, Rear Admiral Suleiman was the Director Development at the Defence Headquarters.


Before that, he was the Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command.


A statement by Col. Kingsley Umoh, on behalf of Director of Defence Information said “This change becomes necessary in order to inject new capability to contain the prevailing security threats and provide adequate much needed stability in the region.”


The appointment is take immediate effect.


The presidency yesterday lamented renewed attack on installations and also complained that militants were not showing interest in dialogue.

No Mercenaries Involved In Fight Against Boko Haram- Military

The military said yesterday that it had both the capacity and capability to defeat the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, and so would not engage mercenaries to achieve such feat.

In a statement from the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, released by the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, the military insisted that it had the ability to clear the remnants of the terrorists from the area without seeking any assistance of mercenaries. It said the statement was in response to a media report that it was considering the engagement of mercenaries in its prosecution of the war in the North East.

The statement read: “We read with dismay the disturbing newspaper report on Wednesday 9 November claiming that foreign mercenaries would be used to fight Boko Haram. “This story is not only mischievous and unfounded but also lacks merit and far from the truth.

“The DHQ wishes to state with emphasis that the Nigerian Armed Forces has the capacity and capability to clear the remnants of the terrorists from our land and that is what the military has been doing.

“It is not necessary or logical to go for mercenaries after the battle of Boko Haram insurgent had been won.

“The pocket of attacks witnessed in the last few days by the fleeing Boko Haram terrorists are isolated cases, though regrettable.

‘’That does not call for serious concern as it is not uncommon worldwide for such occurrence in any area that was once infested by terrorist groups.

“Those peddling rumours on the use of mercenaries are mischievous. They have done it before and failed and are at it again.

“Surely, they will definitely fail this time also. The unprecedented successes recorded against the deadly Boko Haram sect by the Nigerian military without seeking external force is there for all to see.

“The DHQ, therefore, urges our patriotic citizens to ignore the senseless talk and dismiss the story in its entirety as it was concocted to serve inglorious selfish interest.”


Military Eliminates 13 Terrorists In Kangarwa, Borno State.

Troops from the 119 Task Force Battalion, 8 Division Nigerian Army neutralized 13 Boko Haram insurgents in Kangarwa, Kukawa Local Government Area in Borno State on Monday, according to a military press release.


One soldier, however, was killed in the battle while three others were wounded.


According to the press statement, the offensive lasted for nearly four hours, and troops had to call the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for back up. The NAF subsequently deployed an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft and a Ground Attack Fighter aircraft to assist the troops.


During the offensive, troops neutralized two Hilux trucks and recovered one Hilux vehicle, one Browning machine gun, one anti-aircraft gun, two general purpose machine guns, one light machine gun, five Ak-47 rifles, and other arms and ammunitions.

Military, eTranzact launch e-payment cards for pensioners.

E-payment service provider, eTranzact International Plc, in collaboration with the Military Pensions Board, has launched an electronic payment card to offer identification, verification and rewards to all members of the Nigerian armed forces.


The card will allow over 100,000 retired members of the Army, Navy and Airforce access a biometric military pension card with a 4-in-1 value proposition: identification, verification, rewards, including receiving and making payments.

Speaking at the launch of the card in Abuja, the Founder/CEO of eTranzact International, Valentine Obi, said: “We are happy to be key partners in this great and commendable project in support of our courageous ex-service personnel and military pensioners. The resilience and courage of the Nigerian military is a source of joy to everyone and we hope that this pension card project not only solves identification and verification issues for the military but also gives the private sector an opportunity to offer special rewards and discounts.”


According to eTranzact, the card offers immense benefits to its recipients as it can be tied to a bank account, attached to a mobile money wallet or operated as a stand-alone reloadable card.

Other benefits like a five per cent discount on airtime top-up, discounts on airline tickets, restaurant discounts, etc., are other benefits that are possible with the card.

Military kills 13 terrorists, loses officer in fresh offensive.

The 119 Task Force Battalion of 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri has killed 13 Boko Haram terrorists and lost an officer in a “ground and aerial bombardment” at Kangarwa in northern axis of Borno State.

Yesterday’s operation also led to recovery of arms and ammunition as well as destruction of two vehicles used by the suspected terrorists.

Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said: “The offensive which begun at about 4:00p.m. and lasted for about four hours, necessitated the troops calling for air support which the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) promptly responded by dispatching an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aerial and ground attack fighter aircraft.”

The Army spokesman also met with the media to boost the fight terrorism and other criminal activities in the country.

Also yesterday, a mock counter-terrorism exercise conducted by NAF at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) triggered panic among passengers and others in Lagos.

The training was code-named exercise Thunder Bolt.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubarkar, said the exercise was to reassure the public about its readiness.

In the meantime, the Delta State Police Command has arrested two suspected killers of some naval officers in Bayelsa State recently.

The Commissioner of Police, Zanna Ibrahim, told reporters yesterday in Asaba that the suspects were arrested at their hideout in Warri following a tip-off.

Their names were given as Okorotie Jakpany, 31 and and 25-year-old Jerome Fiye.

The police chief also paraded others for various offences. Those also arrested included Umaru, 19, Jibril Saidu, 25, Abdul Mohammed, 20, Usman Onga, 20, Isah Alli, 21, Useni Alli and Dahiru Usman, 21.

Nigerian Parliament Urges Posthumous Promotion For Slain Military Hero

The House of Representatives on Tuesday recommended that a Nigerian soldier who died over the weekend be given a posthumous promotion to be a colonel.

Muhammad Abu-Ali died in a Boko Haram ambush on Friday night as a lieutenant colonel.

The proposal by the House followed a motion of urgent national concern raised by one of its members from Sokoto, Abdulsamad Dasuki.

Mr. Dasuki in his motion also said the Nigerian government should employ his wife into the civil service and take possession of his children’s education forthwith.

The lawmaker also said all salaries and allowances due to Mr. Abu-Ali should be immediately paid out to his family.

Mr. Abu-Ali and six others were killed in an attack by terrorists in Mallam Fatori, Borno State.

During the discussion on the floor of the House, Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, described the soldier as a dogged and patriotic soldier.

“He proved that in any capacity you can serve the nation with great enthusiasm and commitment,” Mr. Ogor said.


Military will end attacks by herdsmen soon – DHQ

The Nigerian military has assured that it would soon combat Fulani herdsmen unleashing terror on the citizens across the nation.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin, while speaking on the successes recorded by the military in crushing Boko Haram insurgents, said it has become necessary to end the activities of the herdsmen and other criminal gangs nationwide.

Olonishakin, who was represented by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Abubakar Rabe, addressed journalists in Kaduna at the weekend.

He said the military would soon put a stop to the deadly activities of the herdsmen who have ravaged many communities and destroyed lives and property.

According to him: “We are coming up with Operation Accord. It is an operation initiated by the Defence Headquarters to tackle the activities of herdsmen. I believe as soon as it becomes operational this issue of incessant clashes between herdsmen and communities will be a thing of the past.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizens wherever they are.”

Explaining the successes recorded by the military against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, Olonishakin said: “Boko Haram is gone and gone forever. The armed forces have done everything possible to dislodge them and they are 100 per cent contained.

“Our countrymen and women have testified to what we have done. It now remains the total commitment and mobilisation to ensure that the interests of criminal groups are not protected. What they want is just for them to be noticed and when they do anything they should be heard.”

The defence chief added: “There is no country in the world that contains insurgency within a time span of seven years like Nigeria. Mali had to send their military chief to come to learn from us on what we have done to contain the activities of the Boko Haram group.”

The consequences of the U.S. war on terrorism in Africa.

On May 5, President Barack Obama hosted his Djiboutian counterpart, Ismail Omar Guelleh, at the White House. The two leaders signed a 20-year lease agreement for the Djibouti-based Camp Lemonnier, the biggest U.S. military base in Africa. Covering 500 acres, the installation is a crucial launching site for U.S. military operations against militant groups in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. The U.S. agreed to pay an annual fee of $70 million for the site, which now hosts more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel and civilians.

The base is a key part of Pentagon’s plans “to maximize the impact of a relatively small U.S. presence in Africa,” according to the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, a congressional panel that conducts assessments of U.S. defense strategy and priorities. All African countries except Eritrea receive some form of U.S. military assistance, according to data from the U.S. State Department. Most of this assistance is channeled through the department’s International Military Education and Training program, which facilitates professional relationships with African militaries. The Obama administration is looking to invest in “new, effective and efficient small footprint locations and developing innovative approaches to using host nation facilities or allied joint-basing” as part of its focus on security in Africa. A handful of African nations — including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Niger, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritania, Mali, the Seychelles and Burkina Faso — already host U.S. drone sites, shared bases and military surveillance facilities. Also, the U.S. maintains a secretive program training counterterrorism commandos in states that straddle the vast Sahara, whose ungoverned spaces provide a rear base for terrorist groups.

The Pentagon’s military footprint in Africa is indeed small compared with other parts of the world. For example, in 2012, U.S. military aid and arms sales to Africa accounted for a mere 4.25 percent of the global total. (The Near East received 67.7 percent.) These military outlays were just 5.5 percent of the $7.8 billion the U.S. allocated for foreign assistance in the African region, with health care ($5.6 billion) getting the lion’s share. Regardless of the size of the U.S. military footprint in Africa, its expansion of has serious implications for the continent’s security, the consolidation of democracy and the professionalization of its militaries as well as for respect for human rights across the region. Unfortunately, these concerns do not rank high on the Pentagon’s agenda.

U.S. Africa command

The U.S. geographic command responsible for Africa is overseen by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), based in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2009, two years after it was created, AFRICOM had an operating budget of about $400 million and more than 1,000 staffers. Unlike other similar U.S. operations, it is fully integrated with other U.S. agencies in Africa — including USAID and the State, Commerce and Treasury departments. This arrangement informs AFRICOM’s focus on a 3-D approach — defense, diplomacy and development — in the region.

At the core of the U.S. military engagement in Africa is the war against Al-Qaeda affiliates: Somalia’s Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), as well as armed groups such as Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Nigeria’s Boko Haram. To help conduct AFRICOM’s counterterrorism operations in the region, the U.S. has recruited a motley crew of African allies, including those that face direct threats from these groups. Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia are key partners in the war against Al-Shabaab, and Niger and Burkina Faso have emerged as critical hosts of U.S. operations against AQIM. But Washington’s strategic calculations and the interests of African leaders who sign on to these arrangements do not always converge with the interests of the majority of African people.

In order to preserve ongoing cooperation arrangements, the U.S. has consistently looked the other way in the face of gross human rights violations and anti-democratic tendencies of its partner states. Djibouti’s Guelleh, now in power for 15 years, scrapped term limits to pave the way for a third term in 2010, leading to the opposition’s boycott of parliament. In Djibouti, not unlike in other allied countries, the 2013 U.S. State Department annual country reports revealed cases of torture, arbitrary arrest and restriction of freedom of association. Ethiopia and Uganda, the two leading U.S. allies in sub-Saharan Africa, are serial human rights offenders. Ethiopia is the second leading jailer of journalists in Africa (after only Eritrea). In a renewed crackdown on freedom of expression, authorities in Ethiopia jailed nine additional journalists and bloggers last month only days before Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Addis Ababa. The country has been in the news for the recent killings of unarmed student protesters in the Oromia region. Uganda gained international infamy earlier this year by pioneering a draconian anti-gay law. In both countries, opposition parties operate under severe restriction, with Ethiopia having only one opposition member in its 547-person legislature.

The challenge for AFRICOM and its African partners is to devise strategies that will ensure that security objectives are not pursued at the expense of democracy, military professionalization and respect for human rights.

The United States has been implicated in maintaining a secretive detention program in concert with the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia. A 2008 Human Rights Watch report, “Horn of Africa Renditions,” detailed a little-known unlawful detention policy, akin to the Central Intelligence Agency’s extraordinary rendition program. According to journalist Jason Leopold, Mohammed al-Asad, a Yemeni citizen arrested in Tanzania in 2003, claims that U.S. forces tortured him at a black site in Djibouti. In Kenya the government has recently been accused of summarily executing radical Muslim clerics suspected of having links to Al-Shabaab. (The government denies the charge.) The war on terrorism has provided opportunities for some African leaders to enact sweeping anti-terrorism laws with the aim of silencing dissent. In Ethiopia alone, more than 35 journalists and opposition leaders have been convicted under that country’s anti-terrorism proclamation.

Militarized solutions

In addition to turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, the U.S.’s inherent bias toward military approaches to security threats in Africa limits the options available to African governments facing domestic security challenges. In many cases, negotiations with entities designated as terrorist groups contravene U.S. anti-terrorism laws that forbid any kind of exchange that might be beneficial to terrorist groups. After initial attempts to negotiate with the LRA, Uganda has recently embarked on a purely militaristic solution backed by U.S. military hardware and advisers. Further afield, the United States’ designation of Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist group and the promise of military assistance after the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls may unreasonably limit Nigeria’s options for political and other kinds of negotiated settlements. Because of their exposure to terrorist attacks (as witnessed in Djibouti on May 25) and their economic consequences, African states allied with the U.S. must strive to maintain enough wriggle room to pursue localized solutions to their security challenges.

U.S. military operations and engagements with African militaries also risk compromising the professionalization of African militaries. Uganda offers an instructive case. Kampala has been a key U.S. military ally since the Iraq War and is the leading partner in the African Union mission in Somalia. Washington maintains an important facility at the Entebbe airport and is assisting in the hunt for the LRA leader Joseph Kony. But over the same period, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in office since 1986, has personalized the military. Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda argues that Museveni has used a “strategy of fragmentation” to create factions within the military in an attempt to limit coherence in the institution. The president’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, is the commander of the special forces, a group whose duties include protecting the president and the country’s oil resources. More generally, unless carefully mitigated, Washington’s unchecked war on terrorism in the region will result in overgrown military units outside normal chains of command, creating problems for effective civilian control in the long run.

The challenge for both AFRICOM and its African partners is to devise strategies that will ensure that security objectives are not pursued at the expense of democracy, military professionalization and respect for human rights. Furthermore, in the spirit of its 3-D approach, AFRICOM must be open to domestic solutions to Africa’s security needs. Such domestic solutions have the advantage of localizing the specific conflicts that create insecurity in the first place. Ultimately, African leaders must be careful not to let their countries be turned into mere venues for an international conflict between the U.S. and transnational terrorist groups.

Ken Opalo is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Stanford University. His dissertation research is on institutional change, focusing on legislative development in Africa. 

Shadow War in the Sahara: A look at US/French Military Activities in Africa.

Africa remains a key territory on the global chessboard of the 21st century. Rich in oil and natural resources, the continent holds a strategic position.
Whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa, if not the whole of Africa.

Doulaye Konate, Association of African Historians,

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies. North Africa counts with vast oil and natural gas deposits, the Sahara holds the most strategic nuclear ore, and resources such as coltan, gold, and copper, among many others, are abundant in the continent.

But despite its position and resources, conflict and chaos have spread throughout the continent. At the heart of this turmoil is a strategic territory: the Sahel.

The region that straddles the Sahara to the north and the savannas in the south has become an important new front in the so-called war against terrorism.

But is the official narrative, the fight against terrorism, masking a larger battle? Have the resource wars of the 21st century already begun?

“What we are currently experiencing can be described as ‘a new scramble for Africa’,” says Jean Batou, Professor of History at Lausanne University.

‘Whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa’

At the centre of the troubled region of the Sahel is the nation of Mali, which is among the world’s poorest. Unemployment is rampant and most people survive hand to mouth.

Yet, back in the 13th century, the Mali empire extended over much of West Africa and was extraordinarily wealthy and powerful. Ivory and gold made it a major crossroads for global trade at the time. But inevitably, these resources lead to conquests.

“We are the transition between North Africa and Africa that reaches the ocean and the forests. This gives us an important strategic position: whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa – if not the whole of Africa … That’s why this region became so coveted,” says Doulaye Konate from the Association of African Historians.

The imperial European powers unveiled their plans to colonise Mali and the rest of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1885. Britain, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy and France, each got their share.

“The arrival of colonisation tore us apart. It felt like a cut, almost like a surgical operation,” Konate says.

The French colonial empire extended over much of western and northern Africa, but in the late 1950s the winds of freedom started blowing across Africa, and France was to lose all its colonies.

However, the euphoria of independence was short. France retained troops, bases and political influence over its former colonies: the policy of “France-Afrique” was born.

“France was Africa’s watchdog, defending the West in the region,” says Antoine Glaser, author of France-Afrique.

Colonisation of Algeria: the French landing in Algeria in the coastal town of Sidi Ferruch in 1830. [Liebig series: L’origine de diverses colonies/The origin of various colonies, 1922, No 1). (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images]

The US and the threat of ‘terrorism’

In the 1960s, the discovery of huge oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea attracted a new player: the United States.

The US made military as well as economic investments on the African continent and Africa became a battleground in the Cold War.

In 1992, the US launched a so-called humanitarian intervention in the strategic Horn of Africa. The US sent 28,000 soldiers to Somalia to help to put an end to a civil war. The operation ended in disaster two years later after American soldiers were captured and killed, images of their mutilated bodies broadcast around the world. They decided to withdraw.

In 2001, the attack on the World Trade Center reconfigured the geopolitics of the world. The US launched a war in Afghanistan – a war that would soon spread far beyond.

A few months after September 11, the US military returned to the Horn of Africa with plans to stay. They established their first military base in Djibouti.

“The Sahel played a key role in looking at the movement of weapons, the movement of potential foreign fighters, and organised crime …,” says Rudolph Atallah, the former Director of Africa Counter-Terrorism, US Department of Defense.

American President George Bush visits US soldiers in Somalia [Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images]

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM)

The United States is the only country to have divided the world into separate military sectors to monitor and patrol, NORTHCOM, PACOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM and now AFRICOM.

Under the stated goals of fighting terrorism and providing humanitarian assistance, AFRICOM implanted itself on the continent, conducting military exercises with a growing number of African countries.

