The Current Situation in Nigeria

2019 Elections, Africa, Nigeria, Politics, Power, SEcurity

A USIP Fact Sheet

President Buhari’s 2015 election saw the country’s first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition candidate. Elections raised hopes that some of Nigeria’s most pressing problems—including weak governance, corruption, the Boko Haram insurgency, and persistent intercommunal conflicts—could soon be under control. Despite President Buhari’s vision for reform, the country’s security challenges are surging as the factors that fuel violent conflicts remain largely unaddressed. 

USIP’S Work

USIP brings together state governors and civic leaders to design, foster, and implement inclusive policies that mitigate violence and strengthen community-oriented security. The Institute engages a variety of influential figures, empowers citizens, and uses its expertise and convening power to inform Nigeria policy in the U.S., the region, and around the world. Recent work includes:

Promoting Inclusive, Peaceful Societies.

Many of the factors driving conflict and the Boko Haram insurgency exist across Nigeria’s northern region. These include governance challenges, marginalization, and youth unemployment. Nigeria’s federal system gives governors great responsibilities to address these issues.

The Institute leverages the governors’ influence by working with them to focus policies on citizens’ needs and establish strategies that prevent and resolve violent conflict. In the process, USIP and the state governors build more inclusive processes and send the message that addressing violent extremism must be achieved cooperatively.

Through the Nigeria Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance, the Institute adds public figures to the dialogue. The Working Group fosters relationships between citizens and governors—ensuring that a diversity of citizens’ voices impacts important decisions. The Working Group also demonstrates thought leadership through publications, research, editorials, and op-eds on state government roles in addressing conflict.

Strengthening Local Security.

USIP’s peacebuilding initiatives in Nigeria improve state-level institutions’ ability to manage local conflict by piloting dialogue-based approaches and providing recommendations and lessons learned to policymakers.

  • Network of Nigerian facilitators. USIP recruited and continues to provide technical and financial support to a cadre of facilitators to convene dialogues related to election security, transitioning to community-oriented policing, and manage communal disputes that pose a risk of violence.
  • Justice and Security Dialogue project. Modeled an approach for community policing through ongoing dialogues between police and the community, particularly youth.
  • State peacebuilding institutions. Bolstering the ability of state peacebuilding institutions in Plateau and Kaduna states to respond to local conflicts before they become violent.
  • Conducting research that translates into action. USIP’s Nigeria research improves understanding of violence’s risks and develops effective approaches to managing violent conflict.
  • Elections violence risk assessment. Together with several partners, USIP is conducting an elections violence risk assessment ahead of Nigeria’s 2019 elections to provide actionable and timely analysis that will help key figures work to prevent violence before, during, and after the elections.
  • Transitioning from military operations to civilian policing. The Institute conducted research on the transition to community-oriented policing following military-led security in northeast Nigeria. The research incorporated the perspectives and priorities of vigilante groups into recommendations for a more responsive security sector.
  • Researching resistance to violence. With USIP’s support, the Centre for Information Technology and Development examined the factors that make certain communities more resistant to the threat of violence in north-east Nigeria. The research showed that community resilience thrives when there is a robust community platform for active citizen participation and democratic decision-making. The absence of such a platform in many communities led to their quick and brutal destruction by Boko Haram.

Download full Report at: USIP

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Hunters said they were ready to help infighting terrorists provided they were incorporated in the salary scheme and provided with enough logistics to fight the terrorists. The National Adviser of Board of Trustees of the association, Chief Yusuf Alao, disclosed this while receiving a confirmation certificate as the new National Adviser of the association.

hunters said they were ready to help infighting terrorists provided they were incorporated in the salary scheme and provided with enough logistics to fight the terrorists.

The National Adviser of Board of Trustees of the association, Chief Yusuf Alao, disclosed this while receiving a confirmation certificate as the new National Adviser of the association.

He lamented the high rate of terrorism in the country, saying, the hunters are capable of fighting terrorism anywhere in the country.

He said: “The Federal Government ought to be paying us salaries as a way of encouraging us to fight the menace of terrorists in the country.

“The payment of salary to hunters is our rights, because we are working tirelessly for the Federal Government not only in the fight against terrorism, but, protecting lives and properties.”

He boasted that the hunters remained the most competent and powerful in fighting terrorism in Nigeria.

He said: “We, hunters, are capable to fight terrorists; we have the traditional power which makes us different from others in curbing terrorism in Nigeria.

“The police and the soldiers do not have the kind of power we have, and that is why some of them, while fighting the terrorists lose their lives in the process.

“The Federal Government should also consider us because we are doing great job for them, we are not relenting, most of the time we are always in the bush working diligently for government.”

via Hunters; pay us we’re ready to fight terrorism — NEWSSPLASHBLOG

Hunters; pay us we’re ready to fight terrorism — NEWSSPLASHBLOG

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, law enforcement, News, Politics, SEcurity

Nigeria: And the herdsmen killings contines

Africa, Boko Haram, Crime, Herdsmen, PMB, SEcurity, Terrorism

Central Nigeria have witnessed persistent attacks and killing from marauding herdsmen without any hope of restraints from the state security on the restless herdsmen.

Plateau Reportedly witnessed a major attack during the weekend with over aa hundred mortality. Its condemnable and cannot be allowed to countinue. The whole country should u it talking about it, its time we all stand nad take action on stopping these massacre. If the state is powerless, then the people needed to stand and look for a way to stop the evil acts.

ORGANISING NGOS AND FAITH-BASED ORGANISATION FOR DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Islam, law enforcement, SEcurity, Terrorism, War

Counterterrorism has to be woven into the everyday workings of every department. It should be included on the agenda of every meeting, and this new role must be imparted to officers on the street so that terrorism prevention becomes part of their everyday thinking.” Kelling, G L. & William K. B, (2006) Policing Terrorism, Civic Bulletin 43, New York: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, September 2006.

Terrorism has become a political tool in the 20th century and its spread has become so dynamic that it has now become on of the “new wars” that nations today fights. Emergency response and preventive measures have to become more flexible and adapt to the dynamism of attacks. Terrorist related incidence must be documented, researched and evaluated in line with local needs. The current randomness of terror attacks in Nigeria put all at risks and we must have a structure plans in place to restrict and mitigate these strikes.

Basic understanding of terrorism, its goals and operational method would have sufficed in allowing for designing proper response. It is a waste of resources fighting a reactive battle against terrorists. The Nigerian response to terrorism has been flawed by the lack of institutional understanding of what terrorism is all about. Proactive resources can only be deployed when we are all able to deduce the fact that terrorism is not fought using heavy machinery and standing armies but through employment of psychological warfare that is designed based on proper analysis of the terror groups operational methods, recruitment operations and goals.

Terrorism is a form of rebellion against the state. Modern terrorists have better equipment and global media as its mouthpiece. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism, (START) Department of Homeland Security Think-Thank based in the University of Maryland, United State is one of the center set up by the US government to analyse and design engagement protocol for counter-terrorism in US. One of the conclusion of this center that changed the US counter-terrorism engagement was the fact that in over 1000 years of review of terrorism engagement by states globally, the use of military force eliminated the threat in only 4% of such engagements, while the use of proper local security, policing and development programmes was able to achieve end of these groups in more than 40%.

Development NGOs are committed to working towards economic, social or political development in developing countries. The Norwegian bilateral aid agency, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) defines development-oriented NGOs as organisations that “attempt to improve social, economic and productive conditions and are found both as small community-based organisations at village and district levels, and as large professional development agencies at state or national level”

Northern Nigeria economic environment has been described as backward and has continued to regress in the period after the 1970s. The average Disposable Income, access to education and basic infrastructure has equally fallen in the past decades. Lack of access to proper education has created a huge mass of unemployable youth in an environment experiencing a burgeoning youth population. Available data point at a growing youth population in an environment without corresponding growth in infrastructure and industry has led to high pressure on resources leading to perennial class conflict in the region.

