The military is on top of its game in the north-east – Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said Nigerian security agencies were doing well to keep Boko Haram insurgents at bay in the north-east.

While receiving a briefing from the service chiefs, Osinbajo noted that the insurgent group had been heavily degraded.

He expressed satisfaction at the job done by the military but clamoured for vigilance, saying that the insurgents were now in the business of causing havoc with suicide bombers.

“As you know, the Boko Haram as a military force has been degraded. They are not holding territory at the moment. Our armed forces have been able to dislodge them from practically all territories they were holding in the past,” he said.

“What is happening now is just once in a while attack by suicide bombers. By the nature of asymmetric warfare, we are not able to say it has ended now. But I think that militarily they have been contained. There is no question at all that Boko Haram as a fighting force has been degraded.

“We are still vigilant because of their capacity to do damage with suicide bombers. I am very satisfied with what the military has done so far.

“And the briefing has shown graphically that they are really on top of their game and that they are doing excellently well in the Northeast.”

The Acting President also disclosed that he will speak with President Muhammadu Buhari, who’s on medical vacation in London, on the briefing received from the service chiefs.

 

Source: The Cable

13 countries to meet to raise $1.1 billion for IDPs in Northeast

No fewer than 13 countries are seeking $1.1 billion (N330 billion) as humanitarian assistance to 1.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east sub-region of the country.

The Ambassador of Ireland, Sean Hoy, disclosed this yesterday in Maiduguri, while briefing journalists about the “worsening humanitarian crisis” in the three affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

He said that the 13 ambassadors and representatives of Republic of Korea, Sweden, Netherlands, Japan, Germany, France, U.S, United Kingdom, and Norway among other countries; will attend the Oslo Conference slated for February 24, 2017 to raise the $1.1 billion.

Hoy listed the four humanitarian intervention and assistance to include, protection of IDPs, food, security and education.

Meawhile, the House of Representatives yesterday lamented the absence of a comprehensive data of IDPs spread across various camps in the country.

The House committee on the north east, refugees and internally displaced persons has called on the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and the Displaced that such data would be required for effective planning and implementation of resettlement re-integration programmes.

The Sani Zorro-led committee which met with the federal commissioner for refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants , Hajia Sadiya Farouk on her outfit 2017 budget proposal also stressed the need for durable solutions to the problems of the IDPs in the polity.

Zorro urged the commission to partner with state governments and NGOs as well as the Federal Capital Territory Administration to get accurate data on the number of persons displaced across the country and how to resettle or integrate them.

Also, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has trained 400 clerics, youth and women leaders in the north east to help propagate counter-terrorism messages to the youth in the zone.

The CDD Programme Officer, Mr. Ikponmwosa Omoijiade, at a workshop yesterday in Yola said that the training which is sponsored by Japanese government is to de-radicalize extremism in the region.

He said the programme is yielding fruitful, pointing out that the clerics and the youth have now understand the implications of radical extremism by some clerics in the country.

Ndume Advocates Improved Allocation For Northeast Intervention

The Senate Committee Chairman on Finance, Ali Ndume, says the Federal Government’s 45 billion naira allocation in the 2017 budget for intervention in Nigeria’s Northeast is not adequate.

Senator Ndume, a member of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI), made the observation after the PCNI visited the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa.

The group’s visit was to declare its donation of food items which were offloaded at the warehouse of the National Emergency Management Agency in Maiduguri.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the international community; and I have said this even on the floor of the National Assembly that the contribution of the international community and its commitment to the humanitarian crisis we have in the northeast is more than that of the government.

“We are now calling on the government using this medium to at least take the lead or match what the international communities do,” Ndume said.

The senator noted further that foreign aid and commitment to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have continued to dwarf government’s effort over the years.

“So far the humanitarian response plan under what we call UNOCHA is budgeting $1.05 billion for 2017 (and) if you turn that into Naira, it translates into over 300 billion Naira.

“As at December last year, $449 million was donated by the international community; that also represents about 130 billion Naira.

“Unfortunately last year, the Nigerian Government budgeted only 12 billion Naira. In this year’s budget, it budgeted only 45 billion Naira (and) that also is grossly inadequate.

“So we ask the Borno State government to join us and other members of the National Assembly that are crying out to the government and to the leadership of the National Assembly to increase the budget for the intervention in the northeast from a paltry 45 billion Naira to at least 108; that is our call.” Senator Ndume stated.

Mr Durkwa, on his part, thanked the PCNI for the food donations which he said would go a long way in complementing the feeding of the IDPs.

He, however, urged donors to consider providing building materials in subsequent interventions to speed up the resettling process of the displaced persons.

“We say we are grateful and we ask for more. Now that we are in the post-insurgency stage, it’s time to now carry out constructions and resettle our people back to their base.

“That means we expect more apart from the food security. We are still asking for building materials to complement the effort of the state government,” the deputy governor stated.

The Borno State government is presently carrying out rebuilding of homes destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists in Bama, Gwoza, Konduga and Kaga local government area of the state.

3.6 million people in north-east Nigeria are food insecure, says UN agency.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says about 3.6 million people in the north-east region of Nigeria are food insecure.

The north-east, particularly Borno state, has been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Speaking with journalists on Tuesday, Dominic Burgeon, FOA director of emergency, said the issue of food security in the north-east is of major concern.

He said it was important that skills and tools were provided for people of the region to get back to their normal lives.

Burgeon noted that the FOA had empowered about 2,000 women and youth among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri.

The FOA director said the agency’s objective was to target about 1.9 million farmers across the state who lost their means of livelihood to the insurgency.

“The food security issue in the North-East and particularly Borno is of particular concern to us. No fewer than 3.6 million people are currently food insecure. Therefore, the mission of the FOA is to help the IDPs to kick-start their lives,” Burgeon said.

“We know that Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for them and some of them have not been able to farm for about three to four years, while some have lost all their agricultural assets to the strangulating insurgency.

“That is why it is key to provide them with the skills and tools to enable them to get back to their normal life. We are also looking at livestock and aperculture production knowing fully that it would be of nutritional value for them.”

On his part, Salisu Ngulde, the Borno state monitoring and evaluation officer for International fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said the IDPs would be supported with 10 assorted seeds and 25 kilogramme of fertiliser.

“We are currently supporting them with 10 assorted seeds and 25 kilogramme of fertiliser in addition,” he said.

“They were divided into five sub-groups and each of them was given hand wash boreholes and water pumps.”

UNICEF to vaccinate 4.7m children in the North-East

The federal government in partnership with UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has commenced the vaccination of 4.7 million children in response to an outbreak of measles in the north-east.

In a statement on Thursday, UNICEF said Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which have been hard to access since the emergence of Boko Haram, will be covered in the campaign.

“Security has improved in some areas so we have acted quickly to access places we could not previously reach and protect children from the spread of a very dangerous disease”, said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF representative in Nigeria.

“We are still extremely concerned about children living in large areas of Borno state that are not yet accessible.”

“In 2016, there were approximately 25,000 cases of measles among children in Nigeria; 97 percent of the cases were in children under the age of 10 and at least a hundred children died.”

Explaining the outbreak, UNICEF said “measles infections tend to increase during the first half of the year because of higher temperatures”.

It lamented the low coverage of measles vaccination across Nigeria, saying only a little over 50 percent of children were being reached.

“Worse, children are particularly vulnerable in areas affected by conflict as the risks for malnourished children who have weakened immunity are further heightened,” UNICEF said.

“The conflict and resulting displacement have left more than 4.4 million children in Nigeria in need of humanitarian assistance, with an estimated 450,000 children likely to suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition in 2017.”

The vaccination will also include vitamin A supplement for children under five to boost their immunity as well as de-worming tablets, according to the agency.

“The campaign is part of UNICEF’s wider emergency health response in the three northeast Nigerian states. In partnership with Nigerian authorities, UNICEF has provided primary health care services for both internally displaced persons and the vulnerable host communities within which they have sought shelter,” the statement read.

 

Source: The Cable

Troops Rescue More Hostages In Intensified Clearance Operations

As part of clearance operations of remnants and fleeing Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria’s northeast, troops have continuously been carrying out raids, patrols and cordon operations.

Troops of 112 Task Force Battalion, 22 Brigade, Nigerian Army on Operation LAFIYA DOLE, conducted joint operations with vigilantes and civilian JTF in suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ hideouts in their area of responsibility.

A statement by the Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, revealed that within the last two days, the troops carried out quite a number of patrols and clearance operations in various villages and towns in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.

Troops Rescued 37 Persons

“On Thursday January 12, 2017, with the assistance of some local vigilantes and civilian JTF, the troops carried out fighting patrols and clearance operations in Awada and Sinbaya villages. During the operations, the troops met stiff resistance towards Sinbaya from suspected Boko Haram terrorists in which they neutralised eight terrorists.

rescue4
Army troops during clearance operations

“They also carried out similar clearance operation at Anaduwa village where they removed Boko Haram terrorists’ flags and recovered four Isuzu vehicles and three motorcycles. The troops also rescued 37 persons held captives; comprising 23 women and 14 children.

rescue
Some of the rescued Boko Haram hostages

“Yesterday (Friday), they also carried out a joint patrol to Talwari village which served as harbour area for Boko Haram terrorists as well as Agulari, Kirinari, Gubdori and Yale villages.

“Although the terrorists have abandoned the locations, the troops observed suspected Boko Haram terrorists activities such as abandoned flags in the area. They also arrested the terrorists’ food store keeper and recovered two Isuzu vehicles, grinding machines and vehicles workshop.”

rescue2
Abandoned Boko Haram terrorists’ flag

Troops Rescued Another 21 Hostages

Brigadier General Usman further disclosed that the troops rescued another 21 hostages while some arms were recovered during clearance operations in some villages.

“In addition, they (troops) recovered five Pump Action Guns, two Pumping machines, eight vehicle tyres and one battery. The troops proceeded to Dagumba, Boboshe, Kajeri, Boskoro and Saleri and cleared the areas.

“The troops discovered and destroyed suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ night market at Boboshe and neutralised five terrorists. They also rescued 21 persons held by the Boko Haram terrorists that comprise of 12 women and nine children. The patrol also recovered one Toyota truck at Kajeri and arrested one Boko Haram terrorist in Boskoro village.”

rescue5
Arrested Boko Haram suspect

The Army spokesman noted that a soldier who sustained an injury during the clearance operations was in stable condition where he was receiving medical attention.

He maintained that the operations to rid Nigeria of the remaining Boko Haram terrorists was ongoing, urging members of the public to inform security agencies about suspicious persons in their environs.

WHO begins measles vaccination of 4.7m children in the north-east

The World Health Organisation has started a campaign to vaccinate 4.7 million children against a measles outbreak in three north eastern states: Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

The vaccination campaign, which is expected to last for two weeks, began on Friday.

“This measles vaccination campaign is an emergency intervention to protect more than 4 million children against a highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease,” said Wondimagegnehu Alemu, a doctor and WHO Representative in Nigeria.

