The federal government lamented yesterday that for the past three years some world powers have refused to sell weapons it required to combat insurgency in Nigeria.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the disclosure, however did not reveal the names of the world powers.
Speaking when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, Mohammed appealed to the countries not to be swayed by unsubstantiated claims to deny the country vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity.
He added that when the needed weapons are denied Nigeria, the international community cannot turn around and accuse the country of failing in its fight against insecurity.
The minister stated: “I want to use this opportunity to say that the international community can help us better than they are doing right now. To fight terrorists we need platforms and weapons.
“When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn around to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism.
“For more than two to three years now, we have paid for certain vital weapons that they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts.
“I think our appeal to them is that they should please help Nigeria to provide us with these sensitive platforms so that we can fight insecurity more effectively”.
He noted that for Nigerians to fairly assess the efforts of the federal government in the fight against insecurity, they should compare where the country was before 2015 and now.
Mohammed stressed that in order to better appreciate what the government was doing in the area of security, Nigerians should take a global survey to understand that unrest, terrorism, and mindless violence cut across the globe.
ISWAP Recruiting Child Soldiers, MNJTF Alerts Nigerians
Meanwhile, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has warned Nigerian parents to keep a close tab on their children and wards as the Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have introduced child soldiers to resuscitate their declining influence in the Lake Chad region.
The Chief of Military Public Information of MNJTF, Col Timothy, who raised the alarm yesterday in a press statement, said the disturbing development was brought by human intelligence sources and corroborated by concerned individuals and groups.
He said Boko-Haram terrorists themselves further confirmed their atrocious act when they posted pictures of children dressed in
military fatigue and holding assault rifles in a video released during the recent Sallah celebrations.
“The recruitment of child soldiers is the latest in a retinue of brutal and inhuman tactics deployed by Boko Haram since it began the futile attempt to cause mayhem and overthrow constitutional and social order,” the MNJTF spokesman said.
He also recalled that the terrorists had engaged in mass abduction of school girls, sexual enslavement of women and mass murder of innocent civilians.
Timothy stated: “This recent employment of child soldiers is as a result of frustration caused by several operational losses, leadership crises, as well as disillusionment among fighters and their subsequent surrender in hundreds to the MNJTF.
“The focus on children is because they are easier to manipulate and indoctrinate than the adults within the region who can now see through the veil of deceit.
“Arising from this latest atrocity by Boko Haram, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) urges parents, local authorities, religious and traditional institutions to be vigilant and promptly alert security agencies of any overt or covert attempts to recruit their children and wards.
“Furthermore, owing to the gale of disillusionment and surrender which have
Buratai depleted the ranks of Boko Haram, youths are advised to be mindful of promises of power and influence, economic prosperity and spiritual growth.
Boko Haram does not have any of these conditions to offer. The stories of hardship and evil within the terrorist organisations as revealed by all surrendered Boko Haram fighters should be sufficient notice that Boko Haram and ISWAP have nothing good to offer anyone”.
LEADERSHIP Friday reports that the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict forbids the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts.
Army Can Halt Nation’s Drift To Insecurity – Emir Of Anka
Lending his voice on security matters, the Emir of Anka and chairman, Zamfara State Council of Emirs, Ahaji Atahiru Muhammed Ahmed, yesterday expressed confidence that the nation’s Army was capable of halting Nigeria’s drift to insecurity.
He was speaking at the Nigeria Army Super Camp 4 in Faskari local government area of Katsina State after inspecting the facility alongside the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumin Kabir Usman, who was represented by the Kauran Katsina, Alhaji Nuhu Abubakar.
The royal father said, “We are convinced by what we have seen and heard, there is no doubt that Nigeria Army is capable of protecting the integrity of the country.
“As a stakeholder, I observed that there are a lot of insecurity challenges in the nation for the armed forces to contain. No state in Nigeria that is 100 per cent peaceful”.
He urged politicians and the elite to intensify support for the military to eradicate the spate of insecurity in the country, even as he urged the people to be patient with the fight against banditry and BokoHaram terrorists.
Ahmed also urged the local populace to feed the Army with vital information in order to halt the menace of crimes in their localities.
The monarch further called on the federal government to improve the welfare
package of soldiers in order to boost their morale in their quest to protect the nation.
We Are Making Progress To Reverse US Visa Restriction – PMB
Meanwhile, Nigeria is making progress to reverse the United States’ suspension of the issuance of ‘immigrant visas’ to Nigerian passport holders, President Muhammadu Buhari hinted yesterday.
Speaking when he received the report of the Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation chaired from the minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the president expressed delight that two of the six areas of concern raised by the United States had been fully addressed.