The establishment of AFRICOM was key for the consolidation of US interests in Africa.

The Americans sought to establish the headquarters of AFRICOM as well as a headquarters for the CIA in Mali. The problem was that the Africans had a common position of refusing the establishment of new military bases.

This opposition forced the US to set up the command of AFRICOM thousands of miles away, in Stuttgart, Germany.

Muammar Gaddafi: The ‘mad dog of the Middle East’

Nelson Mandela’s view was almost identical to Gaddafi’s that there would be no African forces commanded by foreign military officials, and there would be no foreign militaries occupying any part of Africa or operating within Africa.

Maximilian Forte, author

African resistance to AFRICOM was spearheaded by Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

President Ronald Reagan had labelled him the “mad dog of the Middle East” and had tried to assassinate him in 1986 by bombing his palace.

The Libyan leader’s independence and influence flowed from the vast petroleum reserves, the largest in Africa, which he had nationalised when he took power.

Gaddafi wanted to demonstrate that Africa could develop without depending on the Western banking system or the International Monetary Fund.

“From the beginning of his political career as a leader, Muammar Gaddafi was opposed to a foreign military presence in Africa. One of the first things he did after coming to power in 1969 was to expel the British and US military bases in Libya itself,” Maximilian Forte, the author of Slouching Towards Sirte: Nato’s war on Libya and Africa, explains.

But in March 2011, as the Arab’s Spring spread through North Africa, France and the United States decided to act. This was AFRICOM’S first war and its commander-in-chief was the first African-­American president.

$2.2 Billion Arms Cash: Military Rejects Jonathan’s Claim

Military sources yesterday rejected former President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim that his administration bought warships and aircraft.

The former president, who spoke at a lecture he delivered on “Youth Entrepreneurship” at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom (UK), tried to exonerate former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki of corruption allegations involving $2.2 billion voted for arms procurement.

Jonathan said he did not believe the former NSA stole the money because weapons were bought for the military to fight Boko Haram.

Jonathan said: “I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion; we bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army and so on and so forth and you are still saying 2.2billion, so where did we get the money to buy all those things?”

Investigations however revealed that the former President might have been deceived by his officials on the type of weapons that were bought for the military.

According to several military sources who asked to remain anonymous because of the “sensitivity” of the matter, many of the weapons bought under the former president were “unserviceable and useless”.

One said the Jonathan administration bought at least three fairly used (Tokunbo) Alpha Jets for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and two helicopters. But the jets were , the sources claimed, “not worth anything because they were not weaponised and the helicopters were cannibalised.”

NAF recently reconfigured two demilitarised Alpha jets in its inventory. According to the NAF website, the jets were bought from the United States in 2015 to help in the fight against Boko Haram.

“The two aircraft are among the four Alpha Jets bought from the United States in 2015 by the immediate past administration to enhance the operational capability of the NAF to combat Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast.

“The aircraft, however, before now, could not be deployed in the theatre of operation due to the inherent weapon delivery deficiency, hence its limited use for training purposes. The urgent need in recent times to commit all NAF available platforms to OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE to enhance the success of the counter insurgency operation necessitated the Service to look inward to seek ways of achieving its drive for self reliance through research and development.

“ A number of vendors invited to Nigeria to assess the platforms had concluded that it would be difûcult or almost impossible to undertake the project since the Original Equipment Manufacturer had long closed down the production line. A few others who agreed to the possibility of having the aircraft reconfigured to carry munitions have also submitted proposals for initial assessment fee ranging from $20,000 – $30,000 before they could come up with the actual cost for the project. Convinced that the project would work, the NAF consequently assembled a team of technicians to develop a feasible model for the project. The model worked on ground, and has since been mounted on the Alpha Jets, and test fown successfully. This feat is a major research and development breakthrough for the NAF and the nation as a huge foreign exchange saver, given that the project only cost about N4,000,000.00 compared to what would be required to have it done abroad,” NAF said.

However, the former President may have been referring to the purchase of six decommissioned Norwegian battleships, bought purportedly on behalf of the Navy by former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.

The purchase had caused a huge row in Norway forcing that country’s military leadership to apologize to the lawmakers. The battleships were said to be used for anti-piracy operations on Nigerian waters. The Director of Information, Nigerian Navy, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, did not respond to our correspondent’s questions on the whereabouts of the battleships.

However a search on the Navy website revealed that the service has 24 battle ships purchased over several years while it still awaits one battleship built in China, NNS Unity.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is seeking to add an additional C295W military aircraft to its fleet as the battle against Boko Haram reaches an advance stage. NAF has been crucial to the recent victories recorded by the military in the Northeast, through series of sustained aerial bombardment of camps and locations of Boko Haram militants.

The aircraft is to be purchased from Airbus Defence and Space Company (Spain), which had earlier in the year made proposals to the NAF.

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had played host to Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Alfonso Barnuevo Sebastian De Erice, who led two executives of Airbus Defence and Space Company to the NAF Headquarters and held discussions on the company’s proposal to sell the C295W military aircraft to the NAF.

According to NAF, based on its operational capabilities, the aircraft was considered suitable to meet some of its operational needs, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and airlift operations.

The air force has also recommended the aircraft for acquisition and provisions have been made for this in the 2017 budget proposal.

The CAS urged the visiting team to start looking into training areas for NAF pilots and technicians on the aircraft.

This, he said, is with a view to ensuring a smooth take-off for the operation of the aircraft in the event of its approval by the Federal Government.

Military operation won’t stop us – Militants

Adaka Boro Avengers (ABA) has said military presence in the Niger Delta will not stop agitation for control of resources.

The ABA said hostilities will soon break out in the Niger Delta but held out that it is ready for a dialogue process that would be led by Chief Edwin Clark.

“All we want you to know is that hostilities in the Niger Delta region will soon begin because the time that was given to you was enough for any meaningful dialogue. This does not mean we are not ready for dialogue.

“We are ready for any meaningful dialogue process that will be headed by Chief Edwin Clark. We want you to know that whenever you are ready to engage in any meaningful dialogue process, you know what to do. Our demands still remain the same. We want to control our resources and pay appropriate tax to the central government; that is fiscal federalism in practice and in principles.”

Government, representatives of multinational oil corporations and elders as well as stakeholders should guide themselves with the following documents: the Sir Henry Willinks Commission Report of 1958, The Ogoni Bill of Rights, The Kaiama Declaration of the Ijaw Youth Council, The General Alexander Ogomudia Committee Report, The Niger Delta Technical Committee Report which contains the Pre- amnesty issues and agreement with the government of Nigeria in 2009…”

In a related development, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) said the region has the right to demand control of its resources, just as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it has endorsed the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and representative of Pan Niger Delta Group (PNDG), Chief Clark slated for October 31.

NDA spokesman, Murdcoh Agbinibo said the Niger Delta region is not a conquered region and the people have a legitimate right to demand control of their resources which is a struggle different from tribal and religious bigotry.

He, however, said “the region is not a conquered unit of the Federation called Nigeria. It is our legitimate right to control our resources and pay appropriate taxes to the central government.

Those concepts of revenue sharing and allocation formula are alien to federalism. Anywhere in the world, there are conflicts, there emerges merchants of conflict and Niger Delta is no exception.

“However, it is the responsibility of government or any interventionist agencies to identify and address conflict agents with genuine intents and spirit rather than pseudo-agents and political profiteers.”

Meanwhile, MEND’s spokesman, Jomo Gbomo in a statement endorsed a proposed meeting between President Buhari and Clark.

“Nevertheless, with news of the forthcoming meeting between president Buhari and the Chief Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Group, we are confident that the concessions already secured by MEND shall be respected by the Federal Government.

“Consequently, we urge members of the Clark-led PNDG to put aside personal interests and ambitions of primitive aggrandisement.

“Rather, we implore them to realise that the Niger Delta region is at a Zebra-crossing and, therefore, they must remain steadfast and focused on their core mandate, to wit: restoration of sustainable and permanent peace and development of the region.”

“Then, the framework can be drawn for achieving the short, medium and long term objectives toward the restoration of our land and reparation for the people that have been raped and colonized since 1914,” General Edmos Ayayeibo spokesperson Adaka Boro Avengers wrote.

Niger Delta: Avengers Threaten to Resume Attacks on Oil Facilities

The Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, has issued a strong fresh warning to the Federal Government that it would resume bombing of oil facilities if the government made any further mistake to enter into negotiation with selfish leaders in the region.

The group said the so-called leaders only represented themselves instead of the interest of the people.

The Avengers in a statement accused some unnamed selfish Niger Delta leaders and groups of appropriating the overall interest of the region to themselves and cronies, while the majority wallowed in penury.

A spokesman for the NDA, who gave his name as Col. Rightman Hudson Opukurowari, in the statement, warned that any attempt by the government to engage in any form of dialogue with Niger Delta leaders who had allegedly hijacked the commonwealth of the people for their selfish interest, would be resisted.

Opukurowari said: “Since we had agreed to suspend bombing oil facilities and enter into genuine dialogue with the government, the administration has not shown any seriousness in talking to the right set of people to move the peace process forward.

“Two months after the ceasefire, it has become clear to the world that this government has not been sincere and serious in meeting the simple demands of the people to put in place a concrete plan of transforming the landscape and giving us any sense of hope despite our critical contribution to the commonwealth of the nation.

“From the way the government is going after we had suspended bombings, it is clear to the world that the Federal Government is not ready to make peace with us as earlier promised and we are under pressure to resume our attacks.

It is obvious that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has rather chosen to be nonchalant to the dialogue and has deliberately decided to invite only their political friends for a dinner in the name of dialogue, by their own selective measures, thereby ignoring the chance for real peace and dialogue with the appropriate persons and groups.

“The Government is trying to avoid a holistic approach to addressing the real issues affecting us and finding solutions to them but merely taking time off to engage those we see as “Niger Delta Vultures” sitting in Abuja with their sponsors, taking credit for our genuine agitations.

“We have watched and observed that with the body language of the President and the composition of the so-called dialogue group, no meaningful solution will be proffered unless the government invites all concerned and genuine individuals and groups for the purpose of finding a lasting solution to the crisis in the region.

“We hereby warn that any action taken by the government to provoke us to resume hostilities would be more brutal than before until we enter the promised land.

“We are concerned because these same persons invited for the scheduled dialogue have become Federal Government dialogue contractors and they do not represent the interest of the generality of the people.”

JUST IN: Nigerian Troops intercept and neutralizes suicide bomber.

Today at about 6.30am, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE intercepted and neutralized a male suicide bomber at the outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno State.


The terrorist who attempted to infiltrate through the troops forward defences at Jidari Polo general area, came in through Alidawari village about 4 kilometres ahead of Jidari strapped with heavy Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) vest.


The vigilant troops on sighting him laid in wait for the intruder when vehemently refused to stop despite several warnings and challenges. A marksman neutralized the suicide bomber.


The combined team of Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police Explosive Ordinance Device (EOD) safely detonated the IED laden vest on the suicide bomber.


Thank you for your kind cooperation.


Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman
Acting Director Army Public Relations

Military raises task force to tackle armed herdsmen

The Defence authorities have said that the military is perfecting plans to operationalise the Special Task Force codenamed Operation Accord designed to deal with the menace of herdsmen in Benue State and other states in the country.

The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said on Sunday that the Defence authorities had completed all arrangements and logistical requirements for the inauguration of the task force.

Abubakar said the military was only waiting to perfect ‘other things’ for the task force to commence operation.

TIt was reported on August 29, 2016, that the Defence authorities were planning a task force codenamed Operation Accord to deal with the threat posed by the Fulani herdsmen to communities in the country with the operational headquarters in one of the states of the North-Central geopolitical zone.

Abubakar said that once the Operation Accord became operational, the issue of the incessant herdsmen attacks on communities in the society would be a thing of the past.

He said that the military was aware of the situation in Benue State and decided to hold this year’s Chief of Army Staff Conference in the state to send a strong signal that it would do something about the herdsmen challenge very soon.

He said, “Well, you are aware that the situation in Benue State is of concern to the military. To show our concern, last week, we had the Chief of Army Staff annual conference in that place, and that demonstrates the extent to which we have shown concern, just to send the signal that we will do something very soon.

“As I am speaking with you, the Operation Accord which is the brainchild of the Defence headquarters would take effect soon. All arrangements, all other logistic requirements, all the training, and what have you, have been completed and what is remaining now is just to ensure that all other things are complete before we move into action. And I believe very soon, the story will change.

“It is unfortunate and it is condemnable that this kind of thing, they claim, is being carried out by some herdsmen but I believe by the time we put all these things in order, all these would go.

“I am assuring you, I am assuring Nigerians that once our operations come into being, incessant attacks by herdsmen against innocent citizens would be a thing of the past.

Reps Decry Purchase of N4.9bn Military Uniforms From Foreign Markets

Between 2015 and 2016, the Federal Government spent N4.9 billion on the procurement of military and paramilitary uniforms and allied materials from foreign countries.

The procurement of the items including footwear, berets, belts, cardigans, head warmers and branded stockings, from foreign markets is now a source of concern to the House of Representatives.

A member of the House, Mr. Prestige Ossy (Aba: Abia: APGA) drew the attention of his colleagues to the development via a motion of urgent public importance at the plenary session presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

He said the rate of dependence on foreign markets for almost everything used in Nigeria had become alarming.
Shedding light on the expenditure, Ossy disclosed that the N4. 3 billion spent on the items in 2016, when converted to dollars at the current rate of N305, amounted to $14. 1 million while the N1. 6 billion earmarked in the 2015 budget at the benchmark rate of N197 per dollar amounted to $8. 1 million.

He expressed the fear that if patronising foreign markets and trading in foreign currency continued, there was no way the government policy of foreign currency conservation could be achieved.

According to Ossy, such uniforms and other items could be produced locally and procured from indigenous markets at far more reduced prices. He said it behoved the government to put in place palliative measures in the form of grants and loans to empower indigenous textile factories to meet local demand for such clothing and other material needs of Nigerians.

According to Ossy, if the items were manufactured locally, it would boost the economy by way of foreign exchange.

The lawmakers adopted the motion and mandated the Bank of Industry to assist producers of garments, shoes and other materials with soft loans to procure modern machines.

They also mandated the House Committee on Defence and Industries to ensure that uniforms and other materials of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Customs, Immigration, Police, Civil Defence, Nigerian Prison Service and Nigerian Fire Service as well as health workers were produced locally.

Also, yesterday, the House demanded a reversal of ongoing move to increase rates of access gate charges by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Rotimi Agunsoye (Kosofe: Lagos: APC), who described the move as insensitive to the plight of the average Nigerian, the House directed FAAN to immediately suspend the planned increase slated for October 1, 2016.

The lower chamber also mandated its committee on aviation to engage the management of FAAN to offer an explanation on the proposed increase.

FG To Use Local Textile For Military, Paramilitary Uniforms

The federal government says plans are underway for Nigerian military and para-military personnel to use made in Nigeria textile for their uniforms.


The Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Hajiya A’isha Abubakar, said this, yesterday, in Benin at the 28th Annual National Education Conference of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) and the Nigerian Textile, Garment and Tailoring Employers Association (NTGTEA).

Represented by a director in the ministry, Barnabas Jattau, Hajiya A’isha said: “The government is presently discussion with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on how to stop smuggling of textiles materials into the country through the nation’s border posts.”


“The other plan is to reduce production cost, especially the cost of gas. We are working out ways to change gas pricing from dollar to naira.”


She said that the government, worried by the state of textile industry in the country, would revive the sector by ensuring that made in Nigeria textile was patronised by Nigerians.


Earlier, the President of the NUTGTWN, John Adaji, urged the federal government officials to wear clothing from fabrics made in Nigeria to encourage local textile manufacturers.


He advised President Muhamadu Buhari to shift from rhetoric to practical actions on the nation’s textile industry, saying that his achievement would be measured by the success he recorded in reviving the textile sector.


Also speaking, the Director General of the NTGTEA, Hamman Kwajjaffa, said that poor electricity supply remained major challenge in reviving the ailing textile sector.


He condemned smuggling of textile goods from Asia and other parts of Europe into Nigeria.


On his part, the General Secretary of NUTGTWN and National Vice President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Isa Aremu, said that the recent re-orientation campaign launched by Buhari should be embraced by especially members of his cabinet.


“The new change mantra must start from the textile industry with the president, vice president and ministers wearing made in Nigeria textiles,” he said.


“Our school uniforms, military and para-military uniforms, uniforms of the NYSC should be made in Nigeria with Nigerian fabrics, we must patronise our produce at home.”

Maiduguri Now More Secured Than Lagos, Abuja – Governor Shettima

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has commended the military for the security situation in the state, saying Maiduguri, capital of Borno is now more secured than Lagos and Abuja. The governor said this today in an interview with NAN.

He said with the return of peace, his administration would unfold a developmental agenda in the next few months.

“Maiduguri is more secured than even Lagos or Abuja. There are 2 million people living in Maiduguri; we celebrated Sallah without any incident,” he said.

“By the grace of God, we are poised for a great change. Believe me, in the next couple of months,
you will see changes in the fortunes of the people of the state.”

Shettima also said that he had abandoned his bulletproof cars, and that only his guests who are afraid to move around without such vehicles, make use of them.

He said that the action was also aimed at showing that Boko Haram members had no super natural powers.

“We have to dare the terrorists; I have bullet proof cars, but I do not use them; I want to be exposed to the elements as the ordinary people do,” Shettima said.

“We have so many bullet proof cars but we only use them for our guests.

“Sometimes I drive myself round the town to see things for myself.”

On his achievements in office, the governor said: “There is no magic in our achievements, except that where there is will, there is the way; like I always say, there is no politics better than the contentment of the people.

`You are there not because you are the best among the people of the state; I am the governor not because of my political sagacity, intellectual prowess, parental back ground or physical strength.

“This is because even within my cabinet, there are many people who supersede me in all these attributes.

“Power to me is a very humble experience; it is about what you can do to a great number of people within the time allotted to you to pilot the affairs of the state,” he said.

