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Insecurity: We’ve Made Progress in Tackling Challenges – Buhari

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Nigerian military in collaboration with armed forces of neighbouring countries has made tremendous progress in the war against insurgency since the inception of his administration.

Speaking Friday at the graduation ceremony of Course 27 at the National Defence College in Abuja, President Buhari said: “This occasion affords me another opportunity to briefly reflect on the state of the Nigerian nation, particularly regarding national security.

At the inception of our first tenure in 2015, Nigeria was at a critical crossroad. The Boko Haram Group was at the height of its infamy and virtually held Nigeria hostage. It constituted a clear and present danger to our corporate existence as a nation. 

“After four years of gruelling work, I can report the progress that we have made in tackling the security challenges, with the combined efforts of our regional coalition partners, the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies, diverse government agencies, national and international development partners as well as local traditional leaders.

 

“We have spared no effort to rid the nation of terrorism and insurgency and associated national security and humanitarian challenges. I particularly thank the Armed Forces and other security agencies for their patriotic efforts. I also thank all our development partners and foreign governments for their invaluable contributions.” 

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He also restated the determination of his administration to promote national security and development: “We remain committed to promoting a vision of a secure, safe, just, peaceful, prosperous and strong nation. Indeed, we shall be employing all elements of our national and human resources to ensure security, a just society, peaceful co-existence, national unity, prosperity and sustainable development, while promoting our good standing abroad.” 

The President however acknowledged that there were prevailing security matters that the administration was battling with.

“In spite of the commendable progress, the Nigerian state is still beset with some existential and fundamental challenges. The Boko Haram for instance, having lost their insurgency campaign, now factionalised and mutated into a new form of terrorist threat.

“Armed banditry and vandalism, kidnapping, pastoralist/farmers conflicts, cultism and political violence have become the new threats. Other issues such as proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, drug trafficking, drug and substance abuse and communal conflict, all add up to the security mix. 

“Furthermore, the state of education, the youth bulge, unemployment, socio-political and ethno-religious divisions, fake news and hate speeches all help to quicken and compound the security challenges.” 

President Buhari commended the graduands for the hard work they have put in to become worthy of the certificates they have been awarded:

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“I congratulate the National Defence College Course 27 graduands and their spouses for your hard work, endurance and deserved success. 

“You have gone through the crucible, you have endured short nights and long arduous days, you have passed the test of fire and today is surely your day of glory. Let me specially congratulate graduands from friendly nations for consolidating the bilateral relationships between our nations. Your participation in the course is a further testimony of our national security policy aspirations to promote international peace, friendship and cooperation.” 

The Nigerian President enjoined them to see their graduation as a call to duty in the service of their countries, stressing that their nations required the newly acquired knowledge for developmental plans.

He equally praised the leadership of the National Defence College for keeping the flag flying after 27 years, training senior officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as military officers from friendly nations.

CRIME

MNJTF Troops Eliminate Dozens, Capture 40 Terrorists in Lake Chad

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Troops of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) have killed dozens of terrorists and captured more than 40 in recent operations in the Lake Chad Basin.

The Chief of Military Public Information for MNJTF, Lt. -Col. Kamarudeen Adegoke, made this known in a statement yesterday in N’Djamena Chad.

Adegoke said the troops also destroyed several terrorists camps during the clearance and stabilisation operations in the region conducted from January 18 to 29.

He added that 87 Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists surrendered within the period.

Adegoke said in Sector 1, Cameroon, the troops conducted ambush operations on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 in the general area of Kolofata-Kirawa, captured one terrorist alive and recovered significant quantity of assorted foodstuff.

According to him, the Sector has been very active in dominating its area through land and maritime operations especially in areas such as Tchika, Gore Kendi and Kerena, among others.

In Sector 2, Chad, he said the troops had dominated the maritime domain from Bagalam-Kongalam to Koulfoua and denied the terrorists freedom of operation.

The MNJTF spokesman said this had led to the return of about 3,000 civilians in the general area of Bakatorolorom.

