Following the rising insecurity in parts of the country, including the nation’s capital, Abuja, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has reiterated his position that the best way to tackle the problem is to bomb terrorists’ camps and enclaves to push back their menace.
The governor, who lamented that insecurity was really setting Nigeria back, said his only hope is that the federal government will use its military night and other security apparatuses to deal with the terrorists.
He said, “I have always said it – and the people of Kaduna State know that I have been saying it since about five years ago – that we should use the army and air force to bomb these people out of existence. There is no way to end this challenge, except we do that.”
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware of the threat by terrorists to abduct him until he brought it to the president’s notice.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that a video was released at the weekend by the terrorists who abducted some train passengers in March 28th, 2022, in which they threatened to abduct both President Buhari and Governor El-Rufai, among others.
El-Rufai said for the past five years, he had been calling for the bombing of terrorists’ camps wherever they are, saying it’s the only solution to the problem.
Speaking on a radio programme on Wednesday night, the governor also disclosed that he and his family members had received threats.
He said, “Insecurity is a major challenge and the disturbing thing is that, despite our efforts at the state level, the situation is getting worse. It is affecting our efforts to bring investors into the state, and even those that have invested, their business is not moving as expected.”
According to him, insurgency in the country has grossly affected economic activities, including construction works in parts of the state, and had got worse since the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train.
“The insecurity is really setting us back. Now, it has gotten to a level where terrorists will go to Kuje prison and free their people. And they even did a video where they were threatening to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari and myself and take us to their jungle,” El-Rufai, who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said in an interview.
“What happened within this week is what made me seek to see the President and I called him that I needed to see him. So, he gave me an appointment for Sunday and I went to see him. Then, I told him about the recent developments, particularly the video released by the terrorists. In fact, up until that moment, he was not even aware. So, I told and the following day, that is on Monday, the Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle confirmed to him that he even saw the video, so we need to take action.
“The president told me that he met with the service chiefs the previous week before I met him – like three or four days before I met him – and that he gave them a very clear directive that they must carry out a comprehensive military operation to finish these people. By God’s grace, we will see the end of these challenges. Our hope is that the military and police that were given this directive will hurry up and carry out the operation,” El-Rufai said.
He said waiting for the insurgents to attack before responding is not what will bring an end to the challenges.
“It is compulsory that we take the battle to their doorstep and deal with them. May God bring an end to it, but truly the challenge is disturbing and our hope is that the federal government will do the needful,” he stated.
Terrorists Attack Military Checkpoint Along Abuja-Kaduna Road
Suspected terrorists last night attacked a military checkpoint at Zuma along Abuja-Kaduna road.
The checkpoint came under attack by gunmen which the military responded swiftly, according to sources.
Though this paper could not independently ascertain the casualty figure on both sides, sources said there was exchange of fire at the location.
When contacted, the assistant director, Army Public Relations, Guards Brigade, Captain Godfrey Abakpa, said information on the attack was still sketchy and referred this reporter to the director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, for confirmation.
Military Declares Abuja Safe, Kills 88 Terrorists In Bwari, Others
The Military High Command yesterday declared Abuja safe despite attack on Presidential Guards Brigade during two officers and six soldiers were reportedly killed.
The military said they killed over 30 insurgents in the Bwari area of Abuja during clearance operations.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) also said it would investigate troops allegedly benefitting from ransom payment to kidnappers and called on those involved to report to the appropriate authorities.
The director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Benard Onyeuko, and the director, Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, stated these while fielding questions at the biweekly update on the Armed Forces operations in Nigeria.
An online medium had reported how troops collected N700,000 from the N100 million ransom by Mr Deji Oyewunmi, one of the victims of March 28, 2022 Abuja-Kaduna train attack.
Quoting family sources, the online medium accused the soldiers of boastfully receiving the sum, saying it was their share of the ransom.
However, the military spokespersons said though the military had not received any official report, it had structures to deal with such misdemeanor.
Major General Jimmy Akpor, responding to said allegations, said the Armed Forces does not tolerate any form of misdemeanor.
“The allegations that troops are benefiting from ransoms, we don’t have that information, but you do know that the Armed Forces is a well-structured organisation that will never tolerate any misdemeanor from its personnel. There are court martials all over the divisions that deal with these administrative issues.
