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Group Warns Against Smear Campaigns Targeted At Buratai, Other Patriots That Served Nigeria

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Some shadowy international groups plan to launch a smear campaign to assassinate the character of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd).

This revelation was made by the civil society group, Nigeria First, at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja wherein it dismissed the alleged killing of Igbos by the Nigerian Army under Buratai’s watch.

According to its Secretary-General,
Richard Augustine Adie, these groups have been mobilized to cast aspersion on the character of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff by calling his stewardship into question.

Augustine Adie noted that the despicable elements would go any length to destroy the Nigerian Army by publishing baseless, fictitious and unsubstantiated reports using ethnicity and religion to break its ranks.

He added that the overarching objective is to discredit all the notable achievements of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai while in office in the puerile attempt at instigating the general public against the Nigerian Army as an institution of repute.

According to Adie, those behind these claims are doing everything possible to discourage the new service chiefs from delivering on the mandate that Mr President.

The Nigeria First, therefore, condemned this act of sabotage in the strongest terms, warning those fanning the drums of religious and ethnic war in the country to desist from such for peace and tranquillity.

The group said that the years of the Tukur Buratai leadership as COAS of the Nigerian Army would go down in history as one of the most challenging chapters in Nigeria’s book.

Nigeria First, however, urged all well-meaning Nigerians must rise to the occasion by speaking in one voice in this critical point of our existence.

Read the full statement below:

I welcome you all to this press conference by Nigeria First, an organization devoted to the entrenchment and preservation of governance in Nigeria is calling this press conference in light of the plot by some shadowy groups hiding under the nomenclature of civil society groups to ferment trouble in Nigeria.

We have credible information on how these groups have been mobilized to cast aspersion on the character of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff by calling to question his stewardship of the Nigerian Army.

We wish to inform the generality of Nigerians that indeed the plot is real and enormous resources have been earmarked to discredit the personality of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff and call to question his stewardship of the Nigerian Army while he held sway.

Consequently, we may wish to recall that the public space has been inundated with outright falsehood in recent times through press statements, press conferences opinion articles, and news stories discrediting the immediate past Chief of Army Staff.

The overarching objective is to discredit all the notable achievements of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai while in office in the puerile attempt at instigating the general public against the Nigerian Army as an institution of repute.

Nigeria First as an organization is indeed aware that these despicable elements would go any length to destroy the Nigerian Army by publishing baseless, fictitious and unsubstantiated reports using ethnicity and religion to break the ranks of the Nigerian Army in an attempt to destroy the Nigerian Army as an institution.

One of such instances is the recent diatribe alleging the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, indeed ordered for the killing of Igbos by troops of the Nigerian Army. This outright falsehood indeed must not be allowed to stand because of the consequences it might have on the overall psyche of the Nigerian populace.

The assumption that some Igbos were executed on the instructions of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff remains a figment of the imagination as the institutional frameworks introduced by Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in the Nigerian Army does not give room for religious or ethnic sentiments.

This is indeed the culmination of attempts by some enemies of Nigeria hiding under the auspices of an international coalition who would go to any length to destroy the Nigerian Army as an institution of repute.

It is instructive to state that the people behind these claims are doing everything possible to discourage the new service chiefs from delivering on the mandate that Mr President and the Constitution has empowered them to fight the various security challenges facing the country.

Nigeria First condemns this act of sabotage in the strongest terms and wishes to sound a note of warning to those fanning the drums of religious and ethnic war in the country to desist from such ignoble endeavours in the interest of peace and tranquillity and the continued existence of Nigeria as a country.

The attempt to denigrate those who have devoted their energy and time to the service of this nation is therefore viewed as very unacceptable and will not be tolerated by well-meaning Nigerians.

This is on the heels that the records of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff are indeed replete with acts of devotion, dedication and patriotism to the Nigerian cause. Therefore it should be on record that this is an attempt at character assassination aimed at rubbishing the years of sacrifices by Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in leading the Nigerian Army towards preserving the sovereignty of Nigeria.

Nigeria First as an organization indeed bears witness to the noble and outstanding efforts of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in addressing the security challenges in the country and all through the years, Nigeria First indeed scrutinized the operations of the Nigerian Army with regards to human rights compliance, respect for the rule of law and conformity to the rules of engagement in warfare.

If this is the case, we consequently wonder why the smear campaign against Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, if not for mischief purposes, remains despicable and condemnable.  Nigerians and the rest of the world are as a result of this urged to resist any attempt to infiltrate the Nigerian Army through the deployment of smear campaigns.

We unequivocally ask that those trying to drag the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai in the mud should have a rethink. It would be tantamount to lack of appreciation for his efforts that saw to Nigeria recording tangible gains in the war against Boko Haram insurgency and other militancy acts across the country.

We are also using this medium to state that the years of the Tukur Buratai leadership of the Nigerian Army would go down in history as one of the most challenging chapters in Nigeria’s book.

Nigeria First frowns at such anomaly hence the convocation of this press conference to put the records straight in fairness to the immediate past Chief of Army Staff.

Nigerians must see this campaign as an affront to our sensibilities as a people and as a country and must do all to resist the harbingers of violence and apostles of disintegration who are bent on inciting violence in the country.

The peculiarity of the time requires that well-meaning Nigerians must rise to the occasion by speaking in one voice in this critical point of our existence. We must say no to promoting ethnic and religious sentiments in the country, for neither North, East, South nor West, but one Nigeria.

We thank you all for your time and belief in the unity of strength and purpose of Nigeria.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

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Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.

This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.

AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.

A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.

“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.

The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.

Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.

“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.

“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.

The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.

He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.

According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.

“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”

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$1bn Arms Procurement: Clear Your Name Now, Coalition Charges Defence Minister

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The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) has called on the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, to clear his name from the controversial purchase of security equipment.