“Massive disruption to health services in conflict-affected areas for many years has deprived these children of essential childhood vaccinations. In addition, many of them have severe malnutrition, making them extremely vulnerable to serious complications and death from measles.”

A publication on the WHO website reports that the organisation established Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS), which reported more than 1500 suspected measles cases in Borno state from early September to 18 December 2016.

More than 77% of children aged less than 5 years in Borno state have never received the measles vaccine and this is the age group where most cases have occurred.

The Borno state ministry of health, with support from WHO and partners, has already vaccinated more than 83 000 children aged 6 months to 15 years living in camps for IDPs where measles cases had been reported.

These campaigns have started to show results, with a reduction of measles cases around the camps.

How We Will Reclaim the North-East, By Tijanni M. Tumsah

Even as we activate peace-building mechanisms and counter-measures against violent extremism in the North-East, these are only part of the multidimensional toolkit for the region’s reconstruction. As military hostilities wind down, the challenge will increasingly become that of winning the peace. We recognise that this is a question of guaranteeing long term economic growth…

The scale of devastation wrought by the terrorist insurgency in the North-East is unprecedented in recent Nigerian history. Since 2009, it has claimed more than 20,000 lives, and accounted for the displacement of 2.4 million people, with 177,000 Nigerian refugees in the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger. In all, an estimated 14.8 million people have been affected by this highly unfortunate insurgency. The numbers are staggering and the situation is one of the most urgent humanitarian crises in the world at present.

 

Upon assuming office, President Muhammadu Buhari rightly made ending the insurgency and reconstructing the North-East cardinal priorities of his administration. To this end, he has since inaugurated the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI), under the leadership of Lt. Gen. T.Y. Danjuma (Rtd). The Committee will oversee and coordinate all relief and rehabilitation efforts in the region, and it has developed a comprehensive roadmap for the region’s reconstruction tagged, ‘The Buhari Plan’. This is a 800-page framework that synthesises a vast range of relevant studies and research efforts based on the needs of the people of the North-East by local and international partners, as well as the views of thousands of Nigerians in government and the civil society. It is the guiding document for coordinating all interventions in the region and harmonising the activities of all stakeholders, including civil society organisations, international development partners, philanthropists, state governments, local governments, the private sector, federal ministries, departments and agencies.

 

The goal of The Buhari Plan is to reverse the backwards socio-economic conditions in the North-East and rebuild the region from the ruins of devastation created by the seven-year insurgency. Given the grave urgency of the situation in the ravaged zone, the plan fittingly makes internally-displaced persons in camps and host communities our first priority. The first six to 12 months of the plan’s operation will witness the deployment of a comprehensive relief programme that will provide immediate humanitarian assistance, social stabilisation, and early recovery support to protect all affected populations within the region. Two million people will be provided with food, non-food items, healthcare, psycho-social care and rehabilitation and unconditional cash transfers to jumpstart their productive lives. To tackle the severe disruption of education, rapidly deployable schools will become operational during this phase. The establishment of secure learning spaces for our children is a major priority. The target areas for this intervention have been determined empirically by a matrix that assesses communities’ extent of exposure and vulnerability, thus ensuring that the most affected and afflicted people that are most in need of help receive urgent attention.

 

As the president noted while inaugurating the PCNI, the valiant efforts of our military have ensured that the worst of the insurgency is behind us and many displaced persons are willing and ready to return home to pick up their lives and move forward. “However and sadly so, many have nothing to return to. They have lost everything to the insurgency. In addition, social and public services are also absent due to the massive destruction of infrastructure.” To this end, our intermediate objectives, which will build upon the short term interventions, will include screening, cleaning and securing reclaimed communities, destruction of land mines in these areas and the relocation of IDPs and camps, and the full resettlement of all IDPs.

While we are working to urgently address the crisis in the North-East, we are doing so with a long term view with the ultimate goal of ensuring a sustainable peace in the region. We believe that as we work with our partners and the people of the North-East to rebuild, we can make the region an enduring symbol of the resilience of the Nigerian spirit and a model for post-conflict turn around.

PCNI is also working with various development partners to facilitate the restoration of critical infrastructure – roads, bridges, markets, and police stations – structures essential for the re-establishment of civil order. In addressing the task of rebuilding over 430, 000 housing units, we are not only working with development partners, we have devised a public works scheme that will use local materials and designs and engage available labour in the affected areas in the massive reconstruction efforts that are now underway, thereby providing much needed employment. The people of the North-East will literally be rebuilding their homesteads in a demonstration of their resilience and also their ownership of the plan, their reclamation of agency over their lives, and their participation in the revitalisation of their communities.

 

Even as we activate peace-building mechanisms and counter-measures against violent extremism in the North-East, these are only part of the multidimensional toolkit for the region’s reconstruction. As military hostilities wind down, the challenge will increasingly become that of winning the peace. We recognise that this is a question of guaranteeing long term economic growth and ensuring that people of working age in the region are engaged in productive activity.

 

Our long term outlook is shaped by two considerations. First, even before the advent of the insurgency, the socio-economic indices of the North-East were the worst in the entire country, if not the continent. Second, the North-East is essentially a post-conflict economy and, like all post-conflict economies, the risk of relapsing into further crisis or degenerating into violent crime can only be mitigated by creating mechanisms that will engender growth.

 

The North-East needs humanitarian intervention in the short term but to forge a truly sustainable peace it needs investment. Consequently, our third priority is a comprehensive programme of development that is based on the self-evident need to revitalise the region’s economy. We are aiming to revamp agriculture, generate jobs, mobilise local entrepreneurs, facilitate the organic development of the region’s natural resource potential and leverage the geographical location of the region to position it as a regional trade hub and an investment destination. While we are working to urgently address the crisis in the North-East, we are doing so with a long term view with the ultimate goal of ensuring a sustainable peace in the region. We believe that as we work with our partners and the people of the North-East to rebuild, we can make the region an enduring symbol of the resilience of the Nigerian spirit and a model for post-conflict turn around.

 

Tijanni Tumsah is the Executive Vice Chair of the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI).

Senators Protest Removal Of Kano, Plateau From North-East Development Commission

National Assembly has removed Kano and Plateau states from the proposed North-East Development Commission, triggering protest from senators from North-West and North Central zones.
It will be recalled that the Senate, while passing the Bill for an Act to establish North-East Development Commission and other related matters, had included the two states as beneficiaries of the commission because they had also been negatively affected by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents. The removal of the two states was contained in the Conference Report presented by the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume.

Protesting the removal of Kano and Plateau states, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South) contended that the Senate had earlier agreed to include the states, and asked why they should be dropped.

Also, Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC Zamfara), insisted that the recommendation be thrown away, arguing that the two states were affected by the activities of Boko Haram and should be included in the commission.

Senate Leader, Ndume, who explained why the two states were removed, said the commission was to coordinate the development and reconstruction of the area.

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who appealed to his colleagues to accept the report, said the important thing was commitment to the development of the area.

Credit:

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/senators-protest-removal-kano-plateau-devt-commission/

Troops may leave N’East in 2017, says Buratai

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday said troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East would be returned to the barracks in 2017, when the fight would have been over.

Although twin blasts, suspected to have been coordinated by the Boko Haram fighters, killed 56 persons and injured 77 in a market in Madagali, Adamawa State on Friday, the army chief said the military was sure of success over the insurgents.

Also, on Sunday, another suicide attack on Monday Market, Maiduguri, Borno State, claimed three lives and injured 17 persons, but Buratai, who visited troops in the Damboa Local Government Area of the state, said the army would continue aggressive actions against the insurgents.

The army chief, who visited the 81 battalion on Monday, added that success over the Boko Haram remnants in the area would also facilitate the return of the Internally Displaced Persons to their homes.

He said, “Going by my first message in December, we must work to get out of this place. We must work to get out of this operation very quickly. We must defeat the Boko Haram. I was in one of the barracks and I have assured the families of our troops that many of you will go back in 2017.

“This battalion has done well. It fought along with the Cameroonian troops in this battle which means it is better placed to deal with these criminals. We must continue with the aggressive actions, patrol and ambush.

“We must move into all the hideouts of these criminals and fish them out. Other troops in the Sambisa Forest are dealing with them as well.”

Buratai said the army would do more to enhance the welfare of troops, adding that there would be a rotation of soldiers every six months of deployment.

The COAS also visited Alpha Company of 25 Brigade in Damboa to assess the new headquarters of the brigade.

Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Adamu Kamale, on Monday debunked claims by the Federal Government that all communities hitherto occupied by Boko Haram insurgents had been completely liberated.

Kamale, who represents Michika/Madagali Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, said contrary to the claims of the authorities, particularly the Nigerian military, not much had changed in the territories.

He spoke exclusively with The PUNCH in response to last week Friday’s twin bomb explosions in a popular market in Madagali, which resulted in the death of at least 56 people.

Kamale explained that many villages in his constituency share common boundaries with the dreaded Sambisa Forest, the main base of the Boko Haram insurgents.

He stated that insurgents infiltrated the communities, occupied the villages for as long as it pleased them, kidnapping and killing defenceless villagers in the process.

The lawmaker added, “Madagali still has challenges. I am the representative of this area and I know what I am saying. Many of our territories are still under the control of the insurgents.

“They kidnap and slaughter our people at will. Before last week’s attacks in Madagali market, three people were kidnapped and killed a day earlier in the same place.

“Some of these incidents are actually unreported and because they are not documented, the impression is created that all is well.

“The claims by the authorities that only pockets of insurgents are still operating are not true. The insurgents are still very much in control of many of our villages close to the Sambisa Forest. They still occupy these territories.”

Kamale told The PUNCH that though the insurgents would try to retreat whenever they sensed the presence of the military, he insisted that they always returned to “terrorise the villages and occupy them as soon as the soldiers move to other locations.”

The lawmaker said the solution was for the government to provide “adequate security for these communities in Madagali” by ensuring that the military had a permanent operational base there.

“We need the Federal Government to come to the aid of these defenceless villagers,” he appealed.

Kamale added that he felt embittered each time the government asked displaced villagers to return home on the excuse that their communities had been fully liberated.

“Let the people have adequate security; the psychological loss to our people is devastating.

“Their problem is beyond sharing food items to them or merely asking them to return to homes that are not secured,” he said.

Presidential committee to rebuild north-east unable to account for N2.5 billion

The Presidential Initiative for the North East, PINE, stinks of corruption and poor accountability standards thus hindering efforts at addressing the humanitarian crisis and rebuilding infrastructure in the region, lawmakers have said.

The Senate ad-hoc committee on the north-east humanitarian crisis uncovered what appeared to be cases of corruption, including phantom projects and inflated contracts at the PINE during a hearing on Tuesday.

At the hearing, PINE could not properly account for about N2.5 billion, part of funds released for it for capital intervention.

In one case, PINE’S boss, Umar Gulani, claimed that the agency spent N203 million to clear taipa grass in Yobe State; but this was rebutted by the State’s Commissioner for Information, Mohammed Lamin.

