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Centre To UK House Of Lords: Attaching Religion To Insecurity Crisis In Nigeria For Any Sanction Will Harm Humanity

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The Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS) has warned the House of Lords in the United Kingdom against attaching religion to Nigeria’s security challenges, as any sanction would do the country more harm than good.

The centre, which gave the warning in a press conference on Wednesday, in Abuja, also advised the British parliamentarians to be properly guided in their assessment, noting that any wrong move could lead to a crisis of unimaginable proportion.

In his address, special rapporteur, Professor Peter Maidoki rubbished the call by some lawmakers for sanction on Nigeria over an “erroneous report of the rising number of killings of Christians by terrorists and state actors”.

According to Prof Maidoki, it is wrong to reduce security threats in Nigeria to the fault lines of religion.

The special rapporteur noted that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and his service chiefs have made the most impact in addressing the country’s security challenges and it is unfair to even mutter the idea of sanction.

Prof Maidoki added that both Christians and Muslims have been at the receiving end of the crisis in northern Nigeria.

The CISS, however, advised the House of Lords not to play into the hands of the terrorists based on the ignorance expressed in its report.

The centre further demanded that the lower chamber of the UK’s parliament treats the letter calling for sanctions on Nigeria in a similar manner the world rejected the invasion of the US Capitol.

Instead of such sanction, the CISS urged the parliamentarians and the entire world to join hands with Nigeria to stamp out terrorism.

Read the full statement below:

You are aware that some members of United Kingdom House of Lords have called on the UK Government to apply sanctions on Nigeria based on an erroneous report of the rising number of killings of Christians by terrorists and state actors in Nigeria.

The call, which was contained in a letter to Dominic Raab, MP, UK’s Foreign Secretary, House of Commons, London, was signed by David Patrick Paul Alton, the Lord Alton of Liverpool, a Liberal Democratic member of UK Parliament; Caroline Annex Cox, a  cross-bench member of the UK House of Lords; and others but most remarkably, the former Nigeria President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

We had thought that since one of our own is involved in writing the letter, that at least the UK parliamentarians would be properly guided in their assessment of the security situation in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case as we have seen traces of partisanship and deliberate attempts to twist facts to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.

THE ISSUES

The petitioners, rather than be objective in their analysis, reduced the entire Boko Haram terrorism and other criminal activities by armed groups to a religious conflict.

They also alleged cases of human rights abuses against a particular faith by the armed groups and state actors.

While it is true that more needs to be done about the security situation in Nigeria, it is definitely misleading to reduce the challenges to the fault lines of religion and to accuse the Nigerian military of either collusion or inaction or perpetrating human rights abuses.

The most uncharitable is to use such baseless allegations as a basis to call for sanctions against Nigeria.

This is most unfair because if there is an administration that has given the issue of security a deserved attention, it is the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Since May 2015 when the Buhari administration was inaugurated, it has taken bold steps to curb terrorism, insurgency and other crimes in the country hence cannot at all, be accused of sleeping on the matter.

Within the last year, the Nigerian military has neutralised over 2,000  terrorists across the northern part of the country, arrested over a hundred of their members and informants and destroyed their weapons and operational facilities.

This is in addition to major feats it recorded in the previous years which have restored normalcy to most parts of the region.

Nigerian troops, for instance, have entered the base of the terrorists at Sambisa Forest and captured their centre, called Camp Zero.

The troops have also recaptured territories seized  y terrorists including 20 local governments spread across the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and brought them back to Nigeria.

They have retaken captured military bases in  Bama, Monguno and Gwoza as well as recapturing territories captured by the terrorists while the efforts of the military have made it impossible for the insurgents to launch further attacks on communities.

Added to that, Nigeria’s annual military expenditure has grown from $1.8bn in 2016 to $2.1bn by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 3.73%, according to a report by Strategic Defence Intelligence.

