With 25 days to go, Nigerian security forces are facing a race against time to meet the December 31, 2022. deadline President Muhammadu Buhari gave to heads of security agencies to end terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country.
The federal government had in October said insecurity bedeviling the country would be over by December.
Minister of the Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, gave the assurance during a joint ministerial briefing in Abuja.
He said President Buhari had given a December deadline for the security forces to restore order and stability in all parts of the country.
According to the minister, the President said he would not leave the country without curtailing and effectively addressing the security challenges.
Quoting the president, he said “He gave the deadline of total elimination of such threats to the security of lives and property by December.
“I believe that nobody is resting in all the arms of the government with the mandate of maintaining law and order, guaranteeing security and eliminating threats.
“We are at it, and in the first instance, we must ask ourselves, governance is about ensuring security of lives and properties.
“We will eliminate all insecurity issues by December. If you look at the state of affairs in Nigeria, I’ll tell you that a whole lot of progress had been made over the years,” he said
Apparently in line with this target, the military on 14th November, 2022 declared 19 notorious terrorists wanted and placed a N5 million bounty on each amounting to N95 million for information that would lead to their arrest.
However, 22 days after, the terrorists have continued to maintain control of their known territories and receive levy from farmers despite the bounty on their heads.
According to military sources, none of the 19 terrorists has been arrested since the declaration and bounty offer.
The source said the military high command knows what exactly is the problem but does not have the willpower to end it.
But the secretary general, International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS), Dr. Abdullahi Mohammed Jabi, described the assurance as a mere “political statement.”
He said though the military had made some gains in the fight, more still needs to be done to address remote causes of the crisis.
He said some of the problems are social and require non-military approaches to end them.
“Though a lot of things are being put in place, it’s going to be gradual because the challenges are enormous.
“It is an inherited problem by this present administration and it’s going to be handed over to the incoming government, but for now, they should just do what they can do within their power to make sure that they create wealth and make sure that money is in circulation, that people can afford a minimum of two square meals as against zero meal now”.
He said when wealth is created and people are able to feed, the tension will reduce and then the country will be able to prepare for an election where Nigerians can determine who they want to lead them in 2023 and beyond.
He lauded gallant men of the armed forces: “I give it to our military men; they are doing their best, they have flushed a good number of the bandits; they are still waging the war and challenging the invaders, terrorists and we are seeing results.
“We need to pray and support our military to ensure that they give in their best while the necessary incentives are given to them to do the job”.
While calling for more equipment, he said the air bombardments and land assaults were yielding positive results.
“I know the war is winnable, but not the way it is being prosecuted now; it can’t work like that. It will take time for us to surmount the challenge. It is multifaceted: there is social problem, lack of skills, unemployment and lack of educational,” he said
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major General Jimmy Akpor, told LEADERSHIP that two of the wanted terrorists had been killed in military bombardments.
“I don’t have records now but I’ve also sent a message out for confirmation. When I get it, I’ll send to you, but I remember within the same week we sent out the banner, there were some bombardments that resulted in the death of either one or two of them,” he said
Those allegedly killed as inferred by the DDI, according to LEADERSHIP’s findings, are Halilu Sububu from Sububu Village in Maradun LGA of Zamfara State, and Gwaska Dankarami from Shamushele village in Zuri LGA of Zamfara State.
One of the wanted terrorists had been on police list since 2019.
Ado Aliero was turbaned Sarkin Fulani by the emir of Yantodo in Zamfara State in July 2022 under the supervision of government officials and security personnel.
He was turbaned two years after the Nigerian Police declared him wanted and placed a N5m bounty on his head for killing and maiming residents of Zamfara State.
Again, one of the wanted terrorists, Bello Turji, last week mocked the military for not killing him despite the bounty, adding that the military raids pose a threat to the peace deal between him and the locals in Zamfara State.
Those on the wanted list include: Sani Dangote from Dumbarum village in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara; Bello Turji Gudda from Fakai in Zamfara; Leko from Mozoj village in Mutazu LGA of Katsina State; Dogo Nahali from Yar Tsamiyar village in Kankara LGA of Katsina state; and Halilu Sububu from Sububu Village in Maradun LGA of Zamfara.
Others include Nagona from Angwan Galadima in Icsa LGA of Sokoto state; Nasanda from Kwashabawa Village in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara; Isiya Kwashen Garwa from Kamfanin Daudawa village of Faskari in Katsina state; Ali Kachalla, a.k.a. Ali Kawaje from Kuyambara village in Dansadau Maru of Zamfara
Also on the list are Abu Radde from Varanda village in Batsari LGA of Katsina state; Dan-Da from Varanda village in Batsari LGA of Katsina; Sani Gurgu from Varanda village in Batsari LGA of Katsina; Umaru Dan Nigeria from Rafi Village in Mada District of Gusau, Zamfara; Alhaji Ado Aliero from Yankuzo village in Tsafe LGA of Zamfara; Monore from Yantumaki Village in Dan LGA, Katsina state; Gwaska Dankarami from Shamushele village in Zuri LGA of Zamfara; Baleri from Shinkafi LGA of Zamfara; Mamudu Tainange from Varanda village in Batsari LGA of Katsina state, and Nagala from Maru LGA of Zamfara.
