…Captain Hashim Abdullahi
1. ARMY DENIES INVOLVEMENT OF ITS MEN IN OGIJO KILLING, DEMANDS APOLOGY
The Nigeria Army has denied the reports that its men were involved in the death of a man simply identified as George in the Ogijo area of Ogun state. One Kenny Adesanya had tweeted that the man died after he was assaulted by troops of 174 battalion in Ikorodu, Lagos. Adesanya had claimed that the landlady of the deceased invited soldiers to discipline George for refusing to pay his rent. But in a statement on Saturday, Sani Usman, spokesman of the army, faulted Adesanya’s claim and demanded an apology. “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to media reports and photograph of the corpse of one Mr. George of Ogijo, Ogun state, allegedly murdered by troops of 174 battalion Ikorodu,” the statement read. “The story and the photograph were ostensibly shared by one Mr. Kenny Abel Adesanya through his Twitter handle. “However, we have confirmed that the allegation is not true, rather it was borne out of mischief, hatred for the Nigerian Army and attempt to divert attention from those that committed the dastardly act. “For the avoidance of doubt, the location where the incident took place, Ogijo, is in Ogun state and 174 battalion does not have any deployment there, neither do any of our troops patrol the area.” Usman said in the course of investigation, the military authorities sent a delegation to Ogijo police station. He said the investigative team discovered that the landlady’s son invited his friends to torture the deceased. He explained that the matter was later reported to the police and the matter was about to be charged to court but the parties involved opted for out-of-court settlement. “A team was dispatched to Ogijo divisional police station, Ogun state, to investigate the matter. The incident dates back to 8th March 2017, one Mr. George (now late), was threatened by the son of his landlady that he will invite his soldier friends to come and beat him for failing to pay his rent which was long overdue,” Usman said. “On the said day, the tenant was taken from the compound by three young men and beaten up. “The case was reported to Ogijo police station. The parties involved were arrested and their statements taken. “Thereafter, the police wanted to charge the matter to court but the tenant and the landlady opted for out-of -court settlement. The young men who carried out the beating were neither arrested nor their identity ascertained by the police. “The police claimed the landlady son said he used his friends. The case was however treated as assault and discharged. No report was sent to the military authorities because no soldier was involved. “On 24th March 2017, the said tenant Mr. George died in his house and his corpse was taken to the frontage of the landlady who quickly reported to the Ogijo police station. She was arrested and the corpse was deposited at the mortuary. “The son of the landlady who is currently at large, is being hunted by the police authority. “Consequently, we wish to call on Mr. Adesanya, all other persons that shared the story and the media to understand that Mr. George was not murdered by any soldier, let alone those serving in 174 battalion and should correct this erroneous impression.
2. BUHARI SHELVES SAMBISA TRIP, DELEGATES DEFENCE MINISTER
Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence, will represent President Muhammadu Buhari at the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship holding in Sambisa forest on Monday. Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, the chief of army staff, disclosed this on Saturday.
David Ahmad, chief of training and operations at the army headquarters, had earlier announced that Buhari would declare the ceremony open. But for the change in plan, Buhari would have been the first president to visit the former stronghold of the Boko Haram sect in Borno state. Sambisa was referred to as the headquarters of the sect. The visit would have also been Buhari’s first trip outside the presidential villa in Abuja since he returned to the country after a 49-day medical vacation in the UK. However, Buratai said the army chose Sambisa forest for the event in order to consolidate its grip on the area. “We have been in the north-east, fighting the Boko Haram terrorists, and you know the significance of the Sambisa forest to them,” he told reporters in Maiduguri on Saturday. “It used to be one of their centres; in fact, we suspect that their command and control centre was located there before its eventual capture.” He added that following the eventual capture of camp zairo in the forest, the army wanted to consolidate its operations by ensuring that the place was secure.