Army Describes Boko Haram Threat to Capture President Buhari As An Empty Joke

Director Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, has described the threat by Boko Haram members to capture President Buhari as empty, lacking in substance and a joke. The sect in a video released on Youtube on Tuesday September 13th, threatened to capture President Buhari.

Reacting to the threat, Brig. Gen. Abubakar said the military had dealt with the sect members that they had migrated to the cyberspace to make empty threats. He called on Nigerians to ignore the threats.


“We don’t have any comment. We know what we have done, and what we are planning to do. The only place they have agenda for now is the social media. The only ground the Boko Haram can go to hide and pretend to be alive is the social media because it is everybody’s home. The so-called video is an attempt by the remnants to remind us that there were once some Boko Haram elements. The issue of the threat to capture PMB is a complete joke and a dream of the century. Therefore, the entire clip should be ignored as everybody is appreciative of our feat against Boko Haram. It is not just an empty threat; it is a threat that has no substance at all. It is a senseless threat from their imagination. Nigeria should simply ignore it.”.he said

Military Deploys 3,000 Soldiers In Niger Delta

At least 3,000 soldiers have so far been deployed in the Niger Delta as Nigeria’s security agencies ramp up the war against militancy in the region, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, disclosed on Tuesday.

This came as Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) on Tuesday alleged an attempt by the military to cover up the death of 16 soldiers in Delta State, four days after ‘Operation Crocodile Smile.’ was launched in the region.

The army chief spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, just as the military moved to douse the tension occasioned by the massive movement of troops in the region, assuring communities in the area that the ongoing military exercise codenamed, ‘Operation Crocodile Smile,’ was designed to protect them.

Buratai’s comments yesterday were made against the backdrop of allegations that the military had embarked on harassing and brutalising innocent residents along the coastlines, an accusation that the security forces have always refuted.

The CAS, who spoke at the Government House when he visited Governor Seriake Dickson, told the communities to remain calm, stressing that troops involved in the exercise understood the rules of engagement and would strictly adhere to them.

He added that the visit was necessary as part of the operation’s confidence-building, maintaining that
the current exercise was meant to equip the soldiers with required skills to ensure the safety of the maritime environment for Bayelsa and other states of the Niger Delta.
The army chief, who was accompanied by other military commanders including the Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, said the exercise was part of the amphibious training activities of the military.

Read More: thisdaylive

Group asks FG to withdraw JTF from Imo oil communities

A pressure group, Imo Mass Movement, IMM, has called on the Federal Government, to quickly withdraw the men of the Joint Military Task Force, deployed to the Awarra Court Area in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, to avoid truncating the ongoing conflict resolution process in the area.

This was stated in a release yesterday in Owerri and signed by the Publicity Secretary of IMM, Comrade Marcellinus Enyia.

The group said the peace building process has already been threatened by the deployment of the military in the affected areas adding that, the use of military, which has opted for the use of “force” as alternative to peace would further displace the people in the oil rich communities as well as cripple their social lives and economic activities. They also expressed disappointment that at a point of recording commendable strides in restoring peace in the troubled areas, the military entered.

They also alleged that some disgruntled elements from the affected communities and government officials are bent on destroying the peace process which they said had long been initiated by the Conflict Prevention Committee, CPC, of Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta, (P4P), Imo State Network.

“The violent conflict in Awarra Court Area is cause by long period of neglect by the multinational oil companies operating in the court area.”

“The Imo Mass Movement (IMM) note with dismay the recent deployment of the joint military taskforce to Awarra Court Area in Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area (L.G.A) Imo State by the Imo State Government in connivance with some elites of Awarra Court Area of Ohaji-Egbema L.G.A.”

“Since July 2, 2016 after the Peace Building Consultative meeting of members of Conflict Prevent Committee (CPC) of Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta (P4P) Imo State Network with the leaderships and commanding hierarchy of the two armed militant groups – Niger Delta Rescue Force (NDRF) and Niger Delta Red Squad (NDRS) met in Ochia and Awarra Autonomous Communities respectively to agree on temporary cease fire. We note that the meeting was very fruitful because since after the meeting and cease fire agreement, members of the communities who were taking refuge in neighbouring communities started returning to the communities to commence their economic and social life.”

“IMM call on Imo State and the Federal government of Nigeria not to use military option to crush the upsurge of militancy in the Awarra Court Area which has crippled economic and social activities in the area since over three years the violent conflict got escalated.”

“On the foregoing, we call on the Imo State and Federal Government of Nigeria to compel the multinational oil companies operating in the area – Waltersmith Petroman Oil Ltd, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to stop the ongoing policy of divide and rule.”

“Finally, we call on the Imo State and Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately withdraw the joint military taskforce recently deployed to Awarra Court Area and to engage the services of the Peace building and mediation experts to continue the ongoing peace building process in the area. Violent cannot be a solution to violent – Awarra Court Area need peace.” they stated.

Avengers Kingpin, Economic Saboteurs Arrested By Military

The Nigeria Army has said troops of 4 Brigade arrested one Mr. Gabriel Ogbudje (an Ex-militant leader) and  the alleged leader of the “Otugas Fire Force”, a militant group threatening to attack Utorogu Gas Plant.

A statement on Wednesday by Army  spokesman Colonel Sani Usman said Ogbudie was alleged to be responsible for the recent attack on NPDC/Shoreline major delivery trunk line within Ogo-Oteri general area on the 26th of last month.

Usman said the suspected militant was trailed, and arrested by troops along Agbor-Abraka road, Edo State on Tuesday 6th September 2016.

“He has been on the run since he was declared wanted because of his public declaration as the leader of the militant group “Otugas Fire Force” and his subsequent declaration of the threat code named “Crocodile Tears”,” Usman added.

He also said  Ogbudie was arrested with his accomplice, Mr. Elvis Dweller Ejus, and both suspects were handed to Operation Delta Safe for further interrogation and subsequent handing over to the relevant security agency for prosecution.

He further said troops of 13 Brigade Nigerian Army in conjunction with Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Air Force and covert operatives of the Defence Intelligence Agency, arrested a suspected kingpin of the Niger Delta Avengers, Isaac Romeo, that goes by the appellation of “G2”.

Usman said Romeo  was arrested  with two other persons; Mr. Lawson Samson and an elderly man, Mr. Iyang Ekpo in Calabar, Cross River State while driving in a vehicle with  registration number, CRS 86 AO1 on Saturday, 3rd September 2016.

He added that the arrest followed painstaking efforts and tracking  of the militant who was in the state to perpetrate further criminal activities of sabotaging critical infrastructures.

He said all the suspects are currently being interrogated.

Credit: dailytrust

Operation Crocodile Smile will address Niger Delta crisis – Buratai

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has said that the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ will address the security challenges facing the Niger Delta and enhance peace in the region.

This is as Rivers State governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, declared his support for the Operation Crocodile Smile by the Nigerian Army.

Buratai, who spoke yesterday when he led other senior military officers to pay a courtesy call on Wike at Government House, Port Harcourt, explained that the Operation Crocodile Smile was introduced to train army personnel on the techniques of operating in the Niger Delta.

The Chief of Army Staff said, “The Operation Crocodile Smile is an exercise to train our troops on amphibious operations.”

He stated that the exercise seeks to provide the civil authorities with the right environment to carry out governance.

Buratai further stated that the exercise will ensure that the troops are professional with the required training to conduct operations within the law.

The Army Chief said, “Our waters are generally porous. The Nigerian Army has amphibious capabilities in conjunction with the Nigerian Navy to carry out limited operations within the creeks.”

He noted that another aspect of the Operation Crocodile Smile will witness the Army intervening in critical areas of need for the communities, pointing out that already, the Army has embarked on medical outreach in Bille in Rivers State and Nembe in Bayelsa State.

Responding, Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, stated that he will do everything to ensure peace and security in the Niger Delta.

Wike said, “The Rivers State Government is fully in support of the Operation Crocodile Smile. I was fully briefed by the Brigade Commander and we associate ourselves with the programme because it will make the Niger Delta safer.”

Why We Took Over Jonathan Cousin’s Firm – Army

The Nigerian Army has explained why the men of the Army Headquarters Garrison, Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, took over the premises of a company belonging to Mr. Robert Azibaola, a cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday.

The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said that the land in question belonged to the Army.

Usman said the Army decided to take over the property because the service did not want any further encroachment on the property.

He stressed that the Nigerian Army would not tolerate any encroachment on its land.

“The said property is on Nigerian Army’s land and the Army will not allow anybody to encroach on its land.

“Consequently, the property has to be sealed to prevent further encroachment,” he stated.

Soldiers had taken over the premises of Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited, owned by the former President’s cousin, located along the Kubwa/Asokoro Expressway on Saturday.

The company shares boundary with the Luigi Barracks of the Nigerian Army.

Meanwhile, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to caution the Nigerian Army for alleged arbitrary use of its powers and use of brute force on innocent citizens. Falana made this call in a statement, which he made on the heel of the invasion of the premises of Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited on Saturday.

The lawyer said the Army took possession of the property, owned by Azibaola, without a court order.

He said, “Sequel to the illegal action of the Army of occupation, the innocent workers in the company have been sent to the unemployment market. Although the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has charged Mr. Azibaola to court for alleged criminal diversion of $40m from the office of the National Security Adviser, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and has been granted bail.

“The implication of the plea is that he is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the prosecution.

“Therefore, if the Nigerian military authorities had wanted to dispossess him of the property in question, they ought to have applied for a court order. But by taking over the property under the pretext that it constitutes a threat to a nearby military barracks, the military authorities took the law into their hands.

“The forceful seizure of the property should not be tolerated in a civilised society which operates under the rule of law.”

Withdraw Military From Niger Delta Region Now– Delta Monarch

Paramount ruler of Siembiri Kingdom in Delta State, HRM Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, has appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, withdraw the heavy military presence in the Niger Delta region.

According to him, attacking the region with military might at this moment when the militants have announced ceasefire will be counter- productive.

The Pere of Siembiri kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State likened the action of the Federal Government to “shooting oneself in the foot or throwing away the baby with the bath water.”

He said, “Sequel to the acceptance of ceasefire, courtesy of monarchs and the leaders of the Niger Delta ten days ago by the Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups, one would have expected President Buhari to announce his dialogue team as he did in early June, 2016, when he declared two weeks’ ceasefire preceding his medical trip to the UK.”

The Ijaw monarch wondered why President Buhari, instead of announcing his dialogue team, ordered the mobilisation of troops to the Niger Delta region under the pretext of military exercise, code-named ”Operation Crocodile Smile.”

He stressed that by this action, he is thus sending negative signals to all Nigerians, the international community and the whole world that the stage is now set to crush the militants at a time they have accepted ceasefire.

“We have been making frantic and passionate appeals in conjunction with the United States Consul General, Mr. John Braye, calling on both the Federal Government and the militants to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue in order to proffer lasting solutions to the Niger Delta quagmire,” he said.

Credit: thisdaylive

Delta Community Cries Out Over Heavy Military Presence

Indigenes of Kokodiagbene, an Ijaw community in Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday cried out over heavy presence of military personnel in the riverside communities in search of illegal oil bunkerers and militants.


The Chairman of the community, Sheriff Mulade, in a statement, said the presence of military in patrol boats in search of criminals in the creeks has forced his people to be relocating deeper into the swamps for fear of attack.


He said though the deployment of the military personnel in the Niger Delta was a welcome development, enough enlightenment ought to have taken place before the commencement of ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile.’


No doubt, the presence of the military is a welcome development since it will help to protect oil installation, facilities and creeks. It will curb and prevent pirates attacking traders; reduce crime and eradicate illegal bunkering activities in the creek of the Niger Delta.

But, we want to strongly advise the military authorities to apply professionalism and diplomacy” adding that the deployment has raised unnecessary tension among the residents of riverine communities who now live in fear.


Most of our people are now relocating to nearby communities for safety due to the rumour of military invasion of flow stations and oil installations in host communities particularly in Gbaramatu kingdom.


The people have therefore appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the military authority to direct the military personnel not to invade Kokodiagbene and other riverine communities in the name of illegal oil bunkers, criminals and militants,” he said.


Instead, the community leader strongly advised the military authority to go after the illegal bunkerers, militants and criminals in their hide out, noting that Gbaramatu kingdom does not host militants and oil illegal bunkerers.

Bangladesh Praises Military On Boko Haram

The Bangladesh Armed Forces yesterday praised the military for its success in combating insurgency in the country.

Bangladesh said it would adopt the same strategy in combating insurgency and criminality.

A team from Bangladesh National Defence College on a geo-strategic study tour to Nigeria visited the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

The leader of the delegation, Rear Admiral Anwarul Islam, said the dramatic way in which the Nigerian military routed the deadly Boko Haram in the last one year was worthy of praise.

He noted that the Nigerian Armed Forces are known for their contributions to peace support operations worldwide.

Rear Admiral Islam observed that Bangladesh has a lot to learn from the Nigerian, and hailed the CDS for his leadership direction.

Admiral Islam applauded the Armed Forces for degrading the Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast and tackling other criminalities.

He solicited cordial military bilateral relations with Nigeria.

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Bangladesh praises military on Boko Haram

President Buhari says the Govt needs Credible Information in Order to Rescue Abducted Chibok Girls

President Buhari during a meeting  with the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon at the Presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday, said that in order for the government to successfully rescue the abducted Chibok girls, they need credible information on their exact location and the cooperation of the relevant persons.
General Gown said he talked about various issues with the country including the governments efforts at fighting corruption in the country. He said:

“We discussed the general affairs of the country, the problems of the country, his fight against corruption, and all the efforts that he is making to deal with it and of course, the impatience of the public to see results of the fight which have yet to be found, since people have not been prosecuted yet, that would soon begin. 

“These are some of the issues we talked about.

One appreciates his efforts and determination to rid the country of corruption, which is one of the problems that have held the country down and has created serious set backs to the country both nationally and internationally and then, of course, the current situation about the Chibok girls and the efforts the government is making to rescue them.

He said the government needed to get credible information about the whereabouts of the girls and also those that would assist the government achieve that.

“I believe that the government is certainly determined to ensure that a number of these girls are brought back home safely as soon as possible. To achieve that, certain credibility must be established of our sources on information on their location, but as at now, no one knows where these girls are, and all this information that you have been getting, I don’t know their sources, but all efforts at engaging the international media and sources are necessary so that this matter can be resolved once and for all”, he said.

Military Arrest 3 Suspected Niger Delta Avengers Members

The Nigerian Military has announced the arrest of three suspected members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) believed to have carried out the August 8 attack on the military check point in Nembe in which four soldiers were killed.

The soldiers attached to Operation Delta Safe were all killed and the suspected NDA members made away with their gun boats, arms and ammunition.
The attack was said to have irked the Defence Headquarters and the ODS was directed to launch a manhunt for the killers and ensure their arrest to bring them to justice.
According to investigations, intelligence gathering by the ODS led troops to the hideout of the suspected militants at Okiama community in Okigbene clan  Southern Ijaw local government area.
Though the raid did not yield the desired results, as the suspected militants had escaped, ODS troops recovered some items including military accoutrements.
On Monday, troops following the trail provided by intelligence officers intercepted the suspected militants at Epebu community also in Southern Ijaw local government area, and after a gun duel that lasted for about an hour, two of the militants including the leader was killed while three of them were arrested.
Commander of ODS Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, in press briefing to parade the suspected militants, disclosed that large quantities of arms and ammunition and the gun boat that was stolen from the military check point in Nembe were recovered.
9 AK 47 rifles, 1 FN rifle, 4 HK 21 MGs, one G3 MG,  3  GPMGs, 20  AK 47 magazines, 2  G3 magazines, 1  FN magazine 1, container of gun powder. Others are 1 Epenal gun boat, 1,145 rounds of 7.62mm metal link, 2,485 rounds of 7.62mm ball cartons, 370 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 1,356 rounds of 7.62mm NATO.
Okojie said that there was no place to hide for criminals. He also warned those planning to declare what he referred to as an “imaginary independence” to have a rethink as the ODS was prepared to clamp down on them.

800 Boko Haram Members Surrender Voluntarily– Military

The Nigerian Military yesterday said over 800 members of the Boko Haram sect have voluntarily renounced their membership with the group.

The Ag. Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar made this known while delivering lecture during the FCT Correspondent Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalist workshop with the theme “Media military relationship in the fight against insurgency”.

The DDI said the above number turned in between August 2015 and date, adding that it is those ones that the military will rehabilitate and deradicalize using Imams, Pastors and government agencies.

He said, “We have over 800 of them who surrendered to security agencies on their own. Those are the ones we are going to rehabilitate, deradicalize in order to become responsible citizens of this country. That is why we are employing services of both imams and pastors and other government agencies to help in reforming them and the camp is in Gombe.”

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FBI To Assist Nigerian Military To Counter Terrorism

The counter-terrorism war of the Federal Government got a boost yesterday with a promise from the United States (U.S.) Government to send officials from its Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other security experts to the country.

They (FBI) operatives are to offer technical assistance to the Federal Government to deal with terrorism.

Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Alan Tousignant, made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja when he led a security delegation to Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazzau.

The envoy said the delegation, including a team of the U.S Security Governance Initiative (SGI), was in the country as a follow-up to an earlier visit in January.

The SGI is an initiative of the U.S. Government that offers enhanced security technical assistance to six African countries, including Nigeria.

Mr. Tousignant said the delegation’s visit was at the request of the Federal Government to provide a holistic security technical assistance and not to donate any equipment.

He explained that the government identified three major areas of partnership to include enhancing the Ministry of Interior’s emergency response coordination, Ministry of Defence’s procurement procedure and the civilian security planning for the Northeast.

He said the week-long interaction between the SGI team and the Nigerian security agencies would fashion out a robust roadmap to ensure better efficiency, transparency and justice in Nigeria’s security architecture.

The SGI Team leader, Stephen Nolan, said both countries were working to finalise and implement a Joint Country Action Plan (JCAP) which was a document that outlined a roadmap for a successful partnership.