Mr. Lamin said “no taipa grass was cleared in the state by any federal government agency in Yobe State.”

Mr. Gulani also claimed PINE expended N253 million on the clearing of invasive plants species around river banks in the state; and another N422.5 million to provide temporary shelter (tents) to displaced families in the state.

These were also disputed by the Yobe State representatives led by Mr. Lamin.

Also, PINE’s claim of spending several millions of naira to renovate 18 schools completely destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents in Yobe State alone was also rejected by the commissioner

Only three schools have been renovated by agencies outside the state, the Commissioner said.

With the way PINE’s claims were shattered, the Senate Committee chaired by Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna State) demanded evidence, including photographs and documents of contracts claimed to have been executed by the agency.

“The affected states said they were not aware of all the contracts executed by PINE; you people just decided to make money and that is why you decided to donate N50 million for a conference organised by an NGO,” said a member of the committee, Theordore Orji (PDP-Abia).

As included in its statement of accounts, while PINE donated N50 million to an unnamed NGO, it spent N2 million to feed internally displaced persons who should form the central focus of any effort at addressing the north-east crisis.

The Senate had constituted the ad-hoc committee in October following a motion by Baba Garbai (APC-Borno) drawing attention to the crisis in the north-east and how funds meant for Boko Haram victims were allegedly being mismanaged.

PINE was established by President Muhammadu Buhari to fasten the  pace of north-east recovery following the Boko Haram insurgency.

Also speaking on Tuesday, Ben Bruce (PDP-Bayelsa) said when the committee visited some IDP camps, many women cried out for provision of sanitary pads which he said could have been well taken care of if the N2.5 billion given to PINE out of the budgeted N5 billion was well utilised.

The situation of displaced persons in the north-east recently led to the United Nations raising alarm.

According to UNICEF, 4.5 million people are in dire need of assistance out of which 1 million are in danger of extreme malnutrition in the region.

UNICEF  said over two million people were still trapped in areas controlled by Boko Haram and could not be reached for assistance due to security reasons.

However, the federal government over the weekend said the figures provided by UNICEF and other agencies were grossly exaggerated.

FG Secures EU’s Commitment on Rebuilding of North East, Niger Delta

The European Union (EU) on Monday pledged its support for the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to rebuild some parts of the North East and Niger Delta regions by earmarking 20 million Euros for the reconstruction of markets and warehouses in Borno and Delta States.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Arrion, who gave the pledge during a visit to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun in her office, said the funds would be offered to the two States in the form of budget support.
“Sometime ago, we talked about budget support but we will be able to do that only at the State level, using a special instrument meant for countries emerging from war, and we can look at States in the North East and look at specific projects in terms of financial support to their budgets,” he said.

However, Mrs. Adeosun said all the financial analysis needed to facilitate support to the States had been put in place, pointing out that the Fiscal Sustainability Plan required a 21-point fiscal reform programme that enhanced transparency, accountability and efficiency.
According to the Minister, the funding arrangement would help in healing the wounds caused by insurgent activities in the North East. She said it would also give hope to the Niger Delta people who have been impacted by pipeline bombings and the attendant environmental problems in the area.

The EU Ambassador said the quest to invest in Africa was largely informed by the need to discourage migration to Europe, pointing out that several thousands of Nigerian citizens have continued to migrate to Europe.

Read More:

http://dailytimes.ng/fg-secures-eus-commitment-rebuilding-north-east-niger-delta/

UN Needs $1bn to Deliver Life-Saving Assistance in the North East

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said the agency would need $1 billion in its bid to provide urgent and quality humanitarian assistance to victims of Boko Haram Insurgency in the three northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in 2017.
 
The amount which is more than double of what the agency appealed for in 2016 is occasioned by the worsening humanitarian conditions in the area, which is said to be the worst in the region.
 
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Peter Lundberg, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, at the unveiling of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017.
 
He said, “Together with 75 partners, we are seeking US$1 billion to deliver life-saving assistance and prevent further hardship for the children, women and men in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, and we are particularly reaching out to Nigerian private sector.
 
“We are grateful to the international community for their support so far, but we ask for commitments throughout 2017 to prevent this disaster from escalating into widespread catastrophe.”
 
Lundberg, while calling for urgent support from all and sundry stated that if nothing urgently is done to help mitigate the situation, millions of people in the area may lose their lives within the next few months.
 
He disclosed that the 2017 plan will focus on 8.5 million people in need of urgent assistance and also aimed at reaching 6.9 million people with life-saving humanitarian support. Also targeted are the over 75,000 children who may like die from severe famine and malnutrition if something urgent is not done.
 
Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who appreciated the agency and the entire international community for rallying round Nigeria in this crisis situation, disclosed that the government is not just focused on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) but the interest of all communities affected and also those communities that have been providing support to the IDPs.
 
Stressing the urgent need to address the issue of hunger, Ahmed appealed to the agency and her partners to scale up efforts and reach at least 3 million people with food supplies. She also tasked the agency on improving health conditions in the region by particularly ensuring that the renewed outbreak of polio in the area is curtailed.
 
“Education is also important as a lot of these children have been out of school for a very long time. 50% of the 8.1 million people in need of urgent assistance are children and we must help them”, she said.
 
The agency apart from intervening in the area of food and health is also assisting in the area of water and sanitation, shelter, education, empowerment amongst others.
Credit: thisdaylive

Security in northeast has improved significantly – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration remains committed to realising the key priorities of securing the country, fighting corruption, and salvaging the economy in spite of current challenges.

 

The president stated this when he received the Letter of Credence of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. William Stuart Symington, at the State House, Abuja.

 

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina on Thursday, Buhari said the security situation in the North East had improved significantly.

 

According to him, this followed support in training of the military and supply of hardware after the G-7 meeting in Germany in 2015.

 

He said, “When I was invited to the G-7 meeting after my inauguration on May 29, 2015, I thought I was going to be an observer at the meeting, but without prompting, I was asked to brief the leaders on the security situation in Nigeria, and I did.

 

“Since then, we have received support in training and military hardware, and I hope we have not disappointed.”

 

In his remarks, the U.S ambassador said that the interest in the well-being of Nigeria was of mutual benefit.

 

“We do it not only for Nigeria, but for ourselves. We did it because it was right for us and right for our people,’’ he said.

 

Symington said he would work hard to further strengthen the relationship between his country and Nigeria.

 

He assured that the President-elect Donald Trump would also be interested in the well being of Nigeria.

EFCC Recovers Over N325m From Politicians, Individuals In North-east

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has recovered N325,181,919.00 from politicians and individuals the Northeast zone and secured five convictions in its operations across the states there.
 
Aminu Ado Aminu, EFCC Head of Operations, made this known in Gombe at the weekend while recounting the successes from January 2016 to date within the zone. It comprises Adamawa, Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba and Gombe, which is the headquarters of the zone.
 
He said the recovered money included the sum of N183,590,000.00, from politicians within the zone as part of funds illegally sourced and used in prosecuting the 2015 general elections.
 
He further explained: “In line with the above, a total of 130 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff drawn from Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba States have been interrogated and will soon be charged to court for corruption involving the sum of N73,000,000.00 bribe during the 2015 polls.
 
“A breakdown shows that Gombe State has 26 staff involved, Adamawa has 86, and Taraba 18. We also have recovered the sum mentioned above from the INEC.”  
Credit: thisdaylive

WHO Increases Emergency Response In North-east

The World Health Organization (WHO) has increased its emergency response activities in the North-east of the country, particularly in areas formerly held by Boko Haram.
A statement from the organization yesterday said an emergency health team arrived in Maiduguri, Borno State last weekend to assess and respond to the health needs of 800, 000 people in the sub-region.

 The statement said initial assessments revealed urgent health problems among the population in 15 local government areas formerly held by the militant group.
“Estimated mortality rates in some of the areas are four times higher than emergency thresholds. The rate of severe malnutrition is estimated to be 14%.   In addition, Nigeria last week reported two polio cases in Borno State, two years after the last recorded case in the country. One of the cases is from a LGA that is still inaccessible to health service delivery, while the other is from a newly accessible LGA. Measles cases have also been reported in the area, further complicating a challenging humanitarian environment,”  the statement said.

Read More: dailytrust

NEMA Reassures On North-east Development

The Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi, has reiterated the agency’s commitment to the deployment of natural and human capital to the North-east to ensure permanent peace and sustainable development of the region.
Sidi said in a goodwill message through a representative at a workshop on the rights of civilians in armed conflict organised by Global Rights in Abuja yesterday, that the effort was to restore the past glory of the region ravaged by Boko Haram attacks.

“The federal government is sincerely committed to the deployment of the vast natural and human capital of the North-east in order to ensure peace and progress of the region,” he said.
This according to him would be achieved especially with the current liberation of the vast territories hitherto occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.
The director general who was represented by Alhaji Alasan Nuhu said NEMA had been working with relevant actors in driving the sustainable rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery of the North-east.
He said the indiscriminate attacks by Boko Haram had made civilians vulnerable targets.
This he said, called for conscious evaluation of existing policies to protect the right of civilians.
He maintained that the federal government through NEMA had continued to work towards the protection of the rights of citizens during crisis in collaboration with relevant actors.
He said the agency had set up humanitarian cells and maintained humanitarian corridors in the region to support the affected population.
The workshop provided a platform for discussions and deliberations on protection of the rights of civilians during conflicts.

Read More: dailytrust

World Bank Supports Agricultural Sector In North East Nigeria With $50m

The World Bank has pledged to support Nigeria’s agricultural sector with 50 million dollars towards the restoration of agricultural livelihood of Fadama beneficiaries in the North East.

Dr Adetunji Oredipe, Task Team Leader of the Fadama III project, disclosed on Thursday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the programme would last up till December 2019.
He said the programme had begun in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Gombe and Yobe states.

Oredipe disclosed that Borno, Yobe and Taraba had released their N20 million counterpart fund, while the three other states had given approval for payment.

He said that the bank had launched a special programme of Fadama for the North East towards actualising the programme.

Oredipe said that actualising the programme had become imperative because the bank was determined to help to restore livelihood in the region.

“We want to reach out to 24,000 households and we have the package for them as you know most of them have lost everything.
He said that the programme would be done in stages and there is budget for every community where the bank is intervening.

“The third leg is that we are giving food assistance to farmers that we are going to work with because if you don’t provide food assistance the tendency that when you bring seedlings or fertilisers they will sell it.
Oredipe noted that it is inimical to health and food production when farmers cooked seeds instead of normal grains.

He said in this regard, Fadama would support every family with a small quantity worth 200 dollars, just to help them within the period while they were waiting for their harvest.

The coordinator revealed that damaged irrigation facilities, abandoned roads that might have lost shape would be upgraded by supporting them with water lifting devices.

Oredipe said that there was adequate budget for every household while the bank facilitators were on the field working with NGOs who are familiar with the terrain to map out farms and other facilities.