NAF Jets Kill 7 Zamfara Terrorists In Kaduna
Meanwhile, airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force fighter jets on December 1, 2022 eliminated seven wanted Zamfara terrorist kingpins.
According to military sources, the notorious bandits were eliminated in Kaduna State by airstrikes of two NAF attack aircraft.
Sources revealed those killed to include Jibrin Gurgu, Isah Jauro and Tambowal from Zamfara State.
Others are Noti, Bala, Yunusa and Burti, who was a well-known associate of another sought-after terrorist, Haladu Buharin Yadi.
A senior military officer told LEADERSHIP that the operation which resulted in the killing of the wanted terrorists was undertaken by the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch at identified terrorists’ hideouts in Alhaji Ganai location, Buhari New location and Dogon Maikaji, all in Giwa local government area of Kaduna State.
He said, “Recall that the strikes became a necessary sequel to credible intelligence from reliable sources on heightened terrorists’ activities in the general area. Consequently, the strikes were authorised on 1 December 2022. Follow-up air interdiction missions were carried out against terrorists and enclaves in Tsofa and Riyawa in Igabi and Birnin Gwari LGA in Kaduna State.”
According to him, feedback received also revealed that the terrorists suffered heavy casualties from the bombardment.
He said, “These airstrikes have since been corroborated by the Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security, Sam Aruwan, when in a press release on 2 December 2022 he stated that military airstrikes identified and dislodged eight terrorists’ camps while freeing 10 kidnapped victims in the process”.
NAF spokesman Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who confirmed the airstrikes, thanked Nigerians for the support they had been giving to NAF and other security agencies, which had been instrumental to the successes the Nigerian military has recorded against terrorists lately.
According to him, “The return of Internally Displaced Persons to their ancestral homes and the surrendering of over 10,000 terrorists with members of their families, especially in the last three months in Borno State, as well as the ability of Nigerians to freely travel on the Kaduna-Abuja Road, and other hitherto dangerous routes are some of the signs that the efforts of the security agencies are indeed, yielding some positive outcomes.”
PMB Orders Army To Conquer Secessionists
In a related development, President Buhari yesterday told the Nigerian Army to go after terrorists and secessionists until they are conquered.
Similarly, he told them to remain apolitical and provide an enabling environment for democracy to thrive.
The president, who made this call in Sokoto at the opening ceremony of the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference holding at International Conference Centre, Kasarawa Sokoto State, warned military personnel to remain apolitical, saying their duty is to defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
Buhari pledged that his administration would provide equipment and support for the Nigerian Army to carry out their constitutional duties in defending territorial integrity of the country, and stressed that the military should take the onslaught to the enemies until they are conquered.
He said, “As the 2023 election draws closer, I would like you to be apolitical, just like you did in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States; the same should also reflect in the 2023 election.
“I urge you to improve on human rights in line with global best practices to enable you to win the minds of the people.
“The successes you have made so far have restored hope and enduring peace in North East, North West, North Central, South East, South West and South South Nigeria. I enjoin you to sustain the tempo so as not to give chance to the enemies to thrive.”
In his remark, the governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said the state government would continue to support and provide logistics for Army in short and long-term operations.
In his address, the Chief Of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya said the yearly conference comes at the end of the year to enable them review the activities of the year and enable them to strategise for optimum performance in the coming year.
He noted that the Nigerian Army, in collaboration with other security agencies, has contained the activities of terrorists leading to the massive surrendering of many terrorists.
He further disclosed that the Nigerian Army under him had given priority to the welfare of soldiers and officers, and strengthened civil military relations.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of Nigerian Army recognition award to six eminent Nigerians. The award recipients are Abdulsamad Isyaka Rabiu, Aliko Dangote, Dr Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu Lt General Tukur Yusuf Buratai (rtd) and Col Hameed Ali (rtd).
Troops On Internal Security Owed 2 Months Allowances
Troops deployed across theatres of operations in the six geopolitical zones of the country have lamented delay in their operational allowances.
One of the troops who spoke to our correspondent said they are owed October and November allowances, and pleaded with the authorities to quickly resolve the issue.
The source said, “We soldiers on the frontlines have not been paid our operation allowance for October and November. Things like this should not be happening to us. We have relatives who are dependent on us. We appeal to the authorities to address the issue as quickly as possible.”
When contacted, the director of Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor did not respond to inquiries., but a top military officer who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said the Defence Headquarters was working to ensure the issue was resolved.
The source said: “The thing is, the whole issue of the non-payment of their October and November allowances was necessitated by some challenges around budgetary approvals.
“However, the Defence Headquarters is working hard to ensure those affected are settled, in the next few days.”