The Defence Headquarters has warned politicians against using military uniforms for electioneering purposes.
The acting director of Defence Information, Air Commodore Wap Maigida said the Defence Headquarters noticed with dismay that some politicians had formed the habit of wearing military uniforms and accoutrements in campaign posters.
Declaring such an act is illegal, he called on such persons to desist from such actions.
He said while the Armed Forces remain apolitical, anyone found culpable in this regard would be liable to prosecution.
According to him, “The campaign posters of some governors dressed in military camouflage uniforms are displayed in noticeable areas in their respective states. This is manifestly illegal and an abuse of the privilege of allowing civilians to wear military uniforms during military training exercises.
“It is necessary to restate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, as a professional institution, remains apolitical and, as such, would not want to be dragged into any form of political bias.
“Accordingly, it is important to advise politicians and others to desist from the use of military uniforms and accouterments for political events and other engagements henceforth.”
Troops Killed 1,910 Criminals, Terrorists in 2021, Says DHQ
Also yesterday, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said troops of the Armed Forces neutralised 1,910 criminal elements including terrorists, bandits and robbers as well as kidnappers across the country from May 20, 2021 to January 6, 2022
The acting director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, who disclosed this during the biweekly update on Armed Forces operations across the country yesterday, said troops also rescued 729 kidnapped victims across the country.
He said the feat was in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes within the period.
According to him, the troops within the period under review recovered 13,201,300 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO)and 3,969,000 litres of Dual-Purpose Kerosene (DPK).
General Onyeuko stated further that 38,582 barrels and 6,491,000 litres of stolen crude oil as well as 11,659,500 litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered from the brigands.
“Additionally, a total of 912 criminal elements were arrested, while a large cache of arms and ammunition as well as livestock, among other items of economic and security concerns, were recovered by the troops during the period.
“Gleaning from the available information as I have just presented, there is no gainsaying that our operational performance for the year 2021 shows our commitment to ensure peace is restored in the country.”
The general said the feat the troops recorded showed the synergy between the Nigerian military and other security agencies is succeeding in tackling the security challenges facing the country.
“We will continue to sustain the offensive and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled zone in Nigeria,” he said, even as he assured Nigerians of the military’s commitment to protect lives and properties as well as economic assets anywhere with renewed vigour this year.
He thanked members of the public for their support and further solicited their cooperation by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements during operations.
The Military High Command also commended all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their resilience, doggedness and commitment.
In the breakdown, he said troops of Operation Hadin Kai conducted series of activities in its area which resulted in the neutralisation of 950 terrorists, including their high-profile commanders and Amirs.
The director said 79 terrorists were arrested and 113 kidnapped civilians were rescued by the troops of Operation HADIN KAI within the period.
The troops recovered 195 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles, GPMGs, PKT guns and locally fabricated guns from terrorists.
Also 2,385 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 253 rustled livestock were recovered, while a total of 14 gun trucks of the terrorists were destroyed and 16 gun trucks captured in the course of the operations.
Also, 24,059 terrorists and their families, comprising 5,326 males, 7,550 females and 11,183 children had so far surrendered to troops in the North East.
He said all surrendered elements had been properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.
In the North West, he said troops neutralised 537 armed bandits and other criminal elements while 374 criminal elements including armed bandits and their collaborators as well as armed herdsmen and robbers were arrested.
They also recovered 227 assorted arms, including AK-47 rifles, PKT machine guns and GPMGs as well as 4,443 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 3,250 rustled livestock among other items and vehicles.
Likewise, 238 motorcycles and 118 extra rifle magazines were recovered, while 452 kidnapped civilians were rescued by troops in the course of the operations.
“This is in addition to several other feats recorded during air offensives executed on bandits’ enclaves by the Air Component. Recent among prominent air offensives were concurrent air strikes executed on bandits’ enclaves at Gusami Forest and West Tsamre village in Birnin Magaji LGA of Zamfara State, which led to the neutralisation of scores of armed bandits.
“The feats were recorded in the early hours of 3 January 2022 on the heels of credible intelligence, which revealed the locations of two key bandit leaders, the notorious Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga.
“Consequently, a force package of NAF platforms was dispatched to take out the enclaves, which resulted in the neutralisation of the leaders as well as their cohorts. In addition, several other armed bandits fleeing from the hit of the air strikes were killed during follow-up strikes. No fewer than 100 armed bandits were neutralised in the encounter,” he said
In a similar vein, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN arrested 1,771 criminal elements, including armed bandits, armed herdsmen and livestock rustlers, while 109 armed bandits and other criminal elements were neutralised.
Also, 75 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while 1,306 livestock, 108 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles and locally produced guns as well as 493 rounds of different calibres of ammunition among other items were recovered in the course of the operations.
Furthermore, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE neutralised 168 criminal elements, while 127 of them, including migrant armed bandits, were arrested.
The troops also recovered 118 different types of arms and 381 different calibres of ammunition as well as 391 livestock while 33 kidnapped civilians were rescued within the period under review.
Similarly, troops of Operation THUNDER STRKE/WHIRL PUNCH theatre killed 44 criminal elements and arrested 46 others.
He said the troops’ operations also led to the recovery of 59 assorted arms, 12 extra AK-47 rifles magazines, 113 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 16 motorcycles among other items in the course of the operations.
He added that 14 kidnapped civilians were rescued and reunited with their families within the period under review.
In the war against economic sabotage, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE working in conjunction with other security agencies recorded remarkable results in their efforts against economic sabotage and other sundry crimes in the South-South Zone.