“We are not engaging in trial and error, we are working with experts who are familiar with environment so we can move quickly as the sense of urgency is there.

“Every community will prepare a community action plan for the team to work with, since we have a budget,’’ he said.
Oredipe disclosed further that 25,000 dollars had been set aside for each community as intervention fund.

“In that community they will have to sit together and put facilities that are relevant but are not functioning we have roads to fix, we have irrigation facilities.
“So, based on the consensus, they have all agreed on and identify 40 households with farmlands.

“It is a straightforward package that we have learnt from the earlier phase of the project to be able to make quick intervention that can yield very good result,’’ he said.

Read More:

http://leadership.ng/news/545642/world-bank-supports-agricultural-sector-in-north-east-nigeria-with-50m

“I Will Continue To Fight Nigeria”, Shekau Vows.

Boko Haram’s shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau has appeared in a new video vowing to fight on, shrugging off an apparent split in the hardline jihadist group blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009.

 

“I… Abubakar Ash-Shakawy (Shekau), the leader of Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, made it a duty for myself (to fight) Nigeria and the whole world,” Shekau said in the video released on Sunday, using the group’s name since it declared allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

 

Last week, Shekau said in an audio message he was still head of the group despite his purported replacement by Sheikh Abu Musab al-Barnawi, a former Boko Haram spokesman.

 

“We have no desire to fight our Muslim brethren,” Shekau, who last appeared in March, said in the 24-minute video.

 

Shekau ridiculed suggestions that he was dead, and looked more composed and energetic than in previous appearances.
“I’m alive by the permission of Allah,” he said in his speech in Arabic and Hausa, adding that he would only die when his time came.

 

In the video he is wearing camouflage gear and holding a machine gun, standing between two Islamist fighters in balaclavas armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

 

He taunted President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and condemned Western countries including the United States, France, Germany and “the tyrants of the United Nonsense (UN)”.

 

At the end of his speech — apparently filmed in Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa forest of northeastern Nigeria — he fired off rounds of ammunition into the air.

 

His absence in recent months had sparked speculation about his fate and whether he had been deposed as Boko Haram’s chief.

Barnawi’s appointment was contained in a magazine issued by the Islamic State group, to which Boko Haram pledged allegiance in March last year.

 

Shekau dismissed Barnawi as an infidel who condoned living in an un-Islamic society without waging jihad.

 

Shekau became leader after Nigerian security forces killed the group’s founding chief Mohammed Yusuf in 2009.

 

Omar Mahmood, a security analyst with US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute who has spent the past five years researching Boko Haram, said Shekau was removed because of his highhandness and ruthlessness.

 

“One thing that has remained constant, however, is the focus on attacks against regional security forces, with Muslim civilian deaths still ignored. This aspect seems to be a key concern for IS propagandists,” Mr Mahmood said.

 

“By contrast, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the man announced as the new leader, clearly stated in his al-Naba interview that attacks against Muslim civilians, mosques and markets will not be a staple of his leadership.”

 

Sources close to Boko Haram said Barnawi, aged in his early twenties, is none other than Habib Yusuf, the eldest son of group founder Yusuf.

 

They said he was put under Shekau’s care following the death of his father, but the pair fell out over ideological and operational differences.

 

Boko Haram has been blamed for some 20,000 deaths and displacing more than 2.6 million people since it launched a brutal insurgency in Nigeria in 2009.

 

Nigerian forces, with the support of regional troops, have recaptured swathes of territory lost to the jihadists since they launched a military campaign in February 2014.

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.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/military-efforts-in-north-east-have-paid-off-says-buratai/

UN Releases $13m For Life-saving Assistance To 250,000 People In North-east

The United Nations on Monday released 13 million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide life-saving assistance to 250,000 people in the North-east area of Nigeria. Mr Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, issued the release.

According to the UN, the destruction of crops and looting of livestock have left many people unable to support their families. “No fewer than 50,000 people need seeds and tools for the upcoming planting season and CERF funding will help them to rebuild their livelihoods.”

O’Brien said that a significant number of women and girls, and also men and boys, have suffered or witnessed terrible abuses. The CERF funds, he said, would enable humanitarian partners to provide critical psychosocial support and protection services.

“People have experienced unspeakable suffering due to the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. We now have better access finally, and a chance to help them. The international community must take advantage of this opening to reach people with essential services and build on the CERF allocation to scale up the response,” he said.

The fund, he added, would support the provision of food, cash for food purchase, special child nutritional supplements, protection and health services to the most vulnerable people in the newly accessible areas through disbursements to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Others are through the UN Department for Safety and Security, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF and World Food Programme.

The UN says the humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria was revised upwards by 51 million dollars in June. The UN is also calling for additional 279 million dollars for the humanitarian plan in Nigeria. To date, the UN said that the plan is only 22 per cent funded.

Credit: Vanguard

North East Not Conducive For Return Of IDPs – UN Rep

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), says the North East is not yet conducive for the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Ms Liz Ahua, the Regional Representative for West Africa and Coordinator for Nigeria, said this on Monday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the Lake Chad Regional Protection Dialogue. Ahua said that the persistent threat from Boko Haram, presence of mines and absence of basic services posed acute humanitarian and protection risks for the affected population.
She said that the situation was not only peculiar to Nigerians but all border countries in the Lake Chad Basin.
She explained that the regional meeting was meant to adopt a working blueprint on regional protection of the Lake Chad basin and safe return of refugees and IDPs.
“This meeting is meant to exploit how we can better ensure IDPs physical safety, access to asylum and protection, including protection from forced expulsions.
“Many refugees and IDPs have experience high levels of violence, many suffer from trauma, and are in need of support in what practically and systemic ways can we help them. ‘’
She said that over 2.7million people in the region had been displaced, while 20million people had been negatively impacted by the insurgency in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
“The lake Chad today faces fundamental protection crises here in Nigeria and across the neighbouring boarding countries.
“The Boko haram insurgency and spillover into Cameroon, Niger and Chad has led to the loss of thousands of lives, has caused a massive displacement of over 2.7million people.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three days Regional Protection Dialogue on the Lake Chad Basin has senior government officials from Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad in attendance.
Also present are representatives of national, regional and international organisations (including UN agencies), donor countries, academia and civil society.
The meeting is expected to identify the most urgent protection risks in the Lake Chad Basin resulting from the conflict-induced crisis and to agree upon comprehensive actions at local, national, and regional levels.

 

(NAN)

Nigeria Police Force To Deploy Officers To North-East

The Nigeria Police Force on Thursday said the deployment of policemen to liberated communities in the North-East to restore civil authority was on course.

 

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, disclosed this in an interview in Abuja.

 

Kolawole said that all equipment and personnel needed for the smooth operation in the communities were on ground in the affected communities.

“All equipment have been deployed to the liberated communities, the men are on ground there, we are only waiting for the commissioning, “she said.

Kolawole, however, did not disclose when the commissioning would take place.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had recently inaugurated operational vehicles for the deployment of policemen to liberated communities in the North-East.

NAN reports that the vehicles inaugurated included 200 Toyota Hilux double cabin vehicles; springbuck armoured personnel carriers and 15 Mercedes Benz troop saloon cars.

Others are: nine water tankers; 50 Toyota salon cars; 20 Toyota hilux armoured vans; five Camry salon cars; three ambulances; assorted communication and power generating items and tents.

 

(NAN)

North-East Youths Berate Fayose Over Comments On Chibok Girls

North-East youths under the umbrella of North-East Youth Peace and Development Empowerment Initiative, NEYPDI, have berated Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state over comments credited to him that over 300 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram sect were never abducted.

Alhaji Kyari Abubakar, President of the group, expressed surprise that somebody like Fayose who regarded himself as a democrat could make such statement to score a cheap political point. He said, “We are surprised that this statement is coming from someone who regards himself as a democrat, that statement suggest that he has no sympathy for the parents of the abducted girls and the pains they are currently passing through.”

Abubakar who advised Fayose to stop misleading Nigerians by his unsubstantiated comments urged him to take a trip to states like Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and see the extent of damages done by Boko Haram insurgency before reeling out information to the public.

He said, “He (Fayose) should not mislead the Nigerian public about the truth. The people of North-East cannot afford to tell lies on the abduction of their daughters, that incident is always fresh in our memory.

“His utterance is short of what we expect from an elder statesman like him. We advise him to concentrate on his poor governance of Ekiti state with his flamboyant city life and wastage of peoples’ resources.”

The youth leader urged civil society organizations campaigning for the release of Chibok girls to disregard Fayose’s statement and continue with their good works.

Credit: vanguardngr

World Bank Commits N158bn To Rebuilding North East

The World Bank has earmarked $800 million to support the rebuilding of the infrastructure destroyed in the North East by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Fatma Samoura, made the disclosure on Thursday in Maiduguri during a courtesy visit to Gov Kashim Shettima. Samoura, who is also a UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, said the UN was scaling up its presence in Borno and other North Eastern states ravaged by the insurgency.

Yesterday, we had a long discussion with the World Bank team that came from Washington to attend the workshop.

“The workshop is for validating the year findings of the recovery and peace-building assessment.

“They have promised to leverage 800 million dollars for the North East to response to recovery, rehabilitation, de-mining, waste management and debris processing for the North East of Nigeria,’’ she said.

The UN representative regretted that the UN was having challenges in mobilising resources for Nigeria in view of the humanitarian crises in other parts of the world.

“As we all know, the Syrian crisis that is affecting Europe is also taking a heavy toll in terms of funding from our traditional donors.

“We are trying our best to ensure that our advocacy and our communication strategy are up to the level where we will be receiving more attention from the donor community.

“The humanitarian response plan, as we speak, is just 10 per cent funded, meaning we have only received 24 million dollars.

“This is out of 248 million dollars budgeted for the North East of Nigeria for 2016,” she said.

Samoura, however, pledged that the UN would continue to complement the World Bank and the EU supports to address the root causes of poverty and exclusion in the North East.

“The UN will be on your side in order to address the humanitarian situation.

“The UN will also support the Borno Government in its work on recovery and rehabilitation for the safe return of the IDPs back to their areas of origin,” she said.

Samoura said her visit to Maiduguri was to demonstrate the sympathy of the UN to the appalling situation of the 1.8 million people who have been displaced by insurgency.

She commended the strong leadership and commitment of the governor to finding sustainable solutions to safe and voluntary return of the IDPs to their places of origin.

Responding, Gov Shettima commended the UN for standing by the government and people of Borno in identifying the root causes and also finding lasting solutions to the insurgency.

Shettima, however, described that the $800 million pledge by the World Bank as grossly inadequate in view of the enormous challenges left behind by the insurgency.

“It is in the interest of humanity to rally round Nigeria over Boko Haram. The developed world gave Turkey two billion dollars to resettle refugees from Syria.

“There are about two million IDPs from Borno and 20 Local Government Areas were overran by Boko Haram and there is food crisis now in the state,” he said.

