Borno Gov Transforms Bama for Returnees

Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has temporarily moved the seat of administration of the state from Maiduguri, the capital, to Bama, to prepare the ground for the relocation of about a million people displaced at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Bama, a commercial town, is one of the areas worst hit by the crisis since it started about a decade ago as almost all the structures in the town were burnt down before the military could liberate the ancient town from the grip of the terrorist group.

The town was closed down to allow for military operation and subsequent reconstruction after its liberation.

With the town scheduled to be reopened next Monday, Shettima moved almost all the government apparatus to ensure the readiness of the town to take back the residents that fled at the peak of the insurgency.

Shettima spent Wednesday and Thursday in the town, supervising projects, including nine schools, eight boreholes and general hospitals to ensure the smooth return of internally displaced persons back to the town.

Addressing a gathering at the Shehu of Bama`s Palace, Shettima, who was in tears, lamented the total destruction of Bama town by the insurgents and thanked the military for the total liberation of all the local government areas in the state.

He said the state government would continue to support them in their efforts to maintain peace.

He said, “The people of Bama will return in phases, starting with ward and village heads, while the Shehu will be the last person to return. We did so in order for the Shehu to monitor the return of his subjects as we have distributed biodata forms to capture all the returnees to avoid infiltration by the Boko Haram insurgents.”

In an interview with journalists in Bama, the Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Prof. Babagana Umara, said, “We have renovated 11,630 houses, eight primary schools, eight boreholes, in addition to the 1,800 shops and market stalls that we have newly constructed.”

BREAKING: Boko Haram Takes Over Borno Town

Suspected members of Islamist militant group Boko Haram took over a town in the restive state of Borno in northeast Nigeria on Saturday, residents said.

The attack comes days after a suicide bomber killed at least 50 people at a mosque in neighbouring Adamawa state in one of the deadliest attacks since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015 pledging to end the eight-year insurgency.

Residents said attackers entered Magumeri, around 50 km (30 miles) from Borno state capital Maiduguri, around 7:00 p.m. (1800 GMT). They said the insurgents shot sporadically and threw explosive devices, prompting locals to flee to a forest.

“We hurriedly took our families to the bushes before they could get us. Almost every resident is hiding here,” said Wakil Bulama, one of two residents who spoke to Reuters by telephone.

A military source who did not want to be identified said Magumeri had been attacked but could not confirm whether it had been seized.

Boko Haram has waged an insurgency in northeastern Nigeria since 2009 in its attempt to create an Islamic state in the region. The group has killed more than 20,000 and forced around 2 million people to flee their homes.

Troops Destroy Boko Haram Market in Borno

The Nigerian Army on Saturday said it’s troops destroyed a Boko Haram grain market at Boboshe village in Borno.

Director Army Public Relations Sani Kukasheka, who disclosed this in a statement in Maiduguri, said this was part of efforts by the armed forces to degrade the remnants of the insurgents.

Kukasheka said that the troops discovered a make shift night market at Boboshe village set up by the insurgents with newly harvested farm produce on display for sale.

He said that the troops conducted clearance operations in seven villages, rescued five persons and recovered three vehicles, four Dane guns, a dummy gun and mattresses.

“Troops of 112 Task Force Battalion and Mobile Strike Teams of 22 Brigade of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in collaboration with members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) on Friday, carried out clearance operations at Gawa, Bone, Kajeri I, Kajeri II, Kube, Dubula, Boboshe I and Boboshe II villages in Borno State.

“During the operation, the gallant troops discovered that the terrorists had erected a make-shift night market at Boboshe village with newly harvested farm produce on display for sale.

“After conducting a thorough search of the vicinity, the troops recovered three Isuzu vehicles, four Dane guns, one Dummy gun, suspected to be used for training of inducted Boko Haram terrorists and mattresses hidden under shrubs.”

Kukasheka explained that troops rescued five persons abducted by the insurgents at Boboshe 1 and Dubula villages.

He reiterated the commitment of the military to root out the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.

Kukasheka called on members of the public to provide useful information to security agencies in the ongoing clearance operations in the region.


1.5m Boko Haram’s Victims At Borno IDPs Not Willing To Return Home – Report

Majority of the 1.8 million internally displaced persons in Borno State said they are still scared of going back to their communities months after the military liberated them from Boko Haram control, a new study by the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC, reveals.

Tagged “Too Scared to Return”, the report says its findings “are undisputable”.

“When 86 per cent of people tell us they aren’t ready to go home yet, we must listen. This cannot fall on deaf ears,” warned Jan Egeland, NRC Secretary General, who is currently visiting Nigeria.