Failure of government institutions to deliver on appropriate economic and infrastructural reforms has led to conflicts between state officials and citizens. Increased distrust of officials has led to several clashes and self-help actions. Uncoordinated rebellions in the past decades had eventually matured into current terror operations by the Boko Haram insurgents.

The war on terror have been severely stunted by the growing supply of radical youths from the stock of unemployable youth that littered the streets of northern Nigeria in need of sense of spiritual emancipation from years of poverty and lack. Many literatures had maintained the fact that poverty is not an impetus for rebellion acts yet it has been proven through direct observation that rebellion thrives where the state failure and poverty is evident. As a matter of fact, the basis for international humanitarian efforts in Africa has been based on prevention of high criminality that may result from unchecked growth in poverty and hunger in several failing states in the continent.

One major challenge to the provision of public infrastructure development has been in the slow bureaucratic processes and the attendant high corruption of government officials in most African countries. NGOs and Community Based Organisations has been a bridge between the people and the government in actualizing people oriented development projects.

As development actors, NGOs have become the main service providers in countries where the government is unable to fulfill its traditional role. In the education sector, many NGOs have moved beyond ‘gap- filling’ initiatives into capacity building activities. This paper seeks to address the role of NGOs in development through the lens of capacity building. Through academic articles and NGO working papers, we can determine the effect of NGOs on capacity development and their role in building capacity on all levels, using a framework based on positive hypotheses:

NGOs are increasingly involved in capacity development. As the development discourse leans towards developing skills and tools for strengthening society, NGOs have reacted accordingly. They wish first and foremost to remain important stakeholders in development and to impart their extensive knowledge in the education sector. This involvement changes the ways in which NGOs operate. Capacity-building activities complement traditional service provision, though this does not mean that all NGOs have good relations with government.

In any case, NGO activities are increasingly diverse. They have an impact on the interpretation of capacity development. NGOs are influenced by the ideology of capacity development as defined by the hegemonic development discourse, but they also influence its meaning from the outside. This modified interpretation of capacity development can weaken central government but strengthen it in the long term. NGOs have the capacity to innovate and adapt more quickly than national governments; therefore, their actions can undermine government initiatives. But if they scale up their activities and impart their knowledge and techniques at the government level, the country as a whole can benefit.

NGOs have a significant impact on the whole process but are also plagued by severe obstacles. NGOs continue to suffer from a lack of resources and from their general estrangement from the state. Unless they become partners with government, and not competitors, capacity-building initiatives will continue to be stunted.

The environment in Northeastern Nigeria remains inundated by high-level insecurity that makes development programme seem essentially impossible. While most stakeholders abstained from the area due to high risk factor and the ongoing sate of emergency has further negated the infrastructural capacity of these three states under the military onslaught on the insurgents. The apparent lack of trust for state institutions in these areas will make the use of conventional government MDA approach to development clearly unwelcome. Locally based NGOs, CBOs and FBOs can easily breach this gap and stand in as the only way to reach out and provide succor to non-combatants and civilians in these areas. Government should provide funds for locally established and managed Community Based and Faith Based Organisations to drive development agendas in the tri-violent states of Yobe, Bauchi and Borno to kick start development in these areas.

The advantage of using locally based organisations in handling the development programmes in these areas are two pronged:

1. Train employable locally Based service delivery experts: One of the problems with the region remains in the increasing number of unemployable youth, given low economic activities in the areas. Inflow of fresh funds may increase economic activities and create expansion of local industry to support the increase in demand for resources in the area. The use of locally based personnel should avail the growth of necessary local experts needed for the entrenchment and maintenance of programme. The failure of most INGOs has been traced to the lack of proper local supports for their programme.
2. Increase trust in the process: Most locals may become part of the process since it is being handled through local personnel known to them. Trust in the process may enhance collaboration and could boost the programme at all level.

Recommendations:

Civil societies or NGOs in Nigeria has had a cheered history, from a vibrant, uncompromising and result focus pre-independence era, through a government hampered and corrupt operation before mid-1990s to a strong indivisible front during the democratic struggles of the late eighties and this era of political activism, corrupt leadership and weaken structure.

Regrettably, there cannot be a sustainable reform without the supports and inputs of the civil societies. Civil societies are needed to act as middlemen between the policy makers and their communities. Hence the role of these groups in reforms may includes:

• Raising public awareness on issues and reasons for reforms: There is a need for proper information, direct and people oriented to educate the public. These should not be media driven but generated and managed by the people. The CS could be empowered through seminars and workshops to educate the public on the needs for direct engagement in programmes and their roles in reforms in Nigeria.
• Promoting debates and talks on issues, practices, challenges and reforms required:
Policies can only succeed when the public opinion form its bedrock. The NGO programme should be directed to organize formal public debates and hearings on important policy and inform the state of their reports.
• Spreading Reform Information:
Organizing and maintaining civil societies in areas where there is no awareness and education level is low. Thereby reaching out to lower cadres of the society with proper information on reforms.
• Monitoring and Evaluating the Reform Processes: Exposing and reporting to appropriate authorities’ misconducts, demanding transparency and accountability from all security organization through a nationwide monitoring system. Reporting and writing articles on reform issues to educate the public and the police officers alike.
Creating framework and opportunities for future reforms through the setting-up of bodies to monitor and collate data on PSC operatives and organizations and the police operations in all areas of the country.
• Partnering:
Organizing local and international workshops, talks and town hall meetings to share, discuss, teach and compare feedbacks on policing issues from different unit of the society and publishing their memorandum in national press.
• Act as links between the public and police:
Encouraging and involving community groups in policing, creating neighborhoods watch and vigilante groups -under proper legislations- to guard and secure their environment.

Don Michael Adeniji, MA, pnm
Director, Security Policy Analysis.
African Initiative for Peace and Human Development

1,500 schools destroyed by Boko Haram in North-East – FG

Boko Haram, News, SEcurity, Terrorism

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The Federal Government said on Wednesday that more than 1,500 primary and secondary schools in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states had been destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency since 2014.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, stated this at a workshop on the Safe School Declaration initiative in Abuja, noting that there was “an urgent need to protect education from attacks.”

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The minister said the Federal Government was concerned over the systematic destruction and targeting of education, adding that over 2,295 teachers had been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the last nine years.

Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono, said in his address, “There is an urgent need to protect education from attacks, because without access to quality learning, the children are not only being deprived of education; they are also being robbed of future opportunities which will affect the entire society.

“We express concern over the systematic destruction and targeting of education, where over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the last nine years.

“In the same vein, an estimated 1,500 schools have been destroyed since 2014, with over 1,280 casualties among teachers and students, thereby devastating the school system.

“Education should continue despite the conflicts but this was not evident for many people.

The Director of Education Support Services of the ministry, Mrs Justina Ibe, said there was a need to develop a sound legal framework to ensure proper implementation of the Safe School Initiative for protecting schools from attacks.

She said the workshop was meant to formally inform stakeholders about the researches on the protection of education from attacks and to interact and share experiences with countries that had implemented the Safe School Declaration.

PUNCH.

Two Obvious Gaffe in the Tuccano Purchase

APC, law enforcement, News, PMB, Politics, SEcurity, Tech, Terrorism

Buhari-Saraki-and-DogaraThe hue and cry on the propriety of the Federal Government payment for 12 unit of A-29 Tuccano Super Fighter Jets without due consent from the National Assembly still remain a mystery in public discussions. Clear facts revealed that several terror groups are challenging Nigerians’ security and killing innocent civilians on daily basis; the Nigerian Army need better air support to dislodge these terror groups especially the Boko Haram from their entrenched hideouts; it is a fact that the Tuccano is cheaper and retained all capabilities of more advanced fighter jets avionics; the Tuccano are also designed and has been used for guerrilla warfare and low level fast attack operations in areas similar to the Northeast Nigeria terrains, which make them ideal for the current security challenges in Nigeria; and to top these, the aircrafts have one of the lowest operation costs in the industry –at less than $1000USD per flight hour.