Credit: Leadrship

FG Begins Reconstruction Of Schools, Police Stations In North East

Secretary to the Govern­ment of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, yes­terday, said the Federal Gov­ernment has commenced re­construction of schools and police stations destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents in the North East.
Lawal made this known in Hong, Adamawa State, during the graduation of 500 students trained by Buba Industrial Vil­lage.
The training was part of the Youth Empowerment Pro­gramme introduced by Yusuf Buba, the member represent­ing Gombi /Hong Federal Constituency.
He said reconstruction of the region was part of the electoral campaign promises of President Muhammadu Bu­hari.
The SGF stressed that the aim was to bring lasting solu­tion to insurgency and rebuild destroyed infrastructures in the region.
“The Federal Government has begun reconstruction of schools and police stations among other facilities de­stroyed by Boko Haram insur­gents in the North East region.
“The present APC – led government is determined to guarantee peaceful co-existence among Nigerians and ensure that citizens, ir­respective of their ethnicity or religion, benefit from the dividends of democracy,” said Lawal.
Meanwhile, the Nige­rian Air Force (NAF) has an­nounced plans to deploy more men in its counter-insurgency operations in the North east.
Chief of Air Staff, Sadiq Abubakar stated this on a visit to military formations and tra­ditional institutions in Borno State where he announced that “the Nigerian Air Force is ex­ploring the possibility of ex­panding the Air Force troops in the North-East to ensure to­tal restoration of peace in the shortest time possible.”
He also explained that “with the planned expan­sions, more personnel will be deployed and more plat­forms created to widen our operations towards timely and speedy response in counter-insurgency campaigns.
“We are already widening the roles of our regiments as special combat forces to se­cure and protect key points after successful operations.”
Abubakar’s pledge is com­ing on the heels of successes recorded by the Air Force in its ongoing fight against Boko Haram.
An Unmanned combat Aerial Vehicle (UAV) belong­ing to the force, recently de­stroyed a logistics base used by Boko Haram.
The Air Force said the UAV was on intelligence, sur­veillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission when it came across the gathering of Boko Haram terrorists at Garin Moloma, about one kilometre north of the Sambisa Forest, a Boko Haram enclave.
The need for additional platforms by the Nigerian Air Force also occurs in the light of recent crashes experienced by the service.

Credit: Sun

Boko Haram: Police Begins Movement Of Logistics, Personnel To North East

The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase said that the Force will be launching the logistics and personnel for war against terrorism today.

The IGP, who disclosed this at the second round table on security stabilisation in the North East in Abuja, said the movement of personnel and logistics begins today.

According to him, “Following the outcome of the last roundtable, the Nigerian Police have heightened its deployment process.

“In furtherance to this, massive human and material assets have been mobilised while the engagements of strategic stakeholders, particularly the military and local communities are also being pursued with vigour.

“I can confirm that by tomorrow(today) Friday 18th March, 2016, the first logistics procured and personnel mobilised for first phase of the deployment will be launched”.

He also hailed the collaboration between the Nigerian police and the military in taking bold steps in neutralising and sustaining the pressure on terrorists.

In another development, the IGP also kicked started the balloting and allocation of Nigeria Police Force pre and post retirement housing scheme for Enugu, Yola, Katsina and Benin.

Credit: Leadership

Oil & Gas Exploration To Begin In North East- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday disclosed that his administration has plans to extend oil and gas exploration into new fields in the Lake Chad Basin in the North East and in the coastal states, like Lagos, where oil has been discovered in commercial quantity.

The president, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that, as part of strategies to reposition the Nigerian oil and gas industry, his government had commenced the process of implementing carefully conceived initiatives which would see the country hitting a production target of 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil.

The president made these disclosures yesterday while declaring open the 6th African Petroleum Congress and Exhibition (CAPE VI) being hosted in Abuja.

The measures, he explained, would come in the form of reduction in production costs and increased efficiency in oil exploration so as to achieve a 30 per cent increase in daily production.

The president also asserted that it was unacceptable statistic for Nigeria to be responsible for 23 billion cubic meters of the 40 billion cubic meters of gas flared annually in Africa, even as he declared his resolve to partner with the legislature to ensure the signing of the United Nations Agreement of ‘Zero Routine Flaring by 2030.’

He said, “In Nigeria, gas flaring amounts to about 23 billion cubic meters per annum in over 100 flare sites, constituting over 13 per cent of global gas flaring. Nigeria is a member of the World Bank Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GCFR) Partnership and with the support of our legislature, we will sign the United Nations Agreement of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, although our national target is 2020.”

OIL_explorationThe administration, he said, also plans to strengthen the institutional framework on policy formulation through legislation on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as a prerequisite for the development of the sector and attraction of foreign investment.

He also listed the strategies to include unbundling the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into lean, efficient and profitable components that will operate as a business venture and deploy existing manpower to areas of competences without attendant job losses, develop stronger policies on local content so as to reduce capital flight in the industry and the reduction of gas flaring through Joint Venture (JV) contracts that will expand infrastructure and deploy Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for domestic and industrial uses.

While noting that the event comes just before the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of African Petroleum Producers Association (APPA), which holds in Abuja today, the president stated that African oil producers are confronted with huge challenges that require urgent changes in the managerial strategies deployed within its economies.

APPA was inaugurated as a regional economic association in January, 1987, and it has grown to 18 member countries, namely, Ghana, Cameroon, Algeria, Mauritania, Gabon, Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Congo DR, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Benin, Niger, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Angola, South Africa and Nigeria, which currently chairs the association.

This year’s event has the theme, “Positioning African Petroleum for Global Development and Value Addition.”

The president noted that CAPE VI provides a unique opportunity for Africa to look beyond the exploitation of oil and chart a new course in the use of other natural resources to upscale national revenues.

According to him, “Current volatility in the oil sector allows lessons to be learnt, synergies to be built and new approaches to be adopted to enable Africa expand its economy, infrastructure, manpower base, maintain domestic and regional peace and protect the environment.”

He added that the use of gas in Africa’s future energy mix has become imperative, and that if Africa must meet her future energy needs, the issue of the development of a robust gas infrastructure must be jointly addressed.

While inviting all APPA member countries to enter into natural gas business with Nigeria, which currently has the 7th largest gas deposit in the world, Buhari, however, stressed that in processing Africa’s hydrocarbon resource, environmental issues must be accorded huge priority.

He explained that “globally, over 150 billion cubic meters of associated gas is flared annually. Of this figure, Africa flares an estimated 40 billion cubic meters annually. I urge all APPA member countries to set realistic targets for gas flare-out in the region.”

Noting that the development of domestic refining capacity in oil and gas is critical to sustainable economic growth, Buhari challenged African ministers of energy to further explore cooperation mechanisms to expand regional refining capacities in an efficient and cost effective manner.

In his remarks, minister of state for petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, called on African governments to develop policies that will enable backward integration.

He said, “It is a new dawn for Africa and we are excited about the development. We will continue to work collaboratively because there is a lot happening in the space but also a lot of challenges that we have to overcome.

“The major challenge is funding. Obviously skillsets are there already and technology is not an issue but funding remains key. Policies are also key because African governments have to develop policies that will enable backward integration into their own systems.”

Credit: Leadership

FG, Global Agencies Complete Assessment Mission In North East

The Federal Government, the World Bank, EU and the UN have concluded a two-week recovery and assessment mission in the six North-Eastern States.

 
This is contained in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by Mr Laoulu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the Vice President.

 
According to the statement, the team led by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Dr Mariam Masha, visited Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Borno and Yobe States.

 
It stated that the team conducted the mission as part of its on-going Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) programme in the region ravaged by insurgency.

“The team actively engaged with state Governors, decision-makers as well as top government functionaries, Civil Society Organizations, private sector players and traditional rulers. The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Emergency Management, Humanitarian and Relief agencies and other active partners in the recovery efforts in the affected states were also engaged.
In the course of the tour of the affected areas, the team of officials visited several camps and resettlement centres for the IDPs in the different states.

It also visited the insurgency –ravaged public institutions such as hospitals, markets and military formations. The team also gained firsthand knowledge of human and physical conditions in the camps and resettlement centres.

“It afforded them the opportunity to empathise with the people and also reassured them of the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration toward addressing their challenges,’’ it stated.

It stated that the visit focused on validating the processes through which data were to be collected and how to develop internationally acceptable mechanisms to maintain contact with focal points in all the states.

 
The statement recalled that the federal government had last month unveiled this assessment programme with high-level collaboration with the international organisations.
It stated that the programme was aimed at supporting government in its short, medium and long term efforts towards peace building and sustainable recovery in the North East region.

 
It also stated that the assessment would form the pivot for planning a broad-based public sector recovery programme for the region.

 

 

(NAN)

5,000 NSCDC Men Deployed To IDPs Camps In North-East

The Ministry of Interior has approved the deployment of 5, 000 personnel from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to secure the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the North East and to also carry out other national assignment as may be required. The Commandant General of the NSCDC, Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu, lauded the gesture, affirming that the 5000 corps personnel had been trained and mobilised to protect the IDP camps and the areas liberated by the military from insurgents .

According to him, the corps personnel were trained in Kachia by the military on counter terrorism, while 35,000 personnel were also trained on arms handling to position them to carry out security functions appropriately. The CG said the Command and Control Centre of the NSCDC had approved activities in the areas where there are petroleum facilities in the South South region. According to him, the facilities are given full monitoring which had enabled the centre to relay emergencies to field officers.

Credit: NationalMirror

North-East To Produce New PDP Chairman Tomorrow

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are to reach a consensus Tuesday, on who replaces Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, as the party’s national chairman. Sources said the meeting will hold in Gombe, where the new chairman will emerge.

Mu’azu, a former governor of Bauchi State resigned as PDP national chairman on May 20, 2015, after the party lost the presidential elections.
His deputy, Prince Uche Secondus took over in acting capacity pending a replacement from the North-East.
Misunderstanding in the party reached a record high last week, following the emergence of three national chairmen, as an aftermath of a legal tussle. They included Secondus; the party’s national secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo, who was directed by the PDP Governors Forum to take over and Barr Ahmed Gulak, a one-time special adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
However, leaders of the PDP from the North-East have resolved to hold a meeting tomorrow, where a trusted and credible party stalwart would be accepted and sent to the national leadership of the party for approval.
It was gathered that various organs of the PDP, including the National Executive Committee (NEC), Board of Trustees (BoT) and the National Caucus ?are also warming up to meet this week in order to look into the issue of the party’s chairmanship, and possibly approve the appointment of whoever emerges from the North-East.
Credit: dailytrust

Buhari Calls For More Vigilance In North-East

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called on all Nigerians, especially those living in areas ravaged by insurgents, to be more vigilant and ready to be part of the war against terrorism.

 
Buhari was reacting to the recent attacks near Maiduguri and the suicide bombings in Chibok, in Borno and Gombi market in Adamawa State.
“Having lost the war, they are seeking ways and means to gradually find their way back into society. They are not returning to contribute but to cause more havoc.