To boost its preparedness and resolve to flush out the terrorists, the Nigerian Army last year purchased more equipment including the Chinese Rotary Wing AVIC AV500 drone to carry out ISR missions at medium altitude, carry out strikes and stay airborne for nine hours while fighting terrorists.

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai at a time, even relocated to the centres of the conflict and stayed in the trenches with troops until substantial damages were inflicted on the ranks of the terrorists.

The battle was so fierce against the terrorists that the leader of the Boko Haram terrorists, Abubakar Shekau was heard weeping in an audiotape about how his men have been subdued by Nigerian forces and had even considered surrendering.

For a government that has taken these steps and has made it a priority to defeat terrorism, it is most unfair for anyone to contemplate taking sanctions against them.

We recall that it was similar gestures based probably on such misleading reports that led the US government and other nations to stop selling weapons to Nigeria during the past administration which gave the insurgents an upper hand in the fight and enhanced their recruitment drive.

But the impression given by this letter is that the Nigerian Government is not doing anything about exterminating the problem.

We do not want the UK to be misled by the current report into believing that the Nigerian government is either lax about the situation or supporting the insurgents.

This is far from the truth.

THE RELIGIOUS CARD

The most misleading aspect of the letter is the claim that the attacks are purely religious and targeted at only Christians.

The letter reads in part: ‘’We write following the publication of a new report by Nigerian human rights group`, Intersociety (December 14, 2020,  Intersociety, an estimated 34,400 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since 2009 – including 17,000 by Boko Haram (and its splinter groups) and 15,500 by Fulani militia.”

We ask, what is the total number of people that have died as a result of terrorism in Nigeria since 2009 that only Christians would be up to 34,400.

We, therefore, a state without fear of contradiction that the report is not only misleading but is an attempt to incite the people against religious lines.

While some terrorists have tried to use primordial fault lines to instigate a large scale crisis in the country, it is wrong to conclude that the victims of the crises have been only Christians.

Attacks in the northern states and the Middle Belt have been visited on all persons in those areas irrespective of religious beliefs or ethnicity.

In fact, the demographics of the affected areas, indicate that non-Christians have been more at the receiving end of such atrocities like killings, rape, abductions, arson etc by the terrorists.

The areas worse affected by the attacks in the Northeast include the Northern and central parts of Borno State which are populated mainly by Muslims.

Same with the other parts of the Northeast like Yobe and Adamawa States.

In the Northwest, all the areas affected like Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina with the probable exception of Kaduna State are almost hundred per cent Muslims.

Even in the Middle Belt states, the crisis cannot be termed religious as people of different faith in states like Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue have suffered similar fates.

It is also not true that Nigerian security forces have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Nigerian Army has conducted itself most professionally by always observing the rules on engagement.

The chief of Army Staff to check the few reported cases even set up a desk for civilians to report cases of abuse and since then there have been no reports of human rights violations.

OUR CALL

We, therefore, consider the call for sanction against Nigeria based on these inexact and misleading reports as callous and unacceptable.

such calls aim to further polarise the people of the country and set them up against each other on religious lines which is exactly what the insurgents have been praying for.

The UK Government should not be based on the ignorance expressed in this report play into the hands of the terrorists.

We have seen how a young UK parliamentarian goofed when he said a former Nigerian Head of State stole the Central Bank.

This is one of such faux pax that should not be allowed to stand.

We demand that the same manner the world rebuffed the UK parliamentarian for getting his facts twisted should be applied here.

Furthermore, we demand that the manner  the world treated the invasion of US Capitol as despicable, should be the same way it treats this letter as it tends to violate the right of the people of Nigeria to be protected by its government and armed forces.

We call on all to join hands with Nigeria and the rest of the world to stamp out terrorism.

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Rise Against Diaspora Interferences To Destabilize Nigeria, CTJ Charges Nigerians

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The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) has called on Nigerians to rise against negative influences and interferences in the Diaspora who mean no well for the country.