Incredible credentials for a turboprop trainer converted for low-intensity combat operations, so why the challenges on the purchase. We have tried to assuage two major facts behind the obstreperous challenges of this payment of $496 million for 12 A29 Tuccano Super Fighter Jets by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Unit Cost:

 Average costs of the Nigerian purchase for these jets remained the highest ever paid. The airframe cost of the Tuccano as paid by the Dominican Republic for training purposes was a mere $8m. Industrial facts put the costs of a Tuccano at about $12m for a fully equipped versions though recent American buys of Super Tuccano for Afghanistan have come out to between $20 and $30 million because of inflation, different equipment, the inclusion of long-lead spares, and other factors.

The Nigeria government paid a total of $496m for 12 aircrafts giving an average of $41.33m each. Discounting the fact that four of the order were filled for basic airframe suited for Pilot trainings, the average could go higher than $50m per aircraft. Experts reasoned that Nigeria could have purchased better equipment for the price we are currently expending on these Tuccanos.

Delivery Date:

Given the expediency of current security challenges in Nigeria and the attendant-growing spate of attacks in the country, the purchase of the Tuccano would have been a welcome idea if the jets will be available to join in the fray immediately. The delivery dates for these equipment by the American government is in 2020. The jets might not come into formal usage before the end of 2020 give need for training of pilots and tests of equipment before formal commissioning and deployment.

For a nation with a depressed economy fighting serious on-going battle with terrorists using current scarce resources to purchase equipment that might not come into service to aid current security onslaught could be “technically flawed”.

Boko Haram will take years to ‘eliminate’: UN envoy

Boko Haram, News

File: AFP

Despite military successes scored against Boko Haram jihadists, it will take years to “completely eliminate” the group, a United Nations envoy told AFP Tuesday.

“Boko Haram has proven to be a resilient group…I think it will take time to totally eliminate,” said Muhammad Ibn Chambas, special envoy to the UN secretary general for West Africa and the Sahel.

“What we are seeing is that Boko Haram has become part of an international terrorism network.”

Chambas was speaking on the sidelines of a Lake Chad regional summit in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and birthplace of Boko Haram.

Governors from four countries straddling the lake – Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon – are meeting for two days to discuss regional co-operation on stabilisation, peace building and sustainable development in the area.

His remarks come at a time the Nigerian government and military is insisting that the war against Boko Haram is over, despite a recent spate of attacks by the extremists.

On May 1 at least 86 people were killed in twin suicide attacks targeting a mosque and a nearby market in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state.

Chambas said that the Islamist insurgents were likely still holding on to territory in the region.

“It is relative,” he said in response to reports that Boko Haram was holding territory in the northeast states of Yobe and Borno.

“As long as they are not totally defeated obviously they are present in some areas”.

The Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20 000 people in nine years of violence that has spilled from northeast Nigeria into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, creating a dire humanitarian crisis.

The four countries formed the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to fight the Islamic extremists who criss-cross the porous borders in the remote region.

Chambas commended the MNJTF counter terrorism fight as “appreciably successful” but warned it was far from over.

“We of course ask that the MNJTF remains vigilant in its fight against Boko Haram, we cannot take it for granted and assume they have been totally defeated”.

In December 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari declared Boko Haram had been “technically defeated” after reclaiming swathes of territory back from the jihadists.

But claims that the jihadists are a spent force have been put under scrutiny as the jihadists continued to launch deadly suicide and gun attacks on military and civilian targets

Nigerian Army rescues 1000 Boko Haram captives

Boko Haram, News, Nigeria, Nigerian Army, Terrorism

Troops of 22 Brigade deployed in operation LAFIYA DOLE on Monday rescued over 1000 hostages from the Boko Haram Terrorists enclave. The operation which was conducted in conjunction with allies of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), rescued the hostages from Malamkari, Amchaka, Walasa and Gora villages of Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

Troops of 22 Brigade deployed in operation LAFIYA DOLE on Monday rescued over 1000 hostages from the Boko Haram Terrorists enclave. The operation which was conducted in conjunction with allies of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), …

Read more at:  Nigerian Army rescues 1000 Boko Haram captives — Hitvibz

Six killed in Boko Haram attack on Lake Chad island -AFP

Boko Haram, News, Terrorism

bh.jpgSix people were killed, including four government officials and a soldier, in an attack by Boko Haram jihadists on a Chadian army checkpoint on an island in Lake Chad, a military source told AFP Sunday.

The overnight killings, which cost the life of a civilian along with two customs officials, two forestry agents and the soldier, occurred when “Boko Haram elements attacked an advanced post of the Chad army” in Gabalami in the country’s far west, the source said.

The attackers were “repelled” but managed to escape without suffering losses, the source added.

Boko Haram, a militant movement opposed to Western influence and seeking an Islamic state based on Sharia law, has caused the deaths of at least 20 000 people since it took up arms in 2009 in Nigeria.

Neighbouring Chad has seen a recent increase in attacks by the group.

Last month, Chad’s national television reported that three of the country’s soldiers had been killed during a clash with the jihadists, without giving the location.

It came as fighting took place between Boko Haram and Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) soldiers in Arge in Nigeria’s Abadam district, which is on the Chad border.

A Chadian soldier, as well as 20 Boko Haram members, were killed in another clash in late March in the restive Lake Chad region.

Two more soldiers were killed in an ambush in the same area a month earlier, in the first Boko Haram attack on Chadian soil since May 2017, in which nine soldiers died.

Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria have all joined the military effort by Nigeria to crush Boko Haram.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Has Massacred over 2,000 Teachers, Destroyed 1,000 Schools

Africa, Boko Haram, Crime, Islam, law enforcement, News

booUtomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

by Edwin Mora3 May 20189
The Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram, a name that translates to “Western education is a sin,” has killed 100,000 people since it began waging its insurgency in 2009, including 2,295 teachers and hundreds of students in the northeastern part of the country alone, officials from the African nation revealed this week.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari believes Boko Haram is fading in northeastern Nigeria and the quality of life in the region is “improving.”

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Education Adamu Adamu released the grim data on the teacher fatalities on Wednesday.
On Monday, Buhari spoke to Voice of America (VOA), indicating that “life in the country’s northeast is improving, as the threat of Boko Haram militants recedes and people return to their homes and farms.”
In addition to the 2,295 teachers killed in attacks linked to Boko Haram in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa State, the terrorist group has displaced another 19,000 teachers since 2009, Adamu declared, the African nation’s Premium Times newspaper reports.
Adamu, “who expressed concern over the systematic destruction targeted at education, said 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the last nine years.”
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Premium Times notes that Adamu indicated that “without access to quality learning, the Nigerian child is not only being deprived of education but also robbed of future opportunities which will affect the entire society.”
Nigerian President Buhari has accused young people in his country of being “lazy.”
Minister Adamu also noted that the jihadists had destroyed about 1,500 schools resulting in more the 1,280 casualties “among teachers and students” since 2014 alone.
Borno state is considered Boko Haram’s birthplace.
Northeastern Nigeria’s vast Sambisa Forest – which covers parts of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Kano states – is identified as Boko Haram’s last stronghold in the country.
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The Nigerian figures echo data from the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data released in April, which also revealed Boko Haram has indeed killed at least 2,295 teachers, adding that it has destroyed over 1,400 schools.
“Boko Haram has abducted more than 1,000 children in northeast Nigeria since 2013, the United Nations’ children’s agency announced Friday [April 13],” ABC News reported.
Citing UNICEF, ABC News added, “Most of these schools haven’t been able to reopen due to extensive damage or ongoing insecurity in the area.”
As of early April, Boko Haram jihadists had killed at least 120 civilians this year and injured 210 others, Breitbart News learned from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has falsely claimed on several occasions to have defeated Boko Haram, but the terrorist group is known to continue wreaking havoc.
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On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump hosted his counterpart Buhari at the White House.
Trump vowed to work with Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram threat and to deal with attacks on Christians who are targeted by the jihadist groups and Muslim Fulani herdsmen with whom the Nigerian leader shares his ethnicity.
Critics have accused Buhari of being lenient towards the Fulani militants.

