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Opinion: The ‘defeat’ of Boko Haram by Sonala Olumhense

Editor’s note: The author Sonala Olumhense in this piece talks about the declarations made by different officials in authority that the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram has finally been defeated.

Last Monday, Nigeria’s highest authorities declared Boko Haram, the militant group which has caused tremendous violence and agony for nearly 10 years, finally contained.

Speaking during a Town Hall gathering in Maiduguri, the ground zero of the menace, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, the Minister of the Interior, described the group as “completely decimated.”

He added that the group’s structure was degraded and its leadership, dismantled.

Minister of Information Lai Mohammed cited the “resumption of flights, bubbling nightlife, and football matches in Maiduguri” as signs normalcy has returned to the Borno State capital.

It is interesting to note that the report of the event was filed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), and nobody explained why the national and international media in the area appeared unable to find the venue.

As part of the back-slapping, Defence Minister Mansur Dan Ali announced that at least 30,000 hostages kidnapped by the insurgents were freed by the troops.

Two days earlier, also in Maiduguri, Rogers Ibe Nicholas, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, also declared Boko Haram “completely defeated.” Speaking at the inauguration of the Nigeria-Cameroun Military Joint Mission, he explained that only the previous day, his troops had overrun Boko Haram’s “Camp Zero,” dislodging the militants and occupying the area.

“We have broken the heart and soul of Shekau’s group, taking over the camp and its environs,” Nicholas said. “They are on the run and we are pursuing them to wherever they go. This time around there is no place for escape anywhere.”

The news comes some six weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari first made the announcement of the militants’ fate. In a statement on the eve of Christmas 2017, he declared “the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa Forest.”

That was followed on January 7 by another affirmation by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, that his troops have won the war against Boko Haram.

The declarations come exactly three years after President Buhari said Nigeria had “technically” won the war. But the militants had then mounted more attacks against troops and populations.

All of this comes six months after Mr. Buratai gave the soldiers 40 days to capture Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the terrorist group, “dead or alive.” He ordered the then Operation Lafiya Dole chief, Ibrahim Attahiru, to spare no trick in his wine-skin bag “to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria.”

Given Shekau’s habit of re-appearing each time the army claims he has been killed or wounded, there was little surprise that after 40 days, the army could present to Buratai neither the militant nor his head.

On the contrary, there followed a new wave of Boko Haram attacks upon Nigerians, and an embarrassed military early in December went on a face-saving mission. Major General Attahiru was summarily removed and shoved to a desk assignment described as “policy and planning.”

While it would be incorrect to attribute the latest developments to the military wizardry of Nicholas, what he has achieved in such a short time is highly impressive. Despite that, using such language as “totally defeated,” or “crushed,” or “completely decimated” seems overblown, particularly with Shekau still in play.

And he didn’t take too long last week to announce himself. On Wednesday, he published a new video in which he declared Nigeria’s version of recent events to be false, affirming that he is in, and still controls Sambisa forest.

Obviously, until the challenge of finding Shekau is answered and his means and methods decapitated, the claim the insurgency has been defeated will continue to sound hollow. Among other questions is: where are the remaining Chibok High School girls? Where are the members of an oil exploration team the militants snatched in July last year which included policemen, NNPC researchers and University of Maiduguri professors? It is notable that Shekau brags about this point in his latest video, which he autographs as “the one that is an invincible enemy that you are fighting.”

These evident elements of doubt may explain why only NAN directly reported the government’s landmark celebrations last week. But the declarations of victory raise a key question about the $1bn the government announced in December it wanted to take from the Excess Crude Account allegedly to fight the insurgents.

Where do we go next? Despite the giant strides the Nigerian military has made in the combating Boko Haram, Buhari lack of both vision and patriotic ambition as a leader have become apparent in the past three years, and one of those areas is in sadly mistaking propaganda for action.

