…Captain Hashim Abdullahi
1. CHIBOK GIRLS: FG KNOCKS BBOG FOR ANTI-BUHARI COMMENT
The Federal Government on Monday asked the BringBackOurGirls group to see the government as a partner rather than an adversary in the quest to secure the release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this in a statement in Abuja, said the BBOG’s continued portrayal of the government as an adversary and the needless firing of darts at the President, who he said, was doing his best to bring the remaining Chibok girls back home safely, was ultimately counter-productive. He said the BBOG must therefore stick to its role as an advocacy group. Mohammed also said that the Federal Government had been transparent in its handling of issues affecting the Chibok girls.
2. FEMALE SUICIDE BOMBERS IN NIGERIA ARE REPORTEDLY USING BABIES TO AVOID DETECTION BEFORE BLOWING THEMSELVES UP
Officials warned of the “dangerous” trend after female attackers used the tactic in a blast which took place in Madagali on 13 January 2017. Two women, who were each carrying a baby, walked through a checkpoint and had been mistaken as civilians, according to the BBC. Moments after, the two women detonated their devices, killing themselves, the two babies and four others. The terror group Boko Haram is widely suspected of carrying out the attack, though no responsibility has been claimed. Boko Haram is known for using women, including young girls, as suicide bombers. Madagali is considered to be at the heart of Boko Haram’s insurgency, which aims to establish an Islamic state in the country. The north west of Nigeria, and particularly Borno State has been one of the most affected regions by the Islamist militant’s campaign. Suicide attacks on crowded areas such as markets and places of worship are commonly deployed by Boko Haram, which specialise in kidnapping and using women and young girls to carry them out. Approximately 15,000 people are thought to have been killed by the militant group, labelled by the Institute of Economics and Peace as the world’s deadliest terror group.
3. MANY FEARED DEAD IN FRESH HERDSMEN ATTACK ON BENUE VILLAGE
Several people are feared to have been killed and many others injured after suspected Fulani herdsmen yesterday afternoon invaded Ipiga village in Ohimini local government area of Benue State. Sources from the area who spoke to our correspondent from their hiding in the bush said the invading Fulani herders stormed the village about noon and started shooting sporadically and killing everyone in sight. Our source who said the invasion took the villagers by surprise, explained that the herdsmen had on Sunday stormed Ajegbe, a neighbouring village and wreaked havoc there after which they entered Ipiga on Monday afternoon adding that at the time of the report, the whereabouts of so many of his relations could not be ascertained. But, a national coordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Garus Gololo claimed that two Fulani herdsmen were killed in Ohimini on Sunday with over 1000 cows missing while some Fulanis also got missing.
4. AIR FORCE VOWS TO ENSURE CALM IN N’DELTA
The Nigerian Air force Monday vowed to ensure that the relative peace currently enjoyed in the Niger Delta is improved upon by its operatives. Air vice Marshal Steven Onuh, the newly posted Air Officer Commanding, Mobility Command of the Nigerian Air Force, Bayelsa State, who spoke when he visited Governor Seriake Dickson, stated that the force would carry out its duties diligently. He assured of the air force’s non-partisan approach to its operations in the region, noting that all activities would be carried out “in good faith”. The Air Officer Commanding said the purpose of the visit was to inform Governor Dickson of his posting to the command, noting that ensuring peace in the Niger Delta would remain his major priority. He expressed the determination of his command to “collaborate with other security agencies to enforce law and order in the state as well as defend democracy in the country” In his comments, Mr Dickson commended the Nigerian Air Force for their gallant efforts at protecting the territorial integrity of the nation and partnering the state government in the maintenance of law and order.
5. BOKO HARAM: US SECURITY CHIEFS VISIT NIGERIA
As Nigeria intensifies efforts at crushing Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east, top United States security chiefs yesterday visited Nigeria to lend support to the fight against the terrorists. US Director of Defence Intelligence Agency, Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, who led the delegation, commended the resilience of the Nigerian Armed Forces for defeating Boko Haram and chasing them out of their once safe haven, Sambisa forest. Stewart met with Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, at the Defence Headquarters Abuja to acquaint himself and the rest of the team with Nigeria’s strategy towards eliminating terrorism in the West African region. He explained that he “was in Nigeria to meet with the top echelon of the Nigeria Armed Forces with a view to collaborating in the areas of security and to pledge more support for the military in order to engender total stoppage of Boko Haram from operating in Nigeria territory and denying them future freedom of operation.” Speaking, General Olonisakin harped on the need for more cordial working relationship between the US and Nigeria, especially in military cooperation.
