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Buhari, other leaders re-strategize against Boko Haram

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President Muhammadu Buhari was in N’djamena, capital of the Republic of Chad yesterday to rally his colleagues for the task at a one-day consultation with Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).

The meeting was called to address the recent upsurge in terrorist activities in the region. Set for the new assault against insurgents, particularly Boko Haram, are Chad, Niger Republic, and the Republic of Cameroon.

”Times as these call for quick interventions and measures,” President Buhari stated, adding:

”As you are aware and have witnessed in recent times, there are new developments of security concern in our sub-region. The region in the recent past has witnessed increasing attacks, particularly on military formations by elements of the Boko Haram terrorists as well as the renewed kidnapping of people. These activities are aimed at weakening our collective resolve to eradicate them from the region.

”We must not cave in. The group’s renewed strategy of increasingly mining the general area as well as its recent deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance activities have proved to be critical factors in the resurgence of attacks in the region.”

Commending what he called the “untiring efforts” of the leadership of the LCBC, and officers and men of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), President Buhari noted that the efforts of those who strive to bring peace and stability to the region would never be forgotten.

”We are committed to ensuring that the ideals of restoring peace, stability and viability of the Lake Chad Region to its glorious state, for which some of you have paid the ultimate price are attained,” he said.

President Buhari, in a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said: “We must not relent and allow the enemies of the region to succeed in their quest to destabilize the area. We must reinvigorate our collective will and commitment towards eradicating terrorism from our region.

”We must remain focused and true to ensuring sustainable development. To this end, I have requested that bilateral and multilateral platforms of engagements by member countries affected by the conflict be revamped to ensure collective actions towards stamping out the remnants of the terrorists from the region.

”There is no gainsaying that also fueling the crisis are the twin menaces of poverty and the continued shrinkage of the Lake Chad, which have rendered the people of the region vulnerable to terrorist activities. Attention is drawn to the Lake and its resources, which have always been the source of livelihood for the millions of people that live within and around the basin.”

He urged the Presidents and Heads of Governments to make concerted efforts to ensure the actualisation of efforts to recharge the Lake, through Inter-Basin Water Transfer, from the Congo Basin.

Buhari stressed that if meticulously pursued, the project “has the capacity to unlock the economic potentials and provide solutions to the myriad of interrelated challenges confronting the region.”

As chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Buhari assured of his commitment to providing the required leadership and direction for the actualisation of peace and security in the area.

He reiterated an earlier promise he made to troops fighting terrorism: “We are committed to ensuring you have the requisite and enabling equipment to optimally function. Your welfare is and would continue to remain our priority. Together, we shall restore the Lake Chad Region to its glorious days.”

At the meeting were President Idris Deby Itno (Chad), President Mahamadou Issoufou  (Niger Republic) and Prime Minister of Cameroon Philemon Yang, who represented President Paul Biya.

In a joint communique, the Heads of State and Governments resolved to change the modus operandi, collaborate more, and renew assault on all forms of terrorism and criminal acts, till wholesome peace was restored to the region.

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Politics

Nigeria Decides: All land borders to be closed at 12noon

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Federal Government has ordered all land borders to be shut with effect from 12.00noon today to 12.00noon tomorrow.

A man casts his ballot as Nigerians vote for a second day in Lagos, Nigeria, Sunday March 29, 2015. Voting in Nigeria’s elections continued in certain areas on Sunday after technical problems prevented some people from casting their ballots on Saturday and despite extremist violence in the northeast and protests in the south. (AP Photo/Kunle Ogunfuyi)

Minister of Interior Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), who gave the order, said there would be a restriction of movements across the borders during the election days.

Also yesterday, the Acting Inspector-General (IG), Muhammed Adamu, ordered the restriction of vehicular movement on the election day.

A statement issued by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Comptroller-General Muhammad Babandede: “Further to the presidential election taking place on the February, 16, 2019, the Honourable Minister of Interior has directed the closure of all Nigerian land borders with effect from 12.00noon of Friday, February 15 to 12.00noon of Sunday, February 17, 2019.

“This is to restrict movements across the borders during the election days. The public is to take note and ensure compliance.”

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SECURITY

New police commissioners for 36 states

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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has approved the appointment and deployment of 37 Command Commissioners of Police for the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Abuja.

The commissioners are Buba Sanusi, Katsina State; Mohammed Wakili, Kano State; Rabiu Ladodo, Jigawa; Ahmed Iliyasu, Ogun; Mu’azu Zubairu, Lagos State; Ibrahim Sabo, Niger; Alkassam Sanusi, Taraba; Garba Mukaddas, Adamawa and Omololu Bishi, Benue.

