By Nnenna Ibeh

[ByPremium]

The Nigerian military on Wednesday arrested two journalists working for news television, Aljazeera, in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The military accused the journalists, Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Andy, of loitering in areas were combat operations were still ongoing.

The Defence Headquarters, in a statement, said the journalists were moving around “restricted areas” in Yobe and Borno States without protection, accreditation or clearance.Nigerian military arrests Aljazeera journalists

The military said the journalists were monitored by intelligence operatives and were finally restrained to their hotel rooms in Maiduguri following increased suspicion that their activities were focused on interfering with ongoing military operations in those areas. Read More →

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…Kills 50

By Sun Reporter

Boko Haram has kidnapped 506 young women, children from Damasak, a town in Borno State.

According to Reuters, a resident, who witnessed the abduction said more than 50 were killed as the sect raided the northern Nigerian town.

“They took 506 young women and children. They killed about 50 of them before leaving,” Souleymane Ali, a trader in Damasak said.

NIGERIA-VIOLENCE-CHAD

 

 

“We don’t know if they killed others after leaving, but they took the rest with them.”

Read More →

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Hello. Today, I want to speak directly to you—the people of Nigeria. Nigeria is a great nation and you can be proud of the progress you’ve made. Together, you won your independence, emerged from military rule, and strengthened democratic institutions. You’ve strived to overcome division and to turn Nigeria’s diversity into a source of strength. You’ve worked hard to improve the lives of your families and to build the largest economy in Africa.

Now you have a historic opportunity to help write the next chapter of Nigeria’s progress—by voting in the upcoming elections. For elections to be credible, they must be free, fair and peaceful.

Read More →

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By Henry Umoru

 

 


ABUJA — NORTHERN leaders, yesterday, spoke in unison, condemning the activities of members of Boko Haram sect, just as they lamented that the security situation in the north was fast deteriorating.

Former United Nations Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, raised alarm that the activities of members of the Boko Haram sect was a threat to the nation, just as he said dialoguing with them by the Federal Government was the way forward.

From right, Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State; ANPP National Chairman, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu; Former Cheif Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Uwais; Guest Lecturer, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal; Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State; Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and other dignitaries during the 1st Annual Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture delivered by Prof. Gambari at the Yar’adua Centre, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 03/12/2012

According to him, there would be consequences for Nigeria, Nigerians and its foreign relations if the sect was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States of America.Suggesting another solution to the problem, Gambari pleaded with the  Federal Government to approach capable and credible Nigerians that would help mediate and lead a dialogue with the group, adding that the establishment of what he called a ‘core group of Nigerians’ who have led peace-making, peace-keeping efforts in Africa and other parts of the world can lead the dialogue.

Speaking as the guest speaker at the First Annual Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture on “Leadership and Good Governance in Nigeria,” Gambari noted that the problem in the north was not Boko Haram, but good governance.

According to the former Minister of External Affairs in his lecture entitled “Leadership and Good Governance in Nigeria: Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Ghost of 1914 and the Audacity of Hope for Nation-Building,” he, however, wondered why the country must deteriorate to the level it finds itself. He called on the leaders to pay “attention to social justice,” if the present problem must be solved,  adding that “too many Nigerians have fallen below the poverty line while a few are swimming in stupendous wealth.

“Private jets are increasing on the tarmacs of our airports at almost the same rate as that of the increase in misery and criminal poverty.

“While the current estimate of the GDP in terms of purchasing power parity for Nigeria is about $414 billion, the unemployment rate is 21 per cent, while 70 per cent of the population live below poverty line.

Good governance, not Boko Haram, is north’s problem

‘’We must embark on a comprehensive effort to stop the killings. Dialogue is one of the many ways we can address the issue of Boko Haram. Boko Haram is not the problem of the North, but good governance. Government should invest in education and address the rate of poverty in the land.

“Anyone who wants to break up this country will find out that he will not get support from any part of the country. Some people said let’s break up; breaking up has never solved any problem. We must build a Nigeria that everybody will be proud of.”

Gov Aliyu laments insecurity

Also speaking at the event which took place at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre and organised by the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Chairman, Northern Nigeria Governors Forum, and governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, however lamented the deteriorating security situation in the region.”

According to him, it has become imperative for people of the north to stand up against terrorism, adding: “North must stand against terrorism because investors are already scared of investing in our region.”

Aliyu who is also the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, urged the citizens to tell the government what to do.