President Buhari gets Brief on Boko Haram Controls of Some Territories in Nigeria Through Newspaper

2019 Elections, APC, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics

President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly said he only heard about Boko Haram control of territories in Nigeria from News Papers. While he acknowledged the fact that insecurity is still a big problem for his administration, he underscored the efforts of the Army in restricting Boko Haram to Sambisa Forest. This was the first time the Nigerian President will concede to the fact that insurgents are still controlling some territories in Nigeria.

Speaking during an interview with Voice of Africa (VOA), he also expressed the difference between leading the country as a former military Head of State and now as a democratically elected leader.

He said: “I don’t get to listen to music but I find time to rest. When I was a general, I gave orders, but now I receive orders”  Commenting on the state of his health, he said his doctor always insist on good diet and good rest for him.

Read Also: Of the Messiah; Town Crier, 2019 Elections and Trump Summon.

Asked what different plan he has for Nigeria if re-elected, he said: “We have not even finished what we are doing now. Insecurity is still a problem. The worst thing that Boko Haram is doing now is to get small girls, hypnotise and put explosive devices on them to go and detonate in mosques, churches, motor parks and markets and kill people.

“However, they are not able to take over any territory now, although even today, I read in some newspapers that Boko Haram are still holding territory. Well, they may still be somewhere in Sambisa Forest but the Nigerian Army has prevented them from coming out”.

Read also: You are the greatest Terrorist that ever ruled Nigeria…FFK

Buhari, who is seeking a second term to the dismay of even some of his first-term supporters, also restated his resolve to punish more corrupt and criminal offenders if he wins in 2019

“By the time we set up these special courts and prosecute offenders, I am sure citizens will know that we are serious,” he said. “Those who embezzle public funds should be ready to face the consequences.”

Originally posted in Sahara Reporters

 

US Confirmed the Receipt of Payment for Fighter Planes from Nigeria Government.

Military, News, Nigeria, Nigerian Army, PMB, Politics
The United States Government officials have confirmed the receipt from Nigeria payment for the Tucano planes. It said the 12 Super Tucano fighter jets and other weapons it agreed to sell to the Nigerian to combat Boko Haram insurgents and other extremist groups would be delivered in 2020.

A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report at the weekend said a senior U.S. Department of State official made the disclosure during a background briefing with ‘selected reporters’ at the U.S. Consul-General’s Residence on Sunday in Ikoyi, Lagos. The official, who confirmed that the Federal Government had paid for the war planes, said sale of the aircraft with weapons and services worth over $400 million included bombs and rockets.

The NAN report said that the propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance, surveillance and attack capabilities is made by Brazil’s Embraer.

Embraer’s second production line is in Florida in a partnership between Embraer and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp of Sparks, Nevada

The Super Tucano is said to cost more than $10 million each and the price could go much higher depending on the configuration. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 engine

.

 

The Renegade Fulani and Nigeria Homeland Security:

Boko Haram, News, Nigeria, Terrorism

We all grew up to seeing the Fulani Herdsmen in our communities; armed with sticks, Knives in Scabbards and Long machetes hanging from their shoulders. The picture should have scared another group of kids but we all rarely get into altercation with the cow herders as they always stayed out of the city and mind their businesses.

Years later, when as a graduate of Economics from the Great University of Lagos  I was posted to serve the country in Yobe State, Northeast Nigeria in October 1995, I was a bit reluctant to traverse one of the longest distance in Nigeria and clearly at a loss. I really didn’t know anything about the culture and ways of the Kanuri people leaving in those areas. My father of blessed memory and few Yoruba elders around bolstered my courage and within two weeks of graduation, I was in Portiskum for NYSC orientation. The experience was educational, I became part of the Kanuri culture and went on to spend 3 years in Mangawa lands of Yusufari, Gasha and Damaturu as a young single man.

My first experience of the marauding herdsmen that changed my understanding of the violent nature of the Fulanis happened in Yusufari. Farmers were attacked in their farms and a whole village was burnt down by herdsmen. The casualties and few survivors from the Kumagana attack were brought to the Yusufari Health Center, which was just behind my house. The sight was horrendous, devastating, and completely horrifying. My first sight of effects of bullets and arrows on human anatomy, were so bad that I had to run to the toilet to empty my bowel. I was so shaken that I was tempted to pack my bags and leave my new lodge barely three months into the one year national service.

By 1997, the herdsmen attacks were reported to have degenerated from robbing and killing farmers into full scale armed robbery on major highways in the area. Several cases of robberies were reported on the Kano-Portiskum and Jos – Portiskum roads. The new name for these marauders was the ‘Konta-Konta’. They were deadly, unforgiving and easy to the trigger. Many travelers lost their lives to these attacks warranting the government to create a joint patrol ‘Operation Kura’ to dislodge the criminal elements.

Gradually, the herdsmen attacks and cow rustling had continued over the years, one major factor contributing to its growth has been economical, and truth be told newer social orientation. The Fulani are sendatory, they rarely live in social groups. They are known to exist in family groups and ownership of cattle has been their status symbol for decades. My experience with the Fulani were peaceful. The people are never influenced by their surrounding as they rarely venture into the mainstream of societies around them. They are different and remained enigma to their hosts.

The Fulani like most tribes in Africa have continued to be affected by globalization and socio-economic environmental challenges of the 21st century. Apparent desertification, expansion of the Sahara Desert and the receding Chad Basin have conspired to challenge their main trade and the need for survival has brought the Fulani more into the hinterland. Increased need to adapt to newer realities in an ever-changing society would have been a huge challenge to the herders. Impervious to societal legal restraints and political authority, the Fulani in our towns and villages are possibly challenged, feel too bugged down by rules and completely oppressed.

Increased access to health and social resource have also contributed to a burgeoning youth population in Nigeria and many states in Africa leading to more pressure on an economic that stopped growing since the seventies. Increased population in the Fulani community not paired with substantial expansion in cattle stocks must have created a new Fulani youth without cattle. Imagine a Fulani living without a herd, what else is this new group qualified for?

Before we started running out to Libya to assuage meaning to the ongoing daily killings by the herdsmen in our midst, I think we should join the president in sorting out the wheat from the shaft. Will somebody up there in the corridor of power please whisper to the president, the fact that there have been an emergence of a new class of lawless Fulani without any cattle and source of income that have become menace to our society. Accessing the issue from this angle will allow us to understand the issue from a criminal point of view. These renegades are criminals and should be treated in like manner. It shouldn’t be an issue if they are Fulani or Yoruba. Any groups that come all out to destabilize the peace of the Nigerian homeland should be with all state’s law enforcement apparatus at our disposal.

 

Probably, the predominance of men of Fulani extraction in the inner security circle of the president could be a contributive factor for the perennial denial of the president and its team anytime the word Fulani herdsmen come into play. Many analyst are of the opinion that the President and his security chiefs defends the Fulani herdsmen even when the Miyeti Allah group openly admits culpability in several killings. The Miyeti Allah have through several fora sent messages to Benue and Taraba states government to stop anti-grazing laws as a condition for peace in their areas.

 

While Benue and Taraba Governors have stubbornly refused to accede to this honorable request to allow cow to take over their streets and offices like we have in Abuja currently, the killing have equally refused to abate. Instead of bowing to the Miyeti Allah’s demand and save thousands from gun wielding degenerates, Ortom went ahead and set up a vigilante to secure his state from further attacks. Unfortunately, Ortom never did thorough diligence on his security adviser’s background. Facts coming out showed that he had employed a terrorist to reduce killings in his state. Some schools of thought even concluded that Ortom was merely using “a thief to catch a thief”. But all in all, the army investigative team after months of non-preventive patrols have discovered that the Benue State Vigilante team are responsible for the herdsmen killings in Benue state.

