By Capt. Hashim Abdullahi
1. SUPPORT NIGERIA TO CONFRONT CHILD-SOLDIERS IN CONFLICT AREAS, OSINBAJO TELLS AU.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has called on the African Union (AU) member states to support Nigeria’s effort to strengthen the engagement in confronting the menace of child soldiers and millions of out-of-school children in armed conflict areas. Osinbajo made the call yesterday at the ongoing African Union summit in Addis Ababa where he led the discussion on peace and security as the Chairman of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, a continental equivalent of the UN’s Security Council. “We have no choice, peace, security and stability are fundamental to the realization of sustainable development and to assure our peoples of decent and happy lives. “As we move towards silencing the guns by 2020, our collective resolve must remain solid and steadfast to effectively tackle conflicts, terrorism, violent extremism and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. According to Prof. Osinbajo, “we need to rekindle our political will and determination not to bequeath to the next generation of Africans the burden of wars, poverty and misery. It is therefore necessary for the Assembly to reaffirm the overriding importance of holistically addressing the root causes of violent conflicts in our countries.” As a first step, Osinbajo said, the body must ensure the full implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), especially the operationalization of the African Stand-by Force (ASF) and Peace Fund.
2. NINE KILLED, DOZENS ABDUCTED IN SUSPECTED BOKO HARAM ATTACK IN SOUTHEAST NIGER.
The attack signifies a larger struggle to contain the militant group’s eight-year insurgency. At least nine people have been killed and around 40 people taken hostage after gunmen attacked a village in southeast Niger. The fighters are said to belong to the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which often wages attacks in Nigeria and its neighboring countries. Local residents told the Associated Press that the attackers arrived late Sunday on camels and horses before firing in all directions. The majority of those abducted were women and children, according to Abba Gata Issa, a mayor from the southern Diffa region. While Boko Haram has yet to claim responsibility for the attack, Diffa has long been a target for the militant group. Less than a week ago, two female fighters bombed a refugee camp in the region, killing two and wounding 11. Since February 2015, Niger has maintained a state of emergency in Diffa, allowing the governor to enforce a curfew and local troops to search suspicious homes without a warrant. Even with these regulations in place, Boko Haram conducted more than 50 attacks in Diffa in 2016. Following Sunday’s attack, a local resident told the AP that fighters threatened to keep women and children hostage until their fellow extremists were released from prison. Amnesty International reports that more than 1,4000 suspected Boko Haram members are being held in prison, with the majority of them having been arrested in Diffa. Most of the prisoners face a lengthy detention sentences, poor conditions, and, in many cases, torture.
3. INSECURITY: TERRORISTS CAN’T BE DEFEATED UNTIL SPONSORS ARE EXPOSED, APPREHENDED – BORNO FORUM.
Consequent upon incessant terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State and other locations in the North-Eastern Nigeria, a group of concerned citizens under the umbrella of Concerned Citizens of Borno Forum has called on the National Security Adviser and Service Chiefs to as a matter of necessity and urgency avail Nigerians a true situation report on spate of insurgent attacks in the area. The forum stressed that Nigerians deserve to know how large the terrorist group currently is, what parts of the northeast it occupies and its leadership structure, capacity and internal and external relations.
4. TROOPS ARREST 28, UNCOVER FACTORY SUPPLYING GUNS TO CRIMINALS.
The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, has uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in Delta State and recovered assorted weapons, including 28 guns, cartridges and military equipment. The JTF said the successful raid followed an intelligence report of an arms manufacturing gang in the Arhavwarien, Ughelli area of Delta State, which was supplying deadly ammunition to cultists, sea robbers, militants, armed robbers, among other criminals. Briefing journalists at the headquarters of the command in Igbogene, Bayelsa State, on Monday afternoon, the Commander of OPDS, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, said that 18 persons were arrested in connection with the various crimes committed in the region. Suleiman, who jointly addressed the media along with the commanders of the land, sea, air and other components of the special security outfit, noted that the JTF conducted the raid on the arms’ factory following an intelligence report. He stated that some of the intelligence officers of the command placed an order for a large batch of the weapons manufactured by some key suspects identified as Isiyaku Ochuko, Ese James and Elvis Philips.
5. DELTA LAUDS AVENGERS FOR SHELVING ATTACK ON OIL FACILITIES.
Acting governor of Delta State, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, has commended the New Delta Avengers for shelving its Operation Cripple Delta Oil, following the intervention of elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark. Otuaro, who chairs the Delta State Advocacy Committee against Oil Facility Vandalism, had appealed to the Avengers to resort to dialogue in place of violence, which he said would only deplete state resources for the development of the oil communities they claimed to be fighting for, should they attack facilities. Addressing newsmen in Warri, Otuaro, insisted that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was committed to the development of oil communities just like he has done with the entire state. Otuaro said: “As a state government, we have insisted over time that we will not hide under a national economic recession to abandon our development agenda for the entire state. We will continue to do our best and I insist that the results of our commitment to development of oil bearing communities will soon find expression in the commissioning of approved projects in the area.” On the alleged frustration of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, by the state government, the acting governor said: “Governor Okowa, who restructured DESOPADEC via a law, intent on better service delivery and accountability, cannot turn around to frustrate it, knowing he would incur the wrath of oil bearing communities.”