According to the governor, “during the time of Sardauna there was nothing like this. No investor wants to invest in the North. Sardauna did not discriminate in terms of religion and ethnicity. I am sure some of us will recall that security of lives and property was almost taken for granted in that era, as people went about their lives without any let or hindrances. In all communities in the North, murder, kidnapping and extreme criminality were abomination and avoided.

“The (insecurity) situation has reached a situation whereby members of the State Executive Council in Yobe now run away to nearby Jigawa State for  safety. What is happening now is very scaring.

“This is indeed a moment of sober reflection for all of us; a moment that we should ponder to find out where we got it wrong almost a century after Sardauna left us.”

Also in his contribution, a former Permanent Secretary, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said  President Goodluck Jonathan and the government could not solve the problem of Boko Haram, but the governors of the north must come together and find a lasting solution. He frowned at a situation where the President has refused to visit Borno and Yobe States to commiserate with the people following the killings.

 

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Tokunbo Adedoja, Chuks Okocha and Onyebuchi Ezigbo

 

 


Former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has warned government not to take the threat Boko Haram poses to the corporate integrity of Nigeria lightly.

Prof. Ibrahim Gambari

Gambari gave the warning yesterday at the first annual Sir Ahmadu Bello memorial lecture on leadership and good governance held at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.

Also at the lecture, a former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Secretary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said he believed it was not in the political interest of the President Goodluck Jonathan to resolve the security challenges posed by the violent sect, and therefore appealed to northern governors to tackle the security challenge before it was too late.

In a paper titled: ‘Leadership and Good Governance in Nigeria: Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Ghost of 1914 and the Audacity of Hope for Nation-building,’ Gambari said there was an urgent need to chart the way forward to a better future for Nigeria by frankly assessing the present state of the nation.

He said: “In this regard, I do not want to sound alarmist  and wish to speak with the highest sense of responsibility. As a diplomat with two and half decades experience, you know that it is not in my nature to raise the alarm where none is needed.

“However, as we sit here today, is there anyone among us who has an absolute assurance that a bomb will not explode anywhere in the North of Nigeria today, or in this city, or that innocent lives will not be violently terminated?

“If you feel any immediate unease, or even suppressed panic about this possibility, then imagine the terrifying experience of our compatriots who have lived everyday in the last  few years under the fear of imminent terror. Is this the North that the Sir Ahmadu Bello bequeathed on us?”

Warning the nation of the threat posed by the violent religious sect,  Gambari said: “The Boko Haram phenomenon is dangerously becoming the norm in Nigeria today. So many promises of the end of the menace have been made, but none in sight.”
Noting that a debate is going on in the United States at the moment on whether to designate the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO), the seasoned diplomat said it would have “important consequences for Nigeria, Nigerians and our foreign relations.”

He said what the nation needed to do was “to embark on a comprehensive effort with a timeline to ensure that we stop the killings and end this dreadful threat to our peaceful co-existence, religious harmony and corporate existence of Nigeria.”
Harping on dialogue as a way out of addressing the menace, he said he believed that there were credible  and respected Nigerians who could be persuaded by Government to lead a dialogue with the group.

He recommended the establishment of a core group of Nigerians who have led peace-making, peacekeeping and peace-building efforts in Africa and other parts of the world.

Gambari said: “Those individuals who have successfully helped to bring peace to countries abroad should be tasked  to do the same at home, after all, charity begins at home.”
He also said the Nigerian Army  and other security groups involved in combating the group must also adhere strictly to the letter and spirit of their own rules of engagement.

Citing the recent Amnesty International report on Boko Haram which painted a grim picture of extra-judicial killings by Nigerian security forces, Gambari said this “do not talk well of the government and the citizens of this country.”

He was however quick to add that, “Nonetheless, the Government must not take the threat of Boko Haram to the corporate integrity of Nigeria lightly. Its operational base must be constricted while the capacity of the group to continue to perpetrate terror is circumscribed.”

Gambari said beyond the immediate measures that must be taken to end the scourge of the group, Government must also pay attention to the long-term socio-economic factors in the northern states, which provides the context and template for disaffected youths and others to make recruitments into terrorist cells and other illegal and anti-social groups easy.

He also noted that many erroneously believed that Boko Haram was a problem of the North. Rather, he said Boko Haram “is a problem of governance in the country as manifested in the North” and described it as a malaise of governance in Nigeria.
Noting the pathetic state of things, the diplomat said, “wherever you turn in Nigeria today, anomie seems to be the reality that stares us in the face”.