He said that the JCAP emphasised partnership and finding Nigerian solution to its security challenges not about what the U.S. was doing for Nigeria.

Mr. Nolan, however, assured that the forthcoming elections in the U.S. and the change of government in January 2017 would not affect the project as they had been working hard to ensure its sustenance.

He said: “I want to assure you that we have been working for the continuity and sustainability of this project, even after the Obama administration in January, 2017.”

Gen Dambazau thanked the delegation for the visit and expressed optimism that the partnership would help to re-position the security architecture of the country.

He said the partnership would involve all security agencies and not just those of the Ministry of Interior so as to fashion out a holistic security roadmap to deal with terrorism and other crimes.

The minister said that the meeting was in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to address security, corruption and the economy of the country in line with international best practice.

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Couter-terrorism: FBI to assist military

IBB Reveals His Toughest Duty In The Military

Former Nigeria military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, has said that his toughest duty in the army was trekking from Enugu to Umuahia where he sustained injury during the Nigeria civil war.

Mr. Babangida said this when he spoke to journalists to mark his 75th birthday in Minna on Wednesday.

“Movement from Enugu to Umuahia was very tough and challenging because you need to be physically fit to be able to undertake that kind of journey on foot.

“We had to go through the jungles and the hills. I think it was my toughest encounter in the army because that was where I got wounded in April 1969,” he said.

Mr. Babangida said he joined the army to protect the country.

According to him, being in the military means that you must subject yourself to a constituted authority to execute all the tasks assigned to you by the government.

He said the constitutional role and international treaties made it possible for military personnel to serve anywhere in the world.

Mr. Babangida said the military job was more challenging than being the president of a country.

 He said an army officer would lead men to danger because your life and their lives depend on you as the commander.

“If they have faith in you they follow you. If you have faith in them you go along with them.

“So, it is more challenging than being a president,” he said.

Mr. Babangida said a head of state will seek people’s advice, interact and discourse with them to get solution based on the prevailing circumstances.

“Being a military officer you are the only one leading your troops hoping on you. If you lead them wrongly you will kill many of them.

“So, I consider the military more challenging than the political job,” he said.

Credit: NAN

Troops Nab Insurgents Planting Explosives On Military Supply Route

The Nigerian Army says troops on operation Layifa Dole arrested four fleeing Boko Haram members discovered to be planting bombs on troops supply route.

A statement on Friday from Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, said the arrest was possible following information provided by a detained suspected Boko Haram militant, Lawan Abbai.

He added that the troops carried out Mine and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) clearance at Gombori, which was along the troops main supply route.

He said the troops located and recovered two heavy IEDs buried in the ground by suspected remnants of Boko Haram insurgents.

He said in the process of recovering the deadly IEDs, the troops intercepted four fleeing suspected Boko Haram insurgents who said they were on their way to surrender to troops.

 He said on preliminary investigation, they were identified as confirmed Boko Haram members planting IEDs along troops routes by their arrested colleague, Lawan Abbai.

He also said the troops rescued five women and a baby from Boko Haram insurgents in the same general area.

Credit: dailytrust

Military Efforts In North-East Have Paid Off- Buratai

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai said on Monday that the efforts of the military in the North-East had paid off as incessant bombing attacks on the public had been halted.

Buratai said this when he paid a courtesy call on the Gbong Gwom of Jos. Dr. Jacob Buba Gyang.

Buratai assured the traditional ruler that the military was committed to restoring peace to the Plateau and the entire country. Our efforts in the North-East have really paid off.

As it was previously, the incessant bombings and attacks in different places of worship, markets and motor parks have virtually stopped.

For a long time, we have not heard of that because the military has dislodged the criminals from there,” he said.
The Gbong Gwom in his response appealed to the military to fish out the killers of Lazarus Agai, the paramount ruler of Bokkos.

NAN reports that that the paramount ruler was murdered by gunmen about weeks’ ago.

Our appeal, which we have stated very clearly, is that all the security agencies must ensure that the perpetrators are fished out and made to face the law, accordingly.

This will add to the confidence that the people of Plateau have in the military and other security agencies.

You may wish to know that before that incident, a village head and another district head in Bokkos had been also murdered,’’ the Gbong Gwom said.

He said that before those incidents, the people on the Plateau had been living in relative peace.

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Military Can’t Intimidate Us With Jet Bombers- Avengers

Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) yesterday called the bluff of the Nigerian military, saying no amount of intimidation can make them abandon their struggle for the restructuring of Nigeria.
They accused the military of deceiving Nigerians by showing false videos of how they carried out bombardment of some illegal bunkering camps in the Niger Delta region.
The militants described the military’s action “as unprofessional and a ploy to intimidate them with scrap jet bombers”, adding that they would not be intimidated, even if more jet bombers were deployed to the region.
“They can deploy fourth generation jet-bombers but that will not stop us from fighting for our people. We, hereby, challenge the military to share with the public the militants killed in the so-called air strike. We are very sure that they won’t share the images of militants killed because non was killed except innocent women and children,” NDA spokesman, Brigadier General Mudoch Agbinibo, said.
“What we are saying is that the country should be restructured. The call for restructuring of Nigeria has gone beyond the NDA. The only group of persons against the restructuring is the Aso Rock Villa. The Federal Government should just listen to the voice of the citizens, instead of playing the deaf ear game,” the militants added.
“We are saying that @agbiniboND is our new official twitter account handle. Twitter can block or suspend our account but they cannot stop or block our struggle,” they further said in a one-page statement made available to newsmen.
The militants, however, vowed to bomb more oil pipelines in the region and urged President Muhammadu Buhari “to listen to voice of reason, instead of threatening us on the pages of newspapers.”

Credit: Sun

Militants Threaten To Declare Niger Delta Republic Today, Military On High Alert

Ijaw Militant group, the Adaka Boro Avengers (ABA), have threatened to declare the independent Republic of Niger Delta today August 1st. The group in a statement released last week, said after holding consultation with other militant groups in the region, they have concluded arrangements to declare the Niger Delta region as an independent republic from today August 1.

The group in the statement signed by its spokesperson, Edmos Ayayeibo, ordered people from other regions who are residing in Niger Delta to vacate their homes before today

“If they refuse to heed to our warning, we will use so many as example in the Niger Delta region on the due date.”

Reacting to the threat, the Nigerian military through the Joint Task Force Commander in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, dismissed the threat of the group, saying the military would not fail to fulfill their responsibility to protect lives, property and the territorial integrity of the country. He asked the people of the region to go about their normal duties.

“This is to reassure the good people of the Niger Delta that Operation Delta Safe is firmly on the ground to protect them” he said.

Why We Deployed Air Force To Dislodge Arepo Vandals- Military

The military has defended its decision to dislodge vandals and militants operation at Arepo with Air Force strikes, saying it was due to the inaccessibility of the swampy hideouts of the criminals.

It said the joint operation involving the Army, Police, State Security Service (SSS) and Civil Defence engaged the Air Force to capture wider latitude of the vandals’ shanties and nab suspected operatives.

The military swung into action last Thursday following a directive of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to smoke out criminals operating in the entirety of Arepo and its extensions to parts of Lagos.

The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai, addressing the media, said the obnoxious development of kidnapping, robbery attacks and vandalism, which has overtime saturated the area, prompted military strikes.

 He said the force was yet to put a figure to the number of casualties recorded in its first strike action as it was yet to wholly penetrate the creeks.

According to him, the military was fully braced up with well-wrought strategies to demolish their base.

He said: “We have commenced an ongoing operation around Arepo.

“We are all very familiar with the ugly situation that have been developing around Arepo, ranging from pipeline vandalism to kidnapping, armed robbery, and so on.

“Just last month, we got directive from the Chief of Defence Staff that we should carry out an operation to the general area of Arepo, with a view to dismantling vandals’ shanties scattered around Arepo, Ibafo, Ishawo.

“Initially, we were directed not to use air power, but when we carried out assessment of the operation area, a lot of them had moved from areas accessible by water and land to areas that are very swampy, into the mangroves of the area.

“We had to get back to the CDS that the best way we can take out these targets is by the use of air power, and the CDS granted us permission to do a general re-assessment and employ attack helicopters to take out those targets.

“We had to use air power because of the nature of the terrain.”

He explained that an assessment of the target area revealed that oil bunkering operation was ongoing at full fledge.

The military vowed to bring to book the sponsors of the act and thwart the extant market they supply.

“Yesterday, we initiated the operation and we were able to knock off some targets, then a surveillance aircraft went up to do the after battle surveillance for us.

“We were able to interpret the video clip, and we could see that after the first attack, they came out from where they were hiding with guns.

We could see one of their canoes which they mounted a GPMG on it. The interpretation is that all that is happening there is deliberate and well planned since they could arm themselves to that magnitude.

“It is our wish that at the end of this operation, we would find a means to go into the place to comb that general area.

“We anticipated that some of them will run away and the only two ways they could leave that place is either by land or water.

“The land component: the army, the police, Civil defence have identified some get-away routes.

“The get-away routes by water, the naval forces have blocked them. We have also employed the SSS.

“On the other hand, we have blocked escape routes towards Ogun State.

“The essence of having blockages on land is that when they are running out, we would be able to grab them, profile them, investigate them and trace their sponsors.

“Being in business means that they have a market. We want to identify that market. We are going to sustain this operation and see where it would take us.

Bobai noted that the two states involved, Lagos and Ogun states, have been adequately informed of the operation, adding that residents had no cause to panic.

“We are in touch with Ogun and Lagos state governments because the general operation area lies between the states,” he said.

Credit: Nation

Farmers, Herders Clash: Military To Launch Operation Accord

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Gabriel Olonisakin has said the armed force is preparing to launch Operation Accord to tackle the menace occasioned by armed bandits  in the recent spate of farmers and cattle herders clashes across  the country.
He make this known on Friday in Abuja when he received t?he acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris at the Defence Headquarters( DHQ).
General Olonisakin said already a committee set up by the DHQ has visited some flash points of recent clashes ?in the country to access the situation.
He said already  troops are being trained with the competence to operate in all terrains.? Adding that the military and police must collaborate to ensure security in the country.
Earlier in his remarks, acting IGP Ibrahim Idris said the military and the police must collaborate further to stay ahead of security challenges in the country.
He asked for assistance in the training of the Nigeria police marine unit to enhance security operations in the Niger Delta region.
He also noted that the police has taken over the responsibility of providing security in nine  local government areas in the north eastern part of the country.
He explained that the police has been briefed to take over 19 local government areas but only 9 has been taken over, hinting that  the delay in deployment to the other ten may be due to military exigencies.
He also called for improved synergy between military and police joint operation at state commands, where he proposed a joint operations command to coordinate all security operations in the states.
Credit: DailyTrust

U.S. Lifts Ban On Transgender Military Service

The Pentagon on Friday announced that transgender individuals can now serve openly in U.S. armed forces.
U.S. defence chief Ash Carter said this at a press conference in Washington.

“Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender.
“Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so,’’ Carter said, adding that the policy will be phased in during a one-year period.

According to 2014 study by RAND Corporation, about 2,500 people out of roughly 1.3 million U.S. active-duty service members and about 1,500 out of 825,000 reserve service members are transgender.

He said that the end of the ban on transgender service was the latest step by the Pentagon to be more inclusive.
However, the U.S. military has also ended the ban on gays serving openly and opened all combat jobs to women.

Credit: NAN

Multinational Military Task Force Arrests 24 Boko Haram Fighters

The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) fighting Boko Haram, said it intercepted 24 fleeing insurgents along the Cameroonian borders.

The spokesman for the task force, Muhammed Dole, said the insurgents were among those trying to escape the combined onslaught of Nigerian troops and the MNJTF within and around Sambisa forest.

Mr. Dole said several arms cache were recovered in the operation that led to the clearance of six major enclaves of the outlawed group.

His statement reads:

“Clearing operation to flush out the fleeing Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) from the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Area of Responsibility (AOR) continues to yield positive results. The troop of Sector 1 with its relocated Tactical Headquarters in Makary, Northern Cameroun intensifies clearance operations along the borders between Nigeria and Cameroun to block the fleeing terrorists. Recently, the terrorists in attempt to escape the firepower of MNJTF troops were migrating to some villages adjacent to the Sector 1 AOR.

“Acting on credible information, the troops successfully cleared the six villages occupied by the terrorists, seized some logistic equipment and apprehended Twenty Four suspected Boko Haram accomplices.

“The cleared villages are SAGUI, KIRTA-WOULGO, GORE MAHAMAT, GORE BLANGAFE, CHAUGRY and DAMBOURE. The recovered equipment are 20 x Outboat Engines, 2 x Motorcycles, 9 x Generating sets, 1 x Solar panel, 1 x Grinding machine, 1 x Handset, Flags and some Islamic religious books. However, one soldier was killed by Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and another fatally wounded and lost his one of his lower limbs during the operation.

“Addressing the troops during his operational assessment tour in Makary, the Commander, MNJTF, Major General Lamidi Adeosun commended their display of exceptional bravery and charged them to keep up the good work, while encouraging the traditional authorities in the area to set up vigilante groups to compliment the effort of the security forces.

“Equally, on a similar visit to Sector 2 troops (Chad) at their temporary Harbour Area in Littri, the Commander expressed delight for their initial operational exploits, which despite difficult terrains and other operational challenges were able to clear terrorists from some villages on the Lake Chad Islands. He couraged them to maintain their high fighting spirit and keep up the momentum of the operation despite the challenges of the slow go terrains”.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Military Kills 7 Terrorists, Apprehends 11 Others

Troops of 22, 28 and 114 Task Forces Brigade and Battalion of Nigerian Army on Sunday killed seven Boko Haram terrorists and arrested of 11 others during clearance operations in the Bitta-Damboa and Dikwa-Marte axis of Borno state.

The troops also along the Bitta-Damboa road safely detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Madube village.

Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman disclosed this Monday in a statement issued to newsmen in Maiduguri.
Usman in the statement said: “During the operations, the troops encountered Boko Haram terrorists at Bulajani village and successfully cleared and pursued the fleeing terrorists in the area.

“Unfortunately, the troops run into an ambush which was eventually cleared, while returning from the patrol fight. Unfortunately, five soldiers were wounded in the process and their Buffalo vehicle was badly damaged.

“The troops killed four Boko Haram terrorists, while an unconfirmed number of escaped with gunshot wounds.”

He said the soldiers also recovered six bicycles and identified food storage facility stocked with food items.

On apprehend of 11 terrorists, Usman said: “The troops encountered Boko Haram terrorists at Sinabaya village which is left of Marte-Kaje the road in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno state. During the encounter, they killed three and apprehended 11 suspects,” adding that the arrested suspects have been moved to the Brigade Headquarters for preliminary investigation and subsequent handing over to the Joint Interrogation Committee.

He further disclosed that arms and ammunition were also recovered in the clearance operations along the Marte-Kaje road.

The recovered ammunition, according to him, includes an AK-47 rifle with registration number N37113 and five AK-47 rifle magazines. Others include a 36 hand grenade, three rounds of 7,62mm (Special)ammunition, four motorcycles, three bicycles, a magazine pouch and a mobile telephone handset.

Credit: Guardian

Military To Rehabilitate Repentant Boko Haram Members

Abubarka made this known when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum on Thursday in Abuja. He said that the operation was to rehabilitate, reintegrate, empower and de-radicalise surrendered members of the group. “Nigeria being a signatory to UN conventions, we have to comply fully with that portion of convention.

“Even if you arrest or capture an enemy or prisoner of war, by international law, you are to treat him with all human dignity; you must do that, as long as you are a signatory to UN convention.

“We evolved a policy by the defence headquarter and that operation is called operation ‘Safe Corridor’.

“Operation safe corridor is an operation trying to rehabilitate, reintegrate, empower and de-radicalise those, who surrender and those, who are captured.

“It is not in any way amnesty. We are trying to comply fully with international best global practices and that is why we came up with that.

“The Chief of Defence Staff, Maj.-Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin with other service chief agreed to this and they came up with this, which is the first of its kind since the terror of Boko Haram.

“And very soon, we will have a camp somewhere in the North- East where they will be kept for empowering and reintegrating and de-radicalising them.’’ However, he said that the military was not in any way relaxing in finding out the sponsors of boko haram.

“We are not in any way relaxing in finding out those who are sponsoring but those who are really active in the insurgency are our first target.

“The recruitment style of this insurgency is extremely worrisome; we are doing all we can to ensure that we block them though programmes that we have evolved.

“It has gone a long way in making them to surrender.’’ Abubakar said that the military in 2015 came up with security operation that targeted the insurgency. He said following the operation, a lot of boko haram members surrendered when they knew they would not be killed if they did so. He said that insurgency was something that was unpredictable, boundless and transitional.

Credit: Vanguard

$115m Diezani Bribe: EFCC Arrests Ex-Military Governor For Collecting N450m

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State and chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga(retd) for his alleged role in the $115m bribe involving a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Sources at the EFCC told our correspondent last night that after the money was converted to N23bn, the suspect received N450m through Fidelity Bank Plc.

The EFCC source stated that he would be charged to court soon.

He said, “He was arrested in Port- Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday.  Nkanga was alleged to have collected the money in two tranches, from an employee of Fidelity Bank in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Saint- Anthony Ejiowu.

“The first tranch of the money, a sum of N350m was collected on March 27, 2015 while the second tranche of N100m was collected on March 31, 2015. Nkanga signed for the two tranches.

“He is in the custody of the EFCC and would be charged to court soon.”

The EFCC had last week arrested the Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo, for his alleged role in the scam.

The money in question was said to have been used in bribing officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.


Credit: Punch

New Chibok Girls Video ‘Concocted’ Propaganda Tool- Military

The Nigerian military has branded the latest video by Boko Haram terrorists allegedly showing healthy-looking Chibok girls as propaganda by the terrorists to divert attention from the ongoing rescue operations.

The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar (rtd), while responding to injuries on Thursday, said that the military cannot authenticate the new video.