He said the troops discovered and immobilised a cumulative total of 145 illegal refining sites, 209 ovens, 122 cooking pots/boilers, 161 cooling systems, 224 reservoirs, 160 large dugout pits and 367 storage tanks in the Niger Delta Region.
Consequently, 12,846,300 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil as well as 29,237 barrels and 6,491,000 litres of stolen crude oil were recovered within the period.
Similarly, 3,969,000 litres of Dual-Purpose Kerosene and 10,200,500 litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit were recovered by the troops of Operation DELTA SAFE.
General Onyeuko added that troops recovered 33 assorted arms, 5,268 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 21 AK-47 rifle magazines, while 3,110 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice, 662 pieces of galvanised pipes, 32 tanker trucks and 119 wooden boats used for illegal oil bunkering activities were impounded in the course of the operations.
Also, 41 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 77 criminal elements associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period. He said all the arrested criminals and recovered items had been handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.
Also, troops of Operation AWATSE in the fight against pipeline vandals and economic saboteurs in the South-West Zone impounded 1,458,600 litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit, 9,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 355,000 litres illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil.
The troops recovered 1,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles, adding that 15 illegal refining sites were destroyed while 12 boats and 13 trucks engaged in illegal activities were arrested.
Meanwhile, within the period 15 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while 28 criminal elements were arrested.
Meanwhile, the United States has approved the use of the dreaded A-29 Super Tucano military aircraft to bomb the strongholds of terrorists by the Nigerian Airforce, even as it advised that operations be conducted within international best practices to avoid rights violations.
The US Mission in Nigeria stated this yesterday in response to inquiry by LEADERSHIP whether the US had given clearance to the Nigerian government to use the jets against bandits in northern Nigeria, as claimed on Tuesday by Nigeria’s attorney general and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami.
However, the Nigerian government on Wednesday formally declared the bandits as terrorists, which now guarantees the use of the jets against them.
The statement issued yesterday to LEADERSHIP by Jeanne L. Clark Information Officer/Press Attache US Embassy in Nigeria, said, “We recognise the multiple security challenges confronting Nigeria and appreciate the ongoing deliberations of the judiciary, the government, and the military to address insecurity while respecting human rights. We are pleased the Nigerian Air Force has used the A-29 Super Tucanos successfully against Boko Haram and ISIS-WA.”
She said the sale of the A-29 Super Tucano jets to Nigeria was governed by the US Arms Export Control Act, the Foreign Assistance Act, and other applicable statutes, and their use must conform with international norms as articulated in the United Nations Charter.
“The AECA applies to sales to all of our allies and partners and it generally cautions against uses that encroach on traditional law enforcement roles. We are proud to partner with the government of Nigeria towards shared goals,” the statement added.
Bandits Release 28 Abducted Villagers In Niger
The Niger State Police Command has rescued 28 villagers abducted in September along Madaka road in Rafi local government area of the state.
LEADERSHIP reports that 34 people were abducted on the 28th September, 2021, while coming back from Kagara market on their way to Madaka.
It was learnt that six of those who were abducted were rescued immediately by the combined security team then, leaving 28 victims.
The police public relations officer, PPRO, Niger State Command, Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed that “the abducted victims of Kagara market attack have been released by the abductors and subsequently rescued unhurt.”
The police spokesman said preliminary investigations revealed that the victims, who were kept at Kango forest via Dangulbi village, Maru LGA of Zamfara State, were released at Kamfani-Doka in Birnin-Gwari area of Kaduna State as a result of the ongoing operational onslaught at neighbouring states of Zamfara and Kaduna.
He said the victims were subsequently rescued to Kagara by the Police and later taken to a nearby medical facility for medical attention before they will be reunited with their families.
PMB Should Declare Miyetti Allah Terrorist Group – Ortom
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for heeding his call and finally labelling bandits wreaking havoc on citizens across the country as terrorists, but he said that is not enough.
Ortom called on the president to go a step further and declare Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) as terrorist organisations just as he has done to other groups.
The governor who was reacting to the interview President Buhari granted Channels Television on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022, insisted that the step taken by the federal government now would go a long way to contain the atrocities of the criminals and give citizens opportunities to go about their legitimate businesses unmolested.
He said, “Even though the federal government’s measures on bandits now seem strong, the security challenges will only be adequately addressed if similar hard position is taken on Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, MACBAN and the Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) who have vowed and continued to cause mayhem in Benue State and other parts of the country because of the anti-grazing laws.”
The governor went on: “For us in Benue, the law has come to stay. It is irrevocable. In fact, we have maintained our position that Benue State has no grazing routes or reserves.
“The 2017 Open Grazing and Ranches Prohibition Law was enacted in good faith for peace and order in the state. It was done among other things to end the incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes in the state.”
Governor Ortom also appealed to the president to do all that is necessary to revamp the ailing economy and save citizens from poverty.
“Nigerians have absorbed enough hunger and misery in the hands of the All Progressives Congress’ misrule. Or is it possible that Mr. President is not aware that Nigerians are dying from hunger and starvation?”
He dismissed the President’s tagging of the PDP as a failure, saying: “As a critical stakeholder of the PDP, this is completely false. If anyone has failed, it is the Buhari-led APC federal government that has failed by taking Nigeria from top to bottom.”
Governor Ortom declared that “the PDP is ready to rescue Nigeria from the insecurity and economic horror placed on Nigerians by the APC”, stressing that the party is better prepared with laudable programmes on the welfare of Nigerians and to rebuild the nation from the APC tale of woes.
The governor who spoke through the chief press secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, added that from all indications, the APC administration had since run out of ideas.
“They have exhausted all their lies and have nothing more to tell Nigerians,” the Benue governor said.