End Of A Dark Era: Regime Atrocities Facing COAS Turkur Buratai, Retiring IGP Solomon Arase

Tukur-BurataiThe attention of all Nigerians and members of the international community are drawn to the fact that clock is speedily ticking for the duo of the outgoing Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon E. Arase and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai to account locally and internationally for “regime- atrocities” they committed while in service as Nigeria’s Police IGP and Army COAS (chief of army staff).

The Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force under their commands in the country’s current democratic dispensation of President Muhammadu Buhari have recorded and still record worst human rights abuses (State killings and terror) in the country’s democratic history, to the extent that in the past ten months, over 1000 State murders are credited to their names and killer-securitization responsibilities.

These they perpetrated through policy statements and issuances and conducts. Their gross incompetence and incapacities have also led to killing by malicious non State actors of over 3000 citizens in the past 10 months. As the country’s chief and auxiliary internal security providers, they incompetently failed to secure the lives of these murdered Nigerians.

In the course of their disastrous eras as Nigeria’s Army and Police chiefs, they conducted and still conduct themselves as outlaws and incorrigible; forgetting that “power is transient” and nothing last forever as well as the fact that “there is always tomorrow to fall on and yesterday to fall back on”.

Even when reminded plainly and constructively of their involvements in the dastardly killing of innocent citizens in peacetime and future dire consequences of their atrocious conducts; the duo would not only boast and justify their atrocious acts but also threaten to kill more innocent citizens like IPOB and Shiite members so as to “dissuade others from trying the might of soldiers and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force”.

Stark instances are the killing of 705 Shiite members in Zaria on 12th and 13th of December 2015 for “blocking the convoy of the COAS”; killing of 13 IPOB members in Onitsha on 17th of December 2015 for “jubilating over court-ordered release of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu”; and killing of another 22 IPOB members in Aba on 9th of February 2016 “for gathering in a school compound to pray for the release of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu”.

There are also other senseless killings by soldiers in Rivers State and war-like bombings and massacre of villagers in parts of the Niger Delta for the purpose of “oil colonization” and under the guise of “fighting sea pirates, etc”.

Today, time has come for the duo of COAS and IGP to account. End of “uniform or khaki immunity and impunity” is almost here, if not certainly here and now. Accountability litigation actions against the duo under reference are mounting locally, regionally and internationally in numerous jurisdictionally competent courts; both for personal and vicarious culpabilities.

The consequences of this are that once “boss-client and uniform/khaki immunities” being used by the referenced to commit their regime-atrocities are gone, local and international accountabilities follow. Mr. Solomon E. Arase (AP16474), according to the “Staff List for Senior Police Officers: CSP-IGP of 24th of January 2014” was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force on 1st of December 1981.

He hails from Oredo in Edo State and was born on 21st of June 1956. He was promoted AIG on 22nd of February 2012 and became IGP on 15th of April 2015. He will retire officially or statutorily on 21st of June 2016 after attaining 60years of retirement age, according to Nigeria’s Public Service Rule (2008). He has paper degrees in political science and law.

For Lt Gen Turkur Buratai (COAS), he was born on 24th of November 1960 at Buratai town in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State. He was enlisted into the Nigerian Army via the Nigerian Defense Academy on 3rd of January 1981 as a member of 29 Regular Combatant Course 29 (29 RC) where he obtained a National Certificate in Education (NCE). He became a Second Lieutenant on 17th of December 1983 after.

By Nigeria’s Public Service Rule (2008:28-29), the compulsory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier. The Rule further states that no officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years of punishable service whichever is earlier and that provision of (i) and (ii) of the rule is without prejudice to prevailing requirements for judicial officers and academic staffs of universities who retire at 70 and 65 years respectively.

Going by this rule, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai ought to have retired on 3rd of January 2016 on completion of 35 years of service. Generally, the minimum age for enlisting into the Nigerian Armed Forces is put at 18 years old for voluntary service and at 60 years or after putting in 35 years of service according to the Federal Civil Service Rule. In other countries, such as the United States, military officers are expected to put a minimum of 20 years of service and a maximum of 30 years, according to the department of defense directive. An officer can be enlisted in the force at the age of 17.

In Britain, officers are enlisted into the force at the age of 16 and are expected to put in at least 18 years of service. In Africa, Ghana enlists officers at the age of 18 and retires officers at 50 years while in South Africa, officers stay in active service until they are 60 years and could be enlisted at the age of 18 (Source: Vanguard, December 28, 2012).
However, there is the Harmonized Terms and Condition of Services Officers (HTACOS), 2012 (Revised). HTACOS was intended to make retirement age in the military (army, navy and air force) different from other personnel or public servants of the Federal Government.

The HTACOS was also meant to scrap the years of service of 35 years of service and fully embraced the age on rank bracket. This means that as long as officers and men of the Nigerian military pass the necessary promotion board examinations, they would not be retired just because they have served 35 years.

But that will now depend on their Run- Out -Date (ROD). But the HTACOS was further designed to start with the 36th Course (C36) and their equivalents and above. The 36th Course members were the first set to start full degree programs at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). Before then, Courses 1 to 35 (including Lt Gen Buratai’s Course 29) studied and graduated with the National Certificate in Education (NCE) from the NDA.

This means that while Course 36 and above will benefit from all the provisions of the HTACOS, their seniors, Courses 1 to 35, will not have the full benefits. Course 17 is the oldest still in service (source: Guardian, October 8, 2012).

From the foregoing analysis, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai having been excluded from HTACOS of 2012 on account of his belonging to Course 29 of NDA; ought to have been retired statutorily since 3rd of January 2016 after attaining the mandatory 35 years of service in the Nigerian Army having been enlisted into the Nigerian Army as a cadet officer on 3rd of January 1981.

We are fully aware that the Buhari administration’s affront to rule of law and due process has risen to an apogee and may most likely continue in the case