Buhari Decorates New Commander Of Guards Brigade

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told military officers that they can only earn the respect of those put under their command because of their intellectual disposition and experience in the field.

He based his conviction on his experience during his days a military officer.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while decorating the Commander, Guards Brigade, Brig-Gen. Musa Yusuf as Major-General in Abuja.

“An officer is what he is when he gets into the field. Certainly, there was the need for intellectual officers but then what you do in the field is what earns you respect from those who are under you,” the President said.

The President commended the Guards Brigade for demonstrating a high-level of discipline and professionalism expected from officers and men of the Nigerian Army.

He said it was instructive that the Yusuf displayed a high level of discipline during his two-year stint as Commander.

“I congratulate the Brigade Commander for his achievements these past two years.

“I never received any serious report of indiscipline in your formation that is in-charge of my security.

“I hope you will get a command that will complement your experiences in the political headquarters.

“I congratulate you very much for making it to this new rank at a very competitive time. I know there are so many Generals but when you go to the records you pick the best and place them at very strategic appointments,” he said.

The President expressed confidence that Yusuf will bring his experience in the field as a former Guards Brigade Commander to his next posting, as directed by the Defence headquarters.

In his remarks, Yusuf while reaffirming his “unalloyed loyalty and that of his troops to the President and Commander-in-Chief,” thanked President Buhari for the honour of decorating him with his new rank.

He conveyed the appreciation of his troops in Keffi, Nasarawa State and those at Gwagwalada, in the Federal Capital Territory to the President for the renovation works in the barracks.

In Keffi, this is the first time in the last 25 years that 14 blocks of accommodation for soldiers are being renovated; he said adding that in Gwagwalada, the Chief of Army Staff approved funds for renovation works in the barracks to make it habitable.

Born on November 6, 1966, Yusuf had served as a member of Nigerian contingent to UN peacekeeping missions abroad including United Nations Mission in Eritrea-Ethiopia and United Nations Mission in Sudan.

He also served in ECOMOG and Operation Harmony in Bakassi, among several other appointments in army units and formations in the country.

A graduate of Chemistry from the Nigeria Defence Academy, he holds Master’s Degree in Transport Management and additional Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies.

FG Dismisses Military Involvement In Monkeypox Vaccination

The Federal Government has refuted insinuations that the military was vaccinating to spread the monkey pox virus nationwide through the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who made the clarification yesterday in Abuja. Adewole declared that the military was only carrying out a campaign to win the hearts of Nigerians through one of its numerous outreaches, even as the virus reportedly spreads to 11 states with 74 suspected cases.

 

He said his ministry was carrying out an advanced test at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics and Infectious Disease ‎to properly understand the genomes of the virus.

“Laboratory attendants should be able to tell us what exactly they are. We will also be able to locate and identify the origin so that we can take adequate precaution,” the minister stated.

Addressing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Adewole ‎said the vaccination in the South-South and South-East was routine. He said the military, in consonance with its corporate social responsibility (CSR), engages in many things, including road construction and blood measurement. Noting these were normal exercises, the minister said the military had, in the past, assisted government in accessing hitherto no-go areas in Borno State with a view to broadening the polio campaign.

 

“There are doctors in the military, there are nurses and when you go abroad, some of the best institutions are those ones managed by the military,” he added.

The minister also dismissed as untrue the reports that the Federal Government was carrying out vaccination nationwide, saying what the ministry is doing was ‎a campaign against yellow fever in Kwara, Kogi and Borno states. He noted that government would not conduct any such exercise vaccination ‎without the active participation of the ministry.

 

On the speculated illegal cartel of kidney and other organ traffickers, Adewole urged Nigerians to patronise only accredited medical institutions, just as he hinted that government was making move to rebuild health infrastructure in the country to check medical tourism. To the growing abuse of tobacco and other drugs by youths, the minister ‎said government was working with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria to educate people on the danger.

 

“We are part of the campaign against tobacco. We are implementing the framework convention to prevent smuggling and raise taxes on the products,” he stated.

 

Boko Haram: Defence Headquarters Give Reasons Why They Can’t Rescue Hostages

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has stated reasons why the military has been unable to rescue the lectures of University of Maiduguri, oil workers and women abducted by Boko Haram. They stated that the Islamic  sect was using the hostages as a shield, informing the people that the troops could apply force to free owing to the collateral damage that could follow such decision.

