Russia, China Building Weapons To Target US Satellites–General

A senior US general said Saturday that countries like Russia and China are actively building weapons that can target space-based US military assets like satellites.

“They’ve been building weapons, testing weapons, building weapons to operate from the earth in space, jamming weapons, laser weapons, and they have not kept it secret,” Gen. John Hyten, the head of US Strategic Command, told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

“They’re building those capabilities to challenge the United States of America, to challenge our allies, and to change the balance of power in the world,” added Hyten, who oversees all US military operations in space. “We cannot allow that to happen.”

Russia and China saw how the US military made successful use of satellites during military operations like the 1991 Gulf War and now seek ways to deny the US the ability to use satellites in future conflicts, Hyten said.

One critical space-based asset are satellites that warn US military planners about the launch of enemy missiles.

“Every missile that comes off the planet is seen first by one of our overhead missile warning capabilities,” Hyten said, adding that the satellites are “not easy to defend.”

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke alongside Hyten about the threats to US satellites.

“Most folks aren’t thinking about the fact that our first way of detecting a launch by North Korea, so that we can turn our radars to start tracking it and start aiming our interceptors to be able to get it in time, is a satellite up there waiting for that heat signature,” said Rogers, a vocal advocate of creating a separate US military Space Corps.

“We can not let that satellite be dazzled for 10 or 15 minutes, it would be too late,” he added.

Hyten advocated for making satellites more defensible, but he acknowledged that there are currently no rules of engagement when it comes to military conflict in space, adding that international norms are needed.

Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force, said the US needs to embrace a new policy and make it clear that if command and control or warning satellites are targeted, the US “would consider that to be a hostile act” and respond.

“It’s probably time as a country that we start to talk about this,” Wilson said.


Crocodile Smile II: Military Arrests 40 Suspects In Lagos, Ogun

The Nigerian Army says it has arrested more than 40 suspects for various offences within Lagos and Ogun states in a bid to curb crimes in the araes.

Recently, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai launched its code-named operation known as Crocodile Smile II covering Lagos and Ogun.

According to a statement by the 81 Division Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Olaolu Dauda stated that, ‘so far, the troops have been carrying out routine activities associated with the exercise seamlessly along with other sisters services, security and paramilitary agencies.

“Some suspected criminals have been arrested. Drug peddlers, cultists, car snatchers and other criminal elements have been denied freedom of action through patrols, raids, roadblocks and checkpoints.

“On Oct. 4, based on credible information on activities of pipeline vandals at Ronik Hotel Agbule Egba area of Lagos state, troops of 149 Battalion, 81 Division Nigerian Army were immediately dispatched for a Cordon and Search Operation.

“The troops arrested the suspected pipeline vandals and items found within the hotel premises include 16 loaded kegs of premium motor spirit (PMS), 5 cars and 2 tankers loaded with PMS,” he said.

He said the suspects have been interrogated, profiled and handed over to NSCDC.

“In a related development, on Oct. 11, troops of 174 Battalion, 81 Division Nigerian Army while on a stop and search operation arrested a car robber who snatched a Toyota Venza with reg no. FST 762 CV along Ikorodu – Sagamu road.

“The suspect who was fleeing with the stolen vehicle rammed into other vehicles and pedestrians in a bid to escape and was arrested by troops.

“The suspect and the recovered vehicle have been handed over to Owutu Divisional Police Headquarters,” he said.

He also said that five drug peddlers were apprehended with gallons of unidentified chemical substances and Indian hemp on Oct. 14 by troops of Sector 5, 243 Battalion at Agbara area of Lagos State in conjunction with men of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

“Arrested suspects and items have been handed over to the NDLEA for further investigation.

“Similarly, raid and clearance operations were carried out on Oct. 14, by troops of 65 Battalion Sector 1 of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 2 at Ajah general area.

“Nine suspects were arrested with bags containing Indian hemp.

“Two of the suspects were alleged to have snatched a female purse containing Samsung Galaxy and Itel phones, Bible, house keys and N1,200 which were also recovered,” he said.