 
“I urge all citizens wherever they live to own the war against terror and to be part of the fight because it is the only way we can finish the remaining work that needs to be done to make our country safe again”, he said.

 
Buhari said having suffered immensely from the sustained bombardments of their camps and hideouts by the military, the insurgents had resorted to using desperate measures to gain cheap media attention.

 
The president also stated that the insurgents were locally sourcing the materials for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

 
He urged citizens to be more circumspect and report suspicious purchases and movements of unusual components in any part of the country, especially the northeast.

 
Condoling with all the people of Chibok, Gombi and Dolari whose loved ones were killed in recent attacks, Buhari prayed that Almighty God comfort them and grant the injured quick recovery.

 

 

Credit : Daily Trust

Boko Haram: FG To Establish Trauma Centre In North East

Federal Government has concluded arrangements for the establishment of trauma centres in the North East and other areas affected by the Boko Haram crisis to treat victims before the end of this year.

It will also set up healthcare centres/clinics in each of the ward areas of the federation in order to provide healthcare delivery services at the doorstep of the masses.

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewale, disclosed this yesterday when he led other senior health officials on a courtesy call on Governor Kashim Shettima at the Government House in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Professor Adewale said he and his entourage were in the state on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari as part of Federal Government team to assess the general health system in the North East and how best to restore it back to its lost glory following the deadly activities and destruction caused by Boko Haram.
Responding, Governor Shettima thanked the minister for the visit which he described as timely as his administration has started rebuilding all the communities ravaged by insurgents.
Shettima said virtually all healthcare centres were destroyed by the insurgent, leaving the people of the state to survive at the mercy of God.

Credit: NationalMirror

FG Sets Aside N1.6b For Health Sector Intervention In 4 North East States – Adewole

The Federal Government on Monday said it had set aside N1.6 billion for health sector intervention in four North East states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and Gombe, affected by the Boko Haram insurgncy.

 

 

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known at a news conference in Maiduguri. Adewole, who explained that the money would be used to provide new healthcare facilities and upgrade existing ones in the four states, added that more than 200,000 malnourished children would also be treated in the states as part of the intervention.

 

 

 

The minister said that “in the next three months, we shall treat 200,000 malnourished children affected by the insurgency in the North East. The essence is to restore the children’s hope of growing as responsible adults.’’

 

 

He noted that the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) would also benefit from the intervention. “We will upgrade the UMTH by making its facilities first class in all ramifications.The idea is to ensure that all hospitals have world class equipment in such a way that only very rich Nigerians who have money to throw will have cause to go on medical tourism.’’

 

 

 

The minister added that the Federal Government would also establish a trauma centre at the UMTH as part of the intervention.

 

 

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister had earlier visited Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, where he commiserated with the state over the Boko Haram insurgency.

 

 

He said that the visit was aimed at assessing the medical needs of the states affected by the insurgency with a view to unfolding a special intervention package for them. Gov. Shettima thanked the minister for the visit and expressed willingness to partner with the Federal Government toward providing affordable healthcare to the people.

 

 

 

(NAN)

FG, Diplomatic Corps Meet On Solving Humanitarian Crises In North-East

A Federal Government delegation, led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and members of the diplomatic corps met at the State House on Monday to harmonise steps to address the humanitarian challenges in the North-East.

 

 

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, told State House Correspondents that the meeting was held to enable the Nigerian government and the diplomatic community compare notes.

 

 

He added that the meeting was also held to ensure that they understood the each other on the scope and size of the humanitarian challenges in the region.

 

“What you have behind is a group of diplomats; we have come in as a group today to meet with the Vice President and his team to compare notes as friends on the situation in the North East.

 

“The meeting is to make sure we understand each other on the scope and the size of the humanitarian challenge and how we can coordinate when the time comes for the IDPs to go home,’’ he said.

 

 

Entwistle added that the meeting also discussed several upcoming workshops and conferences which would help to offer holistic solutions to the crises caused by Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

 

 

“But essentially, this is a group of diplomats that represent countries that stand ready to help and indeed are already helping the government with the humanitarian crises in the North-East just to compare notes with the Vice President.

“And we found that your government and all of our governments, we think, understand the scope of the job.

 

 

“Today’s meeting will really help us to do everything we can to alleviate the human sufferings going on in the North East,’’ he added.

 

Also speaking, Mr Michel Arrion, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union, said that besides comparing notes, the meeting discussed how the international community could support Nigeria in responding to the crises.

 

 

“We are here with our colleagues to participate in this meeting with the Vice President to compare notes about our assessment and the magnitude of the crises in the North-East.

 

 

“But also to what extent the international community could support the Nigerian government to respond to the crises,’’ he said.

 

 

Arrion said that the meeting agreed on the need for a comprehensive and global response since the Boko Haram crisis had become global crisis.

 

 

“And I think that the main message that we agreed with the government is certainly that we need a comprehensive and global response to the crisis.

 

 

“It is a global crisis, we need a global response and we have just reassured the Vice President that the international community was ready to support the Nigerian government,’’ he said.

 

 

 

(NAN)

Police Deploy 3,000 Officers To North-East

The Nigeria Police said it had deployed 3,000 officers as “holding force’’ to restore civil authority to the liberated areas in the North-East.

 

The Inspector -General of Police (I-G), Mr Solomon Arase, disclosed this at the End of Year Commissioners of Police Conference held at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

 

“The Force has deployed 3,000 officers as holding forces to the liberated areas in the North-East with the task of restoring civil authority.

 

“It is pertinent to note that the Force has been fighting side by side the Military in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East’’, he said.

 

He stressed that the Police was making efforts to expand the deployment to cover all other theatres of insurgency in the region.

 

“In this critical national assignment, some gallant officers have paid the supreme sacrifice’’, he said.

 

He added that the force has dismissed 51 officers for corrupt practices, while 56 others had been made to face diverse punishments.

 

“Between May and November, the anti-corruption enforcement architecture emplaced by the Force leadership has led to the dismissal of 51 personnel for proven corrupt practices while another 56 have been awarded various punishments’’, he said.

 

 

He said that Monitoring Unit; X-Squad and the Provost Marshal have been charged to sustain the enforcement drive in the upcoming year.

 

 

The I-G assured that the policy of holding Commissioners of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers, liable for professional misconduct would be re-enforced.

 

He absolved the Force from acts of violence during the Bayelsa State governorship election.

 

Arase explained that Police did what was expected of them and should not be blamed for problems created by politicians.

 
“In fact, I have written letters of appreciation and recommendation for the Police on duty during the election”, he added.

 

Meanwhile, the Police high command has launched scholarship awards to 301 children of personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.

 

“They shall not walk alone. We, as their commanders and colleagues, will do everything within our professional powers to keep their invaluable dreams alive and support the family they left behind.

 

 

He said that the force would reward the families of serving police officers that kept faith with the vision of the force.

 

 

Arase urged individuals and corporate organisations to support the gesture, adding that it would add value to the future of the children and serve as a source of encouragement for officers to perform better.

 

 

 

(NAN)

Stop Blaming Jonathan For Insecurity In North-East, Murray Bruce Tells Buhari

The Senator representing Bayelsa East, Ben Murray Bruce, yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop blaming his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, for Nigeria’s problems, and urged the government to instead focus on delivering democracy dividends.

He was reacting to an allegation made last Wednesday by the president that the past administration was responsible for the continuing insecurity as a result of widespread diversion of funds meant for the purchase of arms.

Writing on his twitter handle yesterday, Murray Bruce said: “This is seven months in the life of this government. We have heard that our problems were caused by the last administration. Okay. Now let’s hear of solutions.

“If we keep driving this car called Nigeria by looking at our rear-view mirror, it wont be long before we crash. Let’s focus on the road ahead.”

Credit: ThisDay

Oil Close To Being Found In North East- NNPC

Nigeria may well be on the verge of a significant oil find in the Lake Chad area in North East based on analysis of recent Seismic 3D data generated from the Basin, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said.
Dr. Kachikwu revealed this in a presentation to the Petroleum Club, Lagos, over the weekend.
The NNPC boss in the presentation titled, “Ongoing Reforms in the Oil Industry: Impact of NNPC Reforms on the Nigerian Economy,” said that the Corporation was injecting a lot of energy into the effort to ensure success in this regard.
He said, “There are signs from the latest 3D seismic studies that oil may well be very close to being found now in Lake Chad after very many years of trials. I think that this is very key.  It is key both for the geographical balancing of oil production and it is also very key for the purpose of refinery placement in the north in terms of access to crude. I am optimistic that by the end of the year we should be able to announce something major on this,” the GMD said.
Dr. Kachikwu noted that in driving and developing Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, certain key areas of urgent intervention have been identified.
They are: running production acreages with transparent and profitable partnerships to bridge capacity and funding gaps; encourage investment inflow into Nigeria’s oil and gas industry; engagement with local communities and driving regulation to develop the sector income, among others.
Providing specifics on the intervention targets, Dr. Kachikwu stated that the NNPC is projecting the inflow of $20 billion in 2016 to enable the Corporation fund major projects and improve its bottom line going forward.

Credit: DailyTrust

PDP Divided Over North-East’s Move To Fill Mu’azu’s Vacancy

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is divided over agitation by top politicians in the North-east to fill the vacancy created by Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, a former national chairman of the party.

Mu’azu resigned on May 20, following pressure that he led the party to a humiliating defeat in the last general elections when his tenure had not expired.

According to the provisions of PDP constitution, he was supposed to be replaced by someone from the North-east.

Addressing newsmen at the end of the 67th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, PDP national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh said the party leaders had divergent views on the issue, stressing that the NWC would liaise with the party leadership in the North-east to re-consider the issue.

“The NEC did not discuss the issue of Mu’azu’s replacement but there is a kind of subtle understanding that the NWC will work with the North-east in that regard. Some members raised the issue but others did not key into it same way,” he said.

Read More: dailytrust

North East IDPs Hit 5m- Dogara

The number of Nigerians displaced by violence in the insurgency-ravaged North East has reached five million, speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has said.

Dogara who spoke when he received the head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Ms. Angel Dekonge Antangara in his office, disputed official figures of IDPs put at 2.1 million.

He said the actual number of people affected by Boko Haram insurgency may be close to five million.

“As an indigene of the North East, it is safe to say the number of IDPs in Nigeria can be up to five million,” Dogara said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan.

Dogara recalled that he has sponsored a motion which in part, requested President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently establish a North East Development Commission and convene an International Donor Conference or Summit to mobilise additional financial resources through international donor funding for the rehabilitation of the North East.

The speaker appealed for help for the North East from the UNHCR and other donors.

Read More: leadership

Nigerian Troops Clear More Boko Haram Camps In North East

Press Statement from the Nigerian Army below..

This is to report that Nigerian troops are gradually clearing all known camps, enclaves and dens of Boko Haram terrorists especially in the north eastern part of our country. It is as a result of the continued offensives against the terrorists by advancing troops that Boko Haram terrorists fled and abandoned their locations at Nafari and Gonin Kurmi.