He said while Boko Haram may be specific to the North, the consequences of social anomie manifest themselves in different ways across the country, citing what he called the monster of armed insurgency in the oil-bearing states and the widening circle of kidnapping in the South of Nigeria.

“This is a demonstration of a breakdown of law and order, because  the security of lives and property is one of the primary duties of the state,” he said.

Gambari said if it was in the 1970s, there would have been military coup, but quickly added that the nation could never experience military coup again and maintained that those that were advocating for the break up of the country would also not have many support across the country.

Speaking as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation, Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu,  who is also the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, said, “the North must stand up against the activities of terrorists and terrorism. The terrorist activities are affecting the economy of the North negatively and investors are scared of coming to the North to invest.”

Aliyu said he heard that Boko Haram had made some government officials in Yobe State to relocate to nearby Jigawa State. He said: “If it is true that government institutions are moving away from Yobe State to the nearby Jigawa State for fear of insecurity, then we are in problem. We must not give up, we must rise up against the terrorists and terrorism.”

He said during the era of Ahmadu Bello, there were few skirmishes, adding that now things were getting out of hand and affecting investments in the region.

“I am sure some of us will recall that security of lives and property was almost taken for granted in that era, as people went about their lives without any hindrance. In all communities in the North, murder, kidnapping and extreme criminality were abomination and avoided,” he lamented, while describing the late Premier of northern Nigeria as a colossus, who performed wonders within a space of six years in office.
While discussing the lead paper presented by Gambari, Baba-Ahmed urged northern governors to address once and for all the Boko Haram menace.
Baba-Ahmed advised them not to look up to President Jonathan who is preparing for the 2015 presidential election to come and address the security challenges in the North.

He said: “the Federal Government will not solve the present security crisis in the North, especially in Borno and Yobe States”, because it would be in the President’s interest for it to continue so that the North would be a walk-over in 2015 election.
Accusing the governors of not tackling unemployment and poverty in the northern states, he said, “the youths are angry and frustrated. Please do something before the next general election or the process would be a revolution that will sweep you out.”

Baba-Ahmed called on the North to prepare for dialogue in whichever way it comes, arguing that: “ It is not in the interest of the North that the current federal system continues. The North should be forward looking and support the call for national dialogue.”

Speaking on some of the enduring legacies of Ahmadu Bello, chairman of the occasion, Governor Adams Oshiohmole of Edo State, said Nigerian leaders must learn from the late premier to be creative in the process of governance.
According to Oshiohmole, what is presently lacking in our polity is the absence of leadership with creative vision and leaders with a rare commitment to serve the people in honesty.

One of the major highlights of yesterday’s event – which was the first memorial lecture for Bello – was the absence of 17 out of the 19 northern governors in spite of the fact that the revered Premier governed the region that is now made up 19 states.
Only two northern governors – Dr. Muazu Babangida, Niger State Governor and his Kogi State counterpart, Capt. Idris Wada – were physically present, with others either represented or absent without any official excuse.

Apart from the absence of most of the governors, some key leaders from the North did not attend the event.

Vice President Namadi Sambo, who was the guest of honour at the event was represented by Senator Isaiah Balat, because he was delegated to represent President Jonathan at the Economic Summit which also held yesterday. Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar sent in their apologies.
Prominent leaders at the lecture included House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal,  former Minister of Finance, Mallam Adamu Chiroma, Justice Maman Nasir, National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, former EFCC chairperson, Farida Waziri,  Etsu Nupe, Emir of Minna, and Emir of Suleija.

 

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By Michael Olugbode

 

 

Suspected Boko Haram members Wednesday attacked Rann, the headquarters of Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State killing five policemen and detonating several Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Boko Haram members

Eyewitnesses said members of the sect who invaded the town on motorcycles, also succeeded in attacking the official residence of the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the council, Central Primary School and Government Lodge.

It was also gathered that they destroyed the masts belonging to major telecommunications firms, MTN, Glo and Airtel.

Some of the policemen killed during the attack, were Corporal Emmanuel Kwaya, Ishaku Sam, Yahaya Mohammed and two others whose names were withheld.

It was also gathered that one of the officers sustained bullet wounds, even as the gunmen also carted away three AK 47 rifles from the station.

This development is coming barely 24 hours after a popular beer joint at Bayan Railway Quarters, few metres away from the demolished enclave of the Boko Haram leader, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, was attacked last Sunday evening and two customers shot dead.