Abubakar said that it is the terrorists antics, which he vowed, will not derail the ongoing military operations and efforts to clear all parts of the North East of Boko Haram remnants.

He said: “In as much as we saw the menus, we cannot authentic the video. Listen, all these things are campaign. In as much as we saw the so called video, it has nothing to do with our own activities, even though we are sympathetic to the plight of our sisters and brothers with the ungodly group.

“In as much as we have seen the video, it has not nothing to do with our operations. In this era of social media, anytime can happen. It can be concocted because in this era of social mega, anytime can happen, so people should not carried away.”

Credit: Thisday

Shiites Allege Plan By Military To Clamp Down On Members

Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, yesterday accused the military of making attempts to clamp down on the group in Katsina State.

The group said that: “Reports from Katsina today (Wednesday) indicated that the Nigerian Army is amassing troops in an attempt to clampdown on the Islamic Movement in the town.”

A statement by the spokesman of the group, Mallam Ibrahim Musa, said that: “Early in the morning armed troops were seen surrounding the main Juma’at mosque, where a peaceful maulud procession of the daughter of the prophet, Nana Fatima (AS) was scheduled to take off.

“Seeing this and due to the peaceful disposition of the Islamic Movement, the venue of this yearly event was changed to another neighbourhood of the town, and the procession went round some major streets of the town and ended without any incident.”

He added that: “However, to our consternation, reinforcement was brought from neighbouring formations of the army, and roadblocks were mounted on almost all the major roads leading to Katsina city.”

Musa continued: “We have been reliably informed that the army is set to replicate the wanton destruction of lives and property it carried out in Zaria last December. The army it seems has vowed to attack the Markaz Islamic Centre in the town any moment from now, possibly kill all its occupants and raze it to the ground, just as it did to Husainiyya Islamic centre in Zaria.“

Credit: guardian

Intensify Mop-up Operations In Northeast, Obasanjo Tells Military

Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the military to intensify mop up operations in liberated villages in northeast Nigeria, as displaced persons prepare to return home.

The former president, who is in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on a two-day familiarisation visit in the University of Maiduguri, said although the war against insurgents was far from over, there was evidence that the Nigerian Army was winning.

Obasanjo’s last visit to Maiduguri was in September 2011 at the heat of the six year old insurgency.

He believes that security in the troubled town has greatly improved compared to the situation during his last visit.

“We are not out of the woods yet but it will appear we can see the light beyond the tunnel.

“There is no doubt that with the combined efforts of the local, state, federal and the community level that our security forces are on ascendency over the forces of destruction.” Obasanjo told the State Governor, Kashim Shettima, in a meeting held at the Government House.

The octogenarian is positive that “at this rate all Internally Displaced Persons should have vacated makeshift camps and return to their towns by December this year”.

Credit: CahnnelsTv

Military Aircraft Skids Off Runway In Yola

A military aircraft skidded off the runway while landing at the Air Force Base in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.

Sources in the Aviation Sector say no casualty was recorded in the incident but that the aircraft lost a tyre in the incident.

This incident is coming five months after an Air Force aircraft, NAF801, belonging to the Nigerian Air Force, crashed in Hong, Adamawa State.

The Director, Defence Information, Colonel Abubakar Rabe, confirmed this to Channels Television.

The plane was said to be returning from an interdicted mission when it went down due to bad weather.

Only the pilot is said to have died in the accident.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Human Rights Group Absolves Military Of Killing Innocent Nigerians In Ogoni

A human rights group, Citizen Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), has absolved the Nigerian military of killing of innocent citizens in Ogoniland, Rivers, on February 22.


The Executive Director of the group¸ Mr Frank Tietie, who made the group’s position known while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, described the accusations as false.


Tietie stated that he discovered the truth after a fact-finding mission to Gokana, Yeghe, and Obori communities in Ogoni, Rivers, where the killing was said to have occurred.


“We have called this press conference to denounce certain notions that are inimical to national interest. What are those notions?

“The notion that the Nigerian military causes problem, kills and maims innocent Nigerians, which is so untrue.

“We needed to take the Rivers State re-run elections as a case study, and on that note, I personally went to those flashpoints particularly places like Gokana, Yeghe and Obori.

“We found out that what happened on Feb. 22 in an Ogoni community called Yeghe was actually an encounter between certain cultists, who were followers of one Solomon Ndigbara, who actually engaged the army in a shootout.

“My findings from the citizens, including the video evidence and other records that I made, showed that there were only three persons that they could prove to have died in the course of that encounter, whereas the military is said to have killed over 45 persons.

“Nothing could be more untrue. We must be very careful.

“If the only institution we rely on to guarantee human security in Nigeria would now be used as a scapegoat by political and cult elements, particularly in the case of Rivers State, where even human rights group like the Civil Liberty Organisation can make spurious statements just because they belong or are persuaded by one political divide or the other, we would be working against the national interest and it will demoralise the army.’’

Tietie noted that the military, by its operations through the 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army had been the saving grace of the citizens in Rivers State.

According to him, the carnage planned by the political and cult groups in the state would have been unimaginable if not for the intervention of the force.

He corroborated the army’s claims that the violence in Rivers was an offshoot of the clashes between cult elements being used by politicians to pursue their selfish ambitions.

The executive director stated that CASER has decided to make the truth known to the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, which has launched a probe into the matter.

He added that CASER will urge the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute “all those, who have denigrated the Nigerian Army’’ through false allegations.

“The unwholesome, unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations made by the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) against the Nigerian Army should be investigated.

“The CLO should also be prosecuted for claiming in a petition that the Nigerian Army committed “genocide” in Yeghe on Feb. 22, whereas, such an allegation, by CASER finding, is most unfounded.’’




Military To Investigate Killing Of Its Personnel In Rivers – Buratai

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Friday said the military has commenced investigation into the death of two of its personnel in Rivers state.


He made the statement while addressing troops at the 34 Artillery Brigade headquarters, Obinze, Owerri.


Buratai, who described the incident as `unfortunate,’ said the military had brought the situation in the area under control.

He said: “the situation in the Niger Delta is presently being addressed.

“The activities of pirates, criminals and bandits will be checked; our troops are fully on ground and they have arrested the situation.

“The unfortunate incident of Thursday in Rivers state is something that we are currently investigating.

“We will deal with the situation as investigation unfolds in the area.”

On the security situation in Imo, Buratai commended the efforts of the troops in containing criminality in the state.

He assured the troops of government’s commitment to improve the condition of facilities in the barracks.


Buratai said the welfare of troops and their families would be given priority by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buratai also inspected facilities at the barracks in Obinze.



Air Force Bomb Boko Haram Camp In Borno

The Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jets have pummeled Boko Haram positions at their camp at Iza, Borno state which made the terrorist scamper into the Sambisa forest.

The air attacks were followed by a ground offensive by troops of 121 Task Force Battalion who consolidated on the gains of the air strikes to flush out the remnants of the insurgents and destroyed
their camps.

The Daily Post, citing a statement by Ayodele Famuyiwa, the air force spokesman, reports that the offensive was supported by the Mi-35 Helicopter gunships which provided close air support for the advancing troops.
Famuyiwa added that a Beechcraft aircraft also supported the operation with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
“The combined air and land operation against the Boko Haram sect was conducted during the early hours of yesterday – 8 March 2016.
“The fall of Iza and its liberation by own troops further attests to the recent gains recorded by the military in the combined efforts to rid the country of the menace posed by the religious sect,” the statement added.
In recent times, Nigerian security forces gave recorded strings of victories against Boko Haram fighters. On Thursday, March 3, troops attacked the spiritual power base of the insurgents at the Alagarno forest, Borno state.
In another raid, soldiers on a clearance operations of the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents at Kumshe in Borno state made startling discoveries of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making factory, rockets and high claibre ammunitions.
Meanwhile, Geoffrey Onyeama, the minister of Foreign Affairs has clarified media reports quoting President Muhammadu Buhari as disclosing that Nigeria had joined the Islamic coalition against terror under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on Monday, March 7, Onyeama said Nigeria’s membership of the coalition had nothing to do with giving Nigeria an Islamic identity, Daily Trust reports.
He explained that the objective of the coalition was to prove that terrorists were not representing Islam.

Heavy Fighting Breaks Out Between Military & Boko Haram

There is a heavy fighting going on at strategic  Bita town near Gwoza in Borno state  between Boko Haram and the Military.

The fighting that started last night when insurgents in an attempt to capture Gwoza attacked a military facility at Bita where they met a stiff resistance from the army, went on throughout Monday night and continued Tuesday morning.

The fight was said to have forced the military to deploy fighter jets from Yola to support ground troops who were being overwhelmed.

 A source  close to the ongoing war said the quick response by the jets was a big relief to the troops.

Gwoza is one of the Borno towns recaptured from the militants, and some of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the area returned there recently on the assurance that normalcy has been restored to the area.

Credit: dailytrust

Military Captures Another Suspected Mastermind Of Madalla Bombings

The Nigerian military has recorded another milestone in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations against Boko Haram terrorists as one of the suspected masterminds of the December 2011, Madalla Christmas bombings was captured.

The suspect, known as Victor Moses, was paraded monday before the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, alongside four other accomplices at the 33 Artillery Brigade, Bauchi State.
Parading the suspect and his accomplices, the Brigade Commander, Brig-Gen. Abraham Dusu, said Moses, was apprehended at Alkaleri in Bauchi while conducting surveillance for the Boko Haram terrorists inside a mosque in the town.

According to Dusu, the chief suspect raised suspicion when he claimed that he wanted to convert to Islam but being new to the community, the security agencies and military intelligence, who on interrogation got his confession to being one of the masterminds of the 2011 Christmas Day Bombing in Madalla, Niger State.

He disclosed that upon further interrogation, the others suspects were apprehended. They are Abubakar Shettima Bama, Umar Sadiq Madaki, and Salisu Mohammed Bello.

The Commander said: “Our troops in Alkeleri were alerted about somebody trying to convert to Islam but they noticed he wasn’t from the area and the community people informed us. He was subsequently arrested, and revealed his name as Victor Moses, who also said he was among those who made the Madala bombing successful.

“According to him, his major work is surveillance for the Boko Haram terrorists but he lives with Abubakar Shettima Bama.

“Victor Moses, the main suspect, was arrested in Alkaleri, where he conducts surveillance for the Boko Haram sect. He was accommodated by Bama who lives in Jos, along with other two accomplices,” Dusu added.

Credit: ThisDay

Insurgency: FG To Provide Appropriate Equipment, Effective Fighting Force – CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Abayomi Olonisakin, on Wednesday pledged that the Federal Government would continue to provide appropriate equipment and build an effective fighting force to contain current security challenges in the country.


Olonisakin said this during the inauguration of a training programme for selected units of the Nigeria Army in Jaji, Kaduna State.


“Let me assure you of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring that the Nigerian Armed Forces is adequately equipped to enable it perform its constitutional role of protecting the territorial integrity of the country,” Olonisakin said.


He said that the training was among series of support programmes developed to deepen strategic partnership between the Nigerian Armed Forces and the United States Military.


According to him, the strategic partnership is borne out of a shared commitment to counter terrorism and violent extremism in the world.


He therefore implored the trainees to “make maximum use of this unique training to improve on their skill and capabilities in tasks that the battalion would be given.”


The CDS commended Mr James Entwistle, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, and Commander, US AFRICOM, Gen. Rodriguez for their support.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. – Gen. Tukur Buratai, also assured soldiers that the government would improve their welfare and provide them with necessary logistics support to excel.


“You are all aware of the gains made so far in the ongoing fight against Boko Hara terrorists in the North East and the effort to restore normalcy to all liberated territories,” the COAS said.


Buratai assured that the Nigerian military would strictly respect the rights of citizens in line with international laws.


“I urge all of you to be a reflection of soldiers that are professional, disciplined and patriotic in the discharge of your duties in whatever operation you find yourselves.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about 800 personnel are participating in the training.

Mexican Crime Reporter’s Half-Naked, Bound Body Found By Side Of Road

Half-naked, bound and with a plastic bag over her head,was how they found the body of a Mexican crime reporter who was murdered after being abducted by 8 armed men wearing military uniforms.

Mother-of-two, Anabel Flores Salazar, who was a journalist for the newspaper El Sol de Orizaba, was snatched from her home by men with guns claiming they had a warrant for her arrest.

She was forced into one of three gray trucks and driven away from her home in Orizaba, in the state of Veracruz, her aunt, who was at the home, said.

Ms Flores Salazar’s body was found tied up and abandoned by the side of a road in the neighboring state, Puebla, on Tuesday, a day after she was abducted.
Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte Ochoa said officials were investigating whether she had been targeted because she was a journalist.
Flores Salazar’s aunt, Sandra Luz Salazar, told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that the men pointed guns at family members as they bundled the reporter into the truck.

‘We pleaded with them not to take her. I told them that she recently had a baby,’ she said.
Ms Flores Salazar, 32, had a four-year-old son, as well as a baby.
The journalist’s aunt said she did not know of any threats against her before she was murdered, but the Veracruz state prosecutor’s office said the reporter had been with an alleged gang member when he was arrested in August 2014.

A statement from the prosecutor did not say why or if this was a significant part of the investigation into Ms Flores Salazar’s death.
However, an official told the CPJ that she was in the same restaurant when he was detained, but was not directly with him.
Eleven journalists have been killed in Mexico because of their reporting since 2011, with six of those deaths in Veracruz, making the country one of the most dangerous in the world for reporters.
The CPJ – a non-profit group that promotes press freedom around the world – is investigating seven more suspicious deaths of reporters in Veracruz.
The organization called on federal authorities to take over the investigation, saying Gov Ochoa ‘has a dismal record of impunity’.
Carlos Lauría, the CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, said the governor was ‘incapable and unwilling to prosecute crimes against the Press’.
The investigation has been passed to Mexico’s Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression, the state attorney general said.

Kim Jong-un Executes Military Chief On Charges Of Corruption

Kim Jong-un’s military chief has been executed on charges of corruption, it was reported Wednesday.

Army General Ri Yong-gil, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, was conspicuous in his absence from events celebrating the North’s controversial satellite launch on Sunday.

Ri is believed to have been charged with pursuing personal gains and may have been ousted after raising objections to Kim’s recent appointments of party leaders to military posts, a source said.
If confirmed, it would be the latest in a series of executions, purges and disappearances under its young tyrant.
The source, who is familiar with North Korean affairs, said: ‘Ri Yong-gil is known to have been faithful to principles, so it appears the North cited (the charges) to justify his execution.
‘This shows that Kim Jong-un is very nervous about the armed forces. It also shows his reign of terror continues.’
The news comes amid heightened tension surrounding isolated North Korea after its Sunday launch of a long-range rocket, which came about a month after it drew international condemnation for conducting its fourth nuclear test.
It is believed Ri was executed last week around the time Kim presided over a joint meeting of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party and the military, but it is not clear how he was killed.

Source: Daily mail

Military Announces Plans To Close Markets In Borno, Yobe Aiding Insurgents

The Nigerian Army has announced plans to close designated markets in Yobe and Borno where traders have been found to be aiding Boko Haram terrorists with logistic supplies.

The acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, made the disclosure at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the plan was part of measures adopted to contain attempts by some unscrupulous elements to sabotage recent gains recorded by the military in the war against insurgency in the northeast.

Usman said any breach of the order of the closure of the markets would be punished and appealed to residents of the affected areas to support new measures, aimed at ending the insurgency permanently.

“It has come to the knowledge of the Nigerian Army that as concerted efforts are being made to finally clear all remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast, some unscrupulous elements have been thwarting the efforts for pecuniary gains.

“They engage in all manner of illegal commercial activities, such as trading and smuggling, especially during late hours, all aimed at sustaining terrorism and insurgency.

“Consequently, the Nigerian military and, indeed, the Nigerian Army are highly concerned with these unpatriotic acts .

“The Army is, therefore, taking drastic steps to curtail this illicit trading with terrorists, from now on, some markets identified engaging in this illegal trade with adversary in Borno and Yobe will be closed,’’ he said.
Credit: dailytrust

Ndume Commends Military On Anti-Terrorism War

Senate Leader, Alhaji Muhammad Ndume, on Sunday commended the military for its gallantry in striving to end the terrorism in the North-East.


Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District, gave the commendation while speaking with newsmen in Maiduguri.

“I still have confidence in our military. I want to believe that the military is on top of the situation,’’ he said.


On last week’s attack on Dalori, Mairi and Malari communities in Konduga area of the state, he said “what we are witnessing these days are intermittent suicide bombings by the insurgents.

“These are acts of desperation, because their supply routes have been cut off by the military.’’


Ndume said that the Dalori attack by the insurgents was basically aimed at getting food supply.


“They just went to cart away food and other items that could be useful to them. Insurgents always make use of Gorila war style when they are almost defeated in any society,’’ he said, adding that the insurgents would likely resort to using more of such style in attacking communities. This kind of thing is natural to insurgents; even in developed countries like the U.S and even France, you witness these kind of attacks from time to time,’’ he said.


Ndume expressed optimism that the insurgency would end in a matter of time, saying “we are very hopeful that the whole thing will end soon.


“When you see people in Maiduguri now, they look more relaxed because the military has weakened the terrorists.’’


The senate leader advised the state government to go ahead with the preparation to reconstruct damaged structures as well as resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).


“We are looking forward to going back to Gwoza; just yesterday, three of my uncles told me that they wanted to go back home. Everybody wants to go back, there is no better place like home,’’ he said.


Ndume, however, acknowledged that only local government areas’ headquarters were safe for the IDPs to return to.


“What we are trying to do is for Gwoza people to go back to Gwoza because you cannot go back to stay in bush. From Gwoza, you can go to the interior and see your house and go back until when things normalise,’’ he said.




Why Military Is Yet To Defeat Boko Haram- Service Chiefs

Against the backdrop of recent deadly attacks carried out in some towns in Borno State by Boko Haram, the nation’s Service Chiefs have  opened up to the  leadership of the Senate why they have been  unable to successfully prosecute the insurgency war. 