3. POLICE PARADE 2 NSCDC OFFICERS, RECOVER TANKERS
The police have intercepted and recovered nine tankers each filled with 33,000 litres of adulterated diesel, but the drivers absconded on sighting the special task force team. The Force said the tankers were recovered in Nasarawa, Delta and Ogun states, noting that a laboratory analysis indicated that the products were off-specification. Two assistant superintendents of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Agah Ovie and Angel Kilosomewo, were also arrested for allegedly dealing in illegally refined petroleum product, according to the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood. He alleged that the suspects were caught in the Otuasegha area of Yenogoa, Bayelsa State with 350 litres of illegally refined diesel in 15 sacks containing 25 litres each. Moshood said the diesel was loaded in an NSCDC patrol van which was recovered along with kegs of diesel. “The two suspects volunteered confessional statements admitting to be personnel of the civil defence corps attached to critical infrastructure department, Bayelsa State Command and that the van belonged to their Head of Department, Lawrence Ndubuisi,” the police spokesman stated.
4. NSCDC ARRESTS TWO MOBILE POLICEMEN FOR ALLEGED OIL THEFT
The operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have apprehended two mobile policemen in connection with illegal oil bunkering in Bayelsa State. It was learnt that the suspects were three but one of them suspected to be a driver allegedly fled the scene, abandoning a vehicle loaded with the stolen petroleum product and his identification card. However, the identities of the mobile policemen involved in the illegal oil bunkering were reportedly kept secret following confusion between the two sister security agencies. The suspected policemen were allegedly arrested last Friday about 5:30pm along Otuasiga Okaki Road in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state. It was learnt that over 412 litres of suspected illegally-refined Automative Gas Oil (diesel) were reportedly recovered from the suspects. It was further learnt that a special squad of anti-illegal bunkering team of NSCDC immediately conveyed the suspects and their stolen products to the command of NSCDC in Yenagoa. Efforts to get reaction from the state Commandant of the corps, Mr. Desmond Agu, were unsuccessful as calls to his mobile phone indicated that it was switched off.
5. BOKO HARAM RAIDS STOKE FEAR OF FRESH ATTACKS
Boko Haram Islamists raided a village in northeast Nigeria, in the latest rampage to steal food and medical supplies, as fears grew of more attacks, locals and security personnel said on Sunday. Scores of fighters loyal to the faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi stormed Sabon Garin Kimba, some 140 kilometres (88 miles) southwest of the Borno state capital Maiduguri. The jihadists were dressed in military uniform and arrived in a pick-up in Nigerian army colours at about 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Friday, according to the civilian militia assisting troops. The raid is significant as no civilians were killed or injured. The Islamic State group last year announced Barnawi was in charge of Boko Haram instead of its long-time leader Abubakar Shekau. Barnawi has criticised Shekau’s indiscriminate violence against civilians. Militia member Mustapha Karimbe, who visited the village on Saturday, said: “The attackers took away food items and medical supplies from shops and a pharmacy but they didn’t harm anyone. “They kept telling residents they were from the Barnawi faction and would not harm anyone as long as no-one got in their way.” Karimbe’s account was supported by another member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) militia, Suleiman Musa.
6. WE WANT TO GO BACK HOME, BORNO IDPS PROTEST IN IBADAN
About 1,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, have signified intent to voluntarily return to Borno State. Speaking with newsmen in Ibadan, at the weekend, during a peaceful rally at Moshood Abiola Way (Ring Road), Ibadan, the IDPs, comprising Muslims and Christians, said they are ready to return to their different homes in various local government areas of Borno State, with a view to starting a new life. Those who staged the rally comprised middle-aged men, women and children. They appealed to the Federal, Oyo and Borno governments, to help them with logistics for evacuation back home, as soon as possible. The displaced persons, who spoke through their Chairman, Mr. Philemon Aga and Secretary, Mallam Amada Usman, noted that Oyo has been a good and hospitable place, but, majority of them cannot secure gainful employment in the state and added that life has increasingly become difficult for them to bear on daily basis. The IDPs raised the alarm that they had been confronted with accommodation problem as over 10 people squat in one room, mostly in uncompleted buildings, where security operatives incessantly swoop on them and effect indiscriminate arrests. “Consequently, we are having feeding and healthcare challenges, coupled with malnutrition, while our children cannot be enrolled in schools here in Oyo State. “We have resolved to go back home and begin our lives anew, without further delay, as we strongly believe that home is home, whatever the circumstance,” Aga said.