Adegoke also said troops of Sector 3, Nigeria, had on Jan. 18 and Jan. 23, intercepted a Boko Haram logistics supplier in Baga in possession of motorcycle spare parts.

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He added that the troops on Jan. 27, encountered terrorists along Damasak–Gubio road who fled on sighting the troops and abandoned two motorcycles, two hand grenades and some terrorists uniforms.

Adegoke said a raid operation on terrorists’ camp in Matari on the Niger/Nigeria border was conducted by troops of Sector 4, Niger, on Jan. 21 and Jan 23, with the support of Sector 3, Nigeria, and other partners.

According to him, the well conducted special forces operation led to the destruction of terrorists’ camp, neutralisation of over a dozen terrorists, destruction of their equipment and capture of two high value target criminals.

“There was no casualty on our forces side as they were successfully extricated.

“The courageous troops of Sector 4, Niger, acting on intelligence reports also swooped on three suspected terrorists logisticians in Nguigmi market on Jan. 29 in Niger Republic.

“They were trying to buy supplies for suspected BHT/ISWAP key leaders hiding in the Lake Chad, a total sum of N1.2 million (old notes) and CFA160,000 were recovered.

“The criminals are in custody undergoing further profiling.

“On same day, troops of Sector 4 in continuing offensive operations conducted a special forces raid operation in Afofo forest in Niger Republic and destroyed a terrorist camp and captured 36 suspected criminals.

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“In the process of withdrawing from this operations, the troops intercepted a FJ45 Toyota vehicle loaded with assorted pharmaceutical products possibly being ferried to the Lake Chad areas,” he said.

Adegoke said that 77 terrorists comprising fighters and their families surrendered in the last two weeks to MNJTF Sector 4 troops in response to kinetic and non-kinetic activities of the MNJTF.

He added that eight others surrendered in the same period to Sector 1, Cameroon and Sector 2, Chad troops, making a total of 85 surrendered terrorists within the period.

According to him, all the surrendered are being treated in line with International Humanitarian Laws and profiled for further action by relevant state and non-governmental organisations.

Nigerian Ambassador to Chad Hails MNJTF, Pledges More Support

Newly appointed Nigerian Ambassador to Republic of Chad, Amb. Lami Remawa–Ahmed, has commended the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for their efforts in tackling the scourge of terrorism.

Remawa–Ahmed gave the commendation when she visited the force Headquarters at Camp  Farcha in N’Djamena, Chad yesterday.

The Chief of Military Public Information for MNJTF, Lt.-Col. Kamarudeen Adegoke, made this known in a statement on Tuesday.

The ambassador praised the work of the MNJTF and its various Sectors in tackling the scourge of Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the region.

Recalling the dark days when the terrorists were operating all over the region and causing havoc, she said the tremendous efforts of the MNJTF and other security outfits had changed the narrative favourably.

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Remawa–Ahmed commended officers and men of the force for their commitment, courage and hard work which was largely responsible for the success so far achieved.

She also appreciated the political will of the leaders of the countries of the Lake Chad Basin region who came together to give life to the security outfit.

The ambassador who called on the MNJTF to evolve strategies to end the conflict, paid tribute to officers and men who paid the supreme price in the quest for peace in the region.

She promised to sustain the support of the embassy to the force in its quest for total peace in the Lake Chad region.

Earlier, the Force Commander appreciated the ambassador for the visit and called on the embassy for more support to the MNJTF.

Ibrahim promised to continuously take the fight to the criminals until all terrorists in the region are totally rooted out.

The ambassador was accompanied by Nigerian Defence Attaché to Chad, Col. OU Eke and Minister (Political) in the Nigeria Embassy, Nura Aliyu.

In attendance were the Deputy Force Commander, Brig Gen Assoualai Blama, COS and other senior officers of the MNJTF.