The coalition gave this charge at a press conference on Friday in Abuja.

According to Executive Director, Comrade Dominic Ohene, Nigerians abroad no longer display patriotism but malicious influence, surreptitiously eating the heart of the nation and contaminating the youths.

Comrade Ohene noted that social media has become the major tool used in spreading false information and propagating misleading propaganda to implant anarchy and ultimately overturn the people’s mandate.

Speaking further, Ohene recalled how these tactics almost worked during the EndSARS protests last year after these Nigerians hijacked and escalated the exercise.

While citizens of other nations uplift the image of their country, the CTJ said most Nigerians outside the shores have elected to attack and set their home in flames.

More worrisome, Ohene noted that the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) have assisted these elements to achieve their course, availing its offices as a staging point for attacks against their home government.

The CTJ, therefore, charged all Nigerians to stand up in solidarity to say enough is enough to the adverse impact of the Diasporas in our country.

While calling for strict sanctions on these Nigerians, the coalition recommended that all Diaspora groups and offices must be overhauled and replaced with more competent people willing to work earnestly and efficiently for the interest of the country.

It, however, urged all Nigerians to work together and support President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration for the peace and prosperity of our dear country Nigeria.

Read the full statement below:

The present epoch could reasonably be referred to as the diasporan age. The age of mass movement from one country to another. The age where citizens can represent their mother countries while residing in another, the age where their actions and voices can be heard, and cause tremendous affect either positively or negatively.

As a matter of fact, these effects have to lead many nations to look into the meanings birthed by the word “Diaspora”, especially meaning with dispersal, immigration, expatriate, refuge, exile, and ethnonational communities. There is no doubt that all these are more or less part of the intrinsic dynamics of a diaspora community.

Be that as it may, membership of a contemporary diaspora now implies potential empowerment based on the ability to exert socio-economic and political influence in both the homeland and the host and.

Indeed, we all know that diasporan historiography and discourses have grown exponentially in recent times. Despite this impressive historiography, the Nigerian diaspora has largely been subsumed under the general categories of studies dealing with Africans or Blacks living outside the shores of Africa.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice feels disturbed and very concerned about the soiled-Nigerian-garment by many Nigerians in the diaspora. It is said that _”A good name is better than gold and riches…”_

Unlike how Interestingly it used to be, that members of the Nigerian diaspora were heavily involved in transnational activities that effectively integrated their countries of origin with their host countries. They, therefore, became not only veritable agents of poverty reduction but a key player in the process of Africa’s socio-economic transformation and development, thereby playing a pivotal role in the process of integrating the African continent into an increasingly globalized world.

Unfortunately, it is very heartbreaking to see that this precious historical legacy has now been thrown to the swine just because of the selfishness of some bad urchins that seek after their own political aggrandizement.

These negative influence of many Nigerians in the diaspora are surreptitiously eating at the heart of our nation and it is corrupting our youths. Their influence on the youths of Nigeria has been appalling. A lot of Nigerians at home look up to Nigerians in the diaspora as they believe that they become more successful over there, and thus, their way of life has been emulated by many Nigerians.

The awful thing about this is that they bring their bad culture to Nigeria. They exhibit the most appalling behaviour and this only succeeds in eroding the personalities of our youths. They have chosen to use social media as a means of spreading false information and propagating misleading propaganda. Their only aim is to implant a lawless society in Nigeria. Their only aim is to ensure that their fat cheques keep coming from their sponsors. It is most unfortunate that these evil political sponsors are hiding behind the façade of being democrats when in reality they abhor the very tenets of democracy, which is why they are keen on using crude tactics to overturn the mandate that Nigerians gave the government.

During the EndSars protests, the diasporas shamelessly attacked the Nigerian government.  They also conducted needless protests in their respective countries of residence. These actions only helped to further instigate the young men and women protesting which eventually turned violent and bloody. Their many witless posts on social media escalated the protests into a mini-revolution. But thanks to the prompt mobilisation and efficiency of the Nigerian security personnel, the situation was promptly arrested.