 

I am sure by now the Tiv and Idoma people of Benue state would have been on the street dancing their traditional sexy contraction moves to honour the announcement of the arrest of these killers. Should we just dismantle all IDP camps and send the people back to their villages, now that we have arrested the issue? Maybe Trump should even be told that the issue of the herdsmen are on its way out as the major group responsible are now in custody and pray that we got it right this time.

 

I am never a pessimist, yet I am bothered by the attention we are giving to the continual death from these herdsmen killings. From actual denial of the existence of a systematic killing campaign in northern Nigeria and allowing the problem to degenerate and spread to every areas of the country; to a systematic allusion to its existence and caused by economic pressures, to blaming the death of thousands of our brothers on Libyan Civil war that ended years ago and now to the point that we are all out saying politicians caused it.

Having attended training and workshops with several of our security leaders, I am sure we have highly intelligent officers in all our security organisation. Current security appraisal and operations have continued to amaze most security professionals. The apparent lack of academic inputs in Nigerian security policy formulation have been blamed for the disjointed policy infrastructure we have in place today. There exists need for a proper reevaluation of our security mix, a proper redesign of our processes, and an introduction of an efficient system for monitoring and evaluating security operation in Nigeria.

 

The office of the NSA is an aberration that needed to be looked at, the NSA cannot at the same time be a security policy maker, security agencies supervisor and an active security agency. We cannot pursue a robust security operations when the system is in a flux. Proper use of resources can only be assured when tasks are tied to measurable and evaluable timelines. We cannot manage our security efficiently without putting the system in the right. Someone should please tell the President.

 

US builds drone base in Niger, crossroads of extremism fight

Africa, Boko Haram, News, Tech, Terrorism

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On the scorching edge of the Sahara Desert, the U.S. Air Force is building a base for armed drones, the newest front in America’s battle against the growing extremist threat in Africa’s vast Sahel region.

Three hangars and the first layers of a runway command a sandy, barren field. Niger Air Base 201 is expected to be functional early next year. The base, a few miles outside Agadez and built at the request of Niger’s government, will eventually house fighter jets and MQ-9 drones transferred from the capital Niamey. The drones, with surveillance and added striking capabilities, will have a range enabling them to reach a number of West and North African countries.

Few knew of the American military’s presence in this desperately poor, remote West African country until October, when an ambush by Islamic State group-linked extremists killed four U.S. soldiers and five Nigeriens.

The $110 million project is the largest troop labor construction project in U.S. history, according to Air Force officials. It will cost $15 million annually to operate.

Citing security reasons, no official will say how many drones will be housed at the base or whether more U.S. personnel will be brought to the region. Already the U.S. military presence here is the second largest in Africa behind the sole permanent U.S. base on the continent, in the tiny Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.

The drones at the base are expected to target several different al-Qaida and Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in countries throughout the Sahel, a sprawling region just south of the Sahara, including the area around Lake Chad, where the Nigeria’s Boko Haram insurgency has spread.

As the U.S. puts drones at the forefront of the fight against extremists, some worry that civilians will be mistaken for fighters.

“We are afraid of falling back into the same situation as in Afghanistan, with many mistakes made by American soldiers who did not always know the difference between a wedding ceremony and a training of terrorist groups,” said Amadou Roufai, a Nigerien administration official.

Civic leader Nouhou Mahamadou also expressed concerns.

“The presence of foreign bases in general and American in particular is a serious surrender of our sovereignty and a serious attack on the morale of the Nigerien military,” he said.

The number of U.S. military personnel in Niger has risen over the past few years from 100 to 800, the second largest concentration in Africa after the 4,000 in Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. About 500 personnel are working on the new air and drone base and the base camp is marked with an American and Nigerien flag.

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance are crucial in the fight against extremism, U.S. Africa Command spokeswoman Samantha Reho said.

“The location in Agadez will improve U.S. Africa Command’s capability to facilitate intelligence-sharing that better supports Niger and other partner nations, such as Nigeria, Chad, Mali and other neighbors in the region and will improve our capability to respond to regional security issues,” Reho said.

The intelligence gathered by the drones can be used by Niger and other U.S. partners for prosecuting extremists, said Commander Brad Harbaugh, who is in charge of the new base.

Some in Niger welcome the growing U.S. military presence in the face of a growing extremist threat in the region.

“Northern Mali has become a no man’s land, southern Libya is an incubator for terrorists and northeastern Nigeria is fertile ground for Boko Haram’s activities … Can Niger alone ensure its own security? I think not. No country in the world can today alone fight terrorism,” said Souleymane Abdourahmane, a restaurant promoter in the capital, Niamey.

Threats include al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali and Burkina Faso, Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in Niger, Mali and Nigeria and the Nigeria-based Boko Haram. They take advantage of the vast region’s widespread poverty and countries’ often poorly equipped security forces.

Foreigners, including a German aid worker kidnapped this month in Niger, have been targeted as well.

The U.S. military’s use of armed drones comes as its special forces pull back from the front lines of the fight. The focus is changing to advising and assisting local partners higher up the chain of command, said U.S. Special Command Africa commander Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks.

Ibrahim Maiga, a Mali-based researcher for the Institute for Security Studies, said more needs to be known about the U.S. military presence in the region.

“The U.S. military footprint in the Sahel is difficult to grasp, just as it is not easy to assess its effectiveness,” he said. “There isn’t nearly enough information in the public space on this presence.”

Mud homes line the barbed wire fence at the edge of the main airport in Agadez. Residents watch the U.S. forces come and go with curiosity.

Shebu Issa, an assistant at a Quranic school, stood in one doorway as goats and children roamed the sandy roads.

“It’s no big deal to us, they come and they don’t bother us. We appreciate they want to help in the fight,” he said. “We live a hard life, and don’t make much money, so we hope maybe this will help us get more.”

___

Associated Press writer Dalatou Mamane in Niamey, Niger contributed.

US army trainers try to build West Africa defences against jihad

Africa, Military, News

Nigerian commandos simulate a raid on a militant camp during the US-sponsored Flintlock exercises in Ouallam. Photo: Reuters / Aaron Ross

OUALLAM, Niger – Kicking up clouds of pink Saharan dust, US military trainers impersonated militants, waved flags saying “death to outsiders” and threw smoke grenades toward approaching Nigerien commandos this week, as a surveillance drone hovered overhead.

The joint military exercises between US-led Western forces and several West African nations, dubbed “Flintlock”, have been going on since 2005. This year, however, they have focused more closely on the evolving threat posed by Islamist militants, whose mounting numbers and capabilities require an ever more sophisticated response, military commanders told Reuters.

“Flintlock … has over the years evolved,” Major General J. Marcus Hicks, who leads some 1,000 American special operations forces across about a dozen African countries, told Reuters.

“What’s different this year is that we have intentionally focused on the developing threat situation in the Sahel and the ongoing challenges in the Lake Chad region,” he said.

Jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State are launching increasingly brazen attacks on UN, Western and local forces and civilian targets across West Africa’s Sahel region, including a raid in western Niger last October that killed four US Green Berets.

This year’s 14th instalment of Flintlock brought together about 1,900 special forces troops from 12 Western and eight African countries this month in Niger, whose porous borderlands with Mali and Burkina Faso along Africa’s vast Sahel have seen the biggest surge in attacks.

Similar exercises were conducted in Burkina Faso and Senegal.

“The Sahel is not an easy place,” Colonel Kassim Moussa of Chad’s special forces said at a military base in the western town of Ouallam, where Nigerien commandos in blue helmets and loose fitting uniforms braved the scorching midday sun to simulate raids on a jihadist camp.

