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No Secret Graveyards: Army Breaks Down Details of Heroes burial at The Frontlines

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Nigeria Army
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RE: SECRET MILITARY CEMETERY CONCEALS TOLL OF ISLAMIST INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA

The Nigerian Army has debunked a statement attributed to Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in “The Wall Street Journal” that the Nigerian Army has a secret cemetery that conceal toll of Islamist Insurgency.

The statement that was released by Deputy Director, Public Relations, Operation LAFIYA DOLE Colonel AD Isa stated that:

The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a mischievous Article titled, Secret Military Cemetery Conceals Toll of Islamist Insurgency in Nigeria, was written by Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in “The Wall Street Journal”.

The writer alleged that the bodies of dead soldiers are covertly transported from a mortuary, delivered by truck and laid by flashlights into trenches dug by infantry or local villagers paid a few dollars by shift.

It also alleged that soldiers were buried in unmarked graves at night in secret graves.

Similarly, it alleged that Nigerian Government last summer stopped reporting the deaths of soldiers in its fight against Boko Haram. Likewise, it claimed that the operational command holds the bodies of 1000 soldiers killed since the terror groups began offensive last summer.

Additionally, it reported on one Mercy Tamuno, who demanded to see where her husband was buried, and she was led to a spot marked with a plastic bottle with her husbands name written on it.

It further claimed that 2 soldiers from the late soldiers unit said the bottle was prepared to appease his wife.

Furthermore, the writer made some derogatory comments on rotation of troops, gruesome punishments to suspected jihadists and declining morale of own troops.

Having critically studied the allegations, it was obvious that the writer’s claims were baseless and intended to smear the good image of the NA and lower the moral component of troops in the ongoing Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations.

In this light, I wish to respond on behalf of the NA as follows:

Maimalari Military Cemetery is the only recognized place where burials are held in the Theatre.

The stretch of land where the cemetery is located and produce beyond belongs to the NA and not taken over from any person or group of persons as claimed.

This area like in other armies is secured to honour and give recognition to the sacrifices of officers and soldiers who paid the supreme price by laying down their lives for the peace, security and unity of the country.

In our own case, a hall of fame was also built in the cemetery to honour the fallen heroes and act as reference point for posterity.

Burial procedure in the NA is entrenched in the NA Administrative Policies and procedures.

The procedures is triggered by first notifying the higher headquarters and NOKs of the deceased personnel for coordination.

It is a command responsibility and attended by officers and soldiers of the unit within the Theatre of operations.

The timings for all burials in the Theatre have always been before the flags are lowered in the evening.

Maimalari cemetery is partitioned into 2 to accommodate Christians and Islam faithfuls.

The graves are also partitioned, and grave pegs placed to mark each grave. Hence, the claims that soldiers were buried in unmarked graves at night in secret graves is unfounded.

Suffice to state that all deceased are also honoured with the 21 gun salute in line with the ethics and traditions of the NA.

As such, one wonder how the firing could be done in secret contrary to NA traditions.

Certainly, commanders on their own cannot carry the corpses to the cemetery without the knowledge and support of the troops.

If this is done with the awareness of the troops, certainly it would not have been a secret.

Likewise, if not done with their knowledge, the commander on his own would not be able to drive the vehicle, carry the corpses, dig the graves and also bury the bodies without any support.

Thus, this allegation is not only worrisome but also questionable. More especially when we have the Governor, Service Chief, Principal Staff Officers from Service Headquarters, Commanders, NOKs, families and members of the press that did attend funeral ceremonies of fallen heroes.

On the allegation that Nigerian Government last summer stopped reporting the deaths of soldiers in its fight against Boko Haram is also disturbing.

Generally, events and lessons learnt from battles have shown that death in combat is inevitable.

In as much as the NA tries to reduce casualties in the battle against the insurgents, it still happens as one of the hazards of war fighting.

Obviously, when such occurrences happen, it is made known to higher headquarters to trigger burial procedures and processing of benefits.

