The United States government has provided $650 million (or N267 billion at current official exchange rate of N411 per US dollar) security assistance to Nigeria since 2017, the ‘United States and Nigeria Strategic Partners Fact Sheet’ has revealed.
The revelation came as the Nigerian military reiterated its resolve to intensify pressure on the insurgents in the North East of the country.
The fact sheet which was released recently and obtained by LEADERSHIP Weekend indicated that the amount includes the 12 newly acquired A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, six of which have already been delivered and inducted into the Nigerian Air Force inventory.
The document said the United States provides technical assistance and trains law enforcement and judicial professionals to address issues such as banditry and protection of intellectual property rights.
The law enforcement programme focuses on building capacity for civilian security actors, in particular, the Nigeria Police Force.
“Since 2017, US security assistance to Nigeria has totaled approximately$650m, including $500m in foreign military sales,” the document said.
The United States recently delivered six of the 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft which the country’s mission says is the largest foreign military sale in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The embassy said the United States security mission in Nigeria prioritises military justice reform, civilian casualty mitigation and the protection of human rights.
This is done through training of security operatives.
The document said; “US maritime domain awareness (MDA) investment in Nigeria amounts to over $5m for multiple watch floors, technology and training, including an MDA schoolhouse.”
The document further revealed that four former ships of the United States military fleet have been donated to Nigeria.
In humanitarian support, the United States said it had spent $1.45 billion since 2015 on the fight against insurgency in the North East, managing the most complex humanitarian crisis.
On the fight against Covid-19, the embassy said the United States had contributed more than $125 million equipment and technical assistance to the Nigerian government.
Military To Sustain Onslaught Against Insurgents—CAS
Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has charged personnel of the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK) to sustain the current onslaught against terrorists and insurgents in the North East.
Amao gave the charge while on an operational visit to frontline troops of the 105 Composite Group in Maiduguri, Borno State and 103 Strike Group in Yola, Adamawa State.
A statement by the director of public relations and information in the Nigerian Air Force, Air Cdre Edward Gabkwet, said the visit served as morale booster to personnel of the air component.
He said the visit also gave the CAS the opportunity to interact with the front line troops with a view to addressing some of their immediate operational challenges.
On arrival in Maiduguri, Air Marshal Amao was briefed by the Air Component Commander, OPHK, Air Commodore Nnamdi Ananaba, who gave a summary of the major achievements recorded by the component towards degrading the capabilities of insurgents in Borno State, especially in the last 30 days.
The CAS thereafter commended the troops for their commitment to the current onslaught against insurgents in the North east, while urging them to sustain and maintain the momentum.
He said; “The outcome of our air operations has been very encouraging and positive and we must sustain these efforts to remain on course towards meeting our overall end state of ridding the region of these criminals,”
He, therefore, charged the troops to remain focused and committed towards their operational objective.
He said absolute commitment, discipline and dedication were required at this point in time to get the job done.
Amao also expressed optimism that the security threats confronting the country would soon be a thing of the past as the NAF, in synergy with other sister services was working assiduously to flush out all criminal elements so as to enable Nigerians go about their daily lives and businesses without fear.
He stated that in view of the centrality of air power in joint operations, the NAF would continue to provide the much-needed air support for the surface forces in all theatres of operation in the country.
While in Yola, Air Marshal Amao thanked the personnel for their commitment and dedication to duty and charged them to continue to synergize with other security agencies within their location.
He also assured them that the entire nation remained grateful for their sacrifices and commitment towards keeping Nigeria safe.
He said during the interactive session, several issues pertaining to welfare, promotion and discipline, among others, were addressed by the CAS.
Insecurity: Ex-DSS Chief Advocates Home Grown-Solution
A former director of operations in the Department of State Services (DSS) Chief Ray Nkemdirim, has suggested home-grown solutions to Nigeria’s security challenges.
Nkemirim spoke on the topic; “Insecurity As A Threat To Development” at an event in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, where he expressed concern over new dimension of insecurity in the country.
“In the course of my public life, I have seen that reliance on help from outside often attracts only half-hearted responses particularly where the donor’s interest is not favoured.
“No country will willingly transfer technology to you to develop. That is why Third World or developing countries that have become developed today, essentially had to steal technology,” he added.
The expert pointed out that the kidnap of the Chibok girls in Borno State some years ago remained a turning point in his perception of the sincerity of foreign assistance in fighting insecurity in another country.
“Whatever security challenges we face in this country today, we must fight and confront them ourselves,” the security expert further maintained, adding, “nobody from outside will do it for us except ourselves.”
He added: “As soon as we (Africans) have problems, we ask someone to take care of them for us. We ask the Europeans, we ask the Americans, we ask the Chinese, this is not development.”
He thanked God and expressed appreciation to the present administration in the state for the relative peace across the state and solicited the cooperation of the people to sustain it.
“Thankfully also, most of these vices appear more recurrent in the same local government areas, making it easier to concentrate combat efforts and effectively manage security resources within specific geographical areas,” he said.
We Will No Longer Dialogue With Bandits—Zamfara Governor
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has said his government is no longer interested in dialoguing with bandits as they rejected the olive branch stretched at them earlier.
He said in Gusau that instead, security forces would flush them (bandits) out of the state.
“My administration will no longer grant amnesty to bandits as they have failed to embrace the peace initiative earlier extended to them,’’ the governor said while addressing a congregation.
He urged residents to be patient and support new security measures put in place to flush out bandits and their collaborators to restore peace in the state.
