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DEFENCE

Inter-agency Rivalry and Internal Security

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The rot, lack of intelligence and interagency cooperation in the nation’s security apparatus which many have observed and complained about was recently exposed in the clash between the army and police, which left about 6 people dead, including some police officers attached to the IRT of the police headquarters and the mysterious escape from custody of an alleged notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume in Ibi, Taraba State.

This incident has serious implications for the internal security of our country already plagued by all manner of security challenges. 
According to accounts by the police, some of its special operatives from Abuja were in Taraba where they effected the arrest of a kidnap suspect and were on their way to Jalingo, the state capital, when soldiers at an army checkpoint opened fire on the vehicle they were travelling in, killing three police officers and a civilian and leaving others injured.
The arrested kidnap suspect, who was in handcuffs, was allegedly freed by the soldiers, the police have said. The army had in its defense, in the wake if the incident, said that soldiers from the 93 Battalion got a distress call that kidnappers had come to operate in their community, leading to the hot pursuit that culminated in the unfortunate killings.

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But this was countered by the police in another statement wherein it raised some posers: “Where is the notorious kidnapper, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume ‘rescued’ by the soldiers? How could a kidnap suspect, restrained with handcuffs by the police, escape from the hands of his military rescuers? If Hamisu Wadume is a ‘victim of kidnap’ as claimed, and properly rescued by soldiers, why was he not taken to the Army base for documentation purposes and debriefing in line with the standard operating procedure in the Nigerian army? Why were the police operatives shot at close range even after they had identified themselves as police officers on legitimate duty as evident in the video now in circulation?”In raising these posers, have accused the soldiers of working in cohorts with the notorious kidnapper, hence their move to save him at all cost after he was arrested.Rising criminality across the country, from cattle rustling and kidnapping in the North West to insurgency in the North East, herders and farmers clashes in the North Central, Kidnapping and armed banditry in the South East and South West and oil bunkering in the South South, has seen the increased involvement of the army in matters of internal security. Soldiers are now deployed to jobs that should ordinarily be handled by an already demotivated police force and what you find is cases of alleged abuses against citizens by the soldiers and deep seated rivalry and resentment between the soldiers and the police. Soldiers have often been accused of going all out to enrich themselves when posted on such assignments as indicated in reports which have alleged the involvement of an unnamed army captain in the Taraba incident. 

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The incident, as disgraceful as it is, presents an opportunity for thorough investigation to unravel the circumstances behind the instant case and to find the bad eggs in the system, as the incidence has lend credence to allegations of the existence of fifth columnists within the system  who will stop at nothing to give cover to criminals to perpetrate their nefarious activities and work to get them off the hook if they are apprehended.

While we admit that the Police does not have the personnel to enforce security and the laws in the entire country as it ought to, the current development makes it imperative for military involvement in civil Affairs and matters of internal security to be reviewed to reflect that we are truly a democratic state.

 With the pertinent issues raised by the police, we call on the military authorities to spare nothing in providing answers to those posers and also call on the federal government committee investigating the matter to do a thorough job and that when the report of the committee is presented, it should not be swept under the carpet.

COVER

Army Launches Operations Against Oil Thieves

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From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa

The Nigerian Army in Bayelsa State at the weekend launched a raid on the camps of suspected oil thieves and Militants at Igbomotoro and Azuzuama communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government area of the state.

It was gathered that the raid, which was conducted by men of 5 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, also combed the crude oil pipeline route along the Obama flow station, Kolo creeks and Brass areas of the State.

While a senior military sources said that the operation was also targeted at tackling the operations of some known militants involved in setting up illegal bunkering camps in communities of Southern Ijaw and some other illegal activities.

Another claimed the operation was targeted at arresting a known militant leader over his alleged shady activities, but he escaped with his boys through the creeks when he was alerted about the impending military raid.

It was also however gathered that the shrine allegedly being used to administer oaths on youths during recruitment into the illegal bunkering activities by the suspected militant leader was destroyed and many other items including Military Camouflage, Mobile phones and military boots were seized.

Indigenes of the Igbomotoro community however cried out over alleged military occupation of the area thereby causing panic and desertion by indigenes over fear of indiscriminate arrest.

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An Indigene of Igbomotoro, who pleaded anonymity, however told Daily Asset on Sunday that the area is calm as the military men have retreated from the community as at Sunday morning,” the situation is calm now. We are peace loving community and would not want soldiers to occupy our area.”

Attempts to get the spokesman of the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army and the Joint Military Task Force to speak on the development proved abortive as no one showed signs of denying or confirming the development.

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DEFENCE

Troops Nab Alleged Gunrunner, Seven Rail Track Vandals in Taraba, Benue

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja

The Military High Command said its troops of Operation whirl stroke have arrested a notorious gun runner, one Mr. Ardo Manu Abdulrahaman Maranewo who has been on the security wanted list while seven rail tracks vandals were arrested in Taraba, Benue States.

Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said Abdulrahaman is specialized in selling and leasing arms and ammunition to bandits and kidnappers in Taraba State.