Recall that about ten women, including female police personnel, were kidnapped on June 21 this year along Damboa Road in Borno State. They were seized after their assailants ambushed a convoy of security personnel who was heading for a burial in Adamawa State.On the other hand, the varsity teachers, who were part of an oil exploration team in the state, were captured on July 25 this year.

The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj.- Gen. John Enenche, assured the residents that all the kidnapped persons would soon be freed like some of the Chibok school girls.

He noted that the military was applying lot of caution in the rescue operations as not to endanger the lives of the captives.The defence spokesman rejected calls from certain quarters asking for the wholesale bombing of the territories occupied by the terrorists.

He said: “So, that is why a lot of caution is being exercised even if you have a footage or real time evidence that these people are there. Once they are being used as human shield, then you need to be very careful on the rescue mission.

“I assure you that actions are on, intelligence is still being processed and strategies are being considered on how to ensure that the lovely citizens come out alive just like some of the Chibok girls.” The two lecturers in the Geology Department of the university were identified as Yusuf Ibrahim and Dr. Solomon N. Yusuf. The third man identified self as Haruna.

However, troops of the Nigerian Army Mobile Strike Teams (MSTs) of Operation Lafiya Dole in the Northeast have killed two terrorists in an ambush while on patrol of Mayanti village.During the two-hour exchange of fire, other members of the sect sustained gunshot wounds before fleeing through the Sambisa Forest and abandoning food items in the process.The Deputy Director Army Public Relations of 7 Division, Lt-Col. Kingsley Samuel, made the disclosure to newsmen in Maiduguri.

Nnamdi Kanu Not In Military Custody – DHQ

Defence Headquarter of the Nigerian Military yesterday cleared air over the whereabouts of the leader of the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, said he (kanu) is not in its custody.

While reacting to sudden disappearance of the IPOB leader during a briefing with journalists at the Defence Headquarter in Abuja, the director of Defence Information (DDI), Major General John Eneche, said the military never declared Kanu wanted.

Enenche also noted that the Nigerian Armed Forces never raided Kanu’s residence, noting that the people who were actually on ground there were the biafran security service and biafran national guard.

He said, “Nobody raided Kanu’s home and I stand to be justified, not from the information I got. I was watching it live, was monitoring it live, speaking with them on the ground.

“The people that came out there that I saw are the Biafra security service and Biafra National Guard. I think I later confirmed that there was nothing to actually justify them legally to mount roadblocks. I saw the militancy; nobody told me and I saw the action there. We are still investigating”.

Enenche said the military did not proscribe IPOB and that due process was followed to proscribe the group.

The job of the military, according to Enenche, is to diagnose security issues and warn the public of consequences, which is part of the Force’s media operations.

“We did our media operations very well; otherwise that weekend would have been the longest weekend in this country and we are also very careful in choosing our words and we know the law very well”, he stated.

On Operation Python Dance 2, he said the military had enlightened people of the region, educate them and made them to be aware of what the military have been doing and it will continue to do it.

His words: “There are activities we carried out that are called winning the hearts and minds which the army is doing. Medical outreaches reaching out to the needs of those that actually need them”.

The DDI further noted that the armed forces of Nigeria is not alarmed by any presumed tension in any part of the country, saying the way the masses see the situation on ground is different from how the military sees it.

IPOB Sues Nigerian Govt, Military Over Proscription Order

The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Friday prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja should set aside the order of injunction proscribing the activities of the group.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High, Justice Abdu Kafarati, on Wednesday in Abuja, granted Federal Government an interim injunction proscribing activities of the group.

Kafarati granted the injunction in chambers after the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, had approached the court with an exparte motion urging the court to do so.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier given written approval for the proscription of the group, pending legal process.

Governors of the Southeast states took the first step to ban the activities of the group after the military had declared it a militant terrorist group.

NAN reports that Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to IPOB, led Maxwell Okpara, Chinwe Umeche, Habila Turshak, P. M. Umegborogu and Augustine Ezeokeke to file the process on behalf of the group.

The motion, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/871/17 was brought pursuant to Section 6(6) (1) (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011.

