A special rapporteur has blamed poor infrastructure for the continous presence of Boko Haram terrorits in northern Borno and recent attacks on the convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum.
Professor Philip Daheeda of the Department of Public Administration, University of Abuja, made this revelation in a detailed report on behalf of the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC).
Daheeda said it uncovered the actual circumstances surrounding the attack after leading the SHAC together with other credible non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations on a fact-finding mission to Northern Borno.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Prof. Daheeda said the troops have made substantive progress in the north of Borno, particularly the Kukawa/Baga axis once regarded as the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency due to its proximity to the Lake Chad Basin.
He further disclosed that the radical sect has been significantly incapacitated and have now turned to guerrilla tactics, planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) on routes frequently used by IDPs returning to their communities.
Daheeda, however, admitted that the poor state of roads has made it possible for the terrorists to plant the IEDs, plan attacks and unleash mayhem on citizens, such as the governor.
The special rapporteur, therefore, urged the state government to compliments the efforts of the military through the provision of necessary infrastructures such as road constructions, provision of electricity and other facilities that would aid their operations.
Read the full report below:
In light of the recent attacks on the convoy of the Governor of Borno State in Northern Borno state, the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC) in collaboration with some credible Non-Governmental Organizations as well as some Civil Society Organizations commissioned an investigative panel to unravel the circumstances that led to the attacks to put issues in proper perspectives.
The investigative panel consisted of a special rapporteur and other representatives with a mandate to physically visit Borno State and collate information on a first-hand basis. The core area of assignment includes but not limited to close interaction with citizens in Borno state, stakeholders, state actors and the media on the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in Northern Borno state.
The investigative panel consequently visited Northern Borno, especially the Kukawa/Baga axis where it was alleged that the attacks on the convoy of the governor took place.
The findings from the investigative visit are reproduced after extensive scrutiny of the facts presented through a multiple channel mechanism put in place to ensure objectivity and accuracy in fulfilment of its overarching objective.
The governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum in its efforts at assessing the relocation of Internally Displaced Persons back to their communities have been visiting liberated communities in various parts of Borno state. On a couple of occasions in recent times, the convoy of the governor was attacked, which indeed ignited rounds of commentary in the country with regards to the efforts of the Nigerian Military in its efforts towards ridding Borno State of Boko Haram elements, especially in Northern Borno state.
There were also allegations that indeed the Nigerian Military have not done enough to investigate the various incidences where the governors’ convoy was attacked thereby fueling the suspicion that the Nigerian Military was complicit in the whole saga.
The investigative panel as a result of the aforementioned undertook a trip to Baga and environs, wherein extensive consultations and interactions were made with all stakeholders in the theatre of operations.
The investigative panel was able to glean on the first-hand basis that indeed the narrative making the rounds in the media with regards to the attacks on the convoy of the governor is in contrast with the events surrounding the attack on the convoy of the governor.
It was clear from all that was gathered that the Nigerian Military has made substantial gains in addressing the Boko Haram threats in Borno state as a whole, and specifically in the Kukawa/Baga axis which is regarded as the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency due to its proximity to the Lake Chad Basin region where Nigeria shares boundaries with Chad and some francophone counties.
This fact was enforced with a strong presence of security operatives which were seen on constant patrol of the region and making advancement towards the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region where it is believed houses a seizable number of Boko Haram insurgents after their displacement from their operational headquarters in Sambisa forest, as well as other areas in North-East Nigeria where they hitherto held sway.
It is indeed a statement of the fact that the Boko Haram group has significantly been incapacitated and they have consequently employed the use of guerrilla tactics that involve the planting of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) on routes frequently used by IDPs returning to their communities as against their known strategy of engaging the Nigerian Military in exchanges of gunfire.
This new plot by the Boko Haram insurgents was indeed responsible for the attack on the convoy of the governor and not a confrontation with security operatives in the convoy of the governor. This much was also confirmed by on the spot assessment of the areas where the governor’s convoy was attacked. There were visible signs of craters that came about as a result of the impact of the IEDs detonated. It was stated further that as a result of such explosions, the security operatives in the convoy of the governor returned gunfire in various directions as a reflex action.
