…Capt. Hashim Abdullahi
1. ARMY YET TO MAKE ARRESTS AFTER BURATAI’S WARNING, SAYS SPOKESMAN
Following the revelation by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, of attempts by some politicians to infiltrate the military, the Nigerian Army said Thursday that it was yet to make any arrests. This is just as a report by Transparency International (TI) stated Thursday that the Nigerian defence and security sector is steeped in corruption, revealing that over N4.6 trillion ($15 billion) allocated to the sector in five years was either embezzled or unaccounted for. Buratai on Tuesday had warned officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army to steer clear of politics and politicians, whom he claimed were attempting to influence them. He said the Nigerian Army headquarters had received information that some individuals had been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons. On this basis, Buratai warned such persons to desist from these acts and ordered his men to remain apolitical. But responding to questions Thursday on whether the army has arrested, interrogated or questioned any of its officers or soldiers allegedly contacted by the said politicians, army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, said no one had been interrogated and no arrests had been made.
2. AIR FORCE IMMORTALISES FIGHTER PILOTS KILLED IN MALI BATTLE.
The Nigerian Air Force, yesterday, immortalised two of its Alpha Jet fighter pilots, late Squadron Leader BB Ado, and Flying Officer AJ Layelmenson, who lost their lives during a military operation to stop terrorists backed-rebels from over running the administration of Mali in 2013. The Alpha jets they flew were said to have crashed during the African-led International Support Mission to Mali, AFISMA. Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who immortalised the officers by naming newly constructed Transit and Married Officers blocks of flats after them at NAF Base, Abuja, said: “The two blocks of flats have been appropriately named after our two gallant officers, who died while on active duty during AFISMA in 2013.” Sadique said: “Two young officers paid the supreme sacrifice while carrying out the noble task of projecting our nation’s interest, hence the need to immortalize them.” Sadique said: “Two young officers paid the supreme sacrifice while carrying out the noble task of projecting our nation’s interest, hence the need to immortalize them.” This is in consonance with this administration’s efforts at preserving the memories of our fallen heroes and heroines.”
3. BENUE VILLAGERS KILL THREE HERDSMEN, CATTLE
The police in Benue State have confirmed the killing of three Fulani herdsmen and their cattle by some villagers in the Agatu area of the state. Our correspondent learnt that the villagers on Sunday killed the herdsmen and their cattle for allegedly trespassing into some farmlands. It was gathered that the police operatives had recovered the corpses of two of the herdsmen, while a search was still on for the third corpse. It will be recalled that the herdsmen also on Sunday and Tuesday, in what has been described as reprisals, attacked some villages in the Logo Local Government Area of the state, killing 15 persons. The police later noted that eight herdsmen were arrested for the killings. The Benue State Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, confirmed the killing of the three herdsmen and their cattle to our correspondent, adding that the police were working to ensure peace and order among the warring farmers and herdsmen in the state. Makama said, “In Agatu, the villagers killed three Fulani herdsmen on Sunday and also killed their cows. Two corpses have been found and we are still searching for the third corpse.
4. PRESIDENCY: FREED GIRL NOT ONE OF 219 CHIBOK SCHOOLGIRLS
The presidency thursday retracted its announcement that another Chibok girl was free, saying she was not one of the 219 whose kidnapping more than three years ago caused global outrage. The presidency said on Wednesday evening that the teenager was picked up by the military after fleeing from Boko Haram jihadists. But Laolu Akande, spokesman to the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, later tweeted that the girl was a junior secondary school “student from Chibok community.” In a text message to AFP thursday, he said the 15-year-old was “not part of the 219.” Osinbajo is currently deputising for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is in London on medical leave. In the Nigerian education system, junior secondary school is for pupils aged between 10 and 15. The 219 Chibok girls were in their final year of senior secondary school (SSS3). The #BringBackOurGirls group, which has been campaigning for the release of the Chibok girls, also said the girl’s name was not in their records. “We’ve perused our list but can’t find the name of the returnee said to be 1 of our #ChibokGirls,” it said on its Twitter account. “Whether 1 of our missing #ChibokGirls or not, we are excited over everyone who regains their freedom & we look forward to all returning.” Boko Haram kidnapped 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town in Borno state on the evening of April 14, 2014. Fifty-seven escaped in the hours that followed but 219 were not so lucky. Since then, 106 girls have been found, rescued or released, including 82 who were freed earlier this month in a prisoner swap deal for a number of Boko Haram suspects in custody.
5. BOKO HARAM TRAPS STARVING PEOPLE IN NIGERIA, UN WARNS
Two million people are teetering on the brink of famine in north-eastern Nigeria but efforts to reach some are being thwarted by Boko Haram jihadists, the UN’s food agency said Thursday. More than 20 million people across Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, are in areas hit by drought and are experiencing famine or are at high risk of famine in “the biggest crisis we have seen in the past 50 years”, said Denise Brown, emergency coordinator for the UN’s World Food Programme. “While they are all in difficulty, north-eastern Nigeria is one that has got under our skin at WFP,” she added. Around 1.8 million people in the area are classified “as being on the edge of the (famine) cliff”, she said, and WFP is managing to provide support of some sort to 1.2 million of them — though it desperately needs more funds. “But there are several hundred thousand people who are up in three areas in Nigeria on the borders with Niger and Chad that we just can’t get to because of the active conflict,” she said, putting the figure at around 600,000 people. Boko Haram launched an uprising in north-eastern Nigeria in 2009 and began eyeing border areas in neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The conflict in the area of Lake Chad has left 20,000 people dead since then.
