Zamfara State Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle has approved the suspension of Emir of Maru, Alhaji Abubakar Cika Ibrahim and District Head of Kanoma Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed. The suspension was announced yesterday in a statement signed by the Director General, Press Affairs to the Government House, Yusuf Idris.
Their suspension, according to Idris, followed complaints from residents over their alleged involvement with bandits attacking communities in the area.
Idris noted that the duo would remain suspended pending the outcome of an investigation panel, which will soon be set up by the state government.
The Emir has, however, been directed to hand over his official vehicles and other government properties in his possession to the Senior District Head. The Kanoma district head is to hand over the same to the most senior village head.
The suspension confirmed the allegation of former Minister of Defence Lt.-Gen. Mansur Dan Ali over the involvement of some monarchs in banditry. Sixteen people were confirmed killed and 14 injured by suspected bandits in attacks in Kanoma community on Sallah day.
Director General, Press Affairs to the Zamfara State Government House, confirmed the incident. However, the governor has paid a condolence visit to the community, saying he was aggrieved by the news of the attack. Matawalle assured the people of adequate security measures to end the armed banditry and other criminal activities.
He said his administration would collaborate with well-meaning citizens to end the security challenges facing the state.
He called on the locals to provide the government with accurate intelligence reports that would assist the security agencies in apprehending the criminals.
The governor also prayed to God to reward the souls of those who lost their lives with Jannatul Firdaus and give their families the fortitude to bear the loss.
Matawalle also called on the bandits to surrender their arms and embrace peace before it is too late.
UK cautions citizens on 21 states in Nigeria
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom has issued a security travel alert to British citizens, cautioning them against traveling to 21 states in Nigeria. The alert issued by Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said terrorists were planning to kidnap foreigners and urged them to also avoid some Niger Delta states.
The alert warned against spiraling insecurity in Nigeria occasioned by the activities of the terrorist groups, Boko Haram, and Islamic State for West Africa (ISWAP) in the North-east and banditry in the North-west.
“The security environment in the North-east has deteriorated since 2018 and there is a heightened risk of kidnap. Kidnaps in the North-east have included humanitarian and private sector workers.
“There is also a high threat of criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region and Kogi State,” said the alert.
The travel advisory listed the states to include Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and the Niger Delta States of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states.
“If you travel to areas to which the FCO advise against travel, you are particularly at risk and will need a high level of security.
“If you are working in northern Nigeria, you should make sure your employers provide an adequate level of security where you live and where you work; make sure they regularly review security arrangements and familiarise yourself with those plans,” it said.
The advisory further noted that “terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria.
“Most attacks occur in the North-east, particularly in Borno, including central Maiduguri and along access routes connecting the city to other major towns and along the Niger border, including in Damasak, Yobe, including the eastern LGAs bordering Borno State both north and south of the Damaturu road, and the Adamawa States.
“There have also been significant attacks in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi State and in the Federal Capital, Abuja.
“The terrorist threat across eastern Yobe and Borno States is high, with frequent recent attacks. Terrorist groups carried out attacks in North-east Nigeria during the February 2019 election period, and further attacks are likely. We continue to advise against all travel to Borno and Yobe States”, it said.
The travel security alert urged UK citizens to avoid crowded areas.
Navy intensifies war on pipeline vandals
In continuation of its war against crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region, the Nigerian Navy (NN) yesterday said it destroyed over 50 illegal refineries in the past 32 days around Yeye, Burutu and Ibafa creeks in Delta State.
The Commander of NNS DELTA, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, spoke during an educational tour by select journalists to some naval operational bases in the Niger Delta. The destruction of the illegal refineries was done with the use of swam buggies, an excavator used in swampy areas to crush metallic substances and render them unusable, thereby avoiding further pollution of the land and surrounding water.
It was also gathered that the navy identified over 900 illegal refinery camps within NNS DELTA’s area of operation (AOO) with the bulk of it located around Ughelli and Warri South local government areas.
According to Commodore Dewu, several persons have been arrested for various maritime offenses and handed over to prosecutorial agencies, while the vessels were kept in trust for the agencies, in line with the Harmonised Standard Operation Procedure (HSOP).
Decrying the delay in prosecuting the cases, the commander noted that it was costing the Navy so much money to maintain the vessels to avoid their going aground.
He said some of the vessels had been in the jetty for up to seven years, while the recovered 185 outboard engines, hoses and other equipment recovered from the suspects or sites were littering the base.
Dewu urged the Judiciary and prosecution agencies to fast-track the trials of suspects to save the service the cost of maintaining, securing the vessels and other exhibits the prosecution agencies do not have the facilities to keep.
The Navy commodore said the cases of more than six ships apprehended by his command for alleged oil theft in the last six months were yet to be resolved in courts.
Buratai admits to security setbacks
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, yesterday called out his officers and men, saying their deficient loyalty to set courses was responsible for the setback the Nigerian Army has had in recent operations. He spoke at a “Transformational Leadership Workshop” held at the Army Resource Centre, Abuja and said insufficient commitment of frontlines soldiers was the reason for the reverses the Army had suffered in its operations.
Although he acknowledged that the Army had scored resounding successes in the past, producing military leaders that had performed exceptionally well at international assignments, he regretted that things had now gone awry in the force.
“It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the NA has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks: or simply insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the frontlines,” he told middle-level officers who were at the workshop organised to retool them for the task ahead.
Terror gangs, particularly Boko Haram in the North-east and armed bandits in the North-west, have held many communities to ransom in the two regions with the military sent to rein them in achieving little success of its task.
Whilst there have been claims by the federal government that Boko Haram had been degraded with no further capacity to hold positions in the North-east, the reality on the ground is that the terror group has demonstrated sufficient capacity for scotch earth attacks even on military bases, including battalions and a brigade.
The situation in the North-west has been worse as armed bandits sack villages at will and kidnap citizens for ransom. The military, in most cases, has been reactive rather than proactive.
Setting the tone for the critic of his men yesterday, Buratai reminiscence the lost glory of the Army: “It is worthy to note that the Nigerian Army has had good success over the years in the grooming of military leaders.”
He added: “This is evident in the many successes that the NA (Nigerian Army) has achieved in our operations and the high performance of our personnel, both officers/soldiers, an international/multinational operations or other military duties.”
Governors want Service chiefs changed
Governors are set to push for a major overhaul of the nation’s security architecture. A National Economic Council (NEC) meeting is to hold tomorrow. It will discuss the mounting security challenges that have seen kidnapping, armed robbery, and terrorism on the rise.
Also, to tackle the problem, President Muhammadu Buhari may soon order a military shake-up.
There has been pressure on the President to rejig the military apparatchik, thereby allowing fresh ideas.
Some of the Service chiefs have indicated interest to quit having been in office at the discretion of the President after their mandatory 35 years in service.
Investigations revealed that the governors have been notified of the Thursday meeting with security as the main agenda.
It was learnt that the governors, who are members of NEC, are worried that the security problems nationwide are affecting the economy.
They feel that they should join hands with the Federal Government to resolve the security challenges.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The NEC members are certainly uncomfortable with the security challenges in the country. We want to brainstorm on Thursday (tomorrow) because we do not want to leave it to the President alone.
“There are many options, including FG-State joint financing of security initiatives; outstanding report on recommendations for state police; a major overhaul of the nation’s security architecture; more investment on intelligence; agitation for the shake-up of the military; increase in manpower in the police, military and security agencies; and the involvement of locals in security network.
“We will certainly devote the whole day to weigh all options because insecurity is gradually taking a toll on the economy.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “It is within the purview of NEC to advise the President on issues which may impede the economy.”