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Yoruba Youths Hail Nomination Of Former Service Chiefs As Worthy Ambassadors, Call For Speedy Confirmation

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Some youths from the South-West region have welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors-designate.

Describing them as “worthy ambassadors”, the group under the aegis of Congress of Progressive Yoruba Youths (CPYY) called on the National Assembly to speedily confirm their nomination.

The Yoruba youths made these known on Friday at a press conference in Lagos.

In a statement signed by its leader, Comrade Kolawole Salau and titled: “Ex-Service Chiefs are truly Nigeria’s Ambassadors; a reward for excellence and meritorious service”, the group extolled the virtues of the recently retired military heads.

Salau noted that the nomination is a befitting reward for decades of patriotism, dedication and commitment to their fatherland, especially in the last five years where they courageously led and conquered acts of terrorism, insurgency and insurrection in the country.

According to the group, history will remember the quartet as the finest set of service chiefs who blighted the wildfires against peace and security at the country’s most trying moments.

While applauding President Buhari, Salau said the development would serve as a salient tonic to bolster national service and productivity from all Nigerians holding leadership positions.

He, however, assured that the newest ambassadorial designates would bring their wealth of experience to bear on influencing the global community in assisting Nigeria to address the scourge of terrorism permanently.

Read the full statement below:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media.

May we once again, extend our good wishes to all of us for the New Year and the prayerful expectations of ceaseless goodies in our lives and that of our dear nation. We plead that all Nigerians should always bear this in mind as we enter another outstanding phase in the progressively historic match of Nigeria to the #NextLevel under the focused leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

The Congress of Progressive Yoruba Youths’ (CPYY) leadership and its teeming members wish to celebrate and share the good tidings with all Nigerians. We were exceeding filled with ecstasy over the sudden news of the nomination of the erstwhile Service Chiefs as Nigeria’s non-career ambassadors -designate to serve the nation in another sensitive capacity.

These recently retired from active Military service and the very exceptional senior Military officers favoured by their classic records are former Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS) Gen. Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin;  ex-Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and honcho of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf  Buratai and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas. Others whose hard work has also attracted reward with further service includes; the former Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the former Chief of Defence Intelligence, (CDI) Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Usman.

It’s a thing of joy that Mr. President has already forwarded to the National Assembly, names of these dedicated and committed former Military Chiefs for confirmation. These ex-Service Chiefs have rendered decades of unfaltering, patriotic and dedicated service to their fatherland at the zenith of their career, especially in the last five years they superintended over counter-insurgency operations and courageously conquered acts of insurgencies and insurrections against the country.

So, let us congratulate these worthy Ambassadors in advance in anticipation of a speedy confirmation of these ambassadorial nominees by the national parliament. Nigerians excitedly look forward to this moment with drums and songs as a reward truly befitting of these former Military Chiefs who have diligently and uncompromisingly served the country, first, as ambassadors of the trenches and now, as fit as fiddle to exemplify same at the diplomatic plane.

Countlessly, we have sensed President Buhari’s conscious attempts to re-work and reposition Nigeria into a nation where every Nigerian who has the opportunity to serve the country in whatever capacity should be proud to discharge his duties committedly at all times, despite any difficulty.  That’s the operational philosophy and disposition of Mr. President as shadowed all through the years of his Presidency so far.

Today, the same Presidential ideology has spontaneously replicated in the success story of the Nigerian immediate past Service Chiefs in their post-service life. This is justified or finds expression in their nomination as Nigeria’s non-career ambassador-designate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  It gladdens the heart infinitely.

The CPYY has taken the generous liberty to speak to a Nigerian audience which is not caged by bias, partisan, ethnoreligious or religious sentiments as prevalent in contemporary times in our country. We are wittingly talking to Nigerians who recognizes that national service supersedes personal interests and the worthy sons and daughters of this great nation who have dispensed this responsibility selflessly and committedly should earn our acknowledgement afterwards.

And in the case of the ex-Service Chiefs, they discharged the very arduous or tedious national assignment, even at the risk of their lives with courage, vigour and determination.  They gave us impressive results where others failed. Therefore, they deserve appreciation and reward; but certainly not unjust vilification from the same compatriots they have spent their lives to serve. Only this can compel posterity to also emulate their commendable records in the service to our nation.

We elect upon ourselves to voice out today because as consistent as some unreasonable hardliners attempted to dwarf, diminish, blur and even rubbish the tenures of the ex-Service Chiefs; it is also equally very difficult, if not impossible to annihilate their records in curbing the hitherto widespread acts of insurgencies and insurrections in the country.

On the plaquing insecurities in Nigeria, history will remember these ex-Military Chiefs as one of the finest sets of Service Chiefs who blighted the wildfires against peace and security at the country’s most trying moments. They performed this duty determinedly and served us the best of positive results.

Let’s recap that it has not escaped the eyes of CPYY that the ex-Service Chiefs wrecked the fires of rampaging Boko Haram/Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Abuja, Northern cities/ towns; extricated five out of the six states in the Northeast region previously under the unshakable and absolute control of insurgents.  Nigeria has reclaimed these states irreversibly to the painful realization of terrorists under the tenures of the ex-Service Chiefs.

These ex-Military Chiefs significantly stopped bombs from frequently exploding in highbrow areas; female teenage suicide bombers were also harangued out of operations and Boko Haram has been confined to the remotest parts of Lake Chad Basin axis to the extent its leaders have kept lamenting publicly about losing the war. Insurgents previously aggressive infiltration of Southern Nigeria was also halted. Lt. Gen. Buratai (rtd) worked tirelessly in alliance with his colleagues to ensure Nigerian troops birthed peace and security in all troubled areas.

How many of us even recount the tens of thousands of Nigerians held hostage by Boko Haram, but regained their freedom under the past Service Chiefs? Armed bandits were also caged and scores neutralized in fierce combats with troops; do we even remember the subjugation of the oil thieves, armed robbers, kidnappers, vandals or the bloody secessionists’ and another armed criminal/ terror gangs of Southern Nigeria who held the region captive? They have been humbled to their knees.

This is not an attempt to flatter anybody or undermine anyone. But the ex-Military Chiefs made an inerasable difference in the counter-insurgency operations whilst they held sway. We make bold to say since 2009 when acts of insurgencies and insurrections became a national and global security challenge, the immediate past set of Service Chiefs really made Nigeria proud. Until we see, the works of the new and very equally promising Sheriffs who have taken over their responsibility, we dare say, their fond memories are still etched in our psyche.

Therefore, the new Nigerian spirit where merit and hard work are rewarded by the country is reflected in the nomination of these former Military Chiefs. And we are excited at it; as we thank Mr. President wholeheartedly. It’s a salient tonic that would bolster national service and productivity from all Nigerians holding leadership positions and are insightful enough to see the future.

Consequently, the CPYY calls on the Senate to expediently confirm the ambassadorial nominations without any waste of time as a mark of honour for the commitment, patriotism and loyalty which the ex-Service Chiefs had infused into their work for the unity and peace of Nigeria.

We have no ounce of doubt that these Nigeria’s newest ambassadorial designates would also bring their wealth of experience to bear on influencing the global community in assisting Nigeria to address the scourge of terrorism permanently. We perceive these ex-Military Chiefs as immediately striking a filial alliance, which would persuasively extract the support of their foreign countries of accreditations to battle terrorism to its final fatal end.

May God bless our country Nigeria; may He also bless every Nigerian and thank you.

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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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