The sad thing about all these is that a majority of these people in the diaspora are outcasts and renegades who escaped to foreign countries after committing various atrocities. Many of them were armed robbers, rapists, school dropouts and lazy louts. These are unrepentant people with past criminal records, and they refuse to desist those act, but tend to continue such without giving it a second thought of the harm they are causing the society. Some of them are people who either failed in their businesses or their careers and therefore migrated overseas in search of greener pasture’. We call on every patriotic citizen to think it deeply that, If these people failed to make a significant impact in their country, of what value could they possibly be in other countries? They have nothing to offer.

There has never been a group of people that mindlessly rained abuses on its own government from the shores of other countries. Every Nigerian citizen whether in the diaspora or not must do their best to be patriotic citizens by uplifting the image of the country rather than tarnishing it. The actions of the diaspora community especially in recent times is condemnable.

Patriotism is the sine qua non of every Nigerian citizen but the diasporas have shown us times without number that they lack it. This lack of patriotism has made many of the diasporas to act with such reckless abandon.

The shocking thing is that the diaspora groups and organizations such as NIDCOM have done little to curb this menace Nigeria is faced with. They have failed in many regards especially in identifying these rogue elements that are working against the interests of the country. Rather, the diaspora office has become an avenue for disgruntled elements to congregate against the interest of our country Nigeria. The diaspora offices have become a staging point for attacks against their home government. They are just opportunists who are only concerned with pursuing their own personal interests. The result of these acts of theirs has led to the unwarranted temporal ban on our dear country by some countries, and these have affected some meaningful Nigerians that had good visions and plans on how they would have made great exploits.

We stand here before you all today to tell you that a stop must be put to the actions of these diasporas before things get out of hand. It is of paramount importance that this situation is tackled headlong and fast. If possible, the leadership of the use the social media to stir the pot of disharmony in the country.

We must all stand up in solidarity to say enough is enough to the adverse impact of the diasporas in our country. To ensure our patriotism is unshaken, the Coalition for Truth and Justice is reminding every Nigerian that this is not a one stakeholder’s affair or fight, We are hereby calling on all Nigerians both in Nigeria and in the diaspora to work together and provide all the needed support for President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for the peace and prosperity of our dear country Nigeria.

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Insurgency: More Nigerians Eager, Willing To Join Nigerian Army To Fight Boko Haram

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Recruitment into the Nigerian Army has assumed a new dimension with a record massive enlistment rate in the past few years. In a bid to understand the rush for enlistment, this medium undertook an analysis of some of the factors responsible for the surge in interest for enrolment into the Nigerian Army.

In a series of interviews conducted, it was observed that part of the reason for the surge in the interest in the Nigerian Army is the reintroduction of professionalism and improved welfare packages for officers and soldiers.

The recently conducted enlistment for recruits into the Nigerian Army buttresses this point. The number of candidates that turned up for screening was massive so much that quite a substantial number was turned back for failing to meet the criteria that by all indication was stringent.

According to some of the interviewed recruits, they stated that enlisting into the Nigerian Army is a thing of pride and a medium to contribute their quota to preserving the country’s territorial integrity.

Adamu Salisu, an indigene of Kebbi State who was amongst those whose application was rejected, stated that he was disqualified because he didn’t have the required educational qualification.

“ I have only two credits in my senior school certificate examinations; the minimum qualification is five credits. I decided to try my luck because I am passionate about Nigeria. I like the way soldiers are fighting the Boko Haram insurgents. My uncle, who is a sergeant in the Nigerian Army encouraged me to apply because he wants me to benefit and contribute to Nigeria.” he said.

He further added that he would ensure that he serves Nigeria with all of his strength if given the opportunity.

