By Capt Hashim Abdullahi
1. NIGERIAN NAVY WANTS $1.3 BILLION ACQUISITION PROGRAMME.
The Nigerian Navy needs $1.3 billion to acquire new hardware to secure its territorial waters, according to Navy Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, who is seeking the acquisition of at least five new ships. Addressing a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety and Administration, Ibas said the required long term acquisitions include a general-purpose frigate valued at $350 million, a long-endurance Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) valued at $120 million, a medium-endurance OPV estimated at $60 million, a landing platform dock ship worth $350 million and a landing ship-tank valued $90 million. Other required assets include a submarine worth $300 million, a Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) worth $10 million and a specialised naval security helicopter at an estimated cost of $25 million. Ibas said the new equipment would help the navy fully secure the country’s territorial waters against piracy, armed robbery at sea, crude oil theft and illegal bunkering, poaching, smuggling, vandalism, kidnapping, proliferation of small arms, illegal waste dumping and oil pollution. However, he said the navy was concerned about the ‘substantially progressive decrease’ in government budgetary allocations for its capital and overhead expenditures since 2012. In 2016, the Nigerian Navy took delivery of several naval defence assets and platforms in a fleet recapitalization programme that involved local construction and servicing of naval vessels.
2. NAF TARGETS 4, 000 BAKASSI IDPS IN FREE MEDICAL OUTREACH.
The Nigerian Air Force has inaugurated free medical outreach for the Internally Displaced Persons of Bakassi with a target of rendering free medication to over 4,000 of the returnees. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who inaugurated the exercise on Thursday in Bakassi, Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River, stated that the exercise was in line with the NAF humanitarian service for the people. Abubakar, who was represented by Group Capt. Ali Tanko, said that the initiative was also to render free medical outreach to the returnees with a view of uplifting health standards in the camp. The Air Marshal said NAF carried out a need assessment in the area and found out that it was important for the Air Force to render free medical service to the returnees, to alleviate their plight. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the beneficiaries were drawn from two camps in the area: Ikot Effiom and Ekpri-Obutong. The Commander, 305 Special Mobility Group, NAF, Calabar, Wing Cdr. Ali Idris said: “We are going to render free medical outreach to those with eye problems’’. He said the exercise would also benefit those with malaria and typhoid, diabetes, children in need of de-worming, hypertension among other medical conditions during the exercise. Idris said: “For those that will be identified for surgical operation as a secondary case, we will pick their names and come back later to connect them to a health facility for proper surgery.
3. NIGERIA NAVY TRAINS OVER 2000 NEW INTAKES.
The Nigerian Navy says it is currently training over 2,000 new intakes to support other security agencies in internal security operations in the country. Flag Officer Commanding, Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), Rear Adm. Obi Ofodile, disclosed this while on familiarisation tour of the navy training school in Onne, Rivers. Ofodile also said that the navy was currently upgrading its facilities and expanding its training programmes to meet with expected high intake into the service. According to him, the navy was not unmindful of the need for quality training for both new intakes and officers and ratings. “The Nigerian navy has been increasing its intake of new trainees but cannot just make significant increase overnight otherwise it would produce half-baked personnel. “The reason for curtailing the number of new intakes is that the facilities have to be directly proportional to the number of intakes. “However, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, is currently providing new facilities and improving existing ones to take care of the number that we want. “Also, new buildings equipped with state-of-the-art facilities are springing up aimed to improve personnel proficiency to perform their duties professionally and efficiently,” he said. Ofodile said that the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School (NNBTS); Nigerian Navy College (NNC) and the recently inaugurated Nigerian War College would drive its training programmes. He said aside infrastructure development the CNS was equally passionate about expanding its training programme for effective service delivery to the country. The naval chief said that paucity of funds had partly affected the desire of the navy to expand its training programmes to accommodate more personnel.
4. OSINBAJO INAUGURATES PROBE PANEL ON ALLEGED MILITARY ABUSE.
Governments are “constitutionally and morally” bound to respect the lives of the citizens at all times, acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, has said. Mr. Osinbajo stated this on Friday in Abuja as he inaugurated a seven-member Judicial Commission to review the compliance of the Nigerian Armed Forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, especially in local conflict and insurgency situations. The commission is headed by Justice Biobele Georgewill of the Port Harcourt division of the Court of Appeal. The acting president said the Buhari Administration was committed to addressing all cases of extra-judicial killings, sexual offences and all other forms of abuses in Nigeria. He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had asked the Nigerian Armed Forces in 2015 to set up an Internal Board of Inquiry and said the report of the inquiry would be passed on to the panel. He described members of the Nigerian military as heroes who have been combating insurgency with success and who must be commended. He however noted that the tactic of asymmetrical warfare being used by insurgents pose a challenge for the military, resulting in allegations that some soldiers have at certain times committed abuses. Mr. Osinbajo said it was important to look into those allegations to avoid doubts being cast on the the hard-earned integrity of the Nigerian military. He expressed belief in the quality of the panel and his full confidence that it would thoroughly investigate and report on all allegations brought to its attention.
