…Capt. Hashim Abdullahi
1. BURATAI: BOKO HARAM TERRORISTS ARE DYING MEN TRYING TO SURVIVE
Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai on Wednesday said Boko Haram terrorists have been so decimated that what was being witnessed now was like the case of dying men trying to survive.
Buratai spoke at a one-day workshop on National Security, with the theme: “Dynamics of National Security: the Role of the Citizens,” organized by the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI), held at the 81 Division, Officers’ Mess, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria. Delivering a lecture titled: “Counter Terrorism and Sustenance of National Security in Nigeria: Successes and Lessons by Nigerian Army,” he said the Nigerian Army was leaving nothing to chance in the war against terrorism in the country. He added that the army was making great success in the issue of security as it had established a Radio stations in strategic places to preach both Christianity and Islamic faith. “In order to make impact in this war, we have established Radio stations in strategic places and is being utilized appropriately. We also created jingles, the essence is to preach true religion and other aspects of security operations to educate Boko Haram on the need to become good citizens and be reintegrated into the society. “We want the people to know the truth, we let them know the truth aspect of what these religions are both Christians and Muslims, that there is no religion that teaches killings. We believe that with this, we will get to where we are going, and we have done this country great proud,” said Buratai, who was represented by the Director of Information Management, Department of Civil Military Affairs, Army Headquarters, Abuja, Brigadier-General Rabe Abubakar. Buratai said the aim of the workshop was to let the citizens know that they had roles to play in securing the nation, appealing to them to partner with the military to end insecurity in the country.
2. NIGERIA, ITALY TO FINALISE AGREEMENT ON MILITARY, DEFENCE COOPERATION
Nigeria and Italy will soon finalise a draft technical agreement on military and defence cooperation and operations, the Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali, has said. The minister said this when he met with that country’s Minister of Defence, Roberta Pinnoti, in Rome on Monday. A copy of the minister’s speech was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja by his spokesperson, Tukur Gusau.
Mr. Dan-Ali said that the agreement was expected to facilitate exchange of data and experiences on technical matters affecting preparation and conduct of combined naval operations on counter-piracy awareness and oil platforms protection. The other things the agreement will facilitate, according to the minister, are the holding of combined counter-piracy exercises and other maritime security activities in international waters and territorial waters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
3. ARMY BURIES SOLDIERS KILLED IN BATTLE WITH BOKO HARAM
The Nigerian Army says the remains of two gallant soldiers, who died in combat with Boko Haram terrorists on Damboa-Biu road in Borno, have been buried. The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, said in a statement on Thursday that the late two soldiers, who died on June 17, were buried in Gombe. He named them as Lance Cpl. Auwa Halliru, 11NA/66/10788 and Pte Halilu Aliyu, 15NA/73/0188 of 254 Task Force Battalion. Giving an update on clearance operations in the North-East, Usman said a suspected Boko Haram terrorist, Isah Garba, 20, was arrested at Buni Gari in Yobe on Sunday. The army spokesman said the suspect was under the influence of hard drugs at the time of his arrest. Usman said the situation initially made preliminary investigation difficult. He, however, said that the suspect had since stabilised and had started giving useful information to security personnel.
4. OGONI WIDOWS FILE CIVIL WRIT ACCUSING SHELL OF COMPLICITY IN NIGERIA KILLINGS
The widows of men who were hanged by Nigeria’s military government in the 1990s have launched a civil case against Shell, accusing it of complicity in their husbands’ executions.
Esther Kiobel, the widow of Dr Barinem Kiobel, and three other women whose husbands were hanged in 1995, served a writ in a Dutch court this week, following a 20-year battle with the oil giant. Kiobel’s husband was executed along with the writer and human rights activistKen Saro-Wiwa, and seven other men, who became collectively known as the Ogoni nine. They were hanged in a military court following a peaceful uprising by 300,000 Ogonis against Shell’s widespread pollution in Ogoniland. The men had been convicted of the murder of four leaders in the Ogoni community, who were opponents of the uprisings against Shell. The trial, which was widely discredited, sparked international outrage and led to Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth. Amnesty International, which has supported Kiobel’s legal team, has accused Shell of complicity in the state executions.
5. AGAIN, U.S. INDICTS NIGERIA, OTHER COUNTRIES OF USING CHILD SOLDIERS.
The United States 2017 Trafficking in Persons report has again listed Nigeria among countries to face restriction following allegations of culpability in the violation of the Child Soldier Prohibition Act, CSPA 2008. According to the report, released Tuesday, the countries listed among those to have violated the act will face stipulated restrictions, based on provisions of the CSPA, between October 1 and the 2018 fiscal year. “Governments identified on the list are subject to restrictions, in the following fiscal year, on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment. The CSPA, as amended, prohibits assistance to governments that are identified in the list under the following authorities: international Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, Excess Defence Articles, and Peacekeeping Operations, with exceptions for some programs undertaken pursuant to the Peacekeeping Operations authority. The CSPA also prohibits the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of military equipment to such governments. “Beginning October 1, 2017, and effective throughout Fiscal Year 2018, these restrictions will apply to the listed countries, absent a presidential national interest waiver, applicable exception, or reinstatement of assistance pursuant to the terms of the CSPA,” the report said.
6. BORNO POLICE COMMAND DENIED ALLEGED KIDNAPPING OF POLICEWOMEN BY BOKO HARAM AS CLAIMED BY SHEKAU IN A NEW VIDEO, LOOKING SICKLY AND TIRED.