The Kala Balge incident, it was gathered, took place at  about 3.am on Tuesday when most of the residents were still asleep.

Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Gideon Jubrin, on phone proved abortive.

In another development, there was apprehension in Maiduguri Wednesday as heavy artillery was moved within the town by the Joint Task Force (JTF) to engage the members of the Boko Haram sect in deadly battle in one of their strongholds, Bulabulin.

Bulabulin had seen many confrontations in the past as many patrol vehicles of the JTF have had many improvised explosive devices thrown at them in the area.
The movement of the heavy artillery, which include motorised machine guns, armoured personnel carriers, held up traffic for minutes.

Gunshots were heard for more than 30 minutes as there were casualties on both sides.

Confirming the confrontation in a statement, the spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, said based on information, a cordon and search operation was conducted at Bulabulin Ganram area of Maiduguri metropolis at about 12:30pm Wednesday.

He said during the exchange of fire, a soldier was killed with another injured and an immigration personnel still missing in action.

Sagir said three suspected Boko Haram members were shot dead in the confrontation with 31members arrested.

He said items recovered include an AK47 rifle, a G3 rifle and some quantity of assorted magazines and ammunition.

 

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By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North

 

 


ABUJA — Second Republic politician, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, yesterday spat fire on the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to defer the declaration of his interest in the 2015 Presidency till 2014, arguing that it would be too cumbersome to salvage the nation from the crisis the belated action could trigger.Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, the former lawmaker said Jonathan was courting avoidable trouble by pretending to be making up his mind on the next election, when in fact he had made up his mind to run in 2015.

Members of the Red Chamber and President Jonathan

According to the medical doctor-turned political activist, Jonathan should first subject his Presidential ambition to a judicial interpretation by the Supreme Court to stave off looming constitutional crisis that his action would generate in the country.

The Kano politician noted that given the furore already generated by the circumstance of his emergence as the President of Nigeria, Jonathan must clear the air early enough on his 2015 ambition so that those who have legal issues could challenge him appropriately and get redress.

Legal issues

Mohammed said: “He (Jonathan) will be doing Nigerians a big disservice if he waits till 2014 to declare his interest in the 2015 Presidency because there are Nigerians who have real legal issues to take up with him on the matter and he should do it in good time to prevent a constitutional crisis and violence.

“If Mr. President is a true Nigerian leader he should decide now so that those who have issues with him will go to court to challenge him and get redress.

“The issue is not about him but 160 million Nigerians whose fate is tied to the Presidency of Nigeria. Jonathan has no right to dilly dally with the destiny of Nigerians.

Jonathan not qualified to contest

But Mohammed made it clear that Jonathan was not qualified to contest in 2015, having taken the oath of office twice as Nigeria’s President first in 2009 following the untimely death of Yar’Adua and later in 2011, thereby hitting the limit provided by Nigerian law.

According to him, allowing Jonathan to run in 2015 would have made him to serve 10 years instead of the maximum two terms of four years each stipulated by law, thereby making a mockery of the Nigerian Constitution.

He said: “The fact that he wants to run after declaring that he would spend only a term in office also places a moral burden on him and he should think about it if he is a gentleman with conscience. Common sense indicates that Jonathan has no right to contest in 2015.

“Most importantly, Jonathan should be told that the Constitution does not allow any Nigerian leader to take the oath of office twice. He has already exhausted the limit of his two terms.”

FG in talks with  Boko Haram

Mohammed also punctured the claim by Jonathan that his government was not negotiating with the Boko Haram sect, insisting that the Federal Government was not telling the nation the whole truth about the matter.

The politician insisted that the Presidency recently dispatched a minister from one of the Niger Delta states to Mali to meet with that country’s top security official and some militant leaders sympathetic to the Boko Haram sect with a view to facilitating dialogue between the sect and the Federal Government.

He said: “This government has been having underground talks with Boko Haram and if the President says he is not negotiating with the sect, he is lying.

“What the government is trying to do with the Boko Haram matter shows the highest display of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

“The Federal Government cannot continue to justify its claim of not wanting to dialogue with Boko Haram after it negotiated with the Niger Delta militants and offered mouth-watering jobs and contracts to the mostly Ijaw boys only to turn round and denounce negotiations with another militant group.

“Is it because the Boko Haram sect leaders are not of Ijaw extraction where Mr. President comes from?”

 

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