There was also an absence of infrastructures in Kukawa/Baga axis as virtually all roads were impassible due to years of neglect which inturn emboldened the Boko Haram insurgents to freely plant IEDs as they made their way towards the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region.
It was also revealed that the state of the roads indeed enhanced terrorist activities in Northern Borno as a whole where pockets of Boko Haram activities still thrives. There was also a dearth of other infrastructures such as communication masts, electricity water and other necessities in most parts of Northern Borno state, which the Boko Haram group has taken advantage of in the furtherance of their nefarious activities.
The investigative panel also discovered that the bulk of the casualties recorded during the attacks on the governors’ convoy were mainly as a result of IED explosions and not gunshot injuries as widely reported in the media. And the bad road network in Baga and environs is indeed responsible for the casually figures as commuting the injured to the nearest medical facility was as well daunting the number of deaths recorded.
The efforts of the Nigerian Military in addressing the Boko Haram threats in Northern Borno state cannot be overemphasized. The Boko Haram group have significantly been degraded with the Military constantly on their trail into the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region.
It must be noted that the terrain in the Kukawa/Baga axis is impassible, thereby making some of the operations of the Nigerian Military difficult. However, there seems to a collective resolve by the officers and soldiers in the theatre of operations to bring the activities of the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents to an end as soon as possible. This much was gathered from interactions with officers and soldiers in the theatre of operations, especially in Doron Baga.
It is therefore reasonable that the state government compliments the efforts of the Nigerian Military through the provision of necessary infrastructures such as road constructions, provision of electricity and other facilities that would aid the operations of the Nigerian Military.
The state government also has a responsibility to the task to various stakeholders in Borno state and Northern Borno to be precise on the need to galvanize support for the operations of the Nigerian Military in the quest to rid Northern Borno of the activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
Yoruba Youths Back Nigerian Army’s Exercise Crocodile Smile, Laud Past Successful Outings
The Coalition of Progressive Yoruba Youths (CYYY) has welcomed the commencement of the Nigerian Army’s annual exercise, ‘Crocodile Smile’.
According to the Yoruba youths, the operation which commenced in 2016 has been a tremendous success, curbing crime and criminal activities and will continue that trend this year.
Comrade Kola Salau, speaking on behalf of the group at a press conference on Monday in Lagos noted that the addition of cyberwar makes this year’s edition unique.
Salau said that this would help identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.
Recalling previous editions, Salau noted that “the military made significant strides as it raided suspected criminal hideouts in the creeks around Ajaosolo, Okogho, Opumani, and Obodo general area and in the process, intercepted suspected illegal oil bunkers and several items.
“It was the success of the first exercise that necessitated the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile II on Takwa Bay Island in Lagos and the sequels because it pushed some criminal elements fleeing from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country”.
Salau added that ” those of us from the Southwest are particularly concerned because of the enormous human and material resources in the region”.
He, however, assured that the exercise has nothing to do with the ongoing protests in the country.
The Yoruba youths advised innocent and law-abiding Nigerians that they have nothing to fear as the army have earned a reputation as a highly professional and disciplined institution.
Read full statement below:
It is instructive that we address you on a matter of urgent national importance given what the nation is going through at the moment.
You will agree with us that after the Nigerian military made significant progress in quelling terrorism and banditry in parts of the country, that it is likely that some of the criminal elements may have escaped into the hinterland to continue their heinous acts.
Recent events leading to thdisbandmentnt of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police Force, has also given citizens concerns about the internal security situation in Nigeria and the police and other security agencies forced out of the streets, concerned Nigerians have expressed fears that crime and criminal activities may escalate in the country and have stressed the fact that the lives of our people, property and investments must be protected by the government.
As we all know, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has never shied away from performing its primary responsibility, which is the protection of lives and property as it has technically defeated terrorism and cracked down on banditry and other forms of crime.
It is in that bid that we welcome the recent announcement by the Nigerian Army, that it is set to continue its annual exercise CROCODILE SMILE on Tuesday.
Since the launch of the exercise in 2016 in the Niger Delta region, the Operation CROCODILE SMILE has been a huge success in curbing crime and criminal activities that its area of coverage was widened and relaunched annually in five different phases.
The launch of the exercise this year would be the sixth in the series of sequels launched to combat crime.