The governor said the barrage of attacks on bandits by security forces had made them to make a fresh overture to government seeking dialogue.
He said the bandits’ emissaries informed him that they had repented and would want to dialogue with government. He noted that some of the bandits were running out of Zamfara to other states as a result of the new security measures introduced by the state government.
Mr Matawalle warned politicians against giving any form of support to bandits, stressing: “Politicians should fear God and stop buying motorcycles to distribute to people who, in turn, sell to bandits to perpetuate their evil acts.’’
The governor said the Zamfara government would prosecute any politician caught in the act. Zamfara has cut off food, petroleum products supply and other essential commodities from the reach of the bandits in their various camps.
The government has also incepted several vehicles conveying food, drinks and petroleum products to various bandits’ camps in the state.
The government said earlier it had also arrested more than 100 violators of Governor Matawalle’s Executive Order to restore law and order in the state.
Mr Matawalle had established the Special Taskforce to enforce measures to address the lingering security challenges of mass kidnapping for ransom and cattle rustling in the state. On August 26, he signed an Executive Order suspending all weekly markets in the state, banned bicycles and motorcycles from carrying more than one passenger and not more than three passengers in the case of tricycles.
The order read in part: “No bicycle, motorcycle or tricycle shall ply any road or run within Zamfara State between 6.30 p.m. and 6 a.m., while in Gusau metropolis, the ban shall be between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“No firewood or charcoal shall be transported from the bush to any part of Zamfara State by bicycle, motorcycle, tricycle, car, articulated vehicle, lorry, truck or any vehicle by whatever name called.
“No sheep or cow shall be transported into or outside Zamfara State. The sale of petroleum products by fuel stations within the control of a village head is banned.
“Fuel stations shall not sell petroleum products in jerry can or any other container to any customer. No fuel station shall sell more than five litres to motorcyclists, tricyclists and not more than 40 litres to any vehicle.
“All shops, kiosks, containers, tents and stands located at Garejin Mailaina, Gusau, are hereby closed.’’
The state government had also established a Special Taskforce to ensure full compliance with the order while mobile courts were set up to prosecute violators.
Meanwhile, commercial activities in the state have been halted following the two weeks suspension of telecommunication networks in the state by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
All banking services, mobile telephone services, internet and other related services have also been suspended.
In a related development, the commissioner of police in Zamfara State, Ayuba Elkanah, announced the suspension of movement of all motorcycles with clutches in 13 local government areas of the state.
In an interview with reporters, Mr Elkanah urged members of the public to continue to support security agencies by giving them vital information that would assist in fighting crimes and criminally in the state.
“In a bid to achieve this aim, additional measures have been put in place. Riding of motorcycles that have clutches have been banned in the 13 local government areas of the state in addition to the earlier enforcement of restrictions on motorcycles and tricycles in Gusau Local Government Area.
“In Gusau area, Damba and Mada are equally affected in the ban on riding motorcycles with clutches,’’ Mr Elkanah said.
The police commissioner said they had authoritative information that some unscrupulous elements use the vehicles, especially Golf III cars and Canter trucks, to supply petroleum products and food items to bandits camps,
Mr Elkanah enjoined residents in Zamfara to bear with the security agencies because the measures put in place are temporarily and are in the best interest of the state.
“We urge residents to remain law-abiding and to collaborate with security agencies in ensuring that peace and security is restored in the state,’’ the police commissioner said. (NAN)
Jigawa Governor Warns Fulani Against Harbouring Bandits
Governor Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa State has warned Fulani people in the state against harbouring bandits fleeing from the military offensive against them in Zamfara State.
According to a statement by his spokesman, Habibu Kila, the governor gave the warning when he met the leadership of Miyatti Allah, a Fulani socio-cultural group, over rising cases of kidnapping in the state.
Mr Badaru warned the officials over allegations that some members of their community were harbouring criminals, saying the state would not allow the repeat of happenings in Zamfara State.
Armed bandits are reportedly fleeing Zamfara to escape from the military onslaught. This has coincided with an uptick in reported cases of violent crimes in Jigawa, a relatively peaceful state in the troubled North-West region.
“You, as leaders, you have to engage your subordinates in discussion to warn them against harbouring of criminals,” the governor admonished the Miyatti Allah officials.
“They know those committing crimes but they shield them. If people are kidnapped, they are kept in Fulani settlements.
“We don’t want to use force on Fulani settlements. You have to report suspicious strange persons. All the people that are being kidnapped are kept in Fulani settlements. If we allow the insecurity to deteriorate, everyone will bear the consequences,” Mr Badaru said.
“Happenings in Zamfara are disgusting, people have been killed. We will not allow the situation here to reach the level of Zamfara,” the governor added.
‘Efforts In Progress To Contain The Crisis’
Mr Badaru said the state would continue to provide and expand qualitative nomadic education to cattle herders in all parts of the state.
He said the government was committed to providing education to all, including the herders, for the development of the state.
“In addition to about 400 nomadic schools across state, the government will establish 200 more new nomadic schools and employ 10 herders from each of the 27 local government areas of the state,” Mr Kila said.
He said following the governor’s recent working tour to The Netherlands, plans were underway to expand cattle routes and grazing reserves to provide all-year grass for the nomadic.
He called on Miyatti Allah to support the government in the fight against vices among the Fulani, especially their youth, who are engaged in criminal activities.
The chairman of the association commended the efforts of the government in maintaining peace in the state. He said they would do everything possible to ensure that the peace between farmers and herders in the state is maintained.
He also said with the support of the government, the Fulani community would fish out any criminal among them.