The spokesman also said another raid operation was carried out by troops of 9 Brigade Garrison Sector 4 at Ipodo, Ikeja general area where five suspects were arrested.

“Five suspected fraudsters were arrested and items recovered include 4 generators, 4 laptops, a scanning machine, colour printer, 3 stabilizers, 10 ups, 3 car chargers and 16 handsets stand.

“The suspects and exhibits have been handed over to Lagos State Special Taskforce, Oshodi.

“On Oct. 15, the Commander Sector 3 of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 2 handed over 36 suspects arrested by troops of the Sector during a raid operation at criminal hideouts and notorious drug dens in Ikorodu general area.

“The handover was carried out at Odogunyan barracks in Ikorodu, while the suspects were received by the Area Commander, Nigeria Police Ijede in Ikorodu,” he said.

Daudu also disclosed that four suspected cult members were arrested around Badagry area on Oct. 15.

“At about 11.59 pm, gunmen suspected to be cultists attacked Rolex Hotel in Ajara area of Badagry.

“Following a distress call to troops of 243 Battalion Sector 5 on Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 2 on activities of suspected cultists, troops responded immediately and arrested 4 suspected cultists.

“Also a follow up to suspected cultists attack, two suspects were arrested in connection with previous attacks at Rolex Hotel.

“The arrested suspects were detained and a preliminary investigation is in progress while suspects would be handed over to relevant security agencies for further investigation and prosecution,” he said.

The spokesperson reassured the public that the Division is poised to maintain peace and security in the entire Lagos and Ogun States.

Daudu enjoined members of the public to cooperate with security agencies by remaining law-abiding and giving credible information to the nearest security checkpoint.

According to him, members of the public can also call 193 and the various telephone numbers that were earlier released



Source: NAN

Nigeria Receives Fighter Planes from Pakistan

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken delivery of five Super Mushsak fighter planes from Pakistan to enhance its air power capability.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Sadiq Abubakar and members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on NAF inspected the war planes on Friday in Kaduna.

Sadiq said the planes which would be unveiled later, were acquired for the training of air force personnel and to improve the air power of the Force.

The air chief, who witnessed the graduation of 269 NAF special squad for the protection of critical national assets, said the service remained committed to safeguarding the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

NAN reports that the personnel went through the Basic Regiment Airmen Course and Force Protection in Complex Air Ground Environment Course at the NAF Regiment Training Centre, Kaduna.

Abubakar challenged the personnel to remain committed to the Nigeria project, assuring them that the leadership of the force would transform the service for effective and efficient response to any security challenge.

“Our engagement in different theatres of operation and the need to protect the limited resources available to undertake our statutory responsibilities of projecting air power, underscores the need to continually develop force protection capability of the service.

“The training you have received on force protection in complex air ground environment will require you to speedily gain capacity to enable the service to locally develop and sustain additional workforce in the field of specialization,” he said.

Abubakar commended the British Government for it continued support towards the capacity building of air personnel through the BMATT programme.

“It is my desire that with time, we will extend the cooperation to other NAF missions.”

The chief of air staff challenged the graduates to rededicate themselves and ensure excellence in the discharge of their duties.

He admonished them to always allow their actions to be guided by respect for the rule of law and rights and dignity of citizens.

Abubakar pledged that NAF would meet its social contract with the Nigerian people, even as it takes on more responsibilities.


Eighteen Years of Threatened Democracy By Alabi Williams

The Guardian 

Opinion | Columnists
Eighteen years of threatened democracy
By Alabi Williams | 04 June 2017 | 4:14 am

Alabi Williams

After 18 years of democracy, we do not need to search very far to know how well the journey has fared. The glaring evidence of how troubled it has been is the very fact that we are still discussing the idea of a coup, no matter how embryonic and remote it may have been. That some people still nurse nostalgia for the salvation procurable via coups suggests that this democracy is not offering what it was programmed to deliver. There is sufficient amount of desperation that triggers a search for alternatives. Unfortunately, the one ready alternative people tucked somewhere in their psyche, is the military, with capacity to obliterate the present nonsense and begin afresh. Very tempting.