“It has to be synchronised as they (the militants) go across borders very easily, very fluidly, so getting our partners to work together is a big driver,” trainer Colonel Craig Miller said at the exercise.

The militant threat has ballooned this decade with the emergence of Boko Haram’s insurgency in northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, and the jihadist 2012 takeover of north Mali.

A French intervention in northern Mali in early 2013 helped beat back that threat, but the militants have regrouped, launching attacks in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and beyond.

Niger’s Defence Minister Kalla Moutari said at Friday’s closing ceremony that the officers had shown “their capacity to … lead aerial and land operations”.

Critics of Western nations’ policy in the region say they have overemphasised the military aspect of the threat at the expense of root causes that are swelling the militants’ ranks, including government rights abuses and inter-communal conflicts that lead some to align themselves with the jihadists.

Reuter

US urges Nigeria to change tactics against Boko Haram – AFP

Boko Haram, News, Nigeria, Nigerian Army, Terrorism
afp.jpgNigerian forces battling Boko Haram jihadists need a change of mindset to overcome an evolving guerrilla threat, US military officials said this week on the sidelines of an African security summit.

Boko Haram’s tactics – from improvised explosive devices to hiding within the local population – necessitate a shift away from conventional strategies, said Lieutenant-Colonel Sean McClure, the US defence attache in Abuja.

“We haven’t necessarily seen that kind of adaptation cycle,” he told AFP. “They’re trying to figure out how to do this.

“How they think in terms of combat, in my opinion, is still thinking of things as conventional warfare.”

 As the United States steps up its military presence in Africa, it hopes to share lessons learned in the Middle East with Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel fighting extremist groups.

The Sahel region is host to a string of Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali and Boko Haram in Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad area.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 180 million people, has been fighting Boko Haram since 2009 and has repeatedly claimed to have defeated the group.

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, declared on Tuesday there was “no doubt Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated, they don’t have the capacity”.

But persistent attacks against soldiers and civilians, including a brazen new kidnapping of over 100 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Dapchi on February 19, suggest otherwise.

Meanwhile, the emergence of an ISIS-allied faction of Boko Haram, whose strategy is to provide an alternative government for people living in the impoverished region, poses a new threat.

“It starts to become a very wicked problem,” McClure said.

 ‘Acrimony’ 

At a military demonstration in Gwagwalada, a town on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigerian special forces performed a battle drill in front of Africa’s senior commanders.

Soldiers rappelled from helicopters as the midday sun blazed over the savannah, then the infantry moved in to liberate mock hostages from a compound.

But with Borno state, the centre of the Boko Haram conflict nearly twice the size of Belgium, Nigeria cannot rely on soldiers alone.

It also needs the support of the local population.

Buratai told the summit that winning the hearts and minds of people in the northeast has been a “big challenge”. Human intelligence has long been seen as vital to winning the war.

But rights groups have accused Nigeria’s military of killing, torturing and arbitrarily arresting thousands of civilians on suspicion of being Boko Haram members or sympathisers.

That has stoked tensions in a region already wary of the government and made people in hard-to-reach rural areas particularly reluctant to cooperate with the authorities.

“People thought the military action was aggressive to them, so this brought acrimony,” admitted Buratai but he added: “We have done a lot since then and the perception has changed.”

 Human rights concerns

Similar tensions have been seen elsewhere in Nigeria in relation to separate threats, including over the military handling of protests by pro-Biafran separatists in the southeast.

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Protests calling for the release of an imprisoned pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim cleric hung over the Abuja summit, again turning the attention to tactics and possible rights abuses.

Two days of protests on Monday and Tuesday saw at least 115 supporters of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky arrested after running battles with police, who fired tear gas and water cannon.

Zakzaky, the head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, has been in custody since December 2015 after troops attacked his supporters in the northern city of Zaria.

More than 300 were killed and buried in a mass grave, according to Amnesty International.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has launched a judicial panel to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in the military.

But experts warn any reform will take time – if it happens at all.

“It’s very difficult for the Nigerian army to overturn 50-plus years of a bad reputation,” said Yan St-Pierre, a counter-terrorism specialist at the Modern Security Consulting Group in Berlin.

“People are squeezed between a rock and a hard place. Some don’t feel comfortable with the army or Boko Haram,” he said, warning that “if the military doesn’t have popular support basically the insurgents will have it”.

Read more on:    al qaeda  |  isis  |  boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Boko Haram have infiltrated herdsmen, warns Osita Okereke – The Sun

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Politics, Terrorism

Director General, National Taskforce to combat illegal importation, smuggling of goods, small arms, ammunition and light-weapons, Dr. Osita Emmanuel Okereke, has called on Nigerian communities to be on alert, claiming that members of terror group Boko Haram have infiltrated herdsmen to cause havoc across the country.

Okereke also accused security agencies of complicity in the fight against the Islamist insurgency, alleging that most of them are members of Boko Haram.

Emmanuel-Okeke-Osita-2-768x824.jpg

ISS Spotlight: building a new corps of dedicated African counter-terrorism experts

Africa, Boko Haram, Terrorism
With its skilled staff, professional networks and wealth of original research, ISS helps Africa tackle an evolving threat.

2018-04-11-training-spotlight-banner.jpgThe Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is helping African police to understand and combat terrorism on the continent, and to investigate and prosecute terrorism cases. Willem Els, a senior training coordinator at the ISS, is building a corps of well-trained African counter-terrorism experts while adapting international best practice to local conditions.

Threats include Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, al-Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, and al-Qaida affiliates across the Sahel and North Africa. Three African countries – Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt – are in the global top ten countries most affected by terrorism, according to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index. Terrorism on the continent is particularly lethal, with six African states (Nigeria, Tunisia, Chad, Niger, Kenya and Cameroon) in the top ten countries with the highest average deaths per attack.

Police and prosecution services need specific skills to detect, combat, investigate and prosecute terrorism. The ISS helps to build these capacities through its expert staff and professional networks.

Els has an abundance of skills and experience. He served 28 years as a police officer in South Africa, with leadership positions in the national bomb squad, and time as an undercover sky marshal in the aviation anti-hijacking unit. He is a member of the International Association for Bomb Technicians and Investigators, with experience preparing disposal experts to work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now Els is sharing his knowledge with African police and prosecutors, working in partnership with policing organisations in East and West Africa, as well as Interpol, the United Nations, African Union and the EU.

‘It is rewarding to see my skills and experience embraced and integrated into the daily operations of people who deal with terrorism in Africa,’ he says. ‘We are investing in and empowering the next generation of passionate and competent counter-terrorism experts.’

Effective counter-terrorism requires an integrated training approach. The ISS has helped to create the official counter-terrorism manual for police agencies in East, West and southern Africa. Essentially an African counter-terrorism training handbook, it covers intelligence, explosives and bomb disposal, crime scene handling, weapons of mass destruction, causes of radicalisation and the evolution of terror.

ISS training spans national, regional and international legal instruments, extradition, state-sponsored terror, counter-intelligence, border control, biological weapons, dirty bombs and collection of evidence. ISS trainers are supported by African experts with world-class experience in subjects ranging from hostage negotiations, incident management andprosecution of terrorists.

Discussions are underway with a top South African university to accredit the training to diploma or post-graduate level and then offer it as a distance learning module.

The recognised value and impact of ISS training is based on its comprehensive and integrated counter-terrorism curriculum, and the deep working relationships with African police services and Interpol offices across the continent.

‘We go well beyond professional relationships based on technical expertise,’ says Els. ‘We bond as friends and comrades who face a common threat.’

‘The ISS is welcomed and respected as an African organisation which cares deeply about the continent’s security. We are embraced as true African partners who find local solutions to African challenges.’