They complained of lack of funds to buy equipment and also, lamented the failure of the Federal Government to release funds appropriated for the prosecution of war in the 2015 budget. 

These factors were revealed to the Senate leadership and disclosed  by the office of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki in a statement yesterday. The closed-door meeting between the service chiefs and top senators, which lasted for about two hours on Wednesday was presided over by the Senate President. 

Saraki said several issues tailored at further empowering the security agencies to win the war against Boko Haram were discussed in a frank and open exchange between the two sides.

The military chiefs, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, reportedly briefed the lawmakers on the various challenges faced by the military, particularly the state of their equipment which they said required serious upgrading and restocking.

“They also complained that their vote in the 2015 supplementary budget has not been released thereby hampering their ability to fund their operations. Other issues that came up for discussion were the need to continuously increase the personnel in the three branches of the military and the hindrance posed by the procurement process which they said is very slow,” Saraki stated in the statement.

“The military chiefs also canvassed the need for the review of some laws governing their operations so as to make them able to respond to emergency situations they now confront in the North-east zone as well as conform with global best practices,” he further noted.

Credit: Sun

Commission Urges KDSG To Resolve Kabama/Military Land Dispute Urgently

The Public Complaints Commission on Tuesday called on the Kaduna State Government to urgently intervene in the lingering land dispute between the military and Kabama community of Sabon Gari Local Government Area.



The Head of the commission in the state, Alhaji Muhammad Maude, who made the call at a news conference in Kaduna, said the dispute was over the location of a shooting range.


Maude said the people of Kabama community had complained to the commission that the military encroached on their when it built a shooting range. He added that on investigation the commission discovered that the Kaduna State Government had in 2012 constituted a committee to review all land issues between the military and civilian communities.




“Among the areas revisited was the Kabama community land issue. We studied the committee’s report which recommended that the military should compensate the people of the community with N140.5 million and relocate them to another location. But since the committee submitted their report, nothing has been done about it which explained why the issue kept coming up. We also undertook a physical tour of the shooting range and what we discovered was that the only thing standing between the community and the shooting range is a fence.




“This predisposes the people to stray bullets and all kinds of danger that may emerge during military activities in the range,’’ he said.



He added that in the opinion of the commission, the location of the shooting range was not in line with global best practices, noting that the ideal thing to do was to relocate the shooting range. “It is not in line with global best practices to have a military shooting range in an inhabited area because casualties are bound to occur when bullets goes beyond the range. “It will be easier and cheaper for the military to relocate to a more quiet area instead of relocating the community. “With half of that amount, the military can establish a state of the art shooting range away from the people,’’ he said.



Maude, therefore called on the state government to live up to it responsibility and act promptly either by ensuring that the military paid the compensation of N140.5 million and relocate the community. “Or look for a more suitable place to establish the shooting range for the military. “All we are saying is that the state government should act fast to avert any catastrophic incident between the military and the community. “Already, information reaching us alleged that the military have started arresting people in the community. The government must act fast to avert a catastrophe,’’ Maude said.





Nigerians Owe Military Gratitude – Gov. Obiano

Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra said on Wednesday that Nigerians and indeed the state owed the Armed Forces gratitude for their commitment to the protection and defence of the country.

Obiano said this at the Eucharistic Mass for 2016 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration held at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Joe Asike, the governor said that every patriotic Nigerian was indebted to the Armed Forces for the supreme sacrifices they have made to preserve the country.

“We cannot quantify the sacrifices the Armed Forces make daily for the sake of peace.
“The peace we enjoy in our state today is as a result of the efforts of men and women of the armed forces and the ultimate sacrifice they are willing to make to protect Nigeria.
“We should all be grateful to them,’’ he said.
Earlier in his Homily, Bishop Peter Okpalaleke, Ahiara Diocese, described the Armed Forces Remembrance Day as a significant day for the Army and all branches of the force.

“It is a day to remember those colleagues who lost their lives while trying to protect the nation and make it safe for the living,’’ he said.

The Bishop said that the military personnel were not pursuing personal greatness but rather they are working hard for the greatness of Nigeria.

“They left their wives and children for the safety of the nation. It therefore is important that every member of the armed forces should see their mission as a way of drawing closer to God,” Okpalaleke.

He called for prayers by all in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the fight to protect the nation, and also the living as we struggle to keep the country safe.

The Mass was attended by senior officers of the armed forces, including the Anambra Commissioner of Police, Mr Hosea Karma.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Chief Judge and Head of Service, Prince Harry Uduh, among other dignitaries.





Buhari To Relaunch ‘War Against Indiscipline’

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to relaunch the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption in his patriotic bid to wipe out corruption from Nigeria.
This was revealed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja yesterday, to enlist their support in the on-going war against terrorism.
It will be recalled that as a military Head of State, Buhari alongside Tunde Idiagbon launched a nationwide campaign called “War Against Indiscipline” (“WAI”). The WAI campaign was aimed at tackling the most anti-social Nigerian characteristics such as indiscipline, corruption, and lack of environmental sanitation.
He further said the new attitudinal change programme was tagged “Change Begins With Me”, adding
that the National Orientation Agency (NOA), with offices across the 774 local government councils will be saddled with the responsibility of driving it.
He further explained that another campaign against corruption would also be unveiled shortly after the commencement of the “Change Begins With Me’’ programme.
Aware that some members of BON are privately-owned outfits that need to make money to remain afloat, the minister argued that they could only carry out their operations when the nation is at peace.
He equated the situation in the country to war, reiterating that the media cannot afford to be neutral at this time.
“This war against terror is our war, not the military’s war,’’ he stated, charging them to assist government in disseminating security awareness campaign messages across the country.
The minister said the essence of the campaign was to educate Nigerians on the need to support the military which, according to him, had availed itself creditably in the battle.
It was also aimed at alerting the citizenry to the need to be more security conscious, to be able to identify Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the weapon of choice deployed by the Jihadi terrorists.
Another reason was for the campaign is that Nigerians be able to identify suicide bombers before they are able to strike since “they live amongst us”.
Mohammed explained that the messages will be produced in various local languages to make them more potent.
He also alleged that some beneficiaries of corruption who did not want the nation to be at peace were behind the funding of the Boko Haram insurgency from proceeds of corruption.
“We believe that the change we so desire must start with each and every one of us, if it is to endure. The change must also come from within the heart, rather than being forced,” the minister stated.
On a request by one of the BON members that the government should assist them in protecting broadcast installations, the minister said he would reach out to the Inspector General of Police, to provide security to all broadcasting premises and facilities

Source: HeraldNG

Borno Hunters Seek To Join Military Against B’Haram

Hunters in Borno State on Sunday called on the military to allow them to join in the war against insurgents in Sambisa Forest, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The king of the Hunters, Mallam Mai-Gana Mai-Durma, made the appeal in Maiduguri while addressing newsmen.

Mai-Durma said the call became imperative because the hunters were familiar with the terrain of the dreaded forest, said to be the hideout and operational base of the terrorists.

“We are appealing to the military authorities to allow us join the fight against Boko Haram at the Sambisa Forest.

“We are ready to pursue the terrorists because we know the terrain very well,’’ Mai-Durma said.

He believed that the military should align them with members of the vigilance group, popularly known as the Civilian JTF, for effective result.

“We will overrun Sambisa in partnership with members of the civilian JTF if given the opportunity.

“This will help to complement the effort of military in the anti-terrorism operation,’’ Mai-Durma said.

He lamented that hunters from the 27 local government areas of the state had been rendered idle by the Boko Haram terrorism.

“Hunters from all the 27 Borno LGAs are all in Maiduguri with our leaders doing nothing at present because of Boko Haram.

“Rather than idling away, we will want to assist the military in crushing Boko Haram terrorists,’’ Mai-Durma said.

He appealed to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai, to assist in forwarding the request to the military authorities for consideration.

Minister Of Defence Promises Increased Funding For Military

 The Nigerian government has promised to provide the critical needs for the military to carry out its constitutional duties.

The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, made the pledge on Monday in Abuja.

Mr Dan-Ali explained that besides infrastructures, the government was poised to invest in the much needed operational platforms, hardware and equipment, human capital development and professional military education.

The Minister made the promise at the commissioning of the permanent site of the National Defence College.

The event threw up issues of the importance, with focus on a better financed military.

The Minister of Defence further commended the National Defence College for the giant strides and reemphasised that the government would provide more funding for the military under the present administration.

He also promised to ensure that the permanent site of the Defence College would be completed in the shortest possible time.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Shehu Sani Blames Military For Zaria Killings

The senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has blamed the Nigerian military over an attack that left several members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria dead and many others injured at the weekend.

Mr. Sani said in a statement on Tuesday that the attack was nothing but “indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by the military”.

“Silence and neutrality to this amount to nothing but aiding and abetting a clear and undisguised abuse of fundamental human rights.

“It’s absolutely wrong for the members of the group to deny the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff the rights of passage. However, killings and arson is not the legal, civilized and proportionate response to blocking road.

“Nigeria is a democratic state. The professional conduct of the apparatus of the state must be done within the ambit of the law and respect for fundamental rights of the citizenry.

“Nigeria as a democratic state must learn to balance its security exigencies with the need to observe and uphold its constitutional and moral obligation to fundamental human rights of its citizens.

“Any excuse to circumvent human rights is a step towards tyranny.

“Northern Nigeria has in the last seven years been neck deep in violence and soaked in blood. Opening a new front will not augur well for the peace and stability of Nigeria.

“The Zaria killings simply affirmed the fact that as a nation we have not learnt our lessons from our painful and hard experience.

“The action of the military is untenable, intolerable and unacceptable and has a serious repercussion to our global image, perception and moral standing.

“In the light of our recent experiences, it’s in the best security interest of our nation to encourage and support religious groups to operate openly.

“The Islamic movement and their leader have repeatedly denounced terrorism and insurgency.

“Zaria killings were avoidable tragedy. The use of force must always be the last resort and not the first resort and must be done within the principles of internationally best practices of rules of engagement.

“We have a duty as patriots to support our military to protect and defend our country, but it must be held to account within the permissible line of morality and the law.

“Those who are in support of the Zaria killings are giving a helping hand to arbitrariness and spitting on a fundamental right that may be used against them someday.

“The enduring spirit of a democratic state is upholding its moral values and achieving its goals. Our ultimate goal of restoring peace and order in our country must not be at the expense of sacrificing those very principles that distinctively separate us from those opposed to our democratic values.

“The right to life and human dignity is foundation upon which all other rights stand. We must learn to defeat ideas with superior ideas and not superior spears.

“I call for peace and justice. I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to launch a full scale investigation,” the senator said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Military Has Recovered Almost All Territories In Northeast– Brig. Gen. Rogers

The Chief of Civil/Military Affairs, Army HQ, Brig. Gen. Nicholas Rogers says territories held by the insurgents have been liberated as people are returning back to their communities gradually.

He added that the military has taken almost all the territories in the Northeast,“what is left are some villages between the boundaries of Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon particularly along the Lake Chad region”

The Brig. Gen. said that stability and calm have returned in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Gwoza, Bama, Baga, Monguno amongst other towns.

He also stated that some buildings like schools, churches that were burnt down are been rebuilt by the military, but noted that there are some challenges along the line.

In continuous fight against the insurgents and protecting the towns that have been liberated, the Brig. Gen revealed that other security agencies are yet to resume which is preventing the military from carrying out their full operations.

The Brig. Gen. also disclosed that several meetings have been held and is still ongoing to discuss the challenges in the system but noted that the responses are coming in slow.

Credit: ChannelsTV

100 Local Hunters Volunteer To Support Military Combat Boko Haram

About 100 local hunters from Kaduna State have expressed readiness to join in the war against Boko Haram in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The hunters said they are ever ready to bring the activities of Boko Haram to an end by December ending.

Addressing newsmen in Kaduna, the head of the local hunters, Alh Shehu Musa Al-Jan disclosed that about 100 local hunters have declared their interest to go to Maiduguri and fight the dreaded Boko Haram.

According to him, the hunters were aware of the December deadline given to the military authorities by President Muhammad Buhari, saying that, ‘‘we are ready to go and fight the insurgents to a standstill.’’

Al-Jan remarked that the fight against the Boko Haram was a call to duty, adding that, ‘‘the military alone cannot end the psychological war. We want to go there and assist them, we are not joking.’’

‘We have contacted our members across the Northern region and we know who and who are ready. We just want an invitation from the government, and we will land in Maiduguri without delay.’

‘We are ashamed of ourselves and inspite of the fact that we have brave and courageous men in the region, we cannot fold our hands and continue to see the senseless killing of our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and wives by this blood thirsty and heartless men[Boko Haram].”

Credit: Leadership

N333bn Arms scandal: Security Agencies Set To Invite Badeh, Others

There were indications on Wednesday that security agencies, including the police, were concluding arrangements to invite some former service chiefs, who were said to have been indicted by a committee, set up by President Muhammdu Buhari to probe arms procurement during the last administration.

Investigations showed that indicted service chiefs would be charged, while those who were not affected by the probe panel’s report might serve as witnesses during the trial of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki(retd.), and others said to be the masterminds of the alleged scam.

It was learnt that those, who might be invited, include ex-naval chiefs, Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba, (2010-2013), and Vice Admiral Usman Jubril (2014-2015).

In the Air Force, former officers that may be invited include Air Marshal Mohammmed Dikko (2010-2012); Air Marshal Alex Badeh (2012-2013), who later became the Chief of Defence Staff, and Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (2013-2015).

The police could not be reached on Wednesday for information on when the ex-military chiefs, said to be allegedly indicted by the report of the Presidential Arms Procurement Committee, would face interrogation over their involvement in the purchase of arms during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, did not respond to calls put through to her mobile while she had yet to respond to a text message sent to her as of the time of filing this report.

The arms procurement panel, which submitted its report on Tuesday, had indicted certain persons, chief among whom was the immediate ex-NSA, who, among other allegations, was said to have awarded about N333bn arms contracts, which the panel described as fictitious and phantom.

But Dasuki, who had initially been arraigned for illegal arms possession and money laundering, has faulted the report of the probe panel which indicted him of awarding fictitious contracts, 53 failed contracts, and payment for equipment without due process and proper documentation, among others.

Dasuki said in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday that all the contracts in question were executed and payments made with the approval of Jonathan.

The former NSA described the conclusions of the John Ode-led panel’s submission as baseless and lacking in diligence.

Dasuki explained that contrary to the claim by the panel, there were no fictitious contracts or diversion of contract sums as all the services acknowledged receipt of delivered items in writing in addition to the fact that the military agencies had their own contractors.

He alleged that the outcome of the report only showed the desperation of the Presidency to hang some former public and military officers, who served the country at great a risk to their lives.

Dasuki pointed out that if the members of the panel had invited him to appear before them, he would have given them the necessary documents to avoid some of their findings which he described as jaundiced.

He also faulted the panel’s claim that he awarded fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015, saying he was appointed NSA on June 22, 2012 and could not have awarded contracts before then.

Dasuki added, “To set the records straight, Nigerians should appreciate that the AVM Jon Ode-led panel did not invite the ex-NSA under any guise before arriving at its ambiguous findings. At least, fairness demands that the panel ought to hear from Dasuki instead of its recourse to hasty conclusions. If the panel had been more patient and painstaking, it would have been availed of all relevant documents on some of the jaundiced findings.

“As if acting a script, the Presidency alleged that the panel accused Dasuki of awarding fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015. Contrary to this claim, Dasuki was not the NSA in March 2012 and could not have awarded any contract in whatever name. The ex-NSA was appointed by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on June 22, 2012.

“All contracts and accruing payments were made with the approval of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. Once the ex-President approved, the former NSA paid. So, there was due process for every purchase in line with regulations guiding arms procurement for the Armed Forces.

“The conclusions of the panel were presumptive, baseless and lacked diligence.”

He explained that all the arms of the Armed Forces acknowledged that they received the weapons they had applied for.

“While awaiting judicial process on these allegations, it is proper to make some references to show that the Presidency is just desperate to hang some former public and military officers, who served this nation at the risk to their lives.

“It is laughable for the panel to assume that four Alpha jets and 12 helicopters were undelivered.”

He said it was his expectation that he should have been questioned if there were issues relating to the arms purchased under him.

Dasuki, who denied being a thief or a treasury looter, noted that he was just the clearing house for the purchases as all the contracts and the equipment purchased were done with Presidential approval.

Dasuki said the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, acknowledged receipt of the four Alpha jets and the helicopters in a memo to the ONSA with reference no. NAF/905/D/CAS of November 28, 2014,

He stated that Amosu also confirmed receipt of ‘F-7 N1 aircraft combination of 250kg bombs and accessories at $2,894,000 with the cost of freight at $1,200,000’ on October 21, 2014.

The former NSA vowed to meet the Presidency in court, where he said he would defend himself.

Police To Join Military Root Out Boko Haram

The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of zone 12, Mr Tunde Ogunsakin, has assured that the police will continue to collaborate with the armed forces to meet the presidential directive to root out Boko Haram insurgents from the country by December.

Ogunsakin who is in charge of Bauchi, Borno and Yobe commands which are among states in the area affected by Boko Haram insurgents since 2009, gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman at his palace in Bauchi.

The AIG who was accompanied the Bauchi State police commissioner, Mr Baba Tijani and other top police officers of the zone, said: “We are possibly seeing the end of insurgency in the north east. The Nigeria police and other security agencies will work hard to meet the deadline of the president. The end of Boko Haram is close. They are now on the run”

Credit: SunOnline

IBB Urges Nigerians To Support The Govt & Military In The Fight Against Boko Haram

n an exclusive interview with Sunday Sun at his Minna Hilltop Mansion, former head of state Ibrahim Babangida spoke on Buhari’s Ministers, Boko Haram, life after power and other sundry issues. While expressing confidence in the calibre of Nigerians chosen to serve in the Buhari cabinet, appealed to Nigerians to support the government and Armed Forces in the fight against Boko Haram.