But many have rushed out to condemn the thought of a coup because of very ugly past experiences. The military has so debased itself that its original messianic capacity has been squandered. At the point it was forced to exit from civil governance, the military had transformed into a rampaging occupation force, abusing rights of citizens and stealing their money.

That was why in the twilight years of Gen. Sani Abacha, a global outrage was triggered to compel the military to return power to the people. As it was, it became the privilege of Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar to see that happen in 1998/99. It was a staggered process to quickly exit those horrifying days. Perhaps, that was when appropriate quality controls were not put in place to ensure a deepening of the systems. Remember that prior to 1999, the last time there were serious political formations was between 1979 and 1983. That was when our heroes past, professionals in party politics, men who participated in the struggle to attain independence and were the dramatis personae of the first republic, returned for a last effort at consolidating party supremacy. Unfortunately, all their experiences put together could not rescue the second republic.

After that, it was a long process of trial and error, with soldiers tampering with core values of party systems. First, it was General Ibrahim Babangida, who toyed with the idea of decreeing parties into existence. His two political parties, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Party (NRC) were programmed to fail, because IBB never wanted to transfer democratic powers to politicians. He was too enamoured of awesome state powers to let go. He dribbled Gen Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and exhausted the man. Yar’Adua was later to be picked by Abacha, and liquidated. IBB then picked MKO Abiola and had him thoroughly dishevelled. He too was handed to Abacha for final winding up.

In between the two Generals, the party system was humdrum and lacked direction. Whereas there was an assemblage of eggheads to nurture a transition system, what took place was a calculated freeze to create suspense and kill reality. It was Kafkaesque at its best, because IBB was a master in power and mind game. So, many serious minded politicians stayed away. The ones who operated were jobbers and military apologists who didn’t have anywhere else to go. They were the leproused hands that were to crown Abacha with lifelong powers, like those of late Kamuzu Banda. But fate played tricks on them.

Come 1998, therefore, there were not too many good people around. Abdulsalami was left with little choice but to groom some people. Meanwhile, there were no good political parties to fall back on. A new template was rolled out and the requirements not very lenient. But that was not the issue. It was an emergency transition. So, political associations formed and three parties emerged.

Power was handed to former military head of state, Gen Obasanjo, after his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came first in that first election. After that, the military left the scene, supposedly. From there, the so-called democratic leadership was tasked with responsibility to grow the new system, deepen party structures and allow constitutional checks and balances to dictate the running of the process.

Eighteen years after, we have seen all sorts. First, budgets do not work. Whereas military budgets are read on January 1, every year, civilian budgets are tossed back and forth between the executive and legislature for many months. In between those months, the economy is left miserable. While that exchange of budgetary debates was designed by owners of the presidential system of government to carry everybody along for purposes of accountability and transparency, what we have in Nigeria does not inspire any confidence. There is still no transparency of any sort. Even the All Progressives Congress (APC) that promised transparency went to town in 2016 with the most padded budget in the history of this dispensation. As we speak, in June 2017, budget 2017 is yet to be signed into law. These frustrating trammels of democracy help to nourish nostalgic feelings about military rule.

While military regimes are trim and less expensive, the presidential system is full of baggage. It is costly and less efficient. The three arms of government share the budget, with the executive having lion share. More than 70 percent of that of the executive is used to service government. The remaining that is supposed to drive infrastructure is too little to make Nigerians feel there is a government in place. As little as it is, that sum, most times does not leave government coffers. It idles away because the distance between the Central Bank, Finance Ministry and Budget Office is made deliberately cumbersome, so that nothing happens.

The Judiciary that is supposed to instill fear and restraint in the other arms is starved of funds and made impotent. To enjoy better life like their counterparts in the other arms, judicial officers are ensnared in filthy sums dangled at election tribunals. They become complacent and cheap, without bite. Democracy is threatened, when election matters are deliberately programmed for the courts, where politicians may influence outcomes with huge sums. The playing field is skewed to make the Judiciary appear lower than other arms and subservient. But that was not how the original owners of the system planned it. But here, the executives are too powerful. The system kills democracy, just as it did during military rule.