5. FOUR ARMY IMPERSONATORS ARRESTED IN BENIN.
The police in Benin, Edo State, have arrested four persons for allegedly posing as men of the Nigerian Army. The suspects are: Iyoragie David, Emmanuel Musa, Kingsley Egharevba and Chibuike Nwabali, The suspects were said to have put on uniforms of the Nigerian Army when they were arrested at Okhuaihe village, along Benin/Asaba Road, by local vigilante who were in search of some kidnappers. The suspects were later handed over to the police on suspicion that they were members of the kidnappers. Investigations, however, showed that two of them were ex-service men. One of the suspects, David who hailed from Bayelsa State, said he left the military school sometimes ago, adding that he knew that he was not supposed to wear the uniform after leaving the military. He said he and his collegues went to visit a friend in the area before they were arrested and “didn’t know that somebody was abducted in that area.” On his part, Musa said he used to wear the uniform when he was driving because he did not return all the military kits when the left the army, while Kingsley who claimed to be a member of the Man O’War and not a military personnel, said; “I used this uniform when I am going for parade.” Edo State Police Commissioner, Haliru Gwandu, who paraded the suspects before journalists, said they would be charged to court after investigation had been concluded.
6. SSS CLAIMS ARREST OF 18 SUSPECTED KIDNAPPERS, TOP BOKO HARAM COMMANDER.
The State Security Service (SSS) said it had arrested 18 suspected members of notorious kidnap gangs operating across the country. The suspects include: Haliru Hassan, Usman Abdulkadir, Yusuf Saidu, Abubakar Shuiabu, Abubakar Suleiman, Uzairu Bawa and Sani Abubakar. A statement by an operative of the service, Tony Opuiyo, said the suspects were arrested on July 3, at the Kakuri industrial area of Kaduna State. Mr. Opuiyo said the suspects had been terrorising motorists and commuters within the Rijana and Katari axis of the Abuja-Kaduna Highway. He said the service also arrested two notorious kidnap suspects, Rabiu Sani alias Dogo, and Abubakar Sani. He said the suspects were arrested on July 4, along the Zaria-Funtua road in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The operative said Mr. Sani was a notorious kidnapper and gun-runner who had been supplying arms and ammunition to criminal elements in Kaduna, Kano, Taraba and Plateau states. He said items recovered from them include: a blue Volkswagen Vento car with Reg. No. MGU 106 EA, one Pistol,four AK-47 Magazines and five FN rifle. Others are: 989 rounds of Ammunition, one round of 9mm ammunition, one Beretta magazine, and N457, 140. Similarly, Mr. Opuiyo said, the service arrested two high profile kidnappers on July 5, at Ikara Junction, Tudun Wada Local Government Area of Kano State. He said they were members of a kidnap gang which had been operating at the Falgore forest in Kano State. He said 26 live cartridges and a bullet proof vest were found in their possession during their arrest. The operative said the service also arrested five kidnap suspects responsible for kidnapping in the FCT and two others in Kogi. On terrorism, Mr. Opuiyo said the service arrested a high profile Boko Haram cell leader alongside six of his accomplices in Sakwai, Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
7. BOKO HARAM NIGERIAN ARMY CLAIMS EVIDENCE SHEKAU KILLED.
A Major General and Defence spokesperson, John Enenche, has said that they have evidence to prove that Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has been killed, but admitted there are many Shekaus. Speaking in an interview with Osasu Igbinedion on The Osasu Show, Enenche said Boko Haram has been defeated, but stressed that total peace can never be achieved in the North East yet “Boko Haram has been defeated, but defeat is a process to achieving total peace. Defeat is a package and it has started; so why can we say categorically and confidently that Boko Haram has been defeated? We can say that because before then, you will agree with me that you can’t move around the way people move around in the north-east now. “Insurgents and terrorists had total control over some local governments, they were already collecting taxes as government, but now it is no longer so. They have been defeated, there is a level of security in Nigeria, but does that mean there is no armed robbery in Nigeria? If you study sociology, criminality, crime and all these vices are part of human living. “There is no total peace anywhere in the world, and it can never exist. It is normal, it is a usual abnormality that comes with human existence.” Speaking about the repeated claims of the death of Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, Enenche said it is unfortunate that Nigerians will believe insurgents.