“I love Nigeria, and I believe that I have what it takes to be a soldier. The Nigerian Army is the pride of the nation, and I have decided to go back to school and ensure that I get the required number of credits to be eligible to apply next year.”

In the testimony of another candidate, who pleaded anonymity because his family members are not aware of his application into the Nigerian Army stated that the Chief of Army Staff is his mentor with the achievements in office.

“ I have friends in the Army and from what they have been saying is that every soldier adores the Chief of Army Staff because he is the best commander in the history of the Nigerian Army. They have always told me that their welfare has improved since he became Chief of Army Staff. There is also local, and foreign training for soldiers and officers and merit is always rewarded so long you are dedicated and committed to your work.”

This medium consequently carried out an analysis of the Nigerian Army recruitment application in the past four years. It was discovered that in the year 2016, the enlistment was oversubscribed by 45%. In 2017, it was oversubscribed by 65%, 2018, 70% in 2019, by 80% and 2020 by 95%.

This alarming rate of oversubscription cuts across recruits and Short Service and Direct Short Service cadre of the Nigerian Army. The case of Short Service and Direct Short Service was indeed one that presented the most challenges as candidates with master’s degree constituted the bulk of the applicants.

According to credible sources, candidates must possess at least a first degree with not less than Second Class Lower Division or HND of not less than Lower Credit in the arts, sciences or humanities from an accredited institution of learning. Courses of study must also be accredited at the time of the study. However, it was gathered that in 2020 recruitment, over 80% of those that applied had a master degree and 5% with PhDs.

This medium was able to interview some of the candidates that applied. It was gathered that the rush for enlistment into the Nigerian Army is a function of professionalism in the Nigerian Army. They were unanimous in stating that the Nigerian Army presents them the avenue to actualize their dreams of contributing to national development.

According to Chinedu Okafor, a graduate of psychology from Imo State University, he stated that it is a dream comes true for him enlisting into the Nigerian Army.

“The interview process was rigorous as we were subjected to a series of examinations. From the onset, I recall that those of us who enlisted for the Direct Short Service was about 15,000 for a 1500 opening. You can be assured that the process was very rigorous, and I thank God that I was able to scale through.”

When asked about his motivation and preference for the Nigerian Army above other services, he stated that the Nigerian Army remains the dream of every Nigerian desirous of serving the country in her trying times.

“We all know that the country is faced with some security challenges, and the efforts of the Nigerian Army have been very pronounced. The Nigerian Army is the face of the war against insurgency and other acts of criminalities in the country. I don’t know of other services, but I tell you that anyone that adorn the Nigerian Army uniform is indeed passionate about the wellbeing of the country and this is the place to be.”

An instructor also corroborated this fact at the Nigerian Army Depot Zaria. He stated that part of the selection process entails that candidates highlight why they want to join the Nigerian Army. The consensus was that the Nigerian Army is a place where human potentials are maximized because of its policies.

“I tell you that in the past four years, we have been under tremendous pressure dealing with the number of applications into the Nigerian Army. It is always a tasking period for us because of the numbers of applicants that yearly submit their applications in their thousands.”

When asked to comment on the rumours making the rounds of soldiers and officers disengaging from the Nigerian Army, he stated that it remains a figment of the imagination.

“The rumour of disengagement is pure mischief. I am not aware of any such happening in the Nigerian Army. I have served in the Nigerian Army for 25 years, and I can tell you that there is no such happening. It is the other way round because more and more people want to enlist into the Nigerian Army. This can be seen in the enlistment figures from 2016 to date. I think it is just mischief and not a reflection of the issues on the ground.”

“We must give credit to the Chief of Army Staff because his leadership style has made the Nigerian Army the preferred destination for young and energetic Nigerians. All of these were made possible because of the level of professionalism that has been put in place in recent times.”

“Yes, you might find one or two applying for disengagement from service, but I can tell you that they constitute those who joined the Nigeria Army with a misplaced motive and priority. If you cannot give 100%, there is no way you can enjoy your stay in the Nigerian Army, and I believe this number is immaterial.”