The committee was set up in February this year to address issues that led to the temporary visa restrictions on Nigerian passport holders by the US.
The suspension, which came into effect on February 21, 2020, does not apply to other US visas such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.
Commending the committee for its patriotic diligence in carrying out the assignment, President Buhari assured Nigerians and the international community of the timely
implementation of the committee’s recommendations after due consideration.
The committee had among other things recommended the establishment of a national criminal information management, fashioned after the INTERPOL model, and a national criminal DNA laboratory to aid criminal investigation, administration of criminal justice as well as sharing of relevant
President Buhari noted that the
implementation of these and other far- reaching recommendations as articulated in the report will fully address all outstanding issues that led to the visa restrictions.
A statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying: “An effective Citizen Data Management System is critical for socio-economic planning, improved service delivery and good governance, as well as national and global security.
It also has the over- arching benefit of enhancing integrity of the nation’s citizens’ identity instruments for the purpose of information sharing.
‘‘Accordingly, the committee’s recommendations on the strategies for harmonizing existing databases, improving the infrastructure for the National Identity Database as well as a review of the supervisory mechanism of the National Identity Management Commission would be given serious consideration.
‘‘The implementation of the recommendations as estimated by the committee would require enormous resources. In this regard, an Implementation Committee would be constituted to further study the recommendations and develop a workable implementation plan”.
The president also pledged Nigerian Government’s commitment to sustaining the follow-up for the removal of the visa restrictions by the United States and developing a credible harmonized National Identity Data Management System.
President Buhari recalled that the
federal government’s response to the temporary visa restrictions placed on Nigerian citizens by the United States in January this year led to the setting up of the committee to review the restrictions and develop systems and processes that would address the security concerns raised.
He continued: ‘‘In consideration of the fact that the concerns raised cast doubts on the credibility of the nation’s citizen identity data management system, the scope of the Committee’s assignment was expanded to include strategies to harmonize the various citizen identity data held by different Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
‘‘I have gone through the highlights of the Report and must commend the Chairman and members of the Committee for painstakingly carrying out the assignment in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘The recommendations as highlighted are capable of addressing the concerns raised by the US Government as well as lead to the development of a reliable national citizen identity data management system.’’
In his remarks, minister of Interior and chairman of the Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonization, Aregbesola, recalled that the body was set up on February 3, 2020 to, among others, review the visa restrictions imposed by the U.S and develop systems and processes that would address the security concerns raised.
Another mandate, the Minister said, was to review the status of Nigeria’s numerous citizen identification data, including biometrics, held by different ministries, departments and agencies, and propose strategies for the harmonization of same.
He reported that Nigeria had fully satisfied two of the six areas of concern raised by the US, two others substantially satisfied, and progress being made on the remaining two.
“It is our hope that the findings, strategies and implementation plans proffered, if fully implemented, will expedite the lifting of the visa restrictions while bequeathing to the nation an enduring identity management system,” the Minister said.
…Promises To Spend More On Infrastructure For Job Creation
In another development, President Buhari has pledged to spend more on infrastructure across the country, focusing on finishing projects delivered by local contractors and technology that create jobs for thousands of Nigerians.
He spoke at the virtual inauguration of the new headquarters building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday.
The president said the iconic 17-storey building known as the Nigerian Content Tower, with the full complements of a 10MW power plant and 1000-seater Conference Center, reflects his administration’s drive to provide infrastructure across the country to attract investments, create jobs and eradicate poverty.
‘‘With the commissioning of this project, I want to highlight that we have put in place a landmark of reference in the Niger Delta to reflect long lasting legacies that signpost the years of oil and gas exploitation and I assure you that there is more to come,’’ a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying.
President Buahri expressed said he was happy that thousands of direct and indirect jobs were created during the execution of the project in addition to the various business opportunities.
He noted: “This commissioning brings to the fore the importance of local content in all activities of our national life especially with the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘I believe strongly in local production and patronage of our goods and services as one of the surest ways to empower our citizens and give them viable opportunities to excel in their chosen professions and business endeavors.
‘‘That is why two of the Executive Orders issued under our government are related to enforcing local content in public procurement and contracts to further replicate the successes being realized in the oil and gas industry.
‘‘Local Content and Self Reliance are key principles of the recently approved 2.3 trillion Naira National Economic Sustainability Plan. The plan is aimed at the promotion of local production, local services, local innovation, and the use of local materials”.
Commending the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Chairman and members of the Governing Council, as well as the management and staff of the Nigerian Content Board for this achievement, the president said: ‘‘The edifice we are commissioning today is a befitting birthday gift as you mark your 10th-year anniversary as a regulator and developer of local content in the oil and gas industry.