It was also brought under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was listed as respondent.

The applicant averred that the grounds upon which the application was brought hinged on the fact that the Sept.20 exparte order made against it by the court was without jurisdiction.

The lead counsel said the order granted against the entity was unknown to law.

Ejiofor posited that there was clear suppression and misrepresentation of facts in the AGF’s affidavit evidence, pursuance to which the order was granted.

“The order is unconstitutional, as it was made in clear violation of constitutionally guaranteed right of the Indigenous People of Biafra to self determination.

“It also violated Article 20(1) of the Africa Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, now domesticated into our law under (Ratification and Enforcement Act) (Cap 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

“It ran against the right to fair hearing, right to freedom of expression and the press.

“It further violated the right to peaceful assembly and association clearly provided for under sections 36, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (Amended) 2011,’’ Ejiofor said.

According to him, a declaratory order cannot be made pursuant to an exparte application without hearing from the party against whom the order is made.

He submitted that the Indigenous People of Biafra who were majorly of Igbo extraction had no history of violence in exercising their right to self determination.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra does not carry arms and has no history of arm struggle in the exercise of its constitutionally guaranteed right to self determination.

“Prior and during the military invasion of the South Eastern states, IPOB members had never at any time resorted to arm struggle or engage in acts of violence capable of threatening national security.

Justice Binta Nyako of Federal High Court No 4 had in her ruling delivered on March 1 held that the Indigenous People of Biafra was not an unlawful organisation.”

Ejiofor further said that Justice Nyako’s decision still subsisted as it was not appealed against to be set aside by any appellate court.

NAN reports that the matter is yet to be assigned to any judge of the court.

EDITORIAL: The Military And Internal Security

The lessons of the past week particularly in the South-east should not be lost on anyone desirous of a peaceful and stable future for our country. It started when the Nigerian Army sent notice of its preparation for ‘Operation Python Dance‘ (Egwu Eke 2), a supposedly normal routine of the Nigerian Army field training exercise meant to sharpen the skills of the participating troops in the conduct of Internal Security Operations (ISO). According to Col. Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, the exercise was being conducted to deal with the rising cases of kidnappings, farmers-herdsmen clashes, armed robbery, cultism, communal crisis, violent secessionist agitations, among others. The exercise was planned for September 15 to October 14.  

However, few days to the September 15 date, the military launched what appeared to be a limited police action against the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and its fiery leader, Nnamdi Kanu. As would be expected, the development would stoke a raging debate on the propriety of deploying soldiers for what is primarily a police responsibility.

Many of course have argued that the action of the military was overkill, a case of an overbearing military seeking to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. Others have questioned the constitutional basis of the action. While the debate rages, the military has since announced plans to stage a similar operation – Operation Crocodile in the South-south and parts of South-west purportedly to address the same challenges of insecurity. Earlier in the year, the military launched Operation Harbin Kunama II covering the North-west and parts of the North-Central.

Beyond the emotive reaction to the latest development, there are a number of issues that cannot be ignored. First, as distasteful as the current exercises might be to some, the underlying basis of the actions cannot be discountenanced. To deny that country is adrift, or that an unprecedented anarchy is being let loose in different parts of the country on a scale that the military can ill-afford to sit and watch, is to play the ostrich. While democracy thrives on freedom and civic engagement between the ruled and the rulers, it speaks to the mood of the times that cultural and institutional restraints that would have been expected in civic, democratic discourses have, over the course of the past few months, yielded to hate and treasonable behaviors. That cannot and should not be allowed to continue.

More fundamentally however is that we cannot be seen to endorse what appears to be a systematic invasion of the civic space by the military. That is being unwittingly promoted as the new normal speaks directly to the militarization of the nation’s psyche – an exigency that is tolerated only because the country has little choice in the circumstance of the abject neglect suffered by the Nigerian Police under the military in particular – and which the succeeding democratic administrations have done pretty little to redress.  

We certainly do not see the various crimes listed by the military as justifying the operations as anything that an adequate, well-equipped police cannot deal with. In fact, the operations are such that a restructured and well-resourced police would have rendered superfluous. The problem, as far as we can see, is straightforward: Both in terms of manpower and equipment, the Nigerian Police Force is worse than inadequate.  With 219 policemen for every 100,000 citizens, Nigeria currently falls below the United Nations recommended threshold of 222 per 100,000 people – a problem further compounded by the stifling structure of centralisation leading to wastes, inadequacy and misapplication of resources, and corruption. As for control, the current structure has become too distant from the grassroots for any operational efficiency.

