Nigerian troops in Borno have killed five Boko Haram insurgents and captured a top commander of the group in the ongoing operation in Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad basin. Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of Operation Lafiya Dole, in a statement in Maiduguri, said troops also rescued three civilians, recovered vehicles and high calibre ammunition in various operations in the past two days.
Nwachukwu said on Thursday, the troops engaged and neutralised a number of fleeing insurgents while attempting to escape the military blocking position in one of the cleared enclaves Sabil-Huda, deep in Sambisa Forest. He said that the troops also recovered one G-III rifle magazine, one life jacket, a light Machine Gun metal link, four rounds of Anti-Aircraftammunition, four rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition and three rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition.
Unfortunately, two soldiers were injured in the process; they had been evacuated by the Nigerian Air Force and are responding to treatment, he said. Nwachukwu said that the troops on Friday launched offensive targeting a terrorists hideouts up CAMP ZAIRO, and neutralized a number of insurgents in spite of initial damaged caused to their Armoured Fighting Vehicle by Improvise Explosive Device (IED) planted beneath the ground.
He said that the troops killed five insurgents; several others wounded and recovered ammunition at a hideout in Parisu, Sambisa Forest. Nwachukwu disclosed that troops of 151 Battalion in conjunction with 7 Division Support Group had also cleared nine terrorists hideouts along Frigi-Izza area. The director added that the troops also recovered one motorcycle, two bicycles, 10 bicycle tyres,one bicycle, three Boko Haram flags, a solar panel, five drums filled with grain, two mattresses, two grinding machines, three bags of metal scraps, two motorcycle tyres and two underground grain silos. Also recovered are one AK-47 Rifle Magazine, 1 dummy rifle, a round of12.7mm ammunition, 12 empty cases of 7.62mm ammunition, assorted IED materials and a tool box.
According to him, the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE provided air cover for the land troops in the conduct of the operations.
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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met behind closed doors with the embattled National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The meeting was held less than 24 hours after a letter written by a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in which he accused Odigie-Oyegun of sabotaging his efforts aimed at reconciling aggrieved party members as directed by Buhari was released.
It was believed that the meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was to afford the party chairman the opportunity of responding to the allegations contained in the letter, Punch reports.
Odigie-Oyegun arrived the Presidential Vill at about 3pm and left at about 3.50pm.
Apparently aware that State House correspondents would seek his reaction to the letter, the party chairman avoided them.
As soon as he sighted the journalists who were waiting for him at their operational base inside the Council Chambers Briefing Room, Odigie-Oyegun increased his pace as he was finding his way out of the premises.
The Buhari Presidency has questioned the criteria or facts used by Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog to rank the country 148th least corrupt in the world.
In a statement by spokesman, Garba Shehu, the government questioned the method used by TI to arrive at what it called TI’s ” very misleading and unfair conclusions in its assessment of the Federal government’s efforts in this anti-corruption crusade”.
Government said while it welcomes constructive criticisms from the anti-corruption watchdog, the organisation has a responsibility to reflect the larger picture of the concrete and verifiable achievements of the Buhari administration since it came into office in May 2015.
“Political will is the first major component of fighting corruption in any country and President Buhari has made a huge difference by demonstrating not only the political will but also the extraordinary courage to go after high profile looters, including former military service chiefs and Judges.
“It was once unthinkable to touch or prosecute the ‘‘big men’’ for corruption in Nigeria but President Buhari has ended impunity for corruption.
“Today, the Buhari administration has made accountability the bedrock of governance and corruption is no longer fashionable because it attracts consequences.
“Blocking leakages for corruption through the rigid enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) had made life tougher for corrupt officials. He regretted that these efforts were not acknowledged by the Corruption Watchdog.
“Figures published by the EFCC, the anti-corruption agency, reveal that N738.9 billion was recovered in just two years of the Buhari administration and this impressive and unprecedented record is worthy of mention and acknowledgement by anybody genuinely looking at the larger picture of the country’s progress in the war against corruption.
“During the 7th session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria, the Chairman of the Agency Ibrahim Magu noted that the figure represents $2.9 billion dollars.
“Besides these impressive recoveries of looted funds, the EFCC has recorded more than 140 successful prosecutions.
“The Federal government has also signed international agreements to recover the proceeds of corruption and to block the laundering of stolen assets abroad by public officials.
“Anybody who knows where Nigeria was coming from would not believe that corruption is worse under the Buhari administration.
“We wonder where they got their facts from. At a time, they are alleging increase in the incidence of corruption under this government, the whole of Africa is applauding by choosing President Buhari as the continental Champion to lead the fight against it.