6. POLICE RECOVER FOUR BODIES OF SLAIN OFFICERS IN DELTA
The Police in Delta State said they had recovered corpses of four of its officers allegedly killed by suspected militants on May 15. The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Andrew Aniamaka, confirmed the recovery to newsmen on Thursday in Warri. “The militants will be fished out, as investigation is ongoing on the matter,” he said. The deceased policemen were allegedly killed by the militants along the Benin river. The victims were simply identified as Aghoro (Commander), Sagay, Andrew and Mejer and their bodies have been deposited at both Sapale General Hospital and Central Hospital, Warri. Their vandalised boat has also been taken to Abiugborodo community under the care of some soldiers. A reliable source said that the policemen were invited by the militants to come and collect money to pave way for them to carry out their illegal bunkering.
7. ‘ARMS SCANDAL: CONTRACTOR INFLATED HELICOPTERS’ PRICE BY $20M EACH’
The claims read like the plot of a best-selling thriller, with secretive arms dealers and a corruption-riddled government fighting jihadists. The weapons deal collapses in acrimony but instead of a shoot-out, the embittered parties fight it out in court. In this real-life saga, Ara Dolarian is the US arms dealer, Hima Aboubakar the weapons contractor and the foreign government Nigeria, which has been locked in a battle with Boko Haram since 2009. The $246m (221 million euros) order at the height of the jihadists’ insurgency in 2014 was for weapons and equipment, including helicopters, bombs and ammunition. It could have given over-stretched and under-resourced Nigerian troops a boost, as the better-armed rebels captured territory across northeast Nigeria, often without a fight. But the deal collapsed in 2015 and the arms never arrived. Aboubakar sued Dolarian for fraud in California. Aboubakar, a national of Niger, claimed the US arms dealer failed to ship $8.6 million worth of bombs and rockets, damaging his reputation as “a trusted arms supplier to the Nigerian military”. Dolarian alleges in court documents that he was unwittingly caught up in a “money laundering scheme” and that Aboubakar’s arms money was “stolen from the Nigerian government”.
8. NIGERIA: DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS DENIES CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said denied allegations of corruption leveled against the Nigerian Military in a Transparency International (TI) report released on Thursday. The Defence spokesman, Major General John Enenche reacting in a press conference in Abuja said, the sweeping allegations against military officials in the TI report are false. He said the present leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria has done a lot to train, boost troop’s morale and procure vital equipment through due process, for the north east operations against Boko Haram. He argued that the Defence Headquarters, Army, Navy and Air Force Headquarters have established procurement branches that are guided by the rules and regulations of the Bureau for Public Procurement. He said, the Ministry of Defence deals directly with States and Governments on defence equipment procurement without using contractors or vendors any longer, noting that the allegations in the TI report coming at this time should be treated with utmost suspicion. He assured that there is no calculated, deliberate or institutionalized corruption in any form within its system, adding that the Armed Forces is totally loyal and subordinated to the Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
9. THREE SUICIDE BOMBERS BLOW THEMSELVES AT UNIVERSITY OF MAIDUGURI
Three male suicide bombers with IEDs strapped to their bodies, gained entry into the premises of University of Maiduguri at the early hours of Friday. In an attempt to enter the female hostels, they were intercepted by security operatives. One of the bombers hurriedly detonated his IED vest, killing himself instantly. The other two bombers detonated theirs near a construction site also within the proximity of the University premises, killing themselves alone. Three university security personnel were reported injured.
10. 12, 000 BOKO HARAM HOSTAGES FREED SO FAR ―DEFENCE MINISTER.
NO fewer than 12,000 persons held hostage including Chibok girls by the Book Haram insurgent had been set free by the Task Force in charge of security in the North East says the Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali. The Minister Stated this in his open address at a retreat organised by the Ministry with the theme: ” Enhancing civil-military relations, a panacea for promoting security and national development” held at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru, Plateau State. Said he: “The insurgents have rather resort to attacking innocent soft targets. It is on record that before the coming of this administration about 65 per cent of the territories in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states were under the control of Boko Haram insurgents. “Through the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari we were able to recover the places and also free over 12 thousand persons mainly women and children held hostage by the terrorists including 106 Chibok girls released so far”. He said with the huge successes recorded by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in these areas of security challenges, there is need for the Ministry of Defence to further consolidate on these efforts by coordinating, supervising and maintaining a sustainable and robust security apparatus to confront the security challenges. He stated that this can only be achieved in an atmosphere of mutual respect, friendliness, mutual trust, hard work and dedication by both the civilian and military components of the Ministry.