To that end, how does the government intend to handle the huge rebuilding and restoring challenge in the northeast, given how much officials such as the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal have taken advantage of Buhari’s weaknesses to exploit the poor and dispossessed.

In November 2016, the United Nations said in Abuja that Nigeria faced a massive humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency, and that 26 million people would be affected by the crisis into 2017. At the time, it also warned that about 75,000 children could die from hunger within just two months.

On March 30, 2017, the New York Times reported that over 130,000 people fleeing Boko Haram had amassed in Niger’s Diffa region, along National Route 1 in the southeast of the country, with nowhere to go. In May, Medicins San Frontieres, quoting the authorities, said that number had almost doubled, to 240,000. Nigeria has never responded to their presence.

Only last week, UN-OCHA announced that over 8.5 million persons need life-saving support due to the humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency; in 2017, it had targeted 6.9 million displaced persons.

This is a good time for the government to come up with a massive plan not only to help victims of the insurgency, including those outside our borders, but to address the national problems that facilitated the rise of Boko Haram in the first place. Sadly, those problems exist all over the country, and we have seen how they drive Nigerians into desperation, and sometimes out of the country into slavery and death.

The question is whether Buhari, given his alarming and disappointing record in the past three years, and confronted over the next with trying to remain in power in 2019, can summon the inspiration and strength he has lacked in three years, to tackle these problems.

The truth is that in view of Nigeria’s burgeoning population, business as usual is no longer an option. The tens of millions who have barely survived Boko Haram, in addition to the tens of millions all over the country who continue to be neglected while officials connive and help themselves to a lifestyle of opulence and privilege in the face of a weak anti-corruption preachment, is a tinderbox waiting to consume the unwary.

The poverty of purposefulness in high places must end now. Hopefully, it is clear to all that the days of hoodwinking the populace—like the days of coup-plotting and election-rigging—are over.

Boko Haram is not defeated until Nigeria is not just a political playpen.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of africanentertainment.info

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Robbers Who Killed Abuja Deacon Arrested After Visiting His Home As Sympathizers”. Photo

A Deacon and former Sunday School Superintendent in Assemblies of God Church, Karu FCT, was killed by armed robbers Thursday, January 11, 2018 after a raid on his residence in Abuja. Elder Michael Ibu, was reportedly shot and killed after his properties were robbed by the men of the underworld.

A church member identified as Gladys Chi Chi Ejim, has revealed how two of the armed robbers who partook in the killing of the deacon were apprehended after they were arrested “spiritually” as they allegedly confessed to the crime. One of the armed robbers was also killed by the police.

Below is what was shared online;

SO PAINFUL! Elder Michael Ibu rest in the bosom of the Lord. A Deacon & a S/S Supdtd @ AGC Karu 1, FCT Abuja. 0n 11/01/18, armed robbers broke into his house in the night, collected money ‘n handsets from everybody in the house ‘n shot him dead.

Robbers Who Killed Abuja Deacon Arrested After Visiting His Home As Sympathizers”. Photo African entertainment.info

His body now is in the mortuary. On Sunday 14/01/18 Abj East Dist. under the leadership of Rev. Chuks Ogbuji sent delegates who came to pray for the family ‘n comforted the Church. With heaviness in heart, the church cried for vengeance. That same Sunday evening, one of them (robbers) entered our late bro. house lying on a seat pretended to be sympathizer. He was there till 9-10pm.

Then the spirit of this widow could not contend with the person she was seeing @ that late hour. She stood ‘n challenged his mission, confession made open. Police were alerted ‘n he was picked up, b4 we know it, another person among them surfaced, making two. On interrogation, they led the policemen to the very one who shot our Elder. That one saw policemen ‘n ran, them (Police) wasted him. Proofing the word of God in (Leviticus 24:17) etc. Dear friends I decree this 2018, that God will waste our wasters. Destroy our destroyers in the name of Jesus I pray Amen. Join me pray for the family of our late brother Michael Ibu, that God will sustain their faith.