The only addition to the exercise which will make Operation CROCODILE SMILES VI unique in operation is that it will be enabled to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.
This means that it will be an all-encompassing exercise which in addition to tracking cyber warfare exercises will also include identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the Northeast and other parts of the country for the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria.
From these, we can se
that the launch of the exercise has nothing to do with the ongoing protests in Nigeria as is being peddled by mischief makers as the relaunch of the exercise has become a yearly event since 2016 when it was first launched.
Innocent and law-abiding Nigerians have nothing to fear about the exercise as the Nigerian Army has earned a reputation for itself as a highly professional and disciplined institution.
This is encapsulated in the fact that for the over five years of Operation CROCODILE SMILE in various parts of the country, troops have not lost focus on what is expected of them but have abided by the rules of engagement in carrying out their tasks of flushing out criminal elements.
On the other hand, those that have every reason to fear are the criminal’s elements in the country who are making life miserable for millions of citizens through acts like kidnapping, extortion, fraud, armed robbery, oil theft and cybercrime.
Nigerians must ignore the cynicism and attempt to paint the current exercise in a bad light as this is not the first time that agents of anarchy have tried to do so but failed.
When the Nigerian Army launched the first exercise in the Niger Delta region which was aimed at restoring normalcy to the area and to provide adequate security for residents and the national assets situated there, it was called names and there were allegations that the exercise was an attempt at genocide by the Nigerian government on the people of the region.
It was not long before they confirmed it was to check criminal activities like kidnapping, militancy, piracy and other forms of criminal activities in support of the civil authority and to keep Nigeria and its economy safe and going without interruption.
Despite the cynicism, the military made significant strides with the exercise as it raided suspected criminal hideouts in the creeks around Ajaosolo, Okogho, Opumani, and Obodo general area and in the process, intercepted suspected illegal oil bunkers and several items.
The first phase of the exercise which took place between August and September 2016 in Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Imo and Rivers
states recorded tremendous success as it degraded activities of militants and illegal oil bunkering, destroyed kidnappers’ den, rescued kidnapped victims and destroyed several cultists’ camps.
It was the success of the first exercise that necessitated the launch of Exercise Crocodile Smile II on Takwa Bay Island in Lagos and the sequels because it pushed some criminal elements fleeing from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country.
In the same vein, since the suspected terrorists and criminal elements are running away from other parts of the country like the Northeast, Northwest, Northcentral and other parts of the country, it is only appropriate for the army to launch Operation CROCODILE SMILES VI to apprehend these elements and the make the country peaceful and secure for the people.
Those of us from the Southwest are particularly concerned because of the enormous human and material resources in the region.
The region arguably has the highest concentration of talents and entrepreneurial concerns as well as Small and Medium Scale Enterprises which complements the government’s efforts in providing jobs to our teeming populace.
The large number of international markets coupled with public and private assets are also avenues for economic growth.
We, therefore, welcome the steps the government is trying to take to protect lives and property and commend the Nigerian Army for coming up with the initiative.
We welcome Operation CROCODILE SMILE VI.
Call for Resignation: #EndSARS Protesters Must Not Cross Red Line – Nigerians in Diaspora Warn
Some well-meaning Nigerians in the diaspora have warned #EndSARS protesters not to cross the red line with the call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation.
According to the Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group (NDMG), United Kingdom chapter, any attempt to violently coerce a legitimately elected president in any country to resign is a treasonable felony.
The group gave this warning in a statement signed by its President, Clifford Ogbonna, on Monday in London, United Kingdom.
While admitting that it is in place for Nigerians to demand an end to repressive activities of the now defunct police unit, the group urged them to remain focused and not allow narrow interests to jeopardize the agitation especially as there are reports of vicious attempts to hijack the protests.
The NDMG further advised innocent protesters to be on alert as those championing the call for Mr President’s resignation have perfected plans to make the protests turn violent as from today.
The group, however, warned those demanding the President’s resignation, driving the country to the precipice with such plot for anarchy to desist.
Read full statement below:
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group (NDMG), United Kingdom Chapter, is alarmed at the anarchists’ inspired calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign because of the #EndSars protests and sundry issues that his administration is in no way responsible for. NDMG warns that protesters must be on alert as those championing the call for Mr President’s resignation have perfected plans to make the protests turn violent as from Monday.