In a haste, they left various food items and personal effects as they fled to Sambisa forest. As oft mentioned the noose is tightening around the terrorists. Troops will continue the momentum until all terrorists and their camps are no more in any part of Nigerian territory. Citizens are once again called upon to continue co-operating with security agencies through provision of timely and credible information about any known terrorists, their hideouts and collaborators. Kindly disseminate this information through your medium. Thank you for usual cooperation. Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman Acting Director Army Public Relations

Boko Haram No Longer Has The Capability To Occupy North-East – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said that the fight against corruption is aimed at saving the soul of the nation. Buhari who was represented by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, made this statement at the second plenary meeting of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), near Port Harcourt.  He said:

“ Our fight against corruption is not just a battle of virtue and righteousness in our land, but it is a fight for the soul and substance of our nation.

“ Corruption in our country is endemic and it constitutes a parallel system,“ he said. According to the President, corruption has made a potentially prosperous country struggle to feed and provide jobs for its people.

“ Hundreds of thousands of infants and maternal mortality statistics, hundreds of thousands deaths from communicable diseases are traceable to the greed and corruption of a few,“ he said. Buhari urged Nigerians to think of resuscitating the nation`s economy because two-thirds of Nigerians lived in extreme poverty.

“They must be helped, first to survive, and then, fully participate in the economy of the nation. “Consequently, we must create tenets for the very poor and vulnerable, while ensuring that social spending also resurrects investments in the economy. “We must invest substantially in relevant education; teachers training and vocational and entrepreneurial training,“ Buhari said.

The President said a way out, was for all Nigerians to invest in infrastructure and all crucial components in the medium and long term means of diversifying the economy.

He continued by saying:

“Meanwhile, we must block all leakages and improve on our revenue base,“ he said. On insurgency, Buhari said Boko Haram had been weakened and lacked the strength to occupy the North-East zone or any part of the country.

He also said the military was using local intelligence to thwart efforts of Boko Haram to regroup in the North-East or any part of the country.
He said:

“On security, we are on course to militarily route Boko Haram and make them incapable of taking over any territory. “Suicide bombings on some parts of the North- East are desperate acts of terrorists to create a sense that they are still in play.

“But, with vigilance and local intelligence, we will make these cowardly acts practically impossible,“ he said. Earlier, the President of CBCN, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, said that the new administration in the country would recover the country`s wasted opportunities.

Kaigama, who is the Archbishop of Jos, said the church will continue to pray for Nigeria. He said:

“The tendency to promote, defend, and protect narrow personal economic, regional and religious interests have been responsible for our unstable national journey of one step forward and many steps backward,“ he said Kaigama expressed optimism that the new administration would achieve positive change and recover wasted opportunities.

Source: Vanguard 

UN Tasks Nigeria On Peace In North-East

As the world commemorates 2015 International Peace Day on Sept. 21, the UN has charged Nigerians to work for the restoration of peace in the North-East and Middle Belt parts of the country.

UN Peace and Development Adviser, Dr Zebulon Takwa, made the call in an interview on Thursday in Abuja. He said that every Nigerian had a role to play in bringing peace in the conflict zones.

Takwa explained that the protracted crisis in the North-East and other parts of the North had hampered full realisation of the potentials in the country.

“We have to affirm and re-affirm that peace is the foundation of everything that we need to do. The absence of peace has pulled back Nigeria, the greatest economy in Africa, the giant of Africa as we have always said, with all the potential to take everybody along.

“We have now focused on insecurity; we have been bedevilled by the insecurity in the North and that has retarded so many things,” he said.

Read MoreNAN

Nigerian Air Force Makes Full Deployment Of Aircraft To North-East

The Nigerian Air Force has announced the full deployment of its aircraft to combat the security crisis in Nigeria’s north-east.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall, Sadique Abubakar, who announced the deployment on Monday, said the current security challenges in Nigeria heavily relied on air power and that discussions were ongoing with the Presidency to ensure the Air Force was battle ready.

He urged Senior Officers of the force to ensure that integrity, excellence and service delivery were prioritised, to eliminate mediocrity and corruption in the Air Force.

Read More: channelstv

Foreign Assistance Needed To Rebuild North-East- Saraki

The President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday solicited the assistance of the international community for the on-going efforts by the Federal Government to end insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country and, thereafter, rebuild the region and rehabilitate its people.

Saraki made the call at separate sessions he had with the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Zenner and his Spanish counterpart, Alfonso Barnudo Sabastian De Erice, who paid courtesy visits to him in Abuja.

In a press statement issued by his media office, Saraki pointed out that alleviating the humanitarian situation and level of destruction in the region would require urgent and global support across the world.

“As you talked about insecurity, particularly the insurgency in the North-east, it is a problem that we alone cannot tackle. A couple of days ago, some of us were there in the region, in Borno State, to see the effects on the entire community, particularly the internally displaced persons. I think that it is clear that a large part of the North-east is in need of reconstruction and rehabilitation from long-term funding,” Saraki said.

Read More: leadership

Boko Haram: North East Lawmakers Seek Development Commission

Senators from the North-East states are clamouring for the creation of a North-East Development Commission to rebuild the region following destruction by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram.

The senators vowed to sponsor a joint bill as they lamented the level of destruction by Boko Haram in the geo-political zone.

Speaking in Yola, the capital city of Adamawa State capital also badly hit by activities of Boko Haram, the Senator representing Adamawa Central Senatorial district, Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako, said the move was to hasten rapid infrastructural development in the affected states.

“Everybody can clearly see that the North East zone of Nigeria is in serious crisis particularly as it relates to Boko Haram crisis that we have undergone in the recent years and a lot of infrastructure is down.

“Virtually, we have to revamp the entire system and because of this we have decided to come up with the commission almost in tune with the Niger-Delta Development Commission that will lead to rebuilding the region and better its security,” he said…

Creditpremiumtimesng

Boko Haram: N/East Senators Demand Development Commission

Senators-elect from the North-East have called for the creation of North-East Development Commission to rebuild the region following its destruction by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram.

The senator-elect for Adamawa North and chairperson of the All Progressives Congress in Adamawa State, Binta Garba, who spoke on behalf of her colleagues in Abuja, lamented the level of destruction by Boko Haram in the geo-political zone.

To assist those who were lucky to survive the reign of terror, the senator-elect said it was necessary to push for a bill to create the commission to fast track the re-settlement of indigenes of the affected communities.

She, however, said the call that either the Senate Presidency or Deputy Senate Presidency should be zoned to the North-East was based on equity and the belief that with a principal officer in the senate, the rebuilding and rehabilitation plans for the region would be effectively carried out.

“I can inform you that senators-elect from my region, my state inclusive, have agreed to work on a bill for the creation of a North-East Development Commission. We believe such an agency will spearhead the rebuilding of the region, Adamawa State inclusive”, Garba said.

What The North East Dearly Needs From Buhari, By Mohammed Zayyad

Poverty, illiteracy and bad leadership are the greases that run Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast. In fact, Northeastern Nigeria has become the epicenter of Boko Haram insurgency because majority of the people in the region live in abject poverty induced by toxic leadership. Though, other national factors like, unequal distribution of resources, the sloppy handling of the conflict by the government at the centre and the absence of employment opportunities have also helped Boko Haram in its recruitment and indoctrinations. 
 
President-elect, Muhammad Buhari has promised to end Boko Haram. But the big question is after that, what next? Buhari must tackle the main condition that facilitated the growth of Boko Haram- abject poverty in the region. The average Nigerian in the Northeast is extremely a poor man. 
 
Buhari will need to create productive employment for the region’s teeming unemployed citizens and those engaged in unproductive-manual jobs. He can achieve this by taking a cue from China’s Chairman Mao’s development model of agriculturalisation, industrialization, and collectivization.
Nigeria’s development efforts over the years have laid emphasis on urban development at the expense of rural development which has led to a substantial rise in inequality between Nigerians; this is why Boko Haram recruits with ease in the northeast.
 
Buhari, being a former governor in the defunct Northeast, is certainly one of those who understand better, the multifaceted challenges and the need for security, rehabilitation and development in the war-torn northeast. However, Buhari’s development plans for the Northeast has to be tied to agriculture. Agriculture is the easiest way to touch and integrate the lives and livelihood of the millions of people in the Northeast and at the same time, quickly rehabilitate the land, the people and the local economy from the ‘scars’ of Boko Haram’s senseless war. The much-talked about and celebrated promise by Buhari to resume oil exploration in Lake Chad is a welcome development, but it cannot, within short time heal the wounds of the war in the Northeast. 
 
Though industrialization entails both technology and profound social development, Buhari can also develop an agro-allied small scale industrialization programme for the Northeast with systemic as well as systematic measures to steer resources into the productive process. This will help in sustaining the agricultural sector and help in human capital development, including the rehabilitation of the destruction, dislocation, disruption and the exhaustions that are so obvious in many of the war-torn communities.
 
Boko Haram have destroyed many schools and killed many school children in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Thus the education problem in the northeast has become different from that of the rest of the country. The Northeast is facing the problem of large number of children out of schools; many destroyed schools and fear instilled in children and parents to send their wards to schools. Collaboration between the three states of Borno, Yobe , Adamawa and Federal government is required to tackle these big problems. 
China owes her development to Chairman Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ of agriculturalisation, industrialization, and collectivization. Though, we are talking about rehabilitation of war-torn communities with high rate of illiteracy and poverty, Buhari can still benchmark Chairman Mao’s idea through agriculturalisation, small scale industrialization and human capital development. However, it took China decades to start reaping the benefits of the ‘Great Leap Forward’.
 
Zayyad I. Muhammad
VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE SOLELY AUTHOR’S…

My Priority Is To Sponsor North East Development Commission Bill – Hon Binta Garba

Senator-elect, Hon Binta Garba, has pledged to work towards sponsoring a bill for the creation of North- East Development Commission, in order to ameliorate the devastation caused by insurgency in the area.

She said she and other senators from the zone, keen on seeing to the development of the zone, have met with the President-elect General Muhammad Buhari concerning the bill.
?
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, Garba who is representing Adamawa North, and also the chairperson of the Adamawa State chapter of the All Progressive Party (APC), lamented the high level of destruction caused by Boko Haram and the subsequent loss of livelihood.

“The destruction and devastation in the parts of Adamawa and other North-East states affected by the reign of terror is better imagined. The (Adamawa state) governor-elect and I braced the odds to visit the communities in my senatorial district which are some of the most affected by the attacks in the entire region and we saw first-hand, the total destruction carried out by the insurgents.

“The insurgents destroyed homes, they burnt farms, they destroyed boreholes, bridges, roads and now with the victories recorded by the armed forces, our people are gradually returning home. They will be looking up to us their leaders to rebuild their homes, their farms and generally work towards starting all over. I can inform you that senators-elect from my region, my state inclusive have agreed to work on a bill for the creation of a North-East Development Commission. We believe such as agency will spearhead the rebuilding of the region, Adamawa state inclusive.”