“People must decide to return of their own free will. Coercing communities to move home is a deadly recipe set to worsen the conflict.”

The report comes at a time when about a dozen persons from Bama Local Government Area, one of the largest communities displaced by Boko Haram, are being held in prison custody as they face trial for leading IDPs to stage a street protest asking government to allow them return home.

The NRC said it sought the opinion of 27,000 people in the research which it said was one of “the largest pieces of research carried out on the displaced population.”

Mr. Egeland said “60 per cent of people who are unwilling to return home in the immediate future cite insecurity as the main reason for staying put. Attacks against civilians are on the rise, and communities feel scared.”

“The Nigerian military recently gained ground in the fight against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. In response, the armed group has stepped up attacks on soft targets, including markets and sites sheltering displaced people.”

The report noted that many officials in Nigeria’s government are keen to see communities move back home.

“While the end game is for communities to return home, the unfortunate truth is that pushing people back now will have harmful consequences,” said Mr. Egeland.

“An overwhelming 85 per cent of people living in formal camps tell us they feel safer there than where they were before, despite the deplorable attacks on camps.”

“Today I met a woman in Monguno town who fled her village two years ago after Boko Haram set it ablaze. She’s eager to bring her six children home, but she told me it’s too soon, that the armed group are still present.”‎

The report based on research largely carried out in September this year also stated that some of the IDPs would still insist on remaining in the city even if the Boko Haram insurgents are totally wiped out.

“Even if the security situation improves, half the displaced people interviewed say their houses were destroyed in the conflict,” the report said.

“About 48 per cent of people interviewed do not have information about the current state of their homes, indicating that this figure could be much higher,” added Mr. Egeland.

The report recommends measures needed before Nigeria’s displaced can return home.

“Firstly, the overall security situation must improve so communities feel safe. In addition, resources must be channelled into rebuilding homes and re-establishing livelihoods. It is important that displaced communities are involved in developing these programmes.

“People need a roof over their heads and the prospect of making a living, if they are to have any chance of rebuilding their lives,” said Mr. Egeland. “We are ready to work with the government to help displaced Nigerian’s return home. But movements must be voluntary, safe and informed.”

The Boko Haram insurgency, according to a recent situation report by the NRC, has left “8.5 million people (in) need (of) humanitarian assistance in Nigeria. About 80 per cent of the internally displaced are in Borno State, with over half living outside of camps in local communities. Some ‎220,000 people have fled to Cameroon, Niger and Chad; while 5.2 million people are food insecure in northeast Nigeria. An estimated 450,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition; while 20,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict 8 years ago. Over 4,100 cases of suspected cholera and 56 deaths have been reported.”

The report says at least 57 per cent of schools in Borno State are still closed due to conflict.

The challenges of managing the humanitarian conflict is still enormous because the $1 billion 2017 global aid appeal for Nigeria is only funded by 64 per cent.


In Ebonyi: Police Officer Allegedly Commits Suicide Over Transfer To Borno

A serving policeman attached to the Ebonyi State police command, Donatus Oyibe, has reportedly committed suicide at Ukwuakpu axis of Abakaliki.

Oyibe, a native of Ndiagu Ishieke in Ebonyi Local government area of the state was said to have jumped inside a deep well on Sunday night when he went to fetch water.

According to Sun newspaper, family sources say his death was connected with his recent transfer to Borno state, after his posting letter was released on August 28.

The deceased daughter, Ukamaka said that her late father took bucket to fetch water from the well but could not be seen for several hours. This she said created suspicion and tension that led to his search.

She added that when they reached the well, his bucket was seen and they looked inside the well only to discover that he has died.

“My father took a bucket that he was going to fetch water from our well on Sunday night but could not come back after some time that created suspicion and we started looking for him.

“I went to the well and saw his bucket. When I looked inside the well, I discovered that he has died”, she said.

The Police spokesperson, Loveth Ogah said she was not aware of the development at press time but promised to speak on the development when confirmed.

Air Force Foils Boko Haram’s Plot

The Nigerian Air Force has foiled an attempt by Boko Haram terrorists to breach the peaceful celebration of Eid-el Kabir in Borno.

The Air Force, in a joint operation with the army, destroyed insurgents’ hideouts which scuttled their plans to attack communities during the festivities.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, lauded the officers during a feast organised for service men at the 105 Composite Group, Maiduguri.

Abubakar had held a grand feast for service men carrying out the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, as part of the Eid-el Kabir celebration.

“Boko Haram insurgents planned to destabilise the Sallah celebration, but with help of the Almighty Allah and our collective efforts, we foiled their plans.

“Our objective is to protect life and property, safeguard the national territorial integrity and make our communities safe so that farmers can go back to their settlements and cultivate their farmlands.