Even as we condemn this call on President Buhari to resign, we warn the #EndSARS protesters that they must not cross the red line that must not be attempted in any democracy. Attempting to violently coerce a legitimately elected president in any country to resign is a treasonable felony anywhere in the world including the United States US and the United Kingdom who are our greatest allies.
Anyone promoting this invitation to anarchy must know the limit of their rights in a democracy. The chances to send a government out of office in a democracy are available during elections, when the government voluntarily resigns or when it is removed through processes like impeachment. But to prime protesters across major cities in expectation of unleashing them to deploy violence against the state and the public is an irresponsible strategy that must be met with consequences in this instance so that Nigeria will never again be threatened in the fashion that the #EndSARS protesters are doing.
Nigerians are within their rights to demand an end to the repressive activities of the now-defunct police unit, SARS, and they are also to demand far-reaching reforms of the entire policing architecture. It is impressive that the government is responsive to the original demand of the protests as it immediately accepted all the five points of the demand.
In any country of the world, these five points would take time to implement and Nigeria cannot be an exception. Fishing out complicit operatives of the defunct SARS cannot be done overnight, conducting mental health checks on over 200 policemen will take time, increasing the salary of policemen requires computations and budgetary adjustments that cannot be achieved in ma atter of days and all other matters raised require time. To continue agitating for reforms that have already been agreed by government. Protesters must give a chance for government to implement the points they have raised.
We call on protesters to remain focused and not allow narrow interests to jeopardize the agitation for police reforms especially since there are vicious attempts to hijack the protests to satisfy pthe ersonal interest of certain people. The trend in the past few days has been for some protesters to cram in even more demands that are unrelated to the current agitation. If this is allowed to continue, then the aim of the movement would be defeated since it would be impossible for the government or anyone to respond to rolling demands that keep changing on han hourly basis depending on who is speaking to the camera.
Protesters must resist handing over the agitation to failed activists and faded celebrities who are now attempting to exploit the situation ground to revive their comatose careers. The demand for police reforms is for the benefit of everyone, irrespective of political, ethnic or religious alignment so selfish people should not be allowed to hijack it to demand the resignation of President Buhari as this would simply pander to the political interest of those making those call while allowing them to turn otherwise peaceful protests into raging mobs that they will attempt to use for dislodging the incumbent government.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group, like other Nigerians all over the world, supports the protest against SARS and police brutality but is opposed to and therefore condemns any call for the president to resign. It is not the intent of the protest and should not be. We consequently warn those driving the country to the precipice with such plot for anarchy to desist. We urge protesters to resist anyone pushing them into the political temptation of demanding the President’s resignation as part of the #EndSARS campaign.
We warn protesters to be vigilant as we have credible information that those sponsoring the calls for the President’s resignation have planted thugs among them to make the protests turn violent beginning from Monday. Protesters must work out a mechanism for identifying people that foment trouble and hand same over to law enforcement.
Exercise Crocodile Smile VI Has Nothing to do With #ENDSARS Protest— Army
The Nigerian Army, NA, has said that its planned exercise Crocodile Smile VI has nothing whatsoever to do with #EndSARS protest in the country.
A statement by Sagir Musa, spokesman of the Army at the weekend, stated that their attention has been drawn to some social media stuff wrongfully condemning the Army and its Leadership over the announcement of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE VI particularly the Cyber Warfare Component of the Exercise.
“This year’s Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020 has no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever.
“For the records, Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is a yearly exercise in the NA Calendar/Forecast of Events which traditionally holds from October to December of each year.
“Thus, to now insinuate that it is an exercise meant to stifle the ongoing ENDSARS protest is to say the least highly misinformed. Exercise CROCODILE SMILE VI has nothing to do with the ongoing protest and the NA has never been involved in the ongoing protest in any form whatsoever. So far, the army has acted professionally since the civil protest started over two weeks ago,” the statement said.
According to Musa, “The army hereby enjoins all law abiding Nigerians to go about their lawful activities unhindered as the Exercise has nothing to do with ENDSARS protest, but a yearly event set out to train NA officers and soldiers in its efforts to ensuring safety and security of Nigeria and her citizens.”
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