The group noted that Magashi must explain how his ministry expended the $1billion approved by the Federal Government in April 2018.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, national coordinator, Timothy Charles, described the minister’s silence as “unholy” and an “embarrassment” to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Charles said the group is alarmed that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim is carrying out acts to shield the minister.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, therefore, advised the COAS to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

The group also urged all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the minister comes out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

While absorbing the former service chiefs of any involvement, the Coalition for Truth and Justice added that Magashi must come clean for Nigerians to take the FG more seriously in its quest to address the security challenges in the country.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, a non-governmental organization in Nigeria dedicated to the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria, welcomes you all to this important press conference that is intended to address some of the pertinent issues that have surrounded the $1 billion released for the purchase of arms in the prosecution of the war against terrorism and other acts of criminalities across the country.

We must agree that these issues are of great importance to the well-being of the country at large, given the country’s security challenges in recent times as well as the government’s efforts in addressing these challenges.

It is common knowledge that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had in April 2018 approved the release of $1 billion to Nigerian Defence authorities for the purchase of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country under the purview of the Ministry of Defence.

Thus, it is pertinent to state that since the coming of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, arms purchases have been domiciled with the Ministry of Defence and not individual services as erroneously projected in the public space.

It is also succinct to state that the Honorable Minister of Defence, who is in charge of the Ministry of Defence, should provide answers to questions surrounding arms purchase in the country. It is thus despicable that there has been some well-orchestrated attempt by some vested interest to divert attention from the Minister of Defence.

We are constrained to add that the statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, during his appearance before the House of Representatives is diversionary and an indication that he is carrying out the whims and caprices of the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice views the recent happenings as a sad development in the sense that as a high ranking officer of the Nigerian Army and one who is conversant with the operational procedures in the Nigerian Military would elect to feign ignorance to an issue as sensitive as arms purchase in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in the country.

We are aware that the Ministry of Defence is responsible for arms purchases and the unholy silence of the Honorable Minister of Defence in this regard leaves many questions unanswered. This is also an embarrassment of unimaginable proportion to the Muhammadu Buhari administration that the Honourable Minister of Defence cannot articulate a response to the questions surrounding the monies meant for arms purchase.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice uses this medium to call on the Honorable Minister to come out clear by providing the much-needed information surrounding the $1billion released to purchase arms.

If this is not the case, we then wonder why the Honorable Minister of Defence has elected to play to the gallery in a case as sensitive as this. More alarming is that the Chief of Army Staff has been carrying out acts that aim to shield the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice frowns at such display and wishes to advise the Chief of Army Staff to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

We are constrained to add that if the Chief of Army Staff who has barely spent months in office would not be bold enough to call a spade a spade, we are afraid that his ability to lead the prestigious Nigerian Army is indeed questionable.

It is also curious that the Chief of Army Staff could ask that the past service chief be invited to answer questions on arms procurement during their tenures. This is indeed an anomaly that all well-meaning Nigerians must resist.

This also goes to the Honorable Minister of Defence, who, by his actions, has displayed that he does not have a grasp of the operational strategies of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is our considered opinion that the Honorable Minister of Defence must, as a matter of necessity and urgency, provide the general public details on how the $1billion was expended under his watch in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the Honorable Minister of Defence come out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

Therefore, it would be inexcusable for the Honorable Minister of Defence to continue to shy away from his responsibilities by pushing a distractive narrative in the public space. And not until this is done, the government’s seriousness in the prosecution of the war against terrorism would always be called to question.

The general public must also be aware that the former service chiefs were never involved in arms procurement and must do good to ignore the well-orchestrated campaign in this regard. Consequently, the Honorable Minister of Defence must come out to clear the air if we are indeed serious in addressing the security challenges in the country.

This is the position of the Coalition for Truth and Justice as critical stakeholders in the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria.

We thank you for your time and charge all present to take this message to their various constituencies.

God bless Nigeria.

God bless the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

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UK Group Task Ibomites to Support Their Leaders

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The people of Akwa-Ibom state have been urged to celebrate their own rather than castigating leaders who have sacrificed for the development of their region.

The president General, Global Peace Movement International UK, Dr. Mike Uyi made this declaration in a statement on Thursday in London.

According to him, the people of Akwa-Ibom should see themselves as a region in Nigeria that are lucky to have a leader like the former governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio now minister of Niger Delta.

He said, “People of Akwa-Ibom state should learn to celebrate what they have. For any reason whatsoever, Sen. Godswill Akpabio is a palm tree, an iroko which is known by every native and international farmer”.

“Akpabio is tested and trusted. As commissioner, Governor, Senator, now a minister of Niger Delta, he performed excellently and still have outstanding performance among his minister counterparts. So, why attack him?”.

Uyi said assessing Akpabio’s political journey so far, one will not be wrong to call Akpabio a successful politician because of his antecedents.

“If not for anything else, he puts Akwa-Ibom state in the Guinness book of record. The state or region is currently enjoying what Akpabio left on the ground”.

“Global Peace Movement International UK is saying clearly that the future of Nigeria is in Akwa-Ibom”.

Dr. Uyi said Akpabio’s progressive portfolio has added a label (GSM) to his personality. The label GSM stands for: Governor (G), Senator (S) and Minister (M).

“His starling performance can not be compared to any in the history of democracy in Nigeria and in Akwa-Ibom state since the creation of the state”.

Uyi further stated that Akpabio has long transcended state or regional barriers. “His sole motivation has been raising the standards of living of Nigerians, promoting the good image of the country and empowering ordinary citizens of Nigeria to not only pursue their dreams but more importantly in providing them with the means to achieve these dreams”.

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