Working with east African police, Els and other experts have produced standard operating procedures which serve as an investigators’ field guide following an incident. Terrorism is a threat that keeps evolving, so Els runs refresher courses for investigators, and specialised training when required. This includes bringing together frontline bomb technicians and intelligence experts from different terror hotspots to share their experience.

Annual field training supported by the ISS sees hundreds of police from across Africa participate in simulated hijackings, hostage negotiations, tactical interventions, defusing explosives, working with dogs and investigating a terror scene.

The ISS also hosts annual workshops where African heads of counter-terrorism and crime investigation discuss and agree regional priorities and identify new focus areas, such as the role of women in extremism. These discussions are informed by the wealth of original ISS research on violent extremism in Africa.

Working as a counter-terrorism trainer is not without its emotional challenges. Els tells a harrowing story of a late-night call from Somalia where three policemen had been blown up after following on-site instructions to approach a suspect vehicle. The caller survived the incident because he followed protocols learned in his ISS training.

For more information contact:

Willem Els, ISS: +27 82 554 7695, wels@issafrica.org

Picture: Jacqueline Cochrane/ISS

Ahmad Salkida : Only 15 of the 113 Chibok schoolgirls alive

Terrorism

Ahmad Salkida, the Nigerian journalist, formerly based in Dubai, said today that only 15 out of the remaining 113 Chibok schoolgirls, believed to be with their Boko Haram abductors are alive.

He made the claim in series of tweets today, in which he provided a backgrounder to the abduction, exactly four years ago. Salkida said the surviving 15 have been married off, indoctrinated and may no longer be interested in returning home.

chibHe advises government in negotiating for the release of the 15 girls to demand ‘proof of life’.

His tweets dealt with the botched attempts during the Jonathan era when the Boko Haram terrorists were willing to release the girls on swap deals and later developments. Four years ago, a middle ranking Boko Haram commander led dozens of fighters in search of food and other supplies in the remote town of Chibok.

Like an afterthought, they saw a chance to abduct school girls in Girls Secondary School Chibok. The girls at the time were preparing for their exams. The dozens of Boko Haram fighters faced no opposition during the abduction, as they struggled to convey their captives to the forest of Alagarno, the insurgent’s first war capital, which they named Timbuktu.

It was in Timbuktu that they organised most of the horror we experience today. Some of the girls were lucky to have escaped on their way to Timbuktu that night, because there were fewer fighters to hold more than 200 girls. At the beginning, the group didn’t know what to do with the girls, at least, not in the first one month of their captivity. However, what many people did not know was that two weeks into the abduction, the Jonathan administration was already in touch with me for the peaceful release of the girls. By the way, I was in self-exile after pressure from the same Government.

I took an excuse where I was doing a menial job in the UAE (but still reporting the insurgency), to see the president, which was facilitated by Aliyu Gebi and Labaran Maku. By the 3rd of May, I was already on my way from Abuja to Madagali, Marwa and finally to a Boko Haram camp. I got a proof of life for the president and another for the media in case I didn’t get back.

The demands of Boko Haram then were simple. They wanted detained members taken to Damaturu and they will move the girls to Buni-Yardi for swap somewhere in between. There was no word on ransom I was provided with full military escorts from Abuja to Damaturu.

Government was supposed to make sure that 70 detainees were ready on my arrival in Damaturu to meet 30 there. The rest of the negotiating team was in Abuja making sure the prisoners were on a plane before my arrival. On arrival in Damaturu, the military commander there was not briefed about my work. He was merely told to expect a VIP.

At that time, the girls have been moved by Boko Haram, but there were no prisoners for exchange and I got a call from the former Chief of Defence Staff to abort the operation. The president later said before me that he did not call off the swap. There was a credible window, but zero Will to rescue the girls. Boko were angry. I returned to the UAE to continue my hustle, but received invitations not only by the former administration, but the current government Four out of five processes that I was involved in, we came close to a swap deal, but Government in most instances did not provide the platform I presented with the required expertise. And whenever Government dragged its feet, Shekau will shift the goal post.

I continued my reporting on the crisis, often critical of government and Boko Haram, with both sides raising concerns. For me, I am a reporter before anything else, many officials consider me as somebody who was too independent minded for a process that needs to be shrouded in secrecy. Government began to look for alternatives to conclude what I’ve started and my former couriers stepped in as the primary ‘negotiators.’

It was a break for me because it is no longer negotiations, but mere transaction. Another reason was my insistence that the process must be domesticated I was a prickle in the flesh of our leaders with my counter claims of official narratives. A day after I exclusively released a video of the girls, something I’v done in the past, I was declared wanted by same military that provided me with escorts, military aircraft for assignments I was amazed to learn later that the terms that saw the release of some of the girls was unfavourable than what I presented, but as my friend will say, even if we come up with a cure for cancer, the war economy and elites would rather die than accept a cure from a talaka.

Today, my painstaking investigations on the #Chibokschoolgirls revealed that just a handful of the 113 #ChibokGirls are alive. Many of the girls have died as a result of cross fires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them. I regret to state here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last three months and we have already seen some of them in a video, which I exclusively obtained and was published on SR website.

What is the status of the remaining 15 girls as far as negotiations are concerned? My investigations also revealed that, they are no longer under the control of #AbubakarShekau.

According to sources, they are now ‘married’ and only their ‘husbands’ can decide their fates. If they are divorced or the men are killed that is when Shekau’s decision takes precedence, and in this instance, since the girls have been indoctrinated, their leader has no right to negotiate for their release, no matter the ransom offered, reliable multiple sources said. It will be unbearable to share the names of the 15 that are alive here, this is the responsibility of Government. When I was involved, I regularly provided proof of life.

Government must demand that to prove me wrong or stop negotiating for many of the girls that don’t exists. The secrecy around the condition of the #ChibokGirls and most recent #DapchiGirls debacle by those involved is the reason people like me are out of the picture. The fact remains that under the present circumstances there is NO room for peace settlement.

The way out for these girls, is a military rescue or negotiate wt individual captors to release their ‘wives’ in return for some kind of deal, but this will mean death to these fighters bcz the terror group now sees the girls as part of their own and must be protected. How comes there is little or no information about the girls and both the parents and campaigners are in the dark? Because, Govt resist independent reporting of the crisis, most of the reports are choreographed & Nigerians are also not ready to hear the truth or stand by it. Reporting the #LakeChadCrisis is not just a job for me, Borno is my home, this crisis has affected me too. I’v invested 13yrs of my 18yrs journalism career to follow this story in a way no reporter or researcher has done, hence my knowledge of this crisis can’t be dismissed. I’v risked my life and that of my family in the past and even now, not only to tell the story, but to play the role of a mediator and fact finder.

But as soon as the FG found alternatives, my sacrifices got an official ridicule and I am being hounded. I hold no other intention of doing this than the need to stir a debate to demand more insights and bring closure to the parents.

The nation must not fail you from rescuing your daughters and also fail to tell you the truth. My heartfelt condolences to the parents of the near 100 that have perished or have not returned home and apparently not with their captors. But you must always remember that your daughters were stronger than the rest of us that couldn’t do more to avert this catastrophe.”(NAN)

Ahmad Salkida@ContactSalkida

26/ My heartfelt condolences to the parents of the near 100 that have perished or have not returned home and apparently not with their captors. But you must always remember that your daughters were stronger than the rest of us that couldn’t do more to avert this catastrophe.

Chibok girls: Negotiations with Boko Haram halted – Buhari

Boko Haram, Military, Nigerian Army, PMB, Terrorism

Muhammadu-Buhari-1-1

President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed on Friday that the negotiations between the Federal Government and the Boko Haram terrorists for the release of the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls had suffered unexpected setbacks.

The president said this was mainly owing to a lack of agreement among the girls’ abductors whose internal differences, he explained, had led to a divergence of voices regarding the outcome of the negotiations.

Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Malam Garba Shehu, said he joined the Borno State government, the parents of the girls and Nigerians in commemorating the fourth anniversary of the sad incident, praying that the event at the daughters’ school on Saturday would go well.