These are issues that a new security architecture can help address. In other words, we harbor no illusions that the unbridled militarization of the civil space will guarantee security; it will rather create an atmosphere of siege, and possibly abuse of citizens’ rights and in the end, breed mass alienation. Contrarily, a new security architecture, which allows for multi-level policing across the board, and which aligns with the demands of a truly federal constitution in theory and practice, and also well attuned to local nuances and sensibilities seems likely to prove far more effective in the long run. We therefore see state police as an idea which time has come.

Nigerian Military Battles 14 Threats Nationwide – Olonisakin

Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, said in New York that Nigerian military is confronting no fewer than 14 security threats across the country.

Olonisakin disclosed this at a reception organised for him by the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN.

The defence chief was at the UN headquarters for the Second Chiefs of Defence Conference, alongside more than 100 other chiefs of defence staff all over the world.

He said “by my estimation, we have about 14 security threats that we are confronting, ranging from terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping, cultism, to issues linked to the armed robbery.

“We are handling operations in all the geo-political zones of the country, but the major one is the one in the Northeast, which is ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’.

“We have, of course, operations down South and taking charge of militancy and oil theft; we also have that in Lagos.

“But the major one is Operation Lafiya Dole, which of course since we came on board, we have stepped up the game.

“Right now, we have been able to decimate Boko Haram terrorists, but what they are doing right now is hitting soft targets through suicide bombers.

“We realised that to mitigate this particular menace is not only about the military. So we need to carry the whole nation along to be able to address that.”

To mitigate incidences of suicide bombings, Olonisakin said military high command had met with other stakeholders to encourage the populace to provide them with necessary intelligence.

He said the command realised that intelligence was vital to handling the menace of suicide bombings.

The defence chief also said that the military had commenced the process of restoring full civil authority in areas formerly controlled by Boko Haram terrorists.

“We are working alongside the DSS – Department of State Services, the Police, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

“We are also ensuring that the civil authority is put in place; places that the military had taken over, we encourage the Police and Civil Defence to come on so they can provide civil authority for displaced people to move in.”

Olonisakin noted that last week, many Boko Haram militants surrendered, adding that “we have what we call Operation Safe Corridor in Gombe that is to handle this kind of surrendered terrorists.

“I believe in the next couple of days, repentant Boko Haram terrorists will be moved to that Operation Safe Corridor where they will conduct de-radicalization and integration procedure for them.

“Down South, of course, we have issues too but the military is stepping up its game to make sure we address the security challenges back home.”

On peacekeeping operations, the chief od Defence staff said Nigeria had met and exceeded the gender percentage, having 16.2 per cent female peacekeepers as against the 15 per cent benchmark by the UN.

The Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, commended Nigeria’s security forces for decimating the Boko Haram as a fighting force.

Bande said “soft targets are being exploited by the desperate group but in truth, even beyond Boko Haram, other challenges are also being addressed.

“What is important is the synergy that has been expressed by Chief of Defence Staff in relation to what all the security agencies are doing together; when we work together, we are secured.”

Don’t Drag Soldiers Into Politics, Group Warns

a civil society group has stated that politicians in Nigeria shouldn’t drag military personnel into politics. Coalition of Civil Societies and Media Executives for Good Governance (COCMEGG) in Nigeria has warned politicians, business moguls and mischief makers against capitalising on the present situation in the country to overheat the polity and destabilise its nascent democracy and return Nigeria to the dark days.

This warning was made during an emergency meeting convened by the National President of COCMEGG, Mr. Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, after discussing the recent statement issued by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai, warning some mischief politicians and agent provocateurs against their unethical relationship with the army in destabilizing the polity at this time of national history.

According to him, “COCMEGG is compelled to add a voice to the clarion call to warn and caution our politicians, business moguls and mischief makers who would want to capitalise on the present situation to overheat the polity and destabilise Nigeria

“We are therefore, constrained to wholeheartedly support the Chief of Army Staff in his patriotic call and efforts to keep Nigeria peaceful and stable and therefore, warn politicians, power seekers and political jobbers to desist from heating up the polity unnecessarily and stop their ungodly acts of soliciting the assistance of soldiers to create disharmony and chaos thereby bringing all the achievements of the present administration to naught.”