“First of all, Nigerians should know that it is not a war limited to the North-east. It touches every part of Nigeria and even outside Nigeria. Therefore, the populace must support whatever action the government is taking because it is a Nigerian problem and must be solved by Nigerians. So, I am only appealing to Nigerians to support what the government and Armed Forces are doing. That will go a long way in curtailing this”

Asked what kind of support he had in mind, the former Military president said:
“Let me put it this way. The cause for which Nigerian Armed Forces are fighting is a legitimate cause. Therefore, it has to be supported. If it isn’t, nobody would care. It is a legitimate cause, and all of us, as long as you are a Nigerian,you have to support that cause”

He however noted that praising the Army and the Government is not the only way to show support.
“Well, praising, I don’t think it is the only support we can give. Maybe you were a small boy in 1967 during the civil war. You would find that Nigerians were mobilized to support that war and every citizen was making one contribution or the other, in kind, moral or material support. So, it entails material support and moral support in fighting such a cause”

Gowon Cautions Buhari, Military’s Confidence On Boko Haram December Deadline

A former military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, on Tuesday faulted President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian military over the December deadline for ending the Boko Haram insurgency.

President Buhari had tasked the military to end insurgency in three months, ending December 2015. The military has said it would meet the schedule.

Mr. Gowon said the military would do its best to meet the December deadline, expressing “absolute confidence” in the ability of the Nigerian armed forces to defeat Boko Haram.

He however warned that no person can confidently talk about the particular time a military operation would end.

Mr. Gowon stated this in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, when he led an advocacy team on malaria and four other neglected tropical diseases, on a visited to Governor David Umahi.

“I can tell you this, nobody can really talk about when any particular operation is going to end. And as a (former) commander-in- chief, I know this.

“Yes, you can say you target a particular time, but it may finish before that time or it may go slightly beyond. To end it, that is the most important thing.

“I assure you that I have absolute confidence in our military that they are going to really deal with the situation as they are doing at the moment,” said Mr. Gowon, who was the military leader during Nigeria’s civil war between 1967 and 1970.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Military To Develop Locally-Made Equipment To Fight Terror

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanishakin, says the Nigerian military will no longer depend solely on foreign technology in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east and other security challenges confronting the nation.

Instead, he said the military would partner with research institutions in Nigeria to develop locally-made military equipment that would assist in tackling some of the challenges.

General Olanishakin stated this during a seminar on Research and Development and launching of a 15-year Strategic Plan by the Nigerian Air Force in Kaduna State.

The strategic plan will last between 2015 to 2030.

He identified lack of synergy among the stakeholders as largely responsible for the technological backwardness of Nigeria over the years.

The military boss hinted that the introduction of the Research and Development plan was in line with the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the military to commence domestic production of weapons for use by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Read More: channelstv

Military Arrests 10 Boko Haram Suspects In Jigawa

Military troops on Wednesday night arrested 10 Boko Haram suspects in Birniwa local government area of Jigawa State.?The commander of 3 Brigade of the Nigeria Army, Kano, Brigadier General Hassan Hamisu disclosed this on Friday while parading the suspects in a border town of Birniwa.

He said the suspects were arrested while up loading petroleum products from a tanker into empty jerry cans with a view to transporting them to their members.

According to the army chief, among the suspects arrested with over 200 jerry cans, 41 already filled with petroleum products were two minors.

He said the suspects would be handed over to appropriate agencies for prosecution.

Read More: dailytrust

Suspected Terrorists Attack Military In Kogi Again

The Nigerian Army said, on Wednesday, that two suspected insurgents and a soldier were killed during an attack on troops on cordon and search operation in Okene, Kogi State.

A statement by the acting spokesman of the army, Colonel Sani Usman, in Abuja, said that a cache of arms and ammunition were recovered in the operation.

“Our troops on cordon and search in the general area of Enike Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, were attacked by some suspected terrorists at about 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“The troops responded and two of the attackers were killed. In addition, a rocket-propelled grenade and empty cases of expended ammunition were recovered.

“Unfortunately, we lost a soldier while another sustained gunshot wounds,” Usman said.

The spokesman said that the situation had been brought under control and urged the people of the area to go about their normal businesses.

Read Moretribuneonlineng

Military Arrests Another Boko Haram Kingpin

Press statement from the Nigerian Army:
Heroic Nigerian troops have today captured the economic important and strategic town of Banki town in Borno State which is equally noted for fishing.
It is important to note that major economic and trading activities between Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African countries takes place in the town.
The gallant troops have completed exploiting through the town and terrorists’ famous Boko Haram Islamiyah (An Islamic School) building. In addition, the soldiers have destroyed 7 Boko Haram camps and successfully detonated 7 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The troops have succeeded in discovering and detonating 13 IEDs between Darel Jamal and Banki.
During the encounter to recapture the town, several Boko Haram terrorists were killed and several others were captured alive between Banki junction and Ngorosoye.
The recapture of the strategic town was facilitated by concerted efforts of the Nigerian Air Force and close liaison with the Cameroon’s Army.
The Chief of Army Staff’s goodwill message delivered through Major General YM Abubakar, the Commander, OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE has gone a long way to boost troops’ morale and prod them into action.
The recapture of this town apart restoring Nigeria’s territory law, would improve the economic activities in that area.
In a related development, a renown terrorist trying to escape with his family, was intercepted by troops between Pulka and Gwoza and has surrendered himself to the troops.
Efforts to consolidate on the gains made by troops towards ridding all parts of Nigerian territory of Boko Haram terrorists are ongoing.
Thank you for your usual cooperation.
Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman
Acting Director Army Public Relations

Coup In Burkina Faso As Military Dissolves Government

The military in Burkina Faso has announced the dissolution of the country’s transitional government, a day after presidential guards arrested the interim president and prime minister.

President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Zida were detained by soldiers who stormed an afternoon Cabinet meeting, plunging the poor West African country into chaos and uncertainty.

The coup comes days before the country’s first election since last year’s ouster of long-serving ruler, Blaise Compaore.

Mr. Compoare was deposed in a popular uprising in 2014.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Nigerian Troops Arrest Boko Haram Logistics And Medical Drug Suppliers

Troops of 3 Division Nigerian Army have intercepted and arrested some kingpins of Boko Haram. The men were found with hard drugs and other stimulants. A statement by the spokesperson of the Nigerian army, Sani Usman, said the men were arrested at Geidam local government in Borno state. The statement in part reads;

“You will recall that sometimes ago we reported that ironically most of the Boko Haram terrorists captured by Nigerian military cannot read the Holy Qur’an, some of them cannot even recite the first chapter- Suratuh Al-Fatiha and yet they claimed they wanted to establish an ‘Islamic State’.  When the Nigerian military captured their bases and training camps, they never found Qur’an or other Islamic books, what were mostly found were ammunition, local charms, condoms and all sorts of drugs, including sex enhancing ones in their enclaves. The arrest of these drug suppliers has reinforced that fact, more so as they have been making very useful statements. The Nigerian Army would continue to do its best in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in our country in order to make Nigeria safe and secure. This however, requires continuous support and cooperation of the public. We always welcome and appreciate information that could lead to the arrest and pre-empting of Boko Haram terrorists and other criminal elements in the society.”the statement read.

Boko haram Slaughters 28 In Fresh Attack In Borno

28 people were slaughtered after Boko Haram members attacked Mafurnudi in Damboa LGA of Borno State, on Tuesday. A resident of the state Abubakar Jojo, who confirmed the killings, said

”They attacked our people in Mafurnudi village on Tuesday but we learned about it today because there are no telecommunications in Damboa area. Twenty-four men and eight others suffered gun wounds. They carted away all their foodstuffs and set their homes ablaze,” he told SaharaReporters

In a related development, the sect members attacked Kafa village in Damboa LGA yesterday August 26th, killing four people ?

”Boko Haram attacked fishermen at Kafa village yesterday [killing] four people then throwing them into the river,” a resident Kaka Sadiq said.

Helicopter Crashes in Lagos Lagoon

An unidentified helicopter just crashed into a lagoon at the Oworosoki area of Lagos.

Although it not clear if its a military, commercial or private helicopter that crashed, the South-west Spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye confirmed the incident.

He said already all the primary and secondary responders are moving in to ascertain the damage.

Speaking to reporters he said, “We don’t know exactly what happened but we have called the Nigerian Mission Control Centre (NIMCC) to confirm the distress signal.

“The centre will ascertain this through the COSPAS-SARSAT, also known as the beacon, which is a hi-tech satellite based equipment made by Russia, USA and Canada for search and rescue purposes.”

Headed by Navy Captain Michael Igwe the NIMCC will through the beacon assist NEMA and other responders in locating the distressed helicopter.

Details shortly…

Credit –

Buhari To Probe Arms Purchase Under Jonathan

President Muhammadu Buhari will order an investigation into contracts involving the procurement of weapons for the military under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this while featuring on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on Sunday evening. Shehu spoke a few days after the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, said he led a military that was ill-equipped.

A former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), had also said while some weapons and equipment procured by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan were used to
fight insurgency during the latter days of his tenure, some others were still being awaited.

The presidential spokesman said Buhari was interested in taking stock of every naira that left the national treasury and for what purpose. He said Nigerians were aware that books were already being checked and the exercise was not limited to the oil sector.
He said, “The President is interested in every penny that leaves the Nigeria’s treasury.

“As you are aware, records are being checked right now, not only in the oil sector, but also in the various departments of g overnment.

“So, Mr. President is really interested in what has happened to the equipment that have supposedly been bought and supplied, some of which might be there on the ground or might not be.

“Only a thorough audit will actually reveal this. The disclosure has been made about substandard (equipment) in the Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.”

Shehu reiterated Buhari’s desire to urgently end the activities of the Boko Haram sect. While saying that normalcy is gradually being restored, the presidential spokesman noted that there is currently no territory in the control of Boko Haram.

“The insurgents have been degraded. They are in disarray without a central command and coordination,” he declared.
Shehu said the President would not send troops to the warfront without ensuring that they are properly equipped and taken care of.

“Just on Friday, at the National Defence College, Mr. President was committing himself to the fact that our military will be well taken care of in terms of their welfare, in terms of their equipment and in terms of the motivation they need to confront these insurgents.

“We are already beginning to see the fruits of this because as we speak right now, Boko Haram is in disarray.

“And what we are witnessing now; that is, occasional bombings and suicide attacks, characterise only one thing globally. And that is that, the dying days of the insurgency. It’s just a matter of time, we’ll get there,” he said.

Chibok Community Commends Military Over Reconstruction Of GSS Chibok

Chibok community in Borno State has commended the military over the reconstruction of the Government Secondary School, GSS, Chibok, the school where over 200 school girls were abducted by the Boko Haram sect.

Speaking during an interview yesterday, the chairman of Chibok Community Association in Abuja, Tsambido Hosea-Abana stated that the reconstruction was going at a fast pace adding that with the pace, the school will be completed soon.

“They are doing a good job. I am so impress. I tell you so many work is going on simultaneously there. The work also contributed to the added security at the place as the army were stationed everywhere. I heard that they have done a lot and are going to phase two now. I am very happy.

“Our people are so happy that they are bringing food for them but they all said that the don’t want anything. They are working for the people. They are putting their minds in the work and thank God it is going on well,” he said.

Read Moreleadership

Pres. Buhari’s Schedule Shocks Aso Rock Staff And Will Probably Shock You As Well

A new report has surfaced on which reveals the daily routine of President Muhammadu Buhari as he presides over the affairs of Nigeria from the presidential villa in Aso Rock.

According to the report, the president lives an austere life. The president works from 7am into the wee hours of the night, but still makes out time for his five daily prayers as a devout Muslim.

Continue to see his full schedule below:

Mr. President then consults with few underground advisers and aides in one of the guest houses in the villa on a daily basis to weigh his options in his policy decisions.

Speaking about the tight schedule of Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant on media to the president said: “Maybe because of his military background, the President wakes up early and he is an avid listener to radio stations. Before he reports for work by 7am, he must have listened to all the talk shows on radio and you will be amazed how he picks you up on some national issues discussed on radio. Most times, he starts his day by 6am.”

He continued saying: “The President works from the early hours of the day till 1am and 2am. In fact, there was a time the team around him had a meeting and expressed worries that the President was having only three hours of sleep. They therefore redesigned his schedule by saying no more appointment by 9pm. The new policy did not last more than one week. After that, the President worked till 1am.”

Responding to a question on the issue, Shehu said: “I think it has to do with his military training because it got to a point that one of the youngest staff working with the President could not cope with his schedule.”

“Nigeria’s Military Needs Training, Not Arms” – US Legislature

The United States is ready to provide military training to help Nigeria’s battle against Islamic terrorists, Boko Haram according to the leader of a U.S. Congressional delegation.

According to Rep. Darrell Issa: “Nigeria’s military is not outgunned by Boko Haram and needs training, not arms, to defeat the insurgents blamed for the deaths of thousands in three countries”

Issa spoke after his four-person bipartisan delegation met with President Muhammadu Buhari and military service chiefs.

The statement by Issa contradicts President Buhari who asserted, after meeting President Barack Obama at the White House last month, that the United States is aiding Boko Haram by refusing to sell attack helicopters to Nigeria.

The U.S. Leahy Law prohibits all aid to specific military units which have been found to violate human rights. In the case of Nigeria, U.S. officials have said that some units have been vetted and deemed eligible for assistance, and others have not. Amnesty International has accused Nigeria of killing without due process an estimated 8,000 people suspected of involvement with Boko Haram.

“The number one thing we bring is professional training to help the Nigerian forces fight Boko Haram and to advise them how to treat insurgents and civilians captured in the war zone”, said Issa who is a Republican from California and member of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism.

He continued saying: “Nigeria’s military doesn’t lack basic firearms … it lacks training in military strategy and in international and humanitarian laws. This is a military that was allowed to fall into disrepair during the previous administration. Morale is low when training is low,”

He said Obama’s pledge to give whatever training is needed signals “a new day” in U.S.-Nigeria relations. Buhari has since pledged to annihilate Boko Haram and fight Nigeria’s serious corruption problem.

Burundi President’s Chief Security Officer Assasinated

Gunmen wearing military uniforms shot dead a former Burundian security chief who was a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza yesterday Sunday August 2nd. According to presidential spokesman, Willy Nyamitwe who confirmed the news, Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana (pictured) was assassinated yesterday in a car alongside three of his bodyguards in the Kamenge district in Bujumbura.

General Adolphe Nshimirimana was in charge of the president’s personal security at the time of his death. When a president refuses to step down…he brings war to his people!

Presidential spokesperson Nyamitwe said;

“I have lost a brother, a companion in the struggle. The sad reality is that General Adolphe Nshimirimana is no longer with this world,” he said in a message posted on Twitter.

Police and witnesses said the General’s pick-up was hit by two rockets and sprayed with automatic gunfire along with his driver and two others. General Adolphe was a close aide to President Pierre and was seen as the mastermind behind the crackdown on the protests as well as a key player in foiling the coup attempt.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assassination, although the coup plotters have since regrouped and have launched a rebellion in the north of the country, and have also been linked to a string of grenade attacks in Bujumbura. There are fears that renewed conflict in the country could reignite ethnic Hutu-Tutsi violence and bring another humanitarian disaster to central Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region. The last civil war in Burundi, which ended in 2006, left at least 300,000 people dead.

AP/Daily Nation

Boko Haram Commander Captured By The Military, 178 People Rescued From Sect’s Camp

The Nigeria military has captured Boko Haram Commander and rescued 178 captivities in Bama axis, Borno State.
The development was sequel to the ongoing operations to clear Boko Haram terrorists in its area of operations, the troops of 21 Brigade in conjunction with elements of 151 Task Force Battalion of 7 Division, Nigerian Army have conducted offensive operations along Aulari in Bama axis.
The troops successfully cleared terrorists’ camp in Fadan, Shuwarin, Wulari, Ngoro Dauye, Jidori, Alikashiri, Kalzamari-Shuwa and Kalzamari-Kanuri amongst others.

During the offensive operations, 178 people held captives by the terrorists were rescued. They include 101 children, 67 women and 10 men.

Also, three Boko Haram flags were recovered while five motor cycles were burnt by the troops. In addition, one Boko Haram commander was captured alive and is presently undergoing investigation.

“I Never Maltreated President Buhari After The 1985 Coup” – Sambo Dasuki

Says he knelt to beg Akande for Buhari as ACN/CPC flagbearer in 2011

Immediate past National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd), has sworn that he never maltreated nor took part in maltreating President Muhammadu Buhari when he, as military Head of State, was removed in a 1985 coup, as being erroneously alleged.

He said: “I always respect and dignify my seniors and those in positions of authority whether in service or after. Though a young officer, I was reluctant to be among those that arrested him. And I was not.

“I only met him afterward at Bonny Camp with Lawal Rafindadi. There is no way I could have maltreated him as being alleged in some quarters. I am glad most of the actors are still alive.”

The former NSA made the disclosure even as he stated that he knelt down begging Baba Bisi Akande, who was then Chairman of Action Congress Nigeria, ACN, to accept then General Buhari because “General Buhari is a man to be trusted.”

Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.): Former  NSA

Dasuki, who spoke to blogger Yushua Shauib in Abuja, also disclosed how he and some others confronted late General Sani Abacha over June 12 election, which was won by late Chief Mashood Kashimawo Abiola.

He said: “This led to our premature retirement. The persecution that followed forced me into exile, where I teamed up with opposition elements struggling for the return of democracy.”

‘My campaign for him’ On his roles in politics, the former NSA, who had been having running battles with the Department of State Services, DSS, narrated how he supported the campaign aspiration of Muhammadu Buhari in 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections.

He said respected Northern elements like Adamu Adamu, Bashir Kurfi, Sule Hamman, Wada Maida and Kabir Yusuf are among individuals privy to his active involvement.

While revealing how he campaigned for Buhari to emerge the joint candidate of ACN and CPC in 2011, Dasuki disclosed how he pleaded with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the presence of Bisi Akande to accept Muhammad Buhari as the joint presidential candidate for ACN and CPC.