Elder Michael Ibu rest in the bosom of the Lord. A Deacon & a S/S Supdtd @ AGC Karu 1, FCT Abuja. 0n 11/01/18, armed robbers broke into his house in the night, collected money ‘n handsets from everybody in the house ‘n shot him dead.

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Boko Haram reportedly attack Maiduguri market, 12 killed

About twelve people have been killed and 48 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack in Maiduguri on Wednesday, January 17.

Eye witnesses told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the mayhem was caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which was detonated by a male suicide bomber at Alai Fadawu market on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

One other male bomber detonated the IED strapped to his body and blew up himself alone without causing any other casualties.

The witnesses said the incident occurred at 4pm when people gathered for trading activities

Meanwhile, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole successfully averted what would have been a major attack carried out by three female Boko Haram terrorists against innocent citizens in Gamboru town in Gamboru Ngala local government area of Borno state in the early hours of Tuesday, January 9.

African Entertainment gathered that two of the bombers, strapped with suicide vests had attempted infiltrating Gamboru town at about 6.45 am when they were sighted by a joint patrol team of vigilant troops and Civilian JTF at Unguwar Yobe area shortly before entering the town.

According to a statement by a spokesman of Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, they were halted by the patrol team from a safe distance and were ordered to unstrap their suicide vests, to which they vehemently declined.

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Herdsman allegedly killed in Ekiti(Gov Fayose Reacts) 

Governor Fayose called a meeting between herdsmen and farmers in Ekiti

– He said he would not allow the state be turned into a war zone

– He ordered the killers of one herdsman killed in the state to be fished out

The alleged killing of a herdsman in Ekiti state has reportedly sparked tension in Oke Ako and Irele communities in Ikole local government area.

According to The Nation, the herdsman, Babuba Dengi, was killed by settles suspected to be settlers from Benue state.

The tension forced Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti to call for a meeting at the Government House on Tuesday, January 16 with herdsmen and farmers waring them not to turn the state to a war zone.

The governor ordered security operatives to fish out the killers of the herdsmen saying there is no room for killings of anybody from any tribe in Ekiti.

He said “recent steps taken by his administration to prevent violence between farmers and herdsmen do not give anybody license to unlawfully take human’s life.”

: “I can’t accept anybody to be killed. If anybody killed anyone I will make sure you are killed by ensuring justice. I’m sad about the killing in Benue but we don’t want brutality in Ekiti.

“I won’t accept any killing here, the only thing acceptable here is peace. I therefore plead with everybody to cooperate with us.”

“I want peace in my state and everybody living here is from Ekiti whether you are Fulani, Tiv, Yoruba or anybody.

“The cow matter can’t cause problem between us. Oke Ako-Irele issue should not be allowed to fester. Cooperate with us and whoever kills would be fished out.

“When you are entering Ekiti, drop wherever you are coming from at the boundary. You can’t kill Yoruba, Fulani, Igbo or Tiv here.

“From information so far, the deceased died as a result of clash between Fulani herdsmen and some Tiv people, but at that we can’t condone lawlessness. We don’t want that type of Benue issue here.”

Meanwhile, President Mohammadu Buhari was urged by the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to also bring to book killers of Fulani herdsmen.

Alhaji Baba Usman Ngeljarma, national secretary of the association made this known in a statement on Wednesday, January 17.

He said the call was a response to the assurance given by President Buhari to arrest and punish perpetrators of the heinous Benue murders, Daily Trust reports.

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How Family Of ‘Killer Wife’ Tried To Hide Evidence After Killing Ex-PDP Chairman’s Son – Police

The Nigerian Police Force, yesterday, alleged before an Abuja High Court at Jabi that family members of Maryam Sanda, wife of murdered son of erstwhile Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bilyamin Bello, attempted to hide evidence against her.

son of former PDP chairman killed

Police, in an amended two-count charge it filed before the court, alleged that Maryam’s mother, Maimuna Aliyu and her brother, Aliyu Sanda, upon realizing that an offence of culpable homicide was committed, “did cause evidence of the offence to disappear”.

