The Nigerian Armed Forces are widening their operations within and outside the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in order to neutralise the recent threat of terrorists to the capital city.
Military sources told the LEADERSHIP that the containment operations which started as a Guards Brigade operation to defend the capital territory had been expanded to cover areas in Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi states.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said the military was still carrying out offensives against the criminals who had established camps from where they attack military men and government facilities.
He also gave assurance that the security of the city was guaranteed and that troops were still combing the forests and other criminal hideouts, even as he added that tremendous success had been recorded so far in the offensive operations with scores of terrorists killed and several others arrested.
The security of the FCT had come under threat from terrorists following three successive attacks in and around the capital territory, Abuja. The first was the attack on Kuje Correctional Centre during which they released hundreds of inmates, including 63 high-profile terrorists. Another attack was recorded in Bwari in the FCT when they attacked a Presidential Guards Brigade team, killing some of the soldiers. Not long after, they attacked a military checkpoint in the Zuma Rock area, close to the Abuja border with Niger State, which resulted in more military casualties.
The terrorists had also released a video in which they threatened to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State and other prominent politicians.
Meanwhile, contrary to insinuations, the anticipated Super Tucano jets procured by the federal government in 2018 and delivered in August 2021 are being deployed in the fight against insurgency.
The platforms procured in a deal between the federal government and the United States of America valued at over $500 million was said to be a game changer in Nigeria’s battle against armed non-state actors.
But one year after its delivery, not much has been seen as it regards its game changing status in the fight against terrorists, banditry and other non-state actors with many speculating that the government is restricted from using them outside of the north east region, where Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru terrorists were domiciled before they started spreading out to attack targets in the north west and north central regions, the latest being attack in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.
When contacted, the director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Nigeria Air Force (NAF), Air Cdre Edward Gabkwet, said the Tucano jets were operational but he declined to give details.
According to him, stating the number and places of operation of the Super Tucano jets would be counterproductive in the ongoing counterterrorism efforts.
However, the chairman, Senate Committee on Nigerian Air Force, Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah, had on Sunday commended the Nigerian Air Force for its effective deployment of the Super Tucano jets and the success recorded so far in combating the current security challenges in the country.
He urged the Nigerian Air Force to sustain the good work to gain more ground in their efforts to rid the country of the lingering security challenges.
Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah described the decision to acquire those platforms as one of the wisest taken by the federal government in terms of savings and operational flexibility.
He advised the federal government to consider increasing their number in order to significantly cut down the cost of running the Air Force.
IGP Deploys Additional Policemen In FCT
The inspector-general of police, IGP Usman Baba, has allayed the fears of residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs concerning the recent security threats as he ordered massive deployment of additional police operatives and operational assets within the FCT and its environs.
The deployment is to improve the security and protection of lives and property of its residents, critical national assets and vulnerable facilities as well as road users plying routes in and around the FCT.
IGP Baba equally charged the deputy inspector-general of police in charge of the Department of Operations, DIG Bala Zama Senchi, to supervise and manage the deployment to ensure maximum security in the FCT as well as surrounding states, with a high risk of attacks resonating from the threats being speculated on the news.
The IGP however cautioned members of the public, especially citizen-journalists, on the dangers of spreading false alarms, misinformation, and disinformation as they could be detrimental and counter-productive to national security.
Force PRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi further said the inspector-general of police had also assured Nigerians in general and residents of the FCT in particular of their safety and security, while urging them to go about their lawful duties without fear of attacks.
He equally reiterated the firm determination of the Police leadership to continue to explore avenues to enhance the security architecture in the country, through intelligence gathering, operational deployments and application of cutting-edge technology to decimate the activities of criminal elements across the country.
PMB Begs International Community To Help Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the collective efforts of nations towards tackling security challenges across the globe, and within Nigeria.
He urged more collaboration to check terrorism, banditry and other crimes.
Receiving Letters of Credence from the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador James Kingston Christoff and Ambassador of Mexico to Nigeria, Juan Alfred Miranda Oritz, President Buhari told the diplomats that successes in taming insecurity had been recorded through collaboration across borders, but that more could be achieved.
Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement yesterday said, “The devastating effect of global insecurity, climate change and the post-COVID-19 era has devastated global economies. Nations continue to struggle to recover from these multiple global challenges.
“The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has undermined the progress countries have achieved in tackling food security in the last decade, while the political instability in Libya continues to fuel terrorism in the Sahel, as well as scuttle democratic sustenance in both West and Central African regions.