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CRIME

Adamawa CP Warns Against Political Thuggery

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From Yagana Ali, Yola

The Adamawa state Commissioner of Police SK Akande,  has deployed operatives of the Command drawn from  the Special Rapid Response Team (SRRT) and other Tactical Squads to carry out a tactical and intelligence – driven 24/7 raid against political gangsters and their instigators that go around to disturb the  peace being enjoyed  in the state.

The CP made this known while speaking with DAILY ASSET yesterday in Yola, the state capital.

He said the Command is collating pictorial evidence of every event that will be used in prosecuting offenders and their sponsors, even as he warned that all should play peacefully by the rules.

“We direct all  Divisional Police Officers (DPOs), Operational Commanders and their Supervisory  Area Commanders  to personally lead the operations in their  Respective Areas Responsibility (AOR) to ensure total domination of the public space and arrest trouble makers,” he said.

The CP while re-emphasizing the firm determination of the Command in ensuring safety of lives and property sought full cooperation from members of the public particularly political leaders to talk to their supporters to shun all forms of violence and key into the Command’s effort in maintaining peace.

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He further called on members of the public to report any suspicious character around them to the nearest police station, especially during the forthcoming general elections.

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CRIME

Police Neutralise Two Suspects, Recover Weapons in Delta

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The Police Command in Delta said it has neutralised two suspected armed robbers and kidnappers in Udu Local Government Area of the state.

Spokesman of the command, DSP Bright Edafe disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Warri.

Edafe said that the duo were neutralised on Thursday by police operatives attached to the Ovwian/Aladja Police Division.

He explained that the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Aliyu Shaba had received credible information that two dreaded armed robbers and kidnappers were sighted in a club.

“The DPO swiftly mobilised and led police operatives to the club where one of the suspects was arrested. The suspect immediately confessed to be a member of an armed robbery and kidnapping gang.

“The suspect, thereafter, led the operatives to their hideout in Udu where the gang members engaged the police in a serious gun duel.

“During the encounter, one of the suspects was neutralised by the operatives. The suspect arrested at the club was also fatally wounded in the crossfire while other members of the gang escaped.

“The injured suspect gave up the ghost before he could get to the hospital. Manhunt for the other fleeing members of the gang is ongoing’’, he said.

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Edafe said that one AK47 rifle and 27 rounds of 7.62 ammunition were recovered from the scene.

Similarly, the spokesman said that the command’s Raiders Squad on Saturday recovered an AK47 rifle, a double barrel gun and cartridges during a raid on a suspected cultists hideout behind Oghara Grammar School, Oghara in Ethiope West LGA.

He said that the squad was deployed to Oghara by Ari Ali, the Commissioner of Police in the state.

Experts Provide Policy Analysis on Country’s Key Sectors

The ‘Which Way Nigeria Citizens’ Scenarios team has organised a national dialogue to provide expert policy analysis on key sectors of the country.

The team, comprising of over 40 Nigerian Civil Society Organisations and international experts, said that the aim of the dialogue was to bolster citizens’ engagement with the forthcoming elections.

This is contained in a statement signed by Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Center of Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi, on Monday in Lagos.

Okereke, the co-initiator of the Citizens’ Scenario team, said that the dialogue was attended by Prof. Bell Ihua, Executive Director, Africa Polling Institute (API) and Prof. Afam Icha-Ituma, Vice Chancellor, Coal City University, Enugu;

He listed others as Dr Natalie Beinisch, Co-Founder/ Executive Director, Africa Circular Innovation Partnership, Patrick Okigbo, Founding Partner, Nextier, Osita Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation and Valentine Ozigbo former Gubernatorial aspirant for Anambra State.

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He quoted Okigbo as saying that the issue of security in the country needed to be addressed to boost growth and development.

Speaking on the area of security, Okigbo provided data on the various types of crisis and the need to categorise states according to the frequency of violence and the number of casualties.

“The rate of violence in Nigeria is bound to increase, and Nigeria can even implode if there are wide perceptions that the 2023 elections are unfair and stolen,” Okigbo said.

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