6. KIDNAPPERS IN MILITARY CAMOUFLAGE STORM EPE FARM, KIDNAP NYSC MEMBER, THREE OTHERS
A 10-man gang of kidnappers kitted in military camouflage were said to have at weekend stormed a farmland at the Epe axis of Lagos State and abducted a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) returnee, Ifeoluwa Olabiyi, and three other men. This is coming on the heels of the abduction of three female students and six members of staff of Nigeria Tulip International College (NTIC), Ogun State, recently. The armed kidnappers were said to have stormed the Tanda farm and after shooting sporadically in the air to scare of any rescue attempt, made away with four persons. Already, the kidnappers were said have asked for a ransom of N5million each, making it a total of N20million for all four persons. According to sources, the farmland was the same one the kidnappers had struck sometime last year and abducted some farmers. The source said: “This time around, they had come from the creeks and entered the farm. They were heavily armed, so no one could resist them. “They left with three farmers and the NYSC returnee, who had finished her service year and was employed at the farm.
7. NIGERIAN ARMY DENIES REABSORBING DISMISSED SOLDIERS
The Nigerian Army has denied re-absorbing dismissed soldiers, saying it has no such plan. Army spokesperson Sani Usman, in a statement on Monday, urged members of the public to discountenance “such false information.” The brigadier general said the attention of the army had been drawn to the “false information circulating through WhatsApp and other social media platforms on the purported re-absorption of dismissed regiments (Soldiers) between 2006 to date into the Nigerian Army.” “They are also encouraged to cross check any information about the Nigerian Army with the Directorate of Army Public Relations or the Nigerian Army Website www.army.mil.ng,” he said.
8. IPOB: NNAMDI KANU TO DRAG BUHARI, SECURITY AGENCIES TO UN, ICC
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu has threatened to drag the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to the United Nations (UN) and International Criminal Court (ICC). His lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said Kanu will go to any legal length to get justice over his incarceration. “We must get justice, we are at the ECOWAS court already from there if they (the FG) do not obey the orders we will head to the African Union, United Nations and ICC,” he told Naij. “We must compel the federal government; we are all partners in democracy and must ensure we protect this “And let me also say this, all executives, presidents, governors and all, their immunity will elapse someday and they will face justice at the ICC.” Ejiofor added that his team was building its case against the president, some Nigeria security agencies and some public officers. “We have various indicting reports on the FG on the killings of IPOB members and Biafra supporters including the Amnesty report on the killing and we will make good use of all this”. IPOB recently stated that the Federal Government cannot win the trial against Kanu with the primitive law operated in the country.
9. SOLDIERS TASKED TO EMBRACE AGRICULTURE
The new General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of Nigerian Army (NA), Major General Adamu Abubakar has urged soldiers at Ohafia Barracks to embrace agriculture as it is the only thing that can move the economy of the country forward. He gave this advice during his familiarization tour of the military formation in Ohafia, where he took time off to inspect their poultry farms. He said that agriculture can be very helpful to Nigeria, in the sense that it can revive the economy since oil, which the nation relies on seem to be failing us. According to him, as Agriculture is the vision of Chief of army staff, all the barracks in the country are into Agricultural ventures under a scheme called Barracks Investment Initiative. “Agriculture can be very helpful to Nigeria, in the sense that it can revive our economy. It is the vision of Chief of army staff, as we have it here, so we have it in all military locations, some are even far bigger that what we have here. Some are into cow rearing , others are into cassava planting while still other are into other types of crops . Agriculture is everything now and we need to embrace it”, the Army boss said. While addressing the soldiers, he advised them to ensure peaceful coexistence with their host communities in order to avoid altercations that may arise as a result of careless living.
10. NIGERIA: RETIREES SUE MILITARY FOR NON-PAYMENT OF ALLOWANCES
Retired military officers on Tuesday dragged the Army, Navy and Air Force to court over non-payment of debarment allowance instituted in 2012. The retirees instituted a class action against the forces at the National Industrial Court Abuja, claiming they were yet to access the funds since 2012. The debarment allowance is a lump sum to be paid to all retirees, made up of 10 per cent of their total emolument per annum, multiplied by the number of years served. The essence of the allowance is to equip the retired officers for other endeavours to foreclose them from taking on their wealth of military training on the society. Joined as co-defendants in the suit are the Chief of Defence Staff; Director, Military Pension Board; Attorney-General; and Accountant-General of the Federation. The retirees, among other reliefs sought, want the Harmonised Armed Forces Terms of Conditions of Service and Financial Regulation of the Armed Forces effected as instituted by law. They claimed that effecting these two programmes was ample to the payment of debarment allowance to all retirees of the armed forces, dead or alive; irrespective of rank. However the defendants and their counsels were conspicuously absent in court but letters from the Chief of Defence Staff and Director, Military Pension Board explaining their absence were admitted in court.