The legislature, powerful and lacking in patriotic acts, is the most troublesome. Many who were elected into Houses of Assembly in states and federal in 1999 had no idea what they were going for. They were never groomed, but once they saw the resources available there, they became entrenched, cult like. Whereas the parliament of a nation can turn its fortunes around, the Nigerian legislature has specialised in grooming a political class united by resources. You cannot rely on them to transform the economy, which is why they are now proposing another petroleum tax to fleece Nigerians. Instead of reducing from their allowances to make sums available to build roads, they are going for the easy way out. They want to transfer the burden to hapless Nigerians.

There is no synergy among the three arms of this democratic system to frog-jump Nigeria into serious action. There is no vision and there is no patriotism. If you are fair enough, if you look up north, south, west and east, there is despair. That is why some are afraid that soldiers are warming up to sack this system.

I still think we can salvage this system. But people have to open their minds and stop being ethnic champions. The lean resources available can no longer service a presidential system that is consumption driven. We are very close to that time, when men of good will should show Nigeria some mercy. It is time to begin with simple forms of restructuring, beginning with a more manageable and result oriented parliament. The one we have now is too large and wasteful.

If we must run a federal system, since some are afraid of returning to regions, states must be encouraged to earn their own resources and pay taxes to Abuja. Let there be substantial decentralisation of responsibilities and obligations. Let democratic institutions be freed from federal stranglehold.

If those who have capacity to effect changes refuse, the very monster we are all running away from will be waiting ahead for us, willy-nilly.

Defence Minister Advocates Improved Military Cooperation

Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali has called for a greater military cooperation between Nigeria and Sudan particularly in the area of procurement and production of military hardware.

In a statement issued by the Minister’s Public Relations Officer, Col. Tukur Gusau, Dan-Ali made the call at the end of his 3-day official visit to the Republic of Sudan.

According to the statement, the minister made the call while paying a courtesy call to his Sudanese counterpart Gen Ahmad Ibn Auf at Ministry of National Defence in Khartoum.

The Minister also thanked the Sudanese authorities for the warm reception and host to the Nigerian contingent operating in the Darfur region.

He said Nigeria and Sudan would soon sign a memorandum of understanding to enhance better military cooperation between the Armed Forces Nigeria and their Sudanese counterpart.

According to the statement, the minister had undertaken a tour of the Military Industrial Corporation of Sudan by the Vice President of the corporation Lt Gen Omar Albded, all in a bid to enhance existing military cooperation between both countries.

It said the minister had paid a similar visit to the Sur international company a specialist in the production of military equipment.

“The minister and his delegation were also flown to Yarmouk industrial corporation at Elhusahisa town to inspect another military hardware manufacturing company with a view of partnering with them for the take-up of Nigeria Military industrial complex,’’ the statement added.

The statement added that minister also visited the Super camp in Nyala Darfur region to interact with troops of NIBATT 46 currently under United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) with a call on them to respect laws of the land and avoid human right controversies.

Nigeria through the Ministry of Defence has in recent times initiated measures aimed at improving military relations with countries in Africa and beyond.

Military Officer Kidnapped In Lagos

This is despite the death sentence for kidnapping signed into law by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode recently.

The lieutenant simply identified as Diya was said to have led a team of soldiers to patrol the FESTAC area when heavily armed men attacked them.

Diya, the military officer, was reportedly kidnapped in Lagos

 The abduction of Diya was said to have caused serious tension in FESTAC town as military officers and members of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) commenced a search-and-rescue effort.
The Nigerian Tribune reports that angry soldiers engaged in shooting at 7th Avenue in FESTAC town.

The shooting was on at the time of this report as a resident was quoted as saying: “The operation is ongoing now at Abule Ado and FESTAC town simultaneously.

“The army officer was actually abducted on Saturday and what happened today is that the soldiers reinforced and invaded the base of the militants.

“For more than two hours, there have been heavy shootings from the soldiers. It started from the 6th Avenue and it is now spreading to the 7th Avenue.”