The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday fired back at Borno communities that wrote President Muhammadu Buhari that they had lost confidence in the military following successive attacks by insurgents, which led to the killing of civilians and soldiers, saying it needs their support and not opposition.
The communities, in an open letter signed by a traditional ruler, Alhaji Hassan Boguma, had accused the military of not doing enough to protect them from the insurgents and declared that they had lost confidence in the military.
They accused military personnel deployed in the communities of cowardice.
They stated: “The attempts by Boko Haram to intimidate and attack communities in the state and the actions of our soldiers in the frontline have made us lose confidence in the recent military’s performance in protecting not only the vulnerable citizens but even the territorial boundaries of the nation.
“Your Excellency, while lauding the efforts of the Nigerian Army for their gallantry in other parts of the state, much is needed to be done in areas around MMC and Jere and in recent attacks on Nganzai, Gajiganna, Gubio, Magumeri, Amurwa, Kalali Abdul, Wanori and yesterday, Dalori villages.
“The incessant and daring attacks by BHT (Boko Haram terrorists) is becoming a source of great concern to citizens living in the two local governments and five villages simultaneously attacked for three days without any countermeasures or even a response to distress calls from the locals.”
However, the Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, while responding yesterday queried the basis for such a letter, saying the military liberated Borno communities from the clutches of insurgents.
He said the armed forces did not just liberate Borno communities but pushed the terrorists towards the fringes of Lake Chad.
He said rather than lose confidence in the military, the communities should provide intelligence-gathering support for troops in order to enhance its operations.
He said: “That they have no confidence in the military that liberated all those communities? That they have no confidence in the military that kept the entire North-east safe – the military that chased the insurgents away into the Lake Chad region? Is that what they are saying?”
According to him, such criticisms are counterproductive to insurgency operations in the North-east.
Army chief says war can’t end insurgency
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Monday said that Boko Haram and other terror groups operating in the country cannot be defeated by warfare alone.
He said that finding appropriate narratives that will counter the ideologies of the terror groups will greatly enhance the efforts of the Nigerian Army against terrorism and terrorist groups.
Buratai, who observed that terrorism cannot be totally eliminated, noted that the insurgents’ belief in their ideologies remains their strongest driving force, adding that it is easier to kill members of a terrorist group than to eliminate their ideologies.
The COAS stated this at the opening ceremony of a Spiritual Warfare Seminar organized by the Nigerian Army for religious leaders and clerics at the Army Resource Centre in Abuja.
Buratai, who was represented at the event by Major General Sani Yusuf, said that the seminar was aimed at evolving narratives to defeat the ideologies of religious-based terrorist groups operating in the country.
He challenged the religious leaders to produce appropriate narratives that can effectively counter the ideologies of the insurgents, urging them to leverage on their daily interface with the society to protect the vulnerable people from succumbing to wrong ideologies.
According to him, “the Nigerian Army has attained great feats in the fight against the insurgents, breaking their ranks and degrading their will to fight, however the insurgents’ belief in their ideologies remain the driving force, as such ideological battle can in many ways be more important than the kinetic battle. It just that it is easier to kill members of a terrorist group than to eliminate their ideologies.
“It is a well-known fact that terrorism and terrorist groups cannot be totally eliminated by mainly Military actions, this means focusing our efforts on the underlying narratives through ideologies that employed by these terrorists to lure innocent citizens to their fold.
FG to drag judge before NJC for granting Sowore bail
There were indications last night that the federal government was contemplating reporting Justice Taiwo Taiwo, to the National Judicial Council (NJC) on account of his decision to grant bail to the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore.
Justice Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja admitted Sowore to bail on Tuesday and dismissed the objection raised by the Department of State Security (DSS) to the bail.
Shocked Nigerian security and intelligence community met on the matter yesterday and resolved to appeal the judgement.
It also decided to petition the NJC on the issue.
A top government source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that anyone standing trial for a treasonable felony is not entitled to bail.
He said:” Sowore’s bail is likely to bring trouble for that judge. A report has been prepared to report him to NJC in view of the fact that, as far as this country, it is known that a person charged treasonable felony has no bail option.
“So, the security and intelligence community in the country is shocked by the judgement.
“And there is a consensus that the judgement should not only be appealed but that the NJC should be petitioned about the conduct and abuse of power by the judge.”
Sowore was arrested and kept in the custody of the DSS since 3rd of August, 2019, for allegedly calling for “revolution” through the group’s protest fixed for 5th of September 2019.
Sowore on Thursday commenced a contempt suit against the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, for allegedly disobeying the order granting him bail.
On Wednesday his lawyers submitted his passport to a Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.
Red Cross: 22,000 Nigerians missing in North-east
Nearly 22,000 Nigerians have been reported missing in the North-east region due to a decade of conflict in the area, according to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer.
Maurer told reporters Thursday in Lagos that the figure is the highest number of missing persons registered with the ICRC in any country.
He also said millions of people had also been displaced due to the conflict.
In 2018, the Global Terrorism Index ranked Nigeria as the third most terrorized country in the world, for the fourth consecutive year.
ICRC, in a statement, said nearly 60 percent of the missing Nigerians were minors at the time they went missing.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search.
“People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place.
“Families in North-east Nigeria are often separated while fleeing attacks. Others have had loved ones abducted or detained and do not know their whereabouts. The ICRC works with the Nigerian Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region to trace missing people by showing photographs, calling out names, and going door-to-door in camps and communities,” Maurer said.
Shiites to defy Police, DSS today
The Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Police and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) yesterday appeared set for a showdown as they traded words over the sect’s planned procession scheduled to take place today.
While the police warned that the planned religious procession by the Sheik Ibrahim el-Zakzaky-led IMN would be considered illegal in view of the fact that the organization remained proscribed, the DSS alleged plot by what it described as some subversive groups and individuals within and outside the country to undermine national security. It warned that the full weight of the law would be brought to bear on such criminal elements.
But the IMN countered, accusing the federal government of planning to unleash terror on unsuspecting Nigerians in the name of the group.
The Shiite Islamic sect plans an annual procession today. The procession is carried out yearly to mark the birth of the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.
The group said it was covered under the constitutional provision that guaranteed freedom of association.
But the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Adamu Mohammed, in a statement in Abuja, said the police would not allow the procession to take place in view of the status of the group as a proscribed organization thus putting a stamp of illegality on the group.
The group is, however, in court to challenge the proscription order.
The police said in a statement: “It has come to the knowledge of the Nigeria Police Force that some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) intend to embark on a nationwide procession, ostensibly to cause disruption of the public peace, order, and security in the country.
“The Force notes that in line with the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice 2019 of 26th July 2019, the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have been proscribed. Consequently, all gathering or procession by the group remains ultimately illegal and will be treated as a gathering in the advancement of terrorism.”
The statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr. Frank Mba, said police commissioners in the 36 states and FCT and their supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) were ordered to put in place measures to avert any procession.
On its part, the DSS said the identified groups and individuals planned to exploit the political differences within and outside the country to destabilize the country.
DSS, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Peter Afunanya, said the groups planned to inflame passions across ethnic and religious divides.
“The aim is to set the country on fire as well as inflame passions across ethnic and religious divides with expected violent consequences. Also, the service expresses dismay over the increasing use of fake news and unsubstantiated information spread across social media platforms to deceive and incite sections of the populace to civil unrest,” DSS said.
But the IMN in a statement yesterday by President, Media Forum of the group, Mr. Ibrahim Musa, alleged that the attack the federal government was planning was specially planned to coincide with the sect’s Ashurah day celebration today.