According to her, to bring the much needed assistance to those who managed to survive the reign of terror, it was necessary to push for a bill for the creation of the commission as it would fast track the re-settlement of indigenes of the many communities devastated by the years of insurgency.

Speaking on the leadership positions in the Senate, the senator-elect said she was eminently qualified for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President should the party decide on zone it to the zone.

Nigeria’s Security Council Gives Condition For Elections To Hold In North East

*No news on abducted Chibok girls-Minimah
People of the troubled zone of North-east will exercise their voting rights in the coming elections only when all the structures of government and governance there are reinstated.

This was the outcome of a meeting of the National Security Council presided over on Tuesday by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The meeting, which was held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, lasted several hours.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, briefed the council on the readiness of his commission for the elections.

Jega, who left the Presidential Villa before the meeting ended, simply told State House journalists
that the meeting went well.

The INEC boss said: “I believe it (the meeting) went well.”

Jega, however, declined comments on his commission’s plan to use card readers during the elections.

But the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Kenneth Tobiah Minimah, who addressed journalists after the meeting, said the people of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States could only vote when the structures of governance there are reinstated.

On the fate of the over 200 schoolgirls of Chibok, Minimah said there was no news for now.

According to him, “You know Yobe and Adamawa States have been liberated completely and we look forward to the reinstatement of structures of government and governance. I’m also sure you know that in Borno State, out of the 27 local government areas, we have three local governments remaining: Abadam, Kalabaldi and Gwoza. And we are optimistic that with time, we will liberate those local governments”.

minimah

On whether the council discussed the forthcoming elections, Minimah said only the INEC was competent to talk about the elections, adding that the commission had to reassess and evaluate the situation in the three troubled states.

Minimah, who said the military had liberated areas captured by the Boko Haram sect, said: “I’m not competent to speak on that matter (elections). The INEC is still there. INEC has to reassess the situation and evaluate because the areas have been liberated, but I can also tell you that not all structures of governance have been reinstated and they will need to be reinstated so that citizens can go back to their areas, and it is then I think they can execute their rights as voters”.

Asked how soon those structures would be reinstated, the Chief of Army Staff said: “I don’t know”.

On the abducted Chibok girls, Minimah said: “No news for now. In all the liberated areas we have, we have also made enquiries, but the truth is when the terrorists are running away, they also run with their families, and those we have come in contact with have not made any comments suggesting that Chibok girls were there and taken away. But we are optimistic that as it becomes closer, the territory is becoming elusive to them. We will get further details on that”.

Meet the Vigilantes: Their Experiences with Boko Haram

21

For years he has worked as a cemetery inspector in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Yola and also hunted wild animals, but now he has volunteered to join the battle against militant group Boko Haram. It has waged a five-year insurgency to create an Islamic state, establishing bases along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon and Chad.

Mr Dawaki tells me just last week he fought alongside the Nigerian military close to the town of Mubi. “I killed more than 10 of them and we could see some were Chadian. We could tell by the tribal marks on their faces,” he says. He says his own weapons include a small knife that he used to slit the throat of one jihadist and a bow and arrow, as well as buffalo horns dipped in cobra poison. “A knife cannot penetrate us. If bombs drop they cannot kill us,” Mr Dawaki says, pointing to a leather amulet on his arm and another around his neck containing verses from the Koran.

“When we are on the battlefront we are focused on the job – we are patriotic, we want to save people from Boko Haram attacks and avenge what they are doing to our people,” Tijjani Mohammed, a retired civil servant who just returned from fighting told me. “We lost three of our men and seven were injured,” he says, adding that despite the losses, the mission against the insurgents had been a success.

“I just gathered my children and started running out of town,” says Zainabu Yusuf, whose husband was shot dead by the jihadists on the road in front of their home. “While I was running I saw soldiers running too, asking the way out of the town to Maiha. They were removing their uniforms and hiding them in plastic bags.”

When the insurgents moved on to attack areas south of Mubi, panic spread and with people starting to flee the Adamawa state capital, Yola, the authorities had to act fast. “These vigilante groups were already there but were dormant, so we organised them, bought them vehicles and empowered them,” Bala James Nggilari, the governor of Adamawa state, told the BBC.

“The vigilantes and hunters are local people, local boys who know the terrain. When you bring a soldier from Bayelsa [in southern Nigeria], for example, who is coming here for the first time he doesn’t know the terrain.

“The people we are fighting are also part of the local community. There is nothing on their forehead that says ‘insurgent’ but these local hunters are familiar with them, they know them, they have the native intelligence which the regular army may not have,” says Mr Nggilari.

He says the plan is to mobilise 4,000 vigilantes. Co-operation with local vigilantes has reaped rewards as the military has now retaken several towns in the north of Adamawa state, including Mubi, and calm has returned to Yola.

Some of the men I met training in Yola were holding 2m long (6ft) rusty hunting rifles, others had machetes. They say they were promised about 4,000 naira ($22; £14) a day and that during a recent operation some of them were given assault rifles by soldiers. Not all of them are being sent to the north of the state to assist the soldiers, with many getting ready in case they are needed to help defend Yola.

Samson Dawa says he fled the militants carrying only his radio and bible. Some will view their deployment as a damning indictment of the Nigerian military, which has frequently failed to protect the population of north-east Nigeria.

The violence is still on a horrific scale but to the vulnerable and displaced, the alliance between soldiers and vigilantes brings hope. Samson Dawa recently witnessed jihadists speeding through his village, Mbalala, on their way to capturing Chibok some 15km (9 miles) away.

“There were dozens of motorbikes and each one had two or three people on – all carrying guns,” he says. “The men on the open-backed 4×4 vehicles were shouting and had heavier guns which they were raising up.”

The 57-year-old farmer grabbed his radio and bible and ran for his life. Two days later, from a safer village he saw a long convoy of vehicles ferrying soldiers and vigilantes, with amulets tied around their arms. They were heading towards Chibok, the town from which 219 schoolgirls were abducted in April.

“When we saw the soldiers we knew they were serious and we had hope in them,” says Mr Dawa. “Judging by the kind of weapons they had I think their strength has been improved.”

Within hours, Chibok was retaken. Many jihadists were reported to have been killed on the streets of the town. “The vigilantes alone cannot do this job so if anybody tells you they have more hope in the hunters than the soldiers I don’t believe them,” says Mr Dawa.

“You know it’s a war. Maybe I will be back or maybe I will not be back,” says Mr Dawaki as he prepares to return to the fight. “But even my children would be proud to say their father died fighting Boko Haram.

Credit: BBC

Execution, Beheading, Amputation Claims in Boko Haram Fight

Nigerian troops have been accused of killing 16 Boko Haram suspects, raising fresh concerns about the conduct of the military and the civilians supporting the battle against the militant group.

Earlier, vigilantes claimed to have beheaded dozens of Islamist fighters in the country’s far northeast.

Boko Haram, meanwhile, is reported to have begun enforcing strict Islamic law by amputating the hands of thieves and razing churches in a captured town it renamed as part of its self-styled caliphate.

On Wednesday, 21 civilians were killed after Boko Haram fighters clashed with troops in the restive northeast of Nigeria, a local lawmaker said.

The incidents have undermined repeated government claims of a ceasefire and peace talks.

In Potiskum, 16 men who were arrested after morning prayers on Wednesday were found dead in a morgue with bullet wounds just hours later, community leaders and hospital staff told AFP.

Locals in the Dogo Tebo area of the city believed the men were picked up and killed because all of them were from the Kanuri ethnic group that forms the bulk of Boko Haram’s membership.

“All the bodies have gunshot wounds on them,” said a nurse at the Potiskum General Hospital, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The bodies had been brought in by soldiers and were formally identified by community leaders, he told AFP.

On Monday, at least 15 people were killed and some 50 others were injured in a suicide bombing targeting a major Shia Muslim festival in Potiskum, which is Yobe state’s commercial capital.

A number of others were killed when troops deployed to the scene opened fire, the head of the Shia community, Mustapha Lawan Nasidi, said at the time.

The latest deaths were described by another community leader as “cold-blooded murder” while residents expressed concern about the fate of a Muslim cleric and three others who were also detained.

Neither the military in Yobe or the capital, Abuja, responded to AFP when asked for comment and there was no word either on claims from Biu in neighbouring Borno state about the beheadings.

A member of the civilian vigilante group, Umar Hassan, said they and troops ambushed Boko Haram fighters last Friday as they prepared a raid on Sabon Gari village in the south of the state.

“We killed 41 of them and decapitated them and brought the heads to Biu, which we displayed to people to demystify Boko Haram,” he said.

Two Biu residents said the vigilantes put the heads on wooden spikes and drove around the town, telling people the Islamists did not have magical powers.

“It was like hunters displaying their game after a hunting expedition,” said, one, Silas Buba.

The incidents will add to concerns of human rights groups about the response of the military and the vigilantes, both of whom have been accused of atrocities in the past.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said they were aware of the reports and were investigating the authenticity of the claims.

“This is the latest in a string of abuses in which pro-government vigilante groups have been implicated,” said HRW’s Nigeria researcher Mausi Segun.

Boko Haram took over the town of Mubi in Adamawa state last week and residents who fled the town in recent days said they had now renamed it Maidanatul Islam, or “City of Islam” in Arabic.

In Mubi, Boko Haram chopped off the hands of 10 men accused of theft last Friday and burnt down churches, said Ahmad Maishanu, who fled Mubi on Wednesday.

In a video released on October 2, Boko Haram showed the stoning to death of a man accused of adultery, a man having his right hand cut off for theft and a young man and woman given 100 lashes each for sex outside marriage.

The group, which wants to create a hardline Islamic state in Nigeria’s northeast, is now thought to control at least two dozen towns in the region.

The Nigerian government and military made a surprise announcement on October 17 that it had secured a ceasefire deal with the militants and peace talks were being held.

But there has been no let-up in the violence since then and last Friday the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, dismissed claims of an end to hostilities as “a lie”.

Credit: Yahoo News/ AFP/ Aminu Abubakar

Sarkin Hausawa Exposes 1000 Boko Haram Suspects in South West

Reports provides that 1,000 members of the Boko Haram insurgents in parts of the South West.

Sarkin Hausawa of Lagos, Alhaji Sani Kabir, speaking in Abuja said, “All the Arewa sarkis (kings) in the south west are up and doing to make sure that we do not allow any breakdown of law and order in our communities.”

He made this known during a visit to the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, adding that the arrested Boko Haram members were eluding from the Civilian JTF/military onslaught on the insurgents in the North East and those who came to the South West to further the insurgency. He also said that the arrests were made in various separate times.

He further stated that, they are informing “our leaders that when new people come into their midst, they should observe their behaviour. Some of the leaders in the south west are northerners, some of them are from Borno State, they can know. There were even instances where JTF came from Borno State to identify some of them.”