Others are Olushola David, Bayelsa; Adeleke Yinka, Delta; Austin Agbonlahor, Cross River; Bashir Makama, Akwa Ibom; Awosola Awotunde, Ebonyi; Belel Usman, Rivers; Bello Makwashi, Gombe State and Abdulrahman Ahmed, Kaduna State.

Others officers deplored are: Bala Ciroma, Federal Capital Territory (FCT); Egbetokun Kayode, Kwara; Hakeem Busari, Kogi; Asuquo Amba, Ekiti; Galadanchi Dasuki, Imo; Suleiman Balarabe, Enugu State;, Dandaura Mustapha, Anambra; Etim Ene Okon, Abia and Ibrahim Kaoje, Sokoto state.

Others are: Celestine Okoye, Zamfara; Garba Danjuma, Kebbi;, Abiodun Ige, Osun;, Undie Adie, Ondo State; Olukolu Shina, Oyo State; Ali Janga, Bauchi State; Damian Chukwu, Borno; Sumonu Abdulmalik, Yobe; Bola Longe, Nassarawa State; Isaac Akinmoyede, Plateau and Odumosu Hakeem, Edo.

Ani said that the Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, has charged the CPs to settle down at their commands and to ensure peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections.

He said that the nation could not afford any disruption of the elections as the world was watching Nigeria.

The spokesman said that approval has been conveyed to the acting Inspector General of Police for implementation.

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Army and Boko Haram clash in Yobe

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Troops of 159 Battalion, Forward Operational Base (FOB), Sector 2, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, on Monday evening repelled attempted terrorist incursion into the border town of Kanama, Yunusari Local Government of Yobe.

Masked security force

The Acting Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, Lt. Njoka Irabor made this known in a press statement issued in Damaturu.

Irabor said “The terrorists came in at about 5:30 pm and started shooting sporadically and vigilant troops of the FOB engaged them.

“Consequently, the terrorists were overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the gallant troops of 159 Battalion and the well-coordinated air support from the Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE.

“This resulted in inflicting casualty on the terrorists, while some of them retreated with gunshot wounds.

“The resilient troops have embarked on the hot pursuit of the fleeing surviving attackers towards Niger Republic border.

“Further details of the casualties on the terrorists and recoveries would be provided on completion of the mop up and pursuit operations”, he said. (NAN)

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AI:Boko Haram kills 60 in Borno

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Amnesty International yesterday alleged that about 60 people were killed following the January 28 attack by the Boko Haram insurgents on Rann, a border town in Borno State.

Investigations had revealed that Boko Haram militants had arrived at the small border town of Rann around 9 a.m. that morning, according to Amnesty International reports, slaughtering civilians and setting houses ablaze. Director of Amnesty International (Nigeria), Osai Ojigho, who confirmed the development, said the organization also analyzed satellite imagery which shows hundreds of burned structures in the town. Many of the destroyed structures only date back to 2017, suggesting they were shelters for internally displaced people who came to Rann seeking protection.

He said: “We have now confirmed that this week’s attack on Rann was the deadliest yet by Boko Haram, killing at least 60 people. Using satellite imagery we have also been able to confirm the mass burning of structures as Boko Haram unleashed a massive assault on Rann, most of which is now destroyed.

“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to a possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice. Disturbingly, witnesses told us that Nigerian soldiers abandoned their posts the day before the attack, demonstrating the authorities’ utter failure to protect civilians.” It was also alleged that the withdrawal of troops triggered a massive exodus of civilians to Cameroon, as fear spread that Boko Haram would take advantage and attack the town. At 9 a.m. on January 28, a group of Boko Haram fighters arrived on motorcycles. They set houses ablaze and killed those left behind. They also chased after those who attempted to escape and killed some people outside the town. Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 bodies were found outside. Amnesty International was informed that about 50 people have not been accounted for.

Those who took part in the burial explained what they saw. According to an eyewitness: “Ten of us (Civilian Joint Task Force) came from Cameroon to Rann for the burial. When we arrived, we found and buried 11 corpses within the town, but the soldiers told us that they buried several others yesterday (30 January) who had decayed. Outside the town, we recovered and buried 49 dead bodies all with gunshot wounds.
Aid agencies have reported that some 30,000 civilians have fled for the border with Cameroon in recent days, joining a further 9,000 who fled Boko Haram’s previous attack on Rann on 14 January, Amnesty International analyzed satellite images from January 30, 2019 showing hundreds of structures burned in the east, south, and southeast of Rann. Environmental sensors detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January. In the January 14 attack, Boko Haram burned well over 100 structures in other areas of Rann. These two recent attacks have left most of the town heavily damaged or destroyed. Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian authorities to investigate the alleged withdrawal of security forces of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) from Rann, which may have left tens of thousands of civilians exposed to this latest deadly attack.

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