Shake Up In Nigerian Army

Due to the war against Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Nigerian army has redeployed some high-ranking officers. This is coming at a time when the military has succeeded in restoring normalcy to most parts of the troubled north-east.

A military source said the development took affected officers by surprise.

Lucky Irabor, theatre commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, and Victor Ezuwgu, acting general officer commanding (GOC), 7 division, have been transferred out of Borno state.

TheCable learned that Ibrahim Attahiru, a major general at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, would take over from Irabor, while Ezugwu would be replaced by I.M Yusuf, a brigadier general.

Barring last minute change of plans, Irabor and Ezugwu would hand over to their successors on June 1 and June 10 respectively.

Irabor will be going to the multi-national joint task force (MNJTF), where he will take over from Lamidi Adeosun, a major general, and Ezugwu will be deployed to a military formation in Zaria, Kaduna, as a GOC.

 

Soldiers Hold Borno Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa To Ransom

Newsmen have reported that angry soldiers held Borno state deputy governor, Usman Durkwa to ransom at a military checkpoint in Yobe state on Sunday.

According to TheCable, the incidence occurred in Buni Gari town in Gujiba local government area of Yobe, the security personnel threatened to kill Durkwa.

Durkwa was returning from Adamawa state, where he had attended the turbaning ceremony of Martins Babale, his Adamawa counterpart. Durkwa’s convoy reportedly ran into the military checkpoint, where no soldier was in sight.

A policeman attached to the deputy governor’s office had attempted to remove the barricade on the road when the military personnel started springing out from different directions.

They reportedly asked him who gave him the order to dismantle the barricade, and in the process started manhandling the policeman.

Some security personnel in the team of the deputy governor moved in to explain to the officers that they were accompanying a government official, but the soldiers were said to have been irritated by the explanation.

After about 15 minutes of the ensuing drama, the number two man in Borno alighted from the vehicle to join his security team, but the soldiers were said to have refused to accord him the respect that he deserves.

“The soldiers took positions from different directions, aiming at the convoy, with the threat to open fire,” the source said.

“The soldiers pointed Ak47 riffle, anti-aircraft guns and one of them pointed a rocket propeller.

“The deputy governor, having seen what was going on, after they had denied him access for about 15 minutes, came down from his vehicle to interfere, but instead of showing him respect, the soldiers became more lawlessness.

“They said they don’t care about his office. They insulted and called him all sort of names. One of the soldiers, who pointed a gun at him, called him a bloody civilian and political thief. They said they won’t lose anything killing the deputy.”

The source said it took the intervention of a senior military official before the situation was brought under control.

The convoy of the deputy governor was eventually given access, while the soldiers watched in anger.

Contacted, Kayode Ogunsanya, spokesman for the army in Yobe, said he could not confirm the development because he was not in the state.

“I don’t have that information. I am currently in Jos for a programme,” he told TheCable.

Last month, a public disagreement between the police and the army in Damaturu, capital of Yobe state, led to the deaths of four mobile police officers and one soldier.

Military Confirms Death Of Three Soldiers In Exchange With Militants

The Joint Military Force deployed to protect oil facilities in the Niger Delta on Tuesday confirmed that three soldiers were killed in a gun duel with pirates and militants. Col. Isa Ado, Spokesman of the force, codenamed, “Operation Pulo Shield’, told newsmen in a telephone interview that the incident occurred on Monday night.

Ado said that the shooting took place in Foropa, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, where troops had been stationed since 2010. He said that the military patrol team was attacked by a combined team of suspected militants and sea pirates, but that the team fought gallantly to ward off the attack.

“The location came under fierce attack and three of our soldiers, who were hit by bullets, died on their way to the hospital. “There were so many casualties on the side of the militants, but we cannot precisely know the number.

“The morale of the troops remains high and the sacrifices of these soldiers shall never be in vain; we remain resolute in our determination to stamp out oil theft and illegalities in the Niger Delta region. “These soldiers gave their lives for peace in the Niger Delta,” Ado said.