The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a new video said his group was responsible for last week’s ambush of a military-escorted convoy of travellers along Maiduguri-Damboa road. PREMIUM TIMES reported the ambush during which many civilians were abducted including 16 women. Though this newspaper was well informed by officials knowledgeable about the ambush that the women were police officers, PREMIUM TIMES did not reveal their identities in order not to jeopardise their safety and lives in the hands of their abductors, who may not have had the knowledge that they were serving police officers. The police in Borno State had said at least two persons, including a police officer were killed while six others were injured. The police, however, denied being aware of the abductions. The Borno Police Public Relations Officer, Victor Isukwu, categorically stated that the command was not aware of such abduction. This denial was made even though relations and colleagues of the abducted persons lamented that the 16 policewomen were missing. In a YouTube video released on Monday, the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, confirmed that his group did carry out the Damboa ambush. Mr. Shekau who spoke in a very unusual calm mood appeared in a room sitting alone and having his AK47 rifle across his shoulder, with a huge chewing stick on his right hand. He did not hold any piece of paper when he spoke but looked sickly and tired.
7. RECRUITMENT SCANDAL: NAF DENIED THE ALLEGED INCREASE OF SLOTS TO THE NORTH.
– Chief of air staff, air vice marshal Sadiq Abubakar, has been accused of favouritism and tribalism in the ongoing recruitment exercise. The air vice marshal was accused of favouring the core North. The North allegedly got 80 percent of officers’ slot Campaign Against Military Impunity, a civil rights organisation, has accused Nigerian Air Force of recruitment scandal. The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, denied the allegation, saying: “I think it is most advisable that the list of the people recruited should be made public first. Then, those making the claims can painstakingly go through the list. “If there is any state that is not fairly represented, then, let them raise the alarm, rather than be speculating. A list is not yet out, yet people are speculating that the North has been favoured. “Don’t forget that each state should be fairly represented. If you have certified people and everybody in a state are not medically qualified, are you going to disregard everybody in that state? “We operate with the highest standards and we do not compromise on standard, either medical, physical or academic.” According to the group, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, said that the recruitment exercise ongoing for non-commissioned officers are dominated with candidates from the core North. “Presently at the Airforce Base in Kaduna, there is ongoing pre-training formalities and tests for successful recruits, where 80 per cent of them are Northerners,” CAMI said. Executive Director of CAMI, Victor Coker, made this known in Abuja recently. “To unravel this misnomer, there should be an audit of the courses going on in all the training institutions. The audit should look at the composition and last three batches of those in training. “They were supposed to take 68 persons in each state; but after the normal recruitment, the Chief of Air Staff now brought over 2,000 names spread across the core Northern states. “Out of this figure, only 30/40 was given to the South. This is not the first time it is happening. Such things have been done in DSS, EFCC, and even police, Army and the Navy.
8. PEACE CORPS LEGAL, ENGAGING IN ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES –AGF, IGP, DSS.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami; the police, the Department of State Services, and others, on Wednesday, admitted that the Peace Corps of Nigeria was a legally registered organisation but alleged that the group was engaging in criminal activities. They said this before a Federal High Court in Abuja while opposing a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by the Incorporated Trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, its National Commandant, Dickson Akoh, and 48 members of the group. Meanwhile, Peace Corps and Akoh are currently being prosecuted by the Office of the AGF on fraud charges before another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice John Tsoho. Justice Gabriel Kolawole, after hearing all parties to the rights enforcement suit on Wednesday, fixed noon of July 6 for judgment. The plaintiffs are through their suit seeking N2bn as compensation for the embarrassment allegedly caused the Peace Corps of Nigeria and its incorporated trustees “by the arrest and detention of its personnel carried out in a commando style by the security operatives” in March this year.
9. SOLDIERS, POLICEMEN CLASH WITH PROTESTING YOUTHS IN DELTA.
Protesting graduates of the Ijaw and Ilaje ethnicity clashed with soldiers and policemen at the Ekpan premises of Chevron Nigeria Limited in Uvwie Council area near Warri, Delta State on Wednesday. The youths who were protesting an alleged Chevron’s refusal to convert their indigenes who had completed their 18-month graduate training programme decried the manner they were maltreated by the security team on the instruction of the company. President of KOMBOT-Egbema/Gbaramatu Graduates Association, Yabrade Moses, and his counterpart from the National Association of Ilaje Graduates, Ikuesan Ademola, said they had staged the protest to express their displeasure over Chevron’s failure to regularise the employment status of its trainees. They said the trainees were part of Chevron’s VTP5, OPT2 and VTP6 programmes, and as part of the programme, they were supposed to be converted to full staff. However, the company had bluntly refused to give the trainees employment alongside their colleagues from other parts of the country.
10. FG APPROVES ENROLMENT OF NYSC MEMBERS INTO NHIS.
The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the enrolment of members of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme into the National Health Insurance Scheme to guarantee them access to quality healthcare services. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting which was presided by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Adewole expressed optimism that the inclusion of the corps’ members in the health scheme would not only check the reported unnecessary deaths among NYSC members but would also ensure that they receive the highest attainable level of health care across the country. “The other memorandum taken at today’s meeting had to do with how we will prevent unnecessary deaths among the corps members across the country. “The Council approved the memo that henceforth we will include NYSC members in the National Health Insurance Scheme across the country and this will guarantee access to quality healthcare across the country, prevent unnecessary deaths and also ensure that the NYSC members receive the highest (attainable) level of healthcare services across the country,’’ said the Adewole.