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Buhari, however, assured the parents of the schoolgirls that were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014 that “their daughters will never be forgotten or abandoned to their fate, despite four long years since they were taken away by terrorists.’’

 “Unfortunately, the negotiations between the government and Boko Haram suffered some unexpected setbacks owing mainly to a lack of agreement among their abductors, whose internal differences have led to a divergence of voices regarding the outcome of the talks.

“We know that this is not the news parents want to hear after four whole years of waiting, but we want to be as honest as possible with you.

“However, this government is not relenting. We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. Don’t give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again. Don’t lose faith in this government’s ability to fulfil our promise of reuniting you with our daughters.

“Don’t imagine for a moment that we have forgotten about our daughters or that we consider their freedom a lost course,’’ the president said

He urged the parents to keep their hopes alive on the return of their daughters, saying the recovery  of more than a 100 of the girls that were kidnapped through the Federal Government’s determined effort should give confidence that all “hope is not lost”.

The president re-affirmed that the government remained focused and determined to see the girls return to their homes.

He asked the parents to be expectant of more good news in due course.

“We are concerned and aware that it is taking long to bring the rest of our daughters back home, but be assured that this administration is doing its very best to free the girls from their captors,” Buhari said.

He assured that as long as he remains the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Chibok girls would never be forgotten and all would be done to have them reunited with their families.

Court frees 2 Boko Haram suspects, accuses govt of bungling trial

Africa, Boko Haram, Corruption, Herdsmen, international News, local news, Terrorism

buha1An Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako on Wednesday freed two terror suspects, arrested and kept in prison custody for the last five years.

The judge held that the two suspects, Ibrahim Ahmed, and Sani Argungu, who were arraigned for alleged ties with Boko Haram, were freed for lack of diligent prosecution by the Federal Government.

According the trial justice, Ahmed had been in detention since 2013 while Argungu had been detained since 2012.

herdsmeShe explained that since the time of their arrest and prosecution that the Federal Government prosecutors did not call any witnesses.

She said, “The defendants have been in custody with no trial because the prosecution cannot bring its witnesses to court. So, I discharge the defendants and the suit is hereby struck out.”

Justice Nyako however held that any time government prosecutors are ready to bring a witness to testify in the matter, that the defendants could be re-arraigned.

This was as she added that the defendants, despite being discharged, would be monitored.

Justice Nyako then cautioned them to refrain from associating with persons of questionable characters.

 

Breaking News: Gunmen attack Nasarawa community, kill five

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Politics, Terrorism

herdsmenThe Police Command in Nasarawa State has confirmed five persons killed in a fresh attack on Kadarko village and environs in Obi Local Government, on Tuesday.

Kennedy Idirisu, the command’s spokesman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lafia that the attackers invaded the village at night and shot everyone on sight.

He said the command had deployed adequate personnel to quell the attacks, adding that relative normalcy had returned to the area.

nasarawaHe said that the command had arrested three suspects in connection with the Kadarko attacks, but explained that the situation was “a bit tense.”

According to him, the State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Bello, is already on his way to the affected areas for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

A resident of Kadarko village, who spoke on the Tuesday attack, told NAN that the trouble started when a 17- year-old boy had his arm chopped off by unknown persons suspected to be herdsmen.

The source, who craved anonymity, said that the attackers later stormed the village at night, shooting sporadically at anyone on sight.

“Even the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp was not spared,” he said, adding that many people were injured in the stampede as women and children scampered for safety.

NAN recalled that Kadarko village was attacked on January 29 by gunmen that killed seven persons.

(NAN)

Nigerian govt bungles prosecution of two Boko Haram suspects

Boko Haram, international News, local news, Politics, Terrorism

Two Boko Haram suspects who were arrested over five years ago have been freed.

They were freed by the court on Wednesday after the judge accused the government of poor prosecution.

The Federal High Court in Abuja discharged two persons, Ibrahim Ahmed and Sani Argungu, arraigned for alleged ties with Boko Haram, for lack of diligent prosecution.

Discharging the defendants, Justice Binta Nyako noted that Mr Ahmed had been in detention since 2013 while Mr Argungu had been detained since 2012. The judge said since the time of their arrest and prosecution, the government prosecutors are yet to call any witnesses.

“The defendants have been in custody with no trial because the prosecution cannot bring its witnesses to court. So, I discharge the defendants and the suit is hereby struck out,” she said.

Mrs Nyako, however, said that whenever the prosecution was able to get its witnesses to attend court, the defendants could be re-arraigned.

The judge added that the defendants, although discharged, would be monitored. She warned them not to associate with any person of questionable character.

Mr Ibrahim, who said in his statement that he was a security guard at the Government House, Sokoto, was alleged to have been responsible for giving passage to Boko Haram members.

Over 100,000 people have been killed across Nigeria due to the activities of the Boko Haram terror group.

However, the terror group’s activities have been heavily curtailed by the military, who have since restricted the limited attacks to Adamawa Borno and Yobe states. The military have also ensured that the terror group no longer controls any whole local government in the country.

One Billion Dollar CVE Operation Fund: Measuring and Evaluating CVE Operations in Nigeria

Terrorism

Policymakers and practitioners have often engaged in the use of absolute force and a top-down approach in the design of programs to counter violent extremism in Nigeria. This top-down approach relies heavily on the insights from politicians, religious leaders, and few elites while failing to incorporate the insights of those most affected by violence—the shopkeepers, students, farmers, and other ordinary people- in most areas of northeast Nigeria. Increase deployment of resources and finance has been the most employed strategies of succeeding governments in battling conflicts within Nigeria. Unfortunately, the militarisation of conflict management processes have failed to achieve peace and tranquility in most areas of current and past engagements.

Lack of a national Peace Indicators framework and formal process for monitoring and evaluation of successes and failure have been confirmed in the repetitive conflict situation being experienced in all areas of engagement in the country. Lack of formal indices has challenge practitioners in measuring and understanding on how ordinary Nigerian’s can easily assess peace and security and identify factors that lead to violent extremism.

One of the few points of consensus in global debates about violent extremism is the problem of measurement. There are no agreed-upon metrics for what success in countering violent extremism (CVE) might be. When designing CVE programs in Nigeria, policymakers and practitioners are stuck in the traditional top-down approach, consulting religious leaders, elders, local politicians, and other elites. Ordinary citizens at the village level and IDPs who are directly affected by the violence are rarely consulted in a systematic way about the metrics to determine success or failure of programming.

As The Nigerian State are poised at investing further $1billion Naira on CVE operations, there are needs for policymakers and practitioners to determine a formal metrics for CVE successes and failures. Proper accountability processes must be ensured towards getting value for each dollar spent.  it should now become important for the state to understand what indicators citizens use in their everyday lives and how they compare to measurements of peace and violence traditionally used by policymakers.

The Nigerian state should create platforms for direct engagement of CVE operators; The Nigerian Military and local actors in an effort to identify the “everyday indicators” of peace in villages in the highly insecure provinces, the use of national security as excuse to loot the national treasury should be discouraged in favour of a more accountable system. Equally, State efforts should be directed at reducing the indicators for violent extremism and radicalisation in Nigeria.  Researches have revealed that the most frequently cited indicators of violent extremism were unemployment and gender-based violence.

Aside from spending one billion Dollars -almost $360 Billion Naira on buying arms and armament for security operations, its my believe that seventy percent of this fund should be invested in developing local law enforcement agencies; facilitate equitable and prompt Justice; develop proper evaluation and  accountability process towards reducing corruptions in government spendings; industrialization within affected communities towards reducing youth unemployment rate which  stays at over 60% by 2016 figures; and develop access to infrastructures and government projects by cities within conflict areas coupled with sustainable youth development projects might influence a reduction in current rate of youth radicalisation in Nigeria. Guns alone cannot keep the peace!!

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