“So, if the reports get to appropriate authorities, they will be investigated and appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken to deal with any misdemeanor,” he said
On the security of Abuja, Major General Unyeuko said a joint team of 7 Guards Brigade and Nigeria Air Force strikes in the general area of Kawu and Ido had killed 30 terrorists between 24-25 July, 2022.
“The hierarchy of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies wishes to re-assure Nigerians of its commitment and pact with all Nigerians.
“With the recent operations carried out between from 23 July we wish to assure residents of FCT Abuja in particular that we are undaunted and unrelenting in our efforts to ensure the safety of lives and properties.
“People should go about their normal business as their safety is guaranteed. The support and cooperation of all Nigerians is hereby solicited as security is everybody’s business. Citizens are encouraged to report any unusual persons in your community to security agencies. If you see something, say something”.
Unyeuko added that military operations are still ongoing in the federal capital to root out criminals.
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said it troops operating in the North East, Northwest and North Central neutralised 58 terrorists while 2,016 terrorists and their families surrendered in two weeks between 14-28 July 2022.
Defence spokesperson, Major General Benard Onyeuko who disclosed this during the biweekly update on Armed Forces operations said the troops arrested 16 terror suspects and rescued 10 kidnap victims.
In the Northeast, he said troops neutralised 20 terrorists, rescued four kidnap victims while 2,016 suspected Boko Haram /Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists and their families, comprising of 360 adult males, 580 adult females and 1076 children surrendered to troops.
In the North Central, he said troops arrested 16 suspected arms dealers, kidnappers and terrorists, and killed 37 while six kidnap victims were rescued.
The director said troops of 7 Guards Battalion and 167 Special Force Battalion, in conjunction with the air component of Operation WHIRL PUNCH 24 – 26 July 2022 conducted a clearance patrol around Bwari general area of Abuja.
“Troops successfully cleared Kawu and Ido villages. Consequently, about 30 terrorists were neutralised and their enclave and hideout destroyed.
“Ground troops also recovered 6 motorcycles, two AK47 rifles, and one fully loaded LMG magazine amongst others during mop up.”
According to him, troops of Operation Delta Safe in the period under review discovered and deactivated 80 illegal refining sites, 60 wooden boats, 316 storage tanks, 262 ovens and 87 dugout pits.
He said the troops also recovered 9 speed boats, 15 outboard engines, 19 pumping machines and 17 vehicles.
Furthermore, the troops arrested 27 pipeline vandals while it recovered 5,159,500 litres of substance suspected to be crude oil and 1,432,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil.
said all arrested economic saboteurs and recovered items were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
“The statistic above shows a significant loss to the economy of the country. It has a street value of about N2,534,771,543.08. However, the number of arrested individuals has also increased and could reduce the illegal activities of these of oil thieves,” he said.
Nigerians Tired, Gravitating Towards Self-help – NSA
Reacting to the rising insecurity, the National Security Council is working on new strategies to curtail the situation as it observed that Nigerians are tired and gravitating towards self-help.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after the Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the country is in a difficult situation and the president is aware of the people’s concerns about the growing insecurity.
He revealed that the Security Council has agreed on new strategies to curtail the menace, assuring that there will be a renewed momentum against terrorism.
The NSA also revealed that Council was in the process of winding up special investigation into Kuje Correctional Centre attack with a view to holding those found negligent accountable for their actions.
He urged the media to be circumspect in what they publish from terrorists, appealing that they should consider the consequences of such materials.
He said, “The truth is that no country can ever overcome the difficulties of an asymmetric conflict by virtue of the fact that the enemy of the state is embedded within the population within the wider society.
“It is true that the local people are averse, they’re scared, they’re worried and there’s no confidence. That is understandable. But without their support, without the cooperation in terms of giving information, it makes it very hard for the operational elements.
“A few days ago, troops of the guards brigade were ambushed and decimated. Had there been a collective effort by way of just snippets of information we might have averted that incident, that is not to say that the responsibility is for those outside the security domain. It’s a collective responsibility.”
He also urged the political elite to consider the consequences of their utterances.
“We are in a very difficult situation. And Council understands. Mr. President understands people’s concerns about the growing insecurity.
“I know people are weary, people are tired, people are beginning to gravitate to other places for self-help. The truth is that help is rooted in everyone working for the other person,” he said.