He further advised Nigerians that are desirous of enlisting into the Nigerian Army to ensure that they are ready to give in their best as there is no room for mediocrity in the present-day Nigerian Army.”

“Those that want to enlist into the Nigerian Army without passion for what the Nigerian Army entails should do well to look elsewhere. The Nigerian Army is an institution with strong values meant for only those with the bigger picture in mind. This is what has changed since Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai assumed leadership.

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ICC/Amnesty International: Enemies Of Nigeria Must Be Prepared To Meet The Masses – NDF

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The National Democratic Front (NDF) has warned the International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International (AI) and other “enemies of Nigeria” to prepare to meet the masses, whose lives they are jeopardizing with their subversive activities.

The NDF made this known on Tuesday in reaction to the alarm that these international organisations are colluding to undermine Nigeria’s war on terrorism.

In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Dr Samson Ayo, the group further noted that the ICC, AI and others have allied with the opposition in a devilish pursuit of a possible regime change.

According to Dr Ayo, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is the last obstacle in their quest, hence the constant attacks on the service chiefs.

To achieve this, he added that the ICC conjured up a dubious report alleging war crimes and rights abuses against the military.

The NDF, however, urged the Federal Government to take decisive actions to counter the threats posed to Nigeria’s democracy and security by the ICC and Amnesty International.

Read the full statement below:

The National Democratic Front (NDF) is alarmed by the revelations from the Federal Government that the International Criminal Court of justice (ICC) and international NGO, Amnesty International are colluding to undermine Nigeria’s war on terrorism. There can be no greater travesty than such callous undermining of Nigeria’s right to defend its territorial integrity.

NDF is further concerned that the ICC, Amnesty International and their associates are collaborating with the opposition in this devilish pursuit, which lends credence to assertions in some quarters that these organizations are jostling for an illegal and possibly a forceful regime change to plant elements of the opposition in positions that will enable them to destroy the country from within.

The decision of this syndicate to target the leadership of the military in Nigeria with spurious and unfounded allegations of war crimes and rights abuses is one that should set the alarm bells ringing in the collective consciousness of Nigerians. This is because they recognize the Armed Forces of Nigeria as the last obstacle to their attempt with the opposition to illegally sack the government, especially since the Military Service Chiefs had serially promised to defend Nigeria’s democracy at any permissible cost.

NDF recalls that it had warned in the run-up to the 2019 General Elections that the opposition is desperate to see the removal of the military chiefs so that pliable and pro-coup replacements can be named following which they would massive and coordinate civil unrest that they will then use as a basis to overthrow the government with the backing of foreign partners that have now proven to be the ICC and Amnesty International.

We are therefore not surprised that the opposition’s frantic call for the sack of the service chiefs is now being followed by a dubious report from the ICC aimed at forcing the exit of the gallant commanders in addition to subtly blackmailing their eventual successors into doing the biddings of Nigeria’s enemies as represented by the opposition, Amnesty International and the ICC.

It is most unfortunate that the ICC and Amnesty International, institutions that have the safeguard of human rights as the core of their mandates, are the ones that have now constituted themselves into pro-terrorist organizations simply because of their desperation to implement the evil agenda they have in the country. They have also committed themselves to actively sabotaging Nigeria’s hard-won democracy, which qualified them as the country’s leading enemies.

NDF has no choice but to unequivocally demand that the Federal Government takes decisive actions to counter the threats posed to Nigeria’s democracy and security by the ICC and Amnesty International. Things have gotten to the point where these organizations, irrespective of their now abused international status, must treat in the manner they deserve.

Conscious of the fact that it had in the past expressed concerns about the dangerous activities of these organizations with unheeded warnings to them to desist, NDF is warning the ICC and Amnesty International that they must now be prepared to meet the masses of Nigeria, whose lives they are jeopardizing with their subversive activities.

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