8. NIGERIAN ARMY INVESTIGATING THE DEATH ALLEGED CRUSHED IN AGBARA BY ARMY CONVOY.
The Nigerian Army are investigating the death of Customs officer, Baba Nwaguyawo, who was allegedly crushed to death while attempting to stop a convoy of the Nigerian Army at the Agbara end of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway on Friday. The convoy was reportedly used as a diversion to smuggle some cars into the country. PUNCH Metro learnt that operatives of the NCS at the Agbara checkpoint had attempted stopping the convoy for a routine search when a Nigerian Army van piloting the fleet killed Nwaguyawo. Our correspondent gathered that the deceased, with service number 53225, was until his death an anti-smuggling operative of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos. It was learnt that the four vehicles, suspected to be smuggled under the guise of Army convoy, were two units of Mercedez Benz Sports Utility Vehicle ML 350, one Toyota Venza, and a Mercedez Saloon car. A source said, “The incident happened on Friday. Actually, three joint units of customs, including the NCS, Seme, Customs Intelligence Unit and Federal Operations Unit, were set to intercept the vehicles which were being piloted by a team of military men, led by Captain A.M. Murnai with Force No. 45EB/15FER with Army operation vehicle no. NA2021B05. “Each of the smuggled cars had two soldiers in uniforms inside, as an act of subterfuge and deception, with Captain Murnai inside the piloting van. “At the point of stop-and-search, the military men resisted and forced their way through, knocking down the deceased in order to pave way for the smuggled vehicles to escape. Two of the smuggled vehicles crushed the customs officer simultaneously.” Our correspondent learnt that the victim’s remains were deposited in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital mortuary, Ikeja. PUNCH Metro gathered that some of the culprits, who were arrested together with their official vehicle, were detained. They were later moved to the Ibereko Barracks, Badagry, on the instruction of the Commanding Officer, Ibereko Barracks, for further interrogation. The Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah, confirmed the incident. He said, “It is true that we lost an officer in that unfortunate incident. Investigations are ongoing by the Army and the NCS authorities.” The spokesman for the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Lt. Col. Olaolu Daudu, said the matter was being investigated. ”I am in Badagry now to investigate the matter,” he said. Our correspondent learnt on Sunday that officers of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army and the FOU, Ikeja, were in a joint meeting over the incident.
9. MILITARY RAID WON’T AFFECT RELATIONS WITH NIGERIA –UN.
The United Nations on Saturday reaffirmed its commitment to support the Federal government’s counter-terrorism efforts in the North-East region, adding that the raid on its building would not affect its relations with Nigeria. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Peter Lundberg, said this at a press conference on Saturday in Maiduguri. Lundberg said the UN would continue to support Nigeria to address the major problems affecting education, health, nutrition and security challenges occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency. He said the raid conducted by the military on UN Humanitarian facility in Maiduguri would not affect its relations with the country, “I am very pleased to inform you that our relationship of collaboration and trust is intact, and at this stage, we are focused on the work ahead, to ensure that the millions of vulnerable people in the North-East are supported with life-saving humanitarian aid. “I reiterated that we are here in support of the government of Nigeria, the UN agencies and over 60 development organisations working to provide the much-needed food, shelter, safe water, latrines and medicines,” Lundberg said. Lundberg announced that the UN had resumed its services after it was temporarily suspended following a raid by the military on its office. He explained that the UN humanitarian services were facing serious challenges due to security threats posed by the Boko Haram insurgents. The UN official added that humanitarian services were restricted to thousands of people in the affected areas due to various challenges. “The rainy season is also creating challenges to humanitarian access in some areas in the region,” he noted. He said the UN estimated that about 8.5 million people were in dire need of humanitarian assistance in the North-East and Lake Chad region. He said that the UN has targeted 6.9 million people for the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
10. “NATIONS NEED POLICE MORE THAN MILITARY”.
The Lagos State Police Chaplain, Mr. Omolaja Abiodun, on Saturday, gave some insight into the history of the police versus the military. Abiodun, who is a deputy superintendent of police, said while giving a lecture at the third annual national conference of the Organisation of Nigerian Chaplains with the theme ‘Global freedom of chaplaincy and its responsibilities,’ which held in Lagos. The policeman said, “As the incarnate presence of God, chaplains perform specific functions more than priests, clerics, prophets. They exist among military, paramilitary and police. You can see that I said paramilitary and police. I want you to get this from this context—police is not paramilitary. Anywhere in the world, police is police. We have military, paramilitary and police. It always stands alone anywhere in the world. “In the military, their system is more peculiar than that of the police. They are not in contact with civilians. They are confined to the barracks. They have their formations there. But in case such an opportunity like that comes, I want us to just sweep it under the carpet.” “The Nigerian police chaplaincy started in 2006. After the military, you have the police. But the police started first. The military came from the police. So, you can actually do away with the military, but you can’t do away with the police. There are some nations that don’t have the military. But there is no nation without the police; it is not possible.”