“Troops on patrol in Udei general along Udei -Makurdi-Lafiya road arrested 7 rail track vandals namely; Tersoo John (40yrs), Donald Kperuv (30yrs), Abraham Tinde (25yrs), Jamilu Danlami (20yrs), James Yandela (29yrs), Idris Usman Imam (32yrs) and Abubakar Adamu (30yrs).

Onyeuko said that the rail track vandals were arrested with a trailer (ABJ KWALI 846XB) loaded with cut to size vandalised railway tracks and sleepers.

He in another development, said the troops have on June 21, also raided a kidnappers enclave at Maraba in Ukyonugu Ityuluv Ward in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State and arrested a bandits collaborator one Mr. Ichen Igbaka, a 65- year-old and his wife Mrs. Salomi Gbaka.

“Their house as a hideout for kidnapped for late bandit leader Mr Azu,” he said, adding that the suspects and items recovered are in custody for further interrogation.

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Meanwhile, in the North West he said “On 21 Jun 2022 troops of FOB Bakura Operation HADARIN DAJI responded to distress call of terrorists’ activities at Rafin Dankura in Bakura LGA of Zamfara State engaged the terrorists in a shootout after abducting innocent civilians.

“After the encounter troops rescued the six (6) kidnapped civilians and neutralised 2 bandits in the process.

“Similarly, on 21 June 2022 in response to a distress call on terrorists activities made contacts with marauding terrorists at Maigora in Faskari LGA of Katsina State and neutralized 2 terrorists in the process.

“Items recovered includes 2 AK 47, 1x 36 hand grenade, 2 x cell phones and the sum two hundred and eleven thousand, nine hundred and fifteen naira (211,915.00),” he disclosed.

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CRIME

Don’t Resume Train Service until AK-9 Victims are Rescued, Family Members Charge NRC

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42 days after terrorists attacked the AK-9 train along the Abuja-Kaduna rail route, families of the over 100 persons still in captivity have urged the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, not to resume services on the corridor until all those held captive are safely rescued.

Addressing a press conference, Monday, in Abuja, the families lamented the horrible conditions the abducted passengers have been forced to live in, even as they took a swipe at the manner the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the NRC have so far handled the matter.

Representatives of the families, Abfulfatai Jimoh and Ba’abba Muhammad said it would be insensitive for NRC to resume operations on the route with fate of scores of passengers kidnapped still unknown.

“Abuja-Kaduna train service should not resume until the quick and safe rescue of our family members held hostage and adequate security measures are put in place to guarantee the safety of prospective passengers.

This position aligns with the prayers of the majority of Nigerians,” they said.

According to them, “it has been 42 long days of living in fear, virtually no sleep, no bath, wearing the same clothes, under the scorching sun and rain, and exposed to extreme environmental hazards.

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“The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions are only imaginable.

“Among the abducted passengers are children- some as young as three years old, pregnant women, women including an 85-year-old great grandmother, and others. Some of these victims have health challenges requiring daily medications, which they have had no access to in the last 42 harrowing days.”

In an emotionally-laden voice, Jimoh added that the story of one of the victims giving birth in the forest is difficult to accept in a sane society.

“We read in the news that one of the two pregnant women in captivity delivered her baby in the forest.

“Giving birth is supposed to be a moment of joy; how would it have been if this woman delivered her baby in the comfort of a maternity ward? In whose hands? What is the place of birth of this baby, the forest? While some families have their breadwinners in captivity, others have their wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, and aunts held down in the bush.

“This hostage-taking has drastically disrupted the living conditions of affected families. Children are crying everyday, with the only question in their mouths being: When are my Mummy and Daddy coming home? What a miserable state!

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“Since this unfortunate attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train, we believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, alongside his security and intelligence chiefs, have been working to rescue our loved ones. We have been given assurances that a positive outcome of these efforts would be apparent soon.

“We must, however, register our displeasure with the way and manner the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has been handling this tragic event since it occurred. Just a few days after 28th March, Mr. Amaechi was seen running around the Stadium in Port Harcourt where he declared his intention to become the next President of Nigeria.

“We had expected Mr. Amaechi to be running around as to how to get his abducted passengers rescued, and this is highly disappointing. Mr. President also directed the Management of NRC to establish a Situation Room to give a minute by minute account of rescue efforts to relatives of kidnapped passengers.

“Still, one week after this Presidential directive was issued, NRC has neither contacted the relatives of kidnapped victims nor established any Situation Room as directed by the President. This display of gross incompetence and insensitivity should lead to the appropriate punishment.

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“Furthermore, we sought the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, which is the people’s court, but nothing has been forthcoming from them.

“We want to extend our profound gratitude to Nigerians, elder statesmen, traditional, religious, and community leaders, and the Nigerian media who have lent their strong voices to this struggle both in the open and behind the scene and their prayers for divine intervention. We still need this vital support until success is achieved,” they said.

Fielding questions from journalists, Hidayiat Yusuf, spokesperson for the families slammed the NRC for contemplating resumption of operations on the route, saying “if there was security in place, our loved ones would not have been kidnapped.

“We are ready to negotiate with the terrorists if they are willing. If it is money they want, they should come forward and say so,” she added.

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