“Nothing can be more eloquent than this.
“In the end, this whole episode may turn out to be just a political distraction, given the strong views some of TI’s patrons have expressed against the Buhari Administration.
“This notwithstanding, facts are facts, and those facts won’t cease to be facts even if you don’t care to pay attention to them,” the statement concluded.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has, Thursday, asked Governors under the All Progressives Congress, APC, party to give him more time to decide if he would seek a second term in office come 2019.
President Buhari who had a closed-door meeting with the APC governors at the First Lady’s wing of the presidential villa, Abuja, on Thursday, told them he needed more time to carry out consultations before deciding.
Disclosing this to State House Correspondents shortly after the meeting, the Chairman of APC Governors Forum and Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, said that President Buhari would address the nation and the caucus of the APC on the matter at the appropriate time.
Governor Okorocha also revealed that all the APC governors wanted the President to seek re-election in 2019. He also said that Nigerians would be better off if President Buhari seeks re-election.
According to him, “We discussed so many issues that affect the nation, our party and Mr President’s ambition to run for 2019 elections. “Anyhow, Mr President in his usual manner has requested that we give him time and that he will address the nation and the caucus of the party very soon.
“So, we should be full of expectations that Mr President will make it known to Nigerians his intentions officially. “But we hope that his response will be in line with what the governors are thinking,’’ he said.”
Okorocha also said that, “We believe that if he continues Nigeria will be better for it.’’
A 35-year-old man, Benjamin Osueke, was on Friday charged before an Ikorodu Magistrates’ Court for allegedly pouring hot water on a female neighbour.
Osueke, who lives at 24, James Olaogun St., Ikorodu, is facing a charge of assault.
The Prosecutor, Sgt. John Iberedem, told the court that the accused on Feb. 18, poured hot water on his neighbour, Mrs Benedicta Orji, in the kitchen.
“There was an argument over electricity bill between the accused and the complainant; after the argument, the accused warned her not to cook on his table because they share kitchen.
“Suddenly, he poured hot water on the complainant which burnt her body badly,” the prosecutor said.
He said that the offence contravened Section 230 of the Lagos State Criminal Laws, 2015.
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. A. Azeez, granted the accused N100,000 bail with two sureties in like sum.
Azeez said that the sureties must reside within the court jurisdiction, be gainfully employed and should show evidence of tax payment to the Lagos State Government.
She adjourned the case until March 29, for hearing.
The Anti-Open Grazing Law in Benue has recorded a huge success as a Makurdi Magistrates’ Court on Friday sentenced three herders, Iliya Garba, Hassan Abdullahi, and Lanshak Lonfalk, to one year imprison each, for violating the law enacted in 2017.
The convicts were charged with criminal conspiracy and open nomadic livestock rearing and grazing.
The offences are punishable under Sections 97 of the Penal Code and 19 (2) of the Open Grazing Prohibition Ranches Establishment Law of Benue, 2017.
The prosecutor, Insp. Michael Iorundu, told the court that the joint patrol team of `Operation Zenda,’ led by Sgt. Edward Shinyi, arrested the herders on Feb. 18.
He said that they were brought to the State Criminal and Investigation Department, Makurdi.
“The team reported that the three herders, and others now at large, were openly grazing their cattle along Yeluwata Road in Guma Local Government Area of Benue.
“When the case came up for mention, the herders pleaded guilty to the charge against them, saying that they were not aware that open grazing had been prohibited in Benue,’’ he said.
The Magistrate, Mrs Lillian Tsumba said that the herders were first offenders who were also illiterates and not even aware that open grazing has been prohibited in Benue.
Tsumba said that a law such as open grazing prohibition required massive exposure and education of persons at the grassroots.
She, however, said law is law and must be obeyed in spite ignorance.
The magistrate sentenced the herders to a year imprison each, with N500,000 option of fine each.
Governor Ibrahim Gaidam and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed appealed for calm and patience today over the scores of missing schoolgirls of Government Girls Technical College Dapchi, Yobe.
Gaidam was the first to appeal to the parents as they wept uncontrollably when they could not find their children in school, despite the late news on Wednesday that they have been recovered by the military.
Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam kept mute on the whereabouts of the girls, when he met the wailing parents at the District Head’s palace in Dapchi on Thursday.
He urged them to remain faithful as security operatives were still searching for the girls.
He said “soldiers have been pursuing the insurgents, although they receive information that the Boko Haram insurgents had passed some areas, but the communities in the areas said they did not spot the girls along with the insurgents.”
He assured that government and security operatives would not rest on their oars until the missing girls were accounted for.