This is also done with the consent of the NOKs and not in the secret. Soldiers also move in pairs or in groups, as such one wonder how the corpses could be isolated without the knowledge of their colleagues, which would have dampened their morale to fight or take orders from their superiors.

The claim that the operational command holds the bodies of 1000 soldiers killed since the terror groups began offensive last summer is just unbelievable.

The questions are where, when, why and for what reason would 1,000 bodies be kept in the hide without anyone seeing it or perceiving the smell.

Curtaining, this allegation further buttress the fact that the writer intends to smear the good image of the NA and the Government.

The report that one Mercy Tamuno, who demanded to see where her husband was buried, and she was led to a spot marked with a plastic bottle with her husbands name written on it is again unbelievable.

Interestingly, 13NA/70/9866 LCpl Adah Tamuno, whose wife; Mrs Mercy Tamuno claimed her husband was buried in the secret grave gave false report.

The late gallant (soldier was serving with 119 TF Bn at Metele and died during combat.

He was officially buried on 29 Nov 18 at the Maimalari Military Cemetery with proper military honour by daylight with the grave well marked, not with a plastic bottle, alongside his colleagues.

The last burial in the Theatre was that of Capt A Mohammed who was killed on 17 Jul 19 in an ambush alongside with Col EE Elemele and 5 others along Jakana-Benisheik MSR.

The Capt was buried on 18 Jul 19 at the Maimalari Military Cemetery in accordance with Islamic rites.

The burial was attended by the families of the deceased and other sympathizers.

The writer made some derogatory comments on rotation of troops, gruesome punishments to suspected jihadists and declining morale of own troops.

Suffice to state that the NA has a standing policy on the rotation of troops in the Theatre.

The last rotation of de-inducted troops was conducted on 28 Jul 19 and the troops are currently at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji undergoing de-induction training.

The next batch of troops to be inducted are already at the Nigeria Army Special Forces Training School at Buni Yadi for induction training, after which they would be moved to the Theatre for deployment.

The pictures of the rotated troops are also available and hereby attached. In terms of the gruesome punishments to captured insurgents, one wonders why the writer decided to contradict himself in the article by reporting the immoral activities of the insurgents.

The NA is a professional Army and captured insurgents are treated in line with global best practices and in accordance with International Humanitarian Laws.

Above all, the morale of troops in the theatre remains high and not as reported.

It is obvious that the essence of the report is to distract own troops from maintaining the tempo in the ongoing operations.

The public is hereby advised to disregard the allegations as written by Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in The Wall Street Journal.

The NA remain resolute in its fight against the insurgents and will never be distracted by media propaganda.

The threat to the national security of our beloved country require that all hands are on deck to win the war against terrorism and insurgency.

Governor, Service Chief, Principal Staff Officers from Service Headquarters, Commanders, Next of kins, families as well as members of the Press attend befitting funeral ceremonies of fallen heroes with Gun Salute.

DEFENCE

Nasarawa: Police Arrest 10 for Allegedly Stealing 45 Children, Recover 6 

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The Police Command in Nasarawa State has arrested 10 suspected members of a child theft and sale syndicate, who allegedly stole no fewer than 45 children.

The Commissioner of Police, Shehu Nadada, made the disclosure while parading the suspects at the command’s headquarters in Lafia, on Friday.

According to the commissioner, police operatives attached to Keffi Division on routine patrol on Jan.

10,  rescued a man from mob action and upon enquiry discovered that he allegedly abducted a five-year-old boy in Keffi.

He said that the suspect later confessed to being a member of a syndicate that specialised in child theft and sale of same to the highest bidder.

Nadada said that further investigation led to the arrest of nine other members of the syndicate.

He said that further analysis on their mobile phones indicated that they had stolen and sold 45 children, who have been illegally adopted by unsuspecting member of the public across the country.

The commissioner, who did not state the period when the children were stolen, said that most of them were stolen from Abuja, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau and Niger states.

He said that six of the children had been recovered from Abuja, Ondo and Lagos State, while effort was ongoing to arrest more accomplices and recover more of the stolen children.