6. NIGERIAN NAVY RELEASES LIST OF SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES FOR DIRECT SHORT SERVICE.
Abuja – The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Monday released the list of names of successful candidates for its Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) Course 24 Selection Exercise. Naval officers getting set for Nigerian Navy Day celebration The Acting Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Capt. Suleman Dahun, said this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja. Dahun said candidates who participated in the selection process from April 10 to April 28 , should visit the NN website, www.joinnigerian.com to check the list. “Successful candidates are to report at Nigerian Naval College Onne, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday , July 5. “Candidates who fail to report by 12 p.m. on Sunday July 9 will not be accepted for the training. “The NN also wishes to use this opportunity to remind the general public, especially interested able bodied young men and women to take advantage of the ongoing recruitment exercise,” he said. Dahun also said that the candidates seeking enlistment should register online in the ongoing Batch 27 Recruitment Exercise for ratings at www.joinnigeriannavy.com. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ongoing registration for Batch 27 recruitment exercise for ratings commenced on July 1 and would close on July 31.
7. EFCC CHARGES MILITARY OFFICERS, BANKERS WITH N339M PENSION FRAUD.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has charged two military officers and two officials of the United Bank of Africa Plc with fraud involving about N339m allegedly siphoned from the Military Pensions Board in February 2016. In the four counts filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the four defendants were alleged to have obtained N339, 374,478.58 from the MPB under the pretence that the money represented payments to the “supposed next of kins to dead military pensioners as death benefits.” The two military officers named as defendants in all the four counts are a cashier with the MPB, Wing Commander Ishaka Yakubu; and an Assistant Director, Computer, with the pension board, Lt. Commander Akinbamidele Odunsi. The two bankers also named as defendants in two out of the four counts are a Relationship Manager with UBA, Kuforodua branch, Abuja, Mrs. Abidemi Aderemi Kolade, and the manager of the branch of the bank, Mrs. Violet Ogoegbunam. The case, comprising four counts of obtaining by false pretence, conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and abuse of office, was filed on May 31, 2017 and marked CR/212/2017. It was signed by Steve Odiase of the EFCC’s Legal and Prosecution Department, Abuja. The two bankers were only named in the counts one and two which had to do with conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretence in respect of the alleged fraud involving N339,374,478.58.
8. NPA SEEKS COLLABORATION WITH NAVY IN SERVICE DELIVERY
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA), Hajiya Hadiza Usman, on Monday, called for collaboration with the Nigerian Navy (NN) for better service delivery. Usman made the call when she paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ete-Ibas, at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja. She said the purpose of the visit was to seek collaboration with NN and work out ways to strengthen the already existing relationship between the two organisations. The managing director said the visit would also enable the two organisations to address grey areas affecting their operations. She called for the sustenance of the working relationship the two organisations had enjoyed over the years and promised to support NN in carrying out its professional responsibilities where and when necessary. She added that “with this collaboration, I have no doubt in my mind that NPA will become more effective and efficient in carrying out its responsibilities. “The collaboration will also open new frontiers for NPA, especially in security and conducive environment for maritime activities.” Ete-Ibas said the collaboration was timely, bearing in mind the spate of activities of sea pirates and other criminal elements in the nation’s maritime domain. He said it was imperative to collaborate with seafarers and other stakeholders for the security and protection of the nation’s maritime domain.
9. COURT ADJOURNS BADEH’S TRIAL TILL JULY 4.
The trial of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, was stalled on Monday, due to the ill health of the 19th prosecution witness. Justice Okon Abang adjourned the matter until July 4 for continuation of trial. Badeh is standing trial for allegedly abusing his office by diverting N3.97 billion. The diverted money was meant for arms purchase in the face of worsening destructions by Boko Haram terrorists. At the resumed hearing, the Prosecuting Counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told court that he had to compel the witness to attend court but that the witness could not testify, due to ill health. “I practically forced the witness to be here today but I will not like the witness to testify in this state of mind,” Jacobs said. But, in spite of the presence of the witness in court, Jacobs prayed for an adjournment to enable the witness get better so that he could give his testimony in good health.
10. GUNMEN ROB POLICEMEN, KILL ONE IN DELTA.
Gunmen suspected to be cultists have reportedly robbed unarmed operatives of the Nigeria Police Force attached to the ‘A’ Division Ughelli, Delta State, while a civilian alleged to be a rival cult member was reportedly stabbed to death. Both incidents, our correspondent gathered, occurred last Sunday along Ojokor Street and Isoko Road, Ughelli, where renewed activities of cultists had been on the increase in recent time. A security source who spoke under condition of anonymity with newsmen on Monday said the hoodlums allegedly dispossessed the policemen of their mobile sets and an undisclosed amount of money during the attack. It was gathered that the policemen were drinking at a bar when the suspected cultists armed with different weapon believed to be on the trail of a rival cult group members struck. One of the police victims said, “My phone was collected from me with a gun placed on my head at about 9p.m along Isoko Road while my colleagues who had gone to a drinking spot at Ojokor Street, suffered the same fate by a gang of hoodlums who were returning from a reprisal on a rival cult members.” The policemen, who were five in number, could not however challenged the bandits in the separate attacks because they were not armed.