The waiting parents wept profusely as the earlier news that the girls were rescued turned out to be false.
The Yobe Government on Wednesday issued a statement claiming that some of the missing girls had been rescued.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who flew to Damaturu today on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari , also appealed to parents and guardians for additional time to search for the missing school girls.
The minister made the appeal while fielding questions from newsmen when he led Federal Government delegation to Dapchi on Thursday.
He said the actual number of the missing schoolgirls would be determined in the next few days when parents come forward with complaint of their missing wards.
All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has accused National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun of sabotaging his reconciliation efforts in the party.
In a February 21 letter of complaint to Oyegun , Tinubu said the chairman had compounded the challenge of reconciliation by taking “improper unilateral decisions” on issues affecting national and state chapters.
Tinubu added that Odigie- Oyegun had refused to cooperate by delaying the release of information critical to the resolution of crises in state chapters.
The former Lagos State Governor made the observations in the letter to titled: “Actions and conduct weakening the party from within”, copies of which were sent to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Tinubu was appointed by President Buhari on February 6 to reconcile party leaders and political office holders where there are crises.
On February 14, Tinubu visited Odigie-Oyegun and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) at the National Secretariat to seek support for the assignment.
He has since been meeting with party leaders. He visited Sokoto State where he was received by Governor Aminu Tambuwal and Senator Aliyu Wamakko.
Tinubu said while the chairman had allowed the crises in the chapters to fester by his refusal to take appropriate actions, his decision to take some “inappropriate unilateral decisions” in recent times in the affected chapters had created fresh difficulties for the reconciliation process.
Citing Kogi and Kaduna states, Tinubu said Oyegun’s hasty decision to inaugurate a parallel state executive committee for Kogi State and his indifference to the leadership tussle in the Kaduna chapter led to “demolition of property and threat of violence”.
The former Lagos State governor accused the chairman of “lack of openness and fairness, which have led to internal crisis in some states’, stressing that the principles of internal democracy and the “institutions of the party” have been undermined.
Urging Oyegun to ponder on the imperative of laying a good legacy, Tinubu advised him to change tactics and work within the confines of the party constitution.
He said: “To lessen animosity and return the party to the path of internal democracy and openness, I beg that you refrain from taking any more improper unilateral decisions with regard to the national and state chapters of the party. As the chairman of the party you must work within the confines of the duties and responsibilities enumerated under the party constitution.”
“If you continue to do so, I fear you may undermine the party in no small degree. You may well cause internal fractures and dissension difficult to repair yet visible to all. I fear this can undermine our goodwill with the electorate and make the approaching challenges to the party materially more difficult than they need to be.”
Acknowledging the rift between him and Oyegun, the former Lagos State governor said the overriding interest of the party should take precedence over and above personality clashes.
Tinubu said: “Drawing from your behaviour in Kogi, Kaduna and with regard to the state chapter assessment requested, I am led to the inference that you have no intention of actually supporting my assignment.
“Instead, you apparently seek to undermine my mandate by engaging in dilatory tactics for the most part. When forced to act, you do so in an arbitrary and capricious manner, without the counsel of other NWC members and without regard to our internal procedures.
“You may have personal qualms with me. That is your right as a human being. However, you have no such right as the chairman of this party. This party belongs to all of its members. You have no greater claim on it than any of the rest of us.
“Whatever personal qualms you may have with me are secondary at this point. You have a moral and professional obligation as the party chairman to act in the party’s best interests. Your hurried and unilateral actions belie the important agency you hold for the party.
“Thus, in furtherance of the assignment given to me by President Buhari, I request that you make available to me the status reports and all other pertinent information regarding the state chapters without further delay.”
President Muhammadu Buhari said his government has sent more troops and surveillance aircraft to the entire North East territory on a 24-hour basis, to recover the schoolgirls abducted from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State.
President Buhari said this today as he also gave assurance to the families of the students abducted on Monday by Boko Haram insurgents, almost four years after a similar abduction of 275 schoolgirls from Chibok Girls Secondary School, in Borno State.
The Nigerian leader said no effort will be spared to bring succour to the Dapchi girls and the parents. “Our government is sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found,” President Buhari said.
“When I received the devastating news of the attack on the school and the fact that the local authorities could not account for all the students, I immediately dispatched a high-level delegation on a fact-finding visit to the town. I also instructed the security agencies to deploy in full and not spare any effort to ensure that all the girls are returned safely, and the attackers arrested and made to face justice. “The entire country stands as one with the girls’ families, the government and the people of Yobe State. This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain. We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members”.