“We will remain in the forest to protect our people.’’

He said that the insurgents were on the run due to concerted military efforts, but they have to surrender.

Abubakar congratulated the officers for their dedication and gallantry, saying that Nigerians were proud of their achievements.

The air chief disclosed that the Air Force command had accorded priority to training and improvement of the welfare of its personnel.

He added that arrangement had been concluded for the training of air force personnel within and outside the country, to strengthen defence operations.

“We are sending some service men for training in Jordan.

“We are committed to providing logistics, uniforms and ammunition to counter terrorism while construction of housing is in progress to provide decent accommodation for officers and men serving in the counter-insurgency campaign,” he added.

Abubakar urged officers and men to remain disciplined, display high sense of professionalism and respect civilians in the discharge of their duties.

He also commended the people for their support to the service and called on them to provide useful information that would be helpful to the fight against Boko Haram.

Meanwhil, Lawali Babagana Ibrahim, the Ward Head of the Pompomari area of Maiduguri, has applauded the service for the successes recorded in the counter-insurgency campaign.

Ibrahim said the collaboration between the service and the vigilante group had helped to strengthen security in the area.

“The service donated two cows to the vigilante group to enable them to celebrate Sallah.

“There is mutual understanding between the service and the host community,” he said.


Borno Adopts New Measures To Flush Out Boko Haram Residues.

The Borno Government has approved the introduction of new security measures to curtail the increasing attacks by remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the state.

Malam Isa Gusau, the Special Adviser to Gov. Kashim Shettima on Communication and Strategy stated this in a statement in Maiduguri on Sunday.

According to him, the measures include the setting up of new guard locations in strategic areas to prevent the insurgents from carrying out attacks.

 It also stated that the measures were adopted after an emergency security council meeting in Maiduguri.

“Following resurgence of attacks by suspected remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents in some parts of the state, Shettima held an emergency security meeting with heads of the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Police and the Department of State Security.

“The meeting is part of the initiatives to take proactive measures to tackle recent upsurge in insurgents attacks.

“At the end of the meeting, new guard locations were established in some routes across the state to curtail the movement of remnants of Boko Haram fighters.

“Deployment of security personnel to various locations were increased with additional number of local vigilantes (the Civilian JTF).

“The governor gave approval for the release of additional patrol vehicles to security agencies for increased surveillance.

“He also approved logistics to compliment efforts of the Federal Government in strengthening armed forces, while measures were adopted to strengthen the Civilian JTF and hunters.”

350 Imams Pray for Buhari

Three hundred and fifty Imams led Thousands of Muslims in prayers across Borno State Friday to offer special prayers for the full recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently vacationing in the UK.
The special prayers at the Jummat service were at the instance of the Chief Imam of the state ,Alhaji Liasu Ahmed following a letter from Governor Kashim Shettima.

The 350 mosques are those allowed by the security challenge in the state to function from the 542 Jumma’at mosques in the state. Ahmed reportedly mobilised his colleagues after receiving the governor’s letter. William Naga, chairman of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Borno, received a similar letter entitled, ‘Request for Intensification of prayers for the complete recovery of Mr President’.

The governor in the letter requested the Chief Imam and the CAN to “kindly request Imams of all Jumma’at mosques and leading pastors in all churches across Borno state to lead Muslim and Christian worshipers today (Friday) and coming Sunday, to intensify prayers for the quick and full recovery of our dear President, Muhammadu Buhari.

“We believe any good Nigerian living in Borno is already praying for the president, this is why we requested for the prayers to be intensified.” It was signed by Religious Affairs Commissioner Mustapha Fannarambe.

Fannarambe, in a separate statement said: “The prayers started today (yesterday) with Jumma’at mosques and we have monitored some here in Maiduguri and Jere and I was informed there were similar prayers in other Jumma’at mosques in Biu, Bayo, Shani, Kwaya-Kusar were residents were never internally displaced and places like Gwoza, Konduga, Monguno, Damboa, Dikwa, Askira, Kaga and many other parts of the state,” Fannarambe said in a statement.

“Prayers were offered in IDP camps where Jumma’at services take place because all the camps have citizens that include existing Imams of Jumma’at Mosques in different parts of the state affected by the insurgency. “From our estimation, not less than 350 Jumma’at Mosques are currently functional out of 542 that we have across the state.

“I actually attended one of the Friday prayers in Maiduguri while Governor Shettima went to Bama with the visiting minister of environment.”

The Nation

Death Toll On Accidental Air Strike May Rise To 170 – MSF

The Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) on Friday said the death toll from an accidental Nigerian air strike on a refugee camp in the town of Rann has risen to around 90 people, and could be as high as 170, Reuters has reported.

