Tobi Soniyi and Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
. Donors redeem N23bn pledge to Victims Support Fund
. President orders release of FG’s N5bn contribution
. Boko Haram attacks Maiduguri Market, kills 6
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday said that with the formation of a stronger regional military coalition, Nigeria and neighbouring countries now have an increased capacity to deal effectively with Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.
Also Friday, the Boko Haram Victims Support Fund headed by Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma disclosed that donors have now redeemed about N23 billion of their pledges. Buhari on his part ordered the immediate release of federal government’s N5 billion pledge to the fund.
Speaking at an audience with Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Buhari reaffirmed his belief that the full activation and deployment of the Multi National Joint Task Force established under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission will lead to the speedy defeat and elimination of Boko Haram.
The President added that with the Command and Control Centre of the Nigerian military now in Maiduguri, Borno State, the morale of troops in the front-line states had improved significantly.
“You can tell the Secretary-General that we are doing our best and our best will be good enough for the nation and the sub-region,’’ Buhari told Ibn Chambas.
Against the background of upcoming elections in Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea and Burkina Faso, the President also called on the United Nations to assist African countries in the acquisition and use of innovative technologies to ensure more credible elections.
“When citizens recognise that their votes count, it will boost their confidence in democracy and their countries’ electoral systems,” he said.
Recalling that in the last general elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission used smart card readers to authenticate prospective voters, Buhari observed that while Nigeria could afford the use of such technology in its elections, other African countries may require support and assistance from the international community.
Ibn Chambas commended Buhari for his strong and positive actions against terrorism.
The United Nations envoy also welcomed President Buhari’s successful visit to Cameroon this week and his reaffirmation of Nigeria’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of all border issues with Cameroon.
Donors redeem N23bn pledge to Boko Haram support fund…
The Presidential Committee of the Boko Haram Victims Support Fund headed by Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma disclosed that donors have now redeemed about N23 billion of their pledges.
President Buhari subsequently directed the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Danladi Kifasi, to facilitate the immediate release of the N5 billion pledged by the Federal Government since August 2014 for the Fund.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina said the president gave the directive after receiving a briefing from the VSF Presidential Committee at the Presidential Villa.
Danjuma had told the President that out of the N55.92 billion pledged at the fund-raising dinner for the Fund in August last year, N33.54 billion was still outstanding, including N5 billion from the Federal Government.
He said that the VSF currently has N23.33 billion in four bank accounts and that the committee received approval from the immediate past administration to incorporate the fund into a Trust Fund, to “insulate it from political interference”.
Danjuma had urged the President to use his office to persuade all organisations and individuals to honour their pledges to the committee.
Buhari also urged the committee to ensure proper coordination with other government agencies providing support and assistance to victims of terrorism.
The President assured Danjuma and members of the VSF Committee that his administration was taking proactive steps to defeat terrorism in the country.
He said that despite the challenge of acquiring much needed strategic equipment and weapons to confront the terrorists, the Nigerian military has recently gained much ground in its effort to defeat and degrade Boko Haram.
He added that the full deployment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), under the auspices of member-states of Lake Chad Basin Commission, would further boost ongoing military operations against the terrorists.
Boko Haram Kills 6 in Maiduguri market…..
On the same day that Abbah pledged to wipe out Boko Haram, the terrorists struck again in Maiduguri, killing 6 persons, with several others injured in a suicide bomb attack at a crowded market.
The attack which temporarily halted sales at the market and sent jitters to the entire town happened at 6:30 am when some people were still in bed.
A member of the youth vigilance group who spoke anonymously to our correspondent on phone, said the bomb was detonated by a woman who arrived the market pretending as if she was one of those that come early to buy vegetables.
He said the woman arrived in a tricycle at about 6:30 am at Gamboru market where wholesale trading of fresh vegetables is done.
He said that the woman on sensing that she might perhaps be caught by the security at the entrance to the market, quickly detonated the bomb strapped on her at the tricycles park where passengers are dropped and picked.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed that six persons were killed in the suicide bomb attack.
The Northeast zonal coordinator of the agency, Mohammed Kanar who spoke to our correspondent on phone said: “I cannot give you the exact time of the blast but our men were called to offer assistance at 7am. We found six persons were killed, two of the corpses were mangled and beyond recognition.
“11 persons were injured, four were taken to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), the seven others were taken to the State Specialists Hospital to be treated.”
117 jihadist fighters killed in Chad…
It was also confirmed yesterday that about 117 Boko Haram terrorists have been killed by Chadian forces in an operation which began two weeks ago.
“For two weeks, Boko Haram terrorists have been trying to infiltrate our islands on Lake Chad to carry out attacks on peaceful citizens,” army spokesman, Colonel Azem Bermendoa Agouna said, adding that military operations were ongoing.
Lake Chad is a strategic region where the borders of Chad and northeast Nigeria converge with those of Cameroon and Niger, further north.
Boko Haram has carried out raids and suicide bombings in all four countries, which have formed a military alliance along with Benin to tackle the movement.
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