“Nigeria is not left out of the equation, as we are fighting to rid our country of banditry, kidnapping, herder/farmer crisis and insurgency. We are, however, making meaningful progress with the support of friendly countries like yours to sustain these fights until we overcome these challenges,’’ he said.
At the regional level, President Buhari said Nigeria had been working with other member-states of ECOWAS and other regional blocs to deal with the problems of terrorism, trans-border crimes, maritime crimes such as piracy and illegal fishing on its waters, illicit drug and human trafficking, banditry, as well as unconstitutional changes of government.
“I believe that matters of security have become the business of all nations as these challenges go beyond the abilities of any single country to effectively contain. The world must, therefore, work closely together and Nigeria counts on your support in cementing the relations between our countries at both bilateral and multilateral levels to surmount these global threats to civilisation,’’ he added.
The president urged diplomats to monitor political developments in the country, leading to the 2023 elections, but to remain true to their professional ethics of non-interference.
The President also advised the diplomats to focus on building on the successes of their predecessors.
In his remarks, on behalf of the ambassadors, the Canadian High Commissioner thanked the President for the ceremony of accepting the Letters of Credence.
“Today marks the formal beginning of our engagement with the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We will work closely with ministers and officials to start a progressive relationship,’’ Christoff said.
Also yesterday, Buhari paid his condolences to those who lost their loved ones in the recent barbaric terrorist attacks in Sokoto, Kaduna and Plateau states.
The president, in a statement by Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, assured of support from the federal government to the states.
“We have given security forces full freedom to deal with, and bring to end this madness. I condemn these barbaric attacks on the country. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly,” he said.
Bandits Free Another 5 Kidnapped Kaduna Train Passengers
Another batch of five kidnapped passengers in the March 28 Kaduna train attack has regained their freedom, among whom is one who was shot by the terrorists recently, Prof Dr. Mustapha Umar Imam, the medical doctor from Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, UDUS, Sokoto.
Other released victims are Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Ahmed Rufai, Mukthar Shu’aibu Sidi and Aminu Sharif.
Mal Tukur Mamu, publisher Desert Herald who voluntarily engaged in negotiating the release of the train victims but backed out due to threats to his life, personal integrity and lack of support from the federal government, confirmed the release of the five additional victims of the train attack.
Mamu said all the five released victims were in his office on Tuesday afternoon immediately after their release to thank him for his past efforts.
LEADERSHIP recalls that about 63 passengers were kidnapped during the attack where nine persons were killed. The terrorists have continued to release them in batches beginning with the release of the managing director Bank of Agriculture, followed by another set of 11, then seven before this set of five which now makes it a total of 24 of the passengers released so far, leaving about 30 others still in captivity.
Before the release of the seven passengers where it was alleged that the sum of N800 million was paid as ransom, the terrorists had released a video where the abducted passengers were being tortured.
In the said video, the terrorists also boasted that they would destroy the country, kill the remaining passengers in their custody and sell out the others.
One of the terrorists threatened that unless the government complied with their demands, they would turn the area into an abattoir and also vowed to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari, Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai and other prominent Nigerians and destabilise the country.
The terrorists also threatened to kill and sell off some of the remaining Kaduna-Abuja train passengers in their custody.
Only recently, northern groups threatened that there will be no election in the region come 2023 if the passengers and other kidnapped victims are not released.
It is not clear whether any ransom was paid for the release of the passengers.
It’s Sad Nigeria Now Looks Up To Smaller Countries For Survival – Ortom
Meanwhile, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has described a situation where Nigeria, a giant in Africa, is now looking up for smaller countries for survival is a sign of a failed State.
The governor who said this when he received a delegation from the Solomon Lar Foundation, who were on a courtesy visit, explained that this is because the leaders of the country had deviated from the standards set by the founding fathers.
Ortom admonished Nigerians, particularly those in leadership, to brace up for the task of rebuilding the country in line with the vision of the founding fathers.
He noted, “Leaders who came after the likes of Solomon Lar and JS Tarka failed to take advantage of the opportunities in agriculture, solid minerals, culture and tourism as well as the population to grow Nigeria to an enviable height”
The governor described Solomon Lar as a key figure in Nigeria’s political history, stressing that as a beneficiary of his political structure, he would personally avail himself at the event being planned to honour the founding father.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation who is the Chairman of the Solomon Lar Foundation and former director general of National Orientation Agency, NOA, Dr. Mike Omeri, said the visit was to intimate Governor Ortom of their plans to honour Solomon Lar for his contributions to the enthronement of democracy and emancipation of the people.