It said the duo, with the help of one Sadiya Aminu, carefully cleaned the blood from the scene of the crime with the intention of screening the 1st defendant, Maryam from legal punishment.According to the prosecution, the three persons involved in the scrubbing-off of murdered Bilyamin’s blood, by their action, committed an offence punishable under section 167 of the Penal Code Law.

Consequently, Police re-arraigned Maryam alongside her mother, brother and Aminu, before trial Justice Yusuf Halilu yesterday.

Whereas Maryam was in the count-one of the charge marked CR/15/17, which Police filed pursuant to section 109(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, was accused of stabbing her husband to death with a broken bottle on November 19 at their Abuja residence.

The three others were in count-two, charged with causing evidence of the crime to disappear.The prosecution told the court that Bilyamin died as a result of several stabs on his chest and neck.Police maintained that the defendant attacked her husband with the knowledge that her act was likely to cause his death.

Meanwhile, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as they begged the court through their lead counsel, Mr. J.B. Daudu, SAN, to release them on bail pending the determination of the case against them.While Daudu, SAN, stressed that allegation against Maryam’s family members was a bailable one, he pleaded the court to consider the well-being of the 1st defendant’s six-month-old baby and grant her bail pending the trial.

Besides, the defence lawyer tendered a medical certificate he said showed that Maryam was suffering from a serious ailment. He told the court that all the defendants were anxious for the trial to commence so that they could establish their innocence.

However, in his ruling, Justice Halilu declined to release the alleged ‘killer wife’ on bail.

The Judge ordered that she should remain in Suleja prison until February 5, 2018, when a full-blown hearing was scheduled to begin in the case.

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Police Intercept Pump Action Rifles Destined For Nigeria Hidden In Sound Systems. Photos

According to mulitple online reports, police authorities in Agadez city, central Niger – intercepted some smuggled guns destined for Nigeria. 

The arms; 42 pump action rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition, were reportedly hidden in sound systems before they were intercepted in Agadez – “smuggling capital of Africa”.

According to reports, some arrests have been made by the police in connection with the arms smuggling as investigation continues.

©African Entertainment report 

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Soldier Allegedly Kills Man Over N500 Bribe At A Military Checkpoint In Edo-See Photos

A Nigerian military officer, simply identified as Sunday, allegedly killed a man over N500 bribe at a military checkpoint in Edo state. According to Rariya news platform, the incident tragic occurred when late Shafi’u Garba, known as Ganda, was travelling in a car from Wudil, Kano State, to Edo State before meeting the said soldier at a military checkpoint between Auchi and Benin on Saturday, December 8, 2017.

A witness named Sani Abdullahi, who was in a car with the deceased, said the soldier shot at Garba, as he died several hours later.

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Man Arraigned For Possession of Forged Document, Another Docked For Forgery-See Photos

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 arraigned one Oluwaseun Michael before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on a one-count charge bordering on possession of fraudulent documents.

The offence is contrary to Section 6,8(B) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006. The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, M. K. Basheer, asked for a trial date and urged the court to remand the suspect in prison custody. The defence counsel, however, told the court that he had filed an application for bail on behalf of his client. Justice Dada ordered the defendant to be remanded in prison custody.

The case was adjourned to Monday, December 18, 2017 for hearing of bail application. In a related development, another suspected fraudster, Okolonta Felix, was also arraigned yesterday before Justice Dada on a two-count charge bordering on possession of fraudulent documents, an offence contrary to Section 6, 8( B), 1(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.

In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, M.K.Basheer, asked for a trial date and urged the court to remand the suspect in prison custody. Counsel to the defendant , however, sought to move an application for bail on behalf of his client.

Having listened to both parties, Justice Dada ordered the defendant to be remanded in Ikoyi prison. The case was adjourned to December 18, 2017 for hearing of bail application.

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