MSF also known as Doctors without Borders in a statement said the higher figure of 170 comes from residents and community leaders.

Tuesday’s strike on the northeastern town in Borno State, which had Boko Haram militants as its target, has led to an investigation by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). The inquiry’s report is due to be submitted no later than February 2.

“This figure needs to be confirmed,” said Bruno Jochum, MSF General Director, in the statement.

“The victims of this horrifying event deserve a transparent account of what happened and the circumstances in which this attack took place.”

Borno is the epicentre of Boko Haram’s seven-year-long attempt to create an Islamic caliphate in the North-east. The insurgency has killed more than 15,000 people since 2009 and forced some two million to flee their homes, many of whom have moved to camps for internally displaced people.

“A Nigerian airforce plane circled twice and dropped two bombs in the middle of the town of Rann, which hosts thousands of internally displaced people,” MSF said.

“At the time of the attack, an aid distribution was taking place.”

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch said the strike had destroyed 35 structures, and hit 100 metres from what appears to be a Nigerian military compound, raising questions about why precautions were not taken to avoid harming civilans.

10-year-old Girl Used as Human Bomb in Maiduguri

One person was seriously injured when a suicide bomber aged around 10 blew herself up in a New Year’s Eve attack in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, witnesses and aid workers told AFP Sunday.

The girl approached a crowd buying noodles from a food vendor in the Customs area of the city around 9:30 pm on Saturday and detonated her explosives, they said.

Although no one has claimed responsibility the attack bore the hallmark of Boko Haram Islamists who are notorious for using suicide bombers, mostly women and young girls, in attacking civilian targets.

“The girl walked towards the crowd but she blew up before she could reach her target,” said witness Grema Usman who lives in the area.
“She died instantly, while one person was seriously hurt after after he was hit by shrapnel.”

“(Judging) from her corpse the girl was around 10 years old,” Usman said.

An aid worker involved in the evacuation of the body gave a similar estimate of the bomber’s age.

“The girl was clearly not more than 10 and this could have made her too nervous, making her to detonate the explosives prematurely,” the aid worker suggested.

Borno state police spokesman Victor Isuku, meanwhile, said a second female suicide bomber was caught and lynched by an angry mob. Her bomb was safely detonated by security forces, he said.

In December two girls aged between seven and eight detonated explosives in suicide attacks on market in the city, injuring 19 people.

Authorities blamed the attack on Boko Haram, whose seven-year insurgency has killed 20,000 people and displaced 2.6 million others. The conflict has spilled into Nigeria’s northern neighbours.

Saturday’s attack came a week after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the jihadist group had been routed from Sambisa forest, its last stronghold in Borno state.


15 Boko Haram Fighters Killed In Sect’s Surprise Attack

An attempt by Boko Haram fighters to invade Rann,a small community in Borno State yesterday ended in a tragedy for the terror sect.

At least 15 of them were killed in a dawn attack on a contingent of soldiers from 3 Battalion and 112 Task Force Battalion stationed in the area.

The troops overpowered the invaders killing 15 on the spot,while the rest took to their heels.

The terrorists are believed to be among those recently dislodged from Sambissa Forest

Military sources said yesterday that the shootout lasted several hours.

Four soldiers were wounded but were subsequently evacuated by a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Augusta Helicopter, a recent addition to the NAF’s fleet from the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) to Maiduguri,the state capital.

The attack came a week after President Muhammadu Buhari said Boko Haram fighters had been routed from the forest which had served as their operational base for several years.

A military source in the NAF said: “four wounded soldiers were today evacuated from the battle front in Rann to Maiduguri for medical treatment.”

The wounded soldiers were given first aid treatment aboard the helicopter on the way to Maiduguri by the Air Force personnel.

It was gathered that the NAF responded swiftly to a call for evacuation of the wounded soldiers.

The Theater Commander, Operation LafiyaDole, Major General Leo Iraboh said troops began advance on Sambisa Forest Camp Zairo on December 22, 2016 at about 0800hrs with the complementary deployment of Air Force jets and artillery.

The Theater Commander insisted that the Army is in firm control of Sambisa forest despite the video recording posted this week by the elusive Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau denying the claims. Major General Iraboh said the Army is currently pursuing fleeing remnants of the terrorist and would not rest until they are totally routed.

Ammunitions recovered from the Boko Haram invaders yesterday include two AK47 rifles, one M21 rifle, ,four FN rifles, 20 X 7.62MM special, 4 X FN extra magazine and some locally made bombs.

Yesterday’s battle is the first since the military dislodged chased the sect from Sambisa .