Dasuki said: “In the belief that Yoruba and south-westerners are never religious fanatics, especially regarding politics, me and my group suggested that Tinubu should be a running mate to Buhari.

“When other elements opposed that proposition, Tinubu team therefore recommended a Buhari-Osinbajo ticket. Unfortunately, the ticket failed to stick as Pastor Tunde Bakare was eventually pushed forward by other forces.”

Speaking further, the former NSA recalled how prior to the 1983 coup that ousted President Shehu Shagari, himself and two young military officers, who are still alive, travelled to Jos to brief Major General Buhari, who was then the GOC of 3rd Armoured Division, on the furtherance of the planning of the 1983 coup, which made Buhari the major beneficiary.

He said: “Buhari expressed his bitterness about insinuations on his stewardship in one of the public institutions, but I assured the then GOC not to worry about such reckless and mischievous insinuations.”

Asked why he participated in the ouster of Buhari less than two years afterward ousting Shagari, Dasuki simply answered that General Buhari should know who to blame.

– Source –

Damasak People Flee Homes, As Nigerian Army Fails To Deploy

Residents are fleeing from Damasak village in northeastern Nigeria as soldiers from Niger and Chad threaten to leave following the failure of the Nigerian army to deploy in the area.

A source told Reporters that the allies have given the Nigerian army an ultimatum to occupy the village within three days or the coalition troops would abandon it, leaving thousands of residents vulnerable to renewed attacks by Boko Haram, which is based in the region.

Boko Haram militants were forced out of Damasak, located in Borno State, by coalition troops in March of this year.

Source – Sahara Reporters

President Buhari Laments State Of Nigeria’s Military

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has for the first time met those campaigning for the release of more than 200 girls abducted by Islamist Boko Haram militants last year.

His predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, declined to meet the Bring Back Our Girls activists.
Mr Buhari promised them that troops for a regional force to fight the militants would be in place by the end of July. The kidnap of the girls from a school in Chibok sparked global outrage. The president also regretted that Nigerian army known for its military finesse in the sub African region has been unable to rout out the Boko haram in Nigeria.
The President hosted a delegation of ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ led by Dr. Oby Ezekwesili and Mrs. Mariam Uwaise at the presidential Villa in furtherance of their campaign for the release of over 200 abducted Chibok girls from Borno State.

Responding to the 13 points demand by the group, President Buhari regretted what he described as the conflicting reports of the terrorist attacks, saying that the delayed response by the former government encouraged the escalated attacks and promised to rebuild the ravaged communities.

The mass abduction sparked one of the biggest social media campaigns of 2014, with the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls being used more than five million times.
Boko Haram has stepped up attacks since Mr Buhari took office in May vowing to tackle the insurgency “head on”.
The Nigerian military has said it has arrested “the mastermind” behind two recent attacks on the northern towns of Jos and Zaria in which almost 70 people were killed.
Addressing members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group and the media, the president said that the government was doing all it could to tackle insecurity, but did not refer directly to the 219 Chibok girls abducted in April 2014.

Earlier, the activists had marched through the capital, Abuja, on their way meet Mr Buhari at his official residence.

One of the founders of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group told the BBC that “there was no time left” for the government to act.
“The rescue of the Chibok girls would be the strongest statement this government could make for having respect for the sanctity and dignity of every Nigerian life,” said Oby Ezekwesili.

In his speech, Mr Buhari spoke of the “paradox” of Nigeria asking its neighbours for help, despite itself providing help to so many other countries in the past.
“How the mighty have fallen,” he said.

The president criticised the previous government’s “incompetence” in dealing with the kidnapping and the broader Boko Haram insurgency.
Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin are all expected to provide troops for the 7,500-strong regional task force to tackle Boko Haram.
The force will be led by Nigeria but have its headquarters in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena.

The Chibok schoolgirls have not been seen since last May when Boko Haram released a video of around 130 of them gathered together reciting the Koran.

President Buhari gave a detailed account of the efforts to end insurgency in Nigeria and assured the country that there’s no lost hope.

“I think you will agree that the present government take the issue very seriously. Within a week of being sworn in, I visited Niger, Chad and would have visited Cameroon but for the invitation of the G7 to go to Germany and listen to them. I’m very impressed with the leadership of this important group (G7) other than the United Nations itself. They are very concerned about the security in Nigeria led by abduction of the Chibok girls by the terrorists.

“When the terrorists announced  their loyalty to ISIS, the whole attention again was brought squarely to Nigeria. And now we are rated with Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria , this is very unfortunate.

“After Ramadan, I will visit Cameroon to see the President there and then Benin Republic. But on the efforts we have been making, we will not disclose some of them publicly because it  will not be consistent with security. But I assure you that under the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the military have met. The ministers of defence have met. We the presidents have met here in Abuja except the President of Cameroon who was represented by his Minister of Defence.

“Strategy and tactics have been drawn. Multinational taskforce has been put in place more or less with headquarters in Ndjamina with a Nigerian General as Commander. The troops delegated by each of the countries are to be put in place by the end of the month. And Nigeria, I assure you  will do its best because we as I said are the battle ground and we are being helped by our neighbors”, he said.

“It is paradoxical what the Nigerian military has achieved from Burma to Zaire to Liberia to Sierra Leon to Sudan. But Nigeria has now to be helped by Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. How are the mighty fallen!

“We will do our best to restore the respectability of our country and its institutions. And with you, your steadfastness and your seriousness, we will do what we can do. We will accommodate all your observations including the negative ones about the performance of the government and its agencies”, he said

“At the G7, the leadership there asked us for our shopping list  which I’m still compiling. The military has submitted theirs and I’m waiting for the governments of the front line states to submit theirs local government by local government in terms of infrastructure, schools, health care, roads, markets, churches, mosques and so on.”

How Mastermind Of Jos, Zaria Bombings Was Nabbed– Military

The Nigerian military has explained how the suspected mastermind of the Jos and Zaria bombings was arrested. The defence headquarters had earlier tweeted that the unnamed suspect was taken into custody in Gombe after organising the two attacks that killed 70 people between Sunday and Tuesday.

The spokesperson for the Army, Sani Usman, has given further details on the arrest:

“Please recall that on Sunday 5th July 2015, suspected Boko Haram terrorists carried out coordinated bomb and gun attacks on worshippers at Ýan Taya mosque, Dillimi Street, off Bauchi Road, Jos where the holy month of Ramadan tafsir was holding, and Shagalinku Restaurant, along Bauchi Road, Jos, Plateau State which led to death of over 48 persons, injuring several other persons and destruction of property.

“Similarly, the terrorists carried out another bomb attack on hapless workers undergoing verification exercise at Sabon Gari Local Government Secretariat, Zaria Kaduna State which resulted in the death of over 25 people including a two-year-old child and destruction of property.

“Consequently, security cordon was established in the general areas especially along Bauchi, Gombe and the North Eastern part of the country by troops of 3 Division and Special Task Force, as well as the Department of State Services. This culminated in the successful arrest of the mastermind of the heinous terrorist acts and two of his accomplices at a checkpoint in Dadin Kowa, Gombe State. The terrorist kingpin and his colleagues who disguised in a trailer while trying to evade checks were fished out by troops of Nigerian Army.

“The arrested terrorists are currently being processed for further action and would soon face the full wrath of the law.

“The general public are hereby please requested to be more vigilant, security conscious and report any suspicious persons, movements, and facilities to the security agencies.”


Military Captures Jos, Zaria Bombings Mastermind At Gombe Checkpoint

The Nigerian Military has announced the arrest of the mastermind of the deadly bombings that rocked Jos and Zaria on Sunday and Tuesday respectfully. The announcement was made via the twitter handle of the Defence headquarters.

The tweets reads: “Troops have arrested a mastermind of the Jos and Zaria bombing at a checkpoint in Gombe following an operation by a combined team of the military and the DSS.

It will be recalled that the twin bomb explosions in Jos on Sunday and the Tuesday’s explosion in Zaria left over 60 people dead with many injured.


Jos Bomb Blast: Plateau Governor Calls For Return Of Checkpoints In The State

Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong has called for the return of security checkpoints in the state. The governor made the call while visiting victims of the twin bomb blast that rocked Jos yesterday July 5th.

“Today I have made an appeal to Mr President to allow us go back to our checkpoints. Allow the security to go back. Without security, people can come from all angle to start attacking innocent people” Gov Lalong said

On June 23rd, President Buhari ordered the removal of checkpoints nationwide.

President Buhari Probes Military

There is tension in the Armed Forces as President Muhammadu Buhari may have ordered the military hierarchy to account for the number of weapons purchased to fight Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

The President was also said to have ordered the Military High Command to make available records of total amount of money it received from the Federal Government to curb insurgency.

Top military sources who spoke with Daily Sun, revealed that these and many other decisions were taken after Mr. President met with the service chiefs comprising the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-General Kenneth Minimah, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase.

The sources who did not want to be mentioned, said the President may have taken the decision due to grumbling in the military by some personnel, who felt that their bosses and their colleagues occupying strategic position had taken advantage of the counter-terrorism operations to enrich themselves.

Read More: sunnewsonline

FG Probes Amnesty International’s Allegation Against Military

The Federal Government has constituted an investigation into the allegations leveled against the Nigerian military by the Amnesty International. This is contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Bulus Lolo and made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja. Lolo, in the statement, described the allegations leveled against the military as “serious”.

“Due to the magnitude of the allegations, the President Buhari-led government is looking into the report with a view to establishing the fact of the matter. “The government has, therefore, instituted an investigation and assures that there will be no cover-up,” he said.

The permanent secretary also said that the military, conscious of its constitutional mandate, had undertaken an ongoing investigation into the allegations of wrongdoing by its personnel.

Read More: vanguardngr

Military To Take Over Aso Rock’s Strike Force

Ahead of the relocation of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Presidential Villa, arrangements have been concluded for the Nigerian military to take over the activities of the Strike Force, The PUNCH has learnt.

The Strike Force, which is a special security outfit saddled with the responsibility of protecting the President and the seat of power, is currently comprising only officials of the Department of State Services.

A top Presidency official, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent on Tuesday that soldiers
might take over their responsibility very soon.

The source said a Lieutenant who will be leading 21 other military personnel had already been transferred to the Strike Force with an instruction to take over from the DSS officials.

He said, “DSS officials are the ones that have been serving in the Strike Force. “With this development military personnel will take over from them henceforth.

“We are aware that the situation is causing a palpable tension as there is a possibility of a showdown. But we are working hard to ensure that the situation did not degenerate.”

Operatives attached to the Strike Force are always trained abroad on counter-assault and other techniques aimed at making their jobs easier.

In explaining their duties, the source said its operatives were the ones former President Olusegun Obasanjo erroneously referred to as snippers in his widely-publicised open letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Another official, who is aware of the arrangement, also said that machinery had also been put in place to change the new Presidential Villa’s Administrative Officer, who was deployed by the DSS about two weeks ago and replaced with a military officer.

He said all DSS officials currently serving inside the Presidential Villa were not sure of their fate yet.

“The truth is that we are not sure of anything yet. Whichever way, we will only act based on signals from our headquarters whether to leave or remain inside the Villa,” he said.

Meanwhile, a major disagreement broke out on Friday between DSS officials drafted from the Presidential Villa, Abuja to the National Mosque, Abuja and some officials of a private security firm.

The PUNCH had reported last week that DSS officials were having a running battle with officials of the security outfit who were reported to have been securing Buhari before he was inaugurated as the President on May 29.

Their two earlier encounters in the same mosque were settled amicably with officials of the firm asked to leave the premises for DSS officials.

Our correspondent, however, learnt that trouble started again last Friday when DSS officials also sighted the officials of the private firm in the mosque.

A source claimed that trouble started when one of the officials of the firm was asked to identify himself.

“The DSS officials had asked the private guard to identify himself. One thing led to the other and the private guard was said to have held the necktie of one of the operatives. That led to a fisticuffs. It took the timely intervention of senior officers for the situation to be brought under control,” the source said.

Military To Take Over Aso Rock’s Strike Force

Ahead of the relocation of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Presidential Villa, arrangements have been concluded for the Nigerian military to take over the activities of the Strike Force.

The Strike Force, which is a special security outfit saddled with the responsibility of protecting the President and the seat of power, is currently comprising only officials of the Department of State Services.

A top Presidency official, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent on Tuesday that soldiers might take over their responsibility very soon.

The source said a Lieutenant who will be leading 21 other military personnel had already been transferred to the Strike Force with an instruction to take over from the DSS officials.

Read Morepunchng

Buhari Plans Military Shake-up, Angry With DSS – Report

There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari may carry out a major shake-up in the top echelons of the military.

It was learnt that service chiefs and other senior officers across the various arms of the military might be relieved of their posts to pave way for new hands.

Findings showed that Buhari would replace the service chiefs with equally experienced officers.

It was gathered that all but one of the military chiefs would be disengaged by the President, while appointing new officers who would be expected to implement the new phase of the war against the
Boko Haram sect in the North-East.

Sources said that there was anxiety in the military over the looming change of guard which is expected to affect all the services, including the Army, Navy, and the Air Force.

It was gathered that the military chiefs were acutely aware of the fate that might befall them, having reached the pinnacle of their career.

A source said that the President may be considering one of the service chiefs to ensure smooth transition between the present military chiefs and their successors.

But another source said this was not likely, noting that the only service chief that might be retained is the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, who was appointed a few months ago by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

One of our correspondents gathered that Buhari would likely appoint his “loyalists” and those he had worked with into top positions.

It was also gathered that Buhari might have made up his mind to use policemen and soldiers as presidential security, while whittling down the influence and presence of the Department of State Services at the Presidential Villa.

It was also learnt that Buhari indicated his preference for policemen and soldiers trained in body guard protection instead of the usual teams of DSS personnel used by his predecessor.

A source said that the President is unhappy with the agency over the “various negative security reports it wrote against him during his struggle to become the President, including the report on the recent certificate saga.”

Security sources said the rejection of 253 DSS operatives by Villa authorities last week was informed by the President’s directive that he did not want the agency’s personnel around him.

One of the sources said, “The President has yet to forgive the DSS for what he sees as its antagonism against him before the last general elections. So, the President has decided to keep the agency at arm’s length and for his security, he will be using policemen and soldiers.”

The source added that though a DSS operative would still occupy the post of the Chief Security Officer of the villa, “the CSO will be a mere figure-head because he would have no control over the security at the villa.”

Further findings showed that since Buhari was sworn in, information about his itinerary and schedules were no longer passed to the DSS as is the tradition under the former President.

Our correspondents learnt that under the last administration, the CSO would always be informed about the President’s movement and daily itinerary, but this was said to have changed since Buhari assumed office. Presently, it was gathered, it is only the President’s Aide-de-Camp that knows Buhari’s daily schedule and the CSO had to rely on his contacts within the villa to know the President’s movement.

When contacted, the DSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, had told one of our correspondents earlier in the week that she could not comment on the issue of posting of the service officers at the villa.

“I don’t have such information and I cannot comment on it,” she said.

Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Sheu, declined to comment on the issues of appointment.

He said Buhari could not make any pronouncement on appointments or any other issue until he received the report of his transition committee.

Shehu recalled that Jonathan submitted its handover note to Buhari on the eve of his (Jonathan) exit from office.

He said the President thereafter handed over the note to a committee led by Ahmed Joda to study and make recommendations.

He added, “The Joda committee was given two weeks to study Jonathan’s handover note and make recommendations.

“This committee just finished its assignment on Wednesday evening and may present its recommendations to the President on Friday.”

Source: Punch

Security Expert Explains Why Osinbajo Can’t Attend National Security Meetings For Now

A security expert has explained why Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has so far not been allowed to attend any of the national security meetings President Buhari has had with Service Chiefs since he assumed power. On June 2nd and yesterday June 10th, President Buhari met with the Service Chiefs without Osinbajo and this has led to some media houses reporting that the Vice President was “locked out” from the Defence House, venue of the meetings.

A security expert explains why the pastor and lawyer can’t be allowed into such meetings for now. See that below…

The security expert explaned that Vice President Osinbajo is not a trained military officer and so it will take the military some time before sensitive intelligence can be shared in his presence. He also made reference to the Vice President’s affiliation to Tinubu. What he said below…

“I am sure he would have been invited if he had security background. Being a Professor of Law is fine, but in terms of intelligence and access to security information, you are nowhere near the rank of Colonel or equivalent in the Nigeria Military. Look, I have watched some footages that if the VP gets to see, he would lose appetite for days. Now, we have someone who has been in luxury virtually all his life, attaining the position of VP and some people are clamouring for his presence in highly sensitive talks. The truth is that the military hierarchy would not even feel comfortable saying some things in his presence. I can tell you that they respect Prof. Osinbajo as VP but they cannot trust him with information yet.

You cannot compare him to Buhari who served in many military roles, chased away a militia that was threatening Nigeria security, overthrew a military government, became Head of State, fought corruption and went ahead to instill discipline among a stubborn citizenry. The VP would have to go through what is called ‘Stimulation’. This is a process where he is lectured on terms, dealings, operations etc. of the military. His inner strength, strong heart and ability to keep things to himself will first be put to test before he gets access to some classified materials and information. We must understand the fact that Osinbajo was a candidate promoted by Bola Tinubu (ex-Lagos Governor), he was not handpicked by Buhari. If the President had picked a vice, it is likely that such individual may get the access Osinbajo isn’t getting now. Everyone knows the VP has been loyal to Tinubu for decades and he cannot swear that he would not divulge details of these security meetings to his political godfather. So he has to earn it. Tinubu may have used his influence to put him in this position but he must draw a line between blind loyalty and national duty.” he told Daily Independent.

Chief Of Army Staff Visits Nigerian Troops On The Frontline In Adamawa And Borno States

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant Keneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah, today June 11th paid a visit to Nigerian troops stationed in Borno and Adamawa states. During his visit, he encouraged the troops to be steadfast in their fight to stamp out insurgency in Nigeria. See More photos of his visit below…