7. MIYETTI ALLAH ASSOCIATION ADVISES HERDSMEN AGAINST DESTRUCTION OF FARM PRODUCE
The Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Nasarawa state chapter, Alhaji Mohammed Hussaini has advised herdsmen to avoid destruction of farm produce and grazing on farmlands to avert clashes with farmers. Hussaini made the call in Akwanga while addressing newsmen on Sunday on the outcome of the meeting the association held with Fulani community of Nasarawa North senatorial district of the state, comprising Nasarawa Eggon, Akwanga and Wamba in Akwanga local government areas. He said the meeting was to propagate peace and appeal to herdsmen that engaged in destruction of farm produce and grazing on farmland to desist from such act in the interest of peace and development of the state and the nation at large. “The role of this association is to preach peace and unity, not only to the Fulani community in the state but also to Nigerians at large as no nation or society can develop in an atmosphere of rancour and confusion. “The security challenges facing some parts of the country have affected our lives, agriculture production and social and economic development.
8. FALANA: POLICE PARADE POOR SUSPECTS, NOT RICH THIEVES
Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has advised the 20 paraded suspects in the Ile-Ife clash and members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria to sue the federal government for aggravated damages. Falana said the media parade of the suspects by the police infringed their fundamental rights, and that it also violated the principle of presumption of innocence until proved guilty. The rights lawyer said the criminal suspects often paraded were poor while rich people who steal billions of naira from the treasury were not. He also asked the attorney-general of the federation to direct law enforcement agencies to desist from parading criminal suspects. “Although the courts have repeatedly cautioned the law enforcement agencies to desist from parading criminal suspects before the media the inspector-general of police, Mr Ibrahim Idris has justified the illegal practice. It was a defence which smacks of official impunity and insensitivity,” he wrote in an article. “Notwithstanding that such media parade is prejudicial to the fundamental right of criminal suspects to fair hearing the ruling class has not stopped it because it is part of the humiliation of lowly placed citizens. Hence, while it is not unusual to parade poor criminal suspects who are accused of stealing handsets whose value is less than N10,000 it is infra dignitate to parade rich and powerful criminal suspects who loot the treasury to the tune of several billions of naira.”
9. ONE SOLDIER INJURED AS TROOPS CLEAR BOKO HARAM TERRORISTS FROM KONDUGA
Troops of 103 Battalion, 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Operation Lafiya Dole along with some Civilian JTF on Friday, conducted clearance operation at Gombole, Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State. During the operation, the troops neutralised a number of Boko Haram terrorists hiding in the area.
In a press statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, “They also discovered and destroyed an Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) factory located at the village. “The team further recovered three motorcycles, four primed suicide vests and four stolen military desert camouflage. “Four females and six children were rescued from the terrorists. “Unfortunately, a soldier sustained an injury and was evacuated by the Nigerian Air Force. The statement also adds that the soldier is in stable condition.
10. TERRORISM: DEFENCE CALLS FOR SUSTAINED MEDIA PARTNERSHIP
The Director, Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, has called for sustained media support to actualise a total defeat of terrorism in the country. Th e General, with other members of the information team, made the appeal yesterday during his familiarisation visit to corporate headquarters of Blueprint Newspaper in Maitama, Abuja. He commended the management of Blueprint for the quality of information churned out to the public in spite of its short stay in the Nigerian media space, while acknowledging the organisation for the partnership they have had over the years. He appealed to the organisation not withdraw its support, but sustain the relationship already established and acknowledged the role of the media in the fi ght against insurgency and terrorism in the country. He, therefore, called for a sustained working relationship with the media, urging Blueprint to extend the support given to his predecessor, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, to him. He said: “Th e directorate of information has been performing well, but it’s doing well is not without some tools” adding that the media, especially Blueprint, has contributed immensely to the Nigerian Defence. “Th ey mentioned two papers that has contributed immensely to the Defence and Blueprint Newspaper is one of them”, he said. On recent acts of terrorism in the north east, Enenche, said the war against terrorism and insurgency may not be over, it is absolutely close to being a forgotten history in the country. He argued that there was “defeat and there was wining by percentage and assessment militarily”, adding that the recent cases of bombing by the insurgents were just to create fear in the minds of the people. On issues of military officers’ excesses and abuse of civil rights of other Nigerians, he said all such cases were being investigated to ascertain the true position of things.
Credits/Armed Forces Radio