He further said that the suspects confessed to selling off many children at different prices, from N350,000 to N1.5 million depending on their age and gender.

Nadada disclosed that the suspects usually conspire with some social welfare officers to produce fake documents that facilitated the sale of the children to willing buyers.

The commissioner charged parents to pay more attention to their wards while calling on those seeking to adopt children to be  wary of criminals.(NAN)

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DEFENCE

Police Arrest Car Theft Syndicate Member in Ogun

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The Police Command in Lagos State said it had arrested a suspected member of a car theft syndicate, stealing cars parked anywhere in Ogun and selling them off in Lagos.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the arrest to the newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Hundeyin said that police operatives from Elere Division, who were on stop and search foot patrol on Friday, at about 6.

00 p.
m., along Agege Motor Road, carried out the arrest.

He said that during a stop and search, the officers intercepted a Sienna Space Bus, with four men in it.

The image maker said that while the officers were questioning the occupants, the four suddenly jumped down from the vehicle and took to their heels.

“They were pursued and one of them, simply identified as John, 28 years, was arrested, while others escaped.

“The suspect claimed he was contracted by one of the fleeing suspects, whose name he claimed he did not know, to drive the vehicle from Abeokuta, Ogun Capital to Ijora in Lagos.

“The suspect also claimed that two of the suspects at Large joined the vehicle on their way to Lagos before the police interception,” he said.

Hundeyin said that preliminary investigation revealed that the said vehicle was removed from where it was parked at Kemta in Ogun.

He said that the suspect and the vehicle were in their custody, while efforts were on to arrest the fleeing members of the syndicate. (NAN)

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DEFENCE

LASRERA Collaborates with EFCC to Curb Real Estate Fraudulent Practices in Lagos

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The Lagos Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) says it has collaborated with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to curb real estate fraudulent practices in the state.
The Special Adviser on Housing to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Barakat Odunuga-Bakare said this in a statement in Lagos on Friday.


Odunuga-Bakare stated that the collaboration was part of the decisions reached when LASRERA’s management paid a courtesy visit to EFCC.

She added that the partnership was a response to the growing concerns surrounding real estate activities in the state.
The governor’s aide said the collaboration between the two organisations would enhance regulation and enforcement of ethical standards within the real estate industry.

According to her, the initiative will promote a transparent environment for both buyers and sellers of property as well as secure the interests of both investors and the general public.
“LASRERA and EFCC will work closely to investigate and prosecute individuals and organisations involved in fraudulent practices such as impersonation, property flipping and document forgery.
“By leveraging their respective expertise and resources, the two bodies will strengthen the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms in tackling real estate fraud effectively.
“Real estate fraud not only undermines the integrity of the sector but also poses serious financial risks to individuals and the economy as a whole.
“By teaming up with EFCC, we are sending a strong message that such inimical practices would not be tolerated as perpetrators will be held accountable,’’ she said.
The governor’s aide expressed optimism that EFCC would put its expertise and experience in unraveling erring individuals and groups who commits fraud in the sector.
According to her, the commission’s mandate aligns with LASRERA’s mission in regulating and promoting ethical practices in the real estate industry.
She implored the EFCC, Lagos Zonal offices to always confirm the registration status of any individual or organisation who engages for real estate-related activities through LASRERA’s registration portal.
According to her, this will help the commission to know if the person or organisation is genuine or not.
Responding, Zonal Commander, EFCC Lagos Zonal Command, Mr Michael Wetkas, lauded LASRERA’s management for approaching the commission, noting that this would further assist the Commission in investigating corrupt cases related to real estate transactions.
Wetkas said that real estate investment-related issues constitute the major part of complaints received by the commission recently.
The commander said that the partnership between LASRERA and the EFCC would rekindle investors’ confidence in Lagos state’ real estate sector.
According to him, the collaborative effort is expected to have a far-reaching impact on the real estate sector and restore confidence and trust among stakeholders.
Wetkas urged the public to report any suspicious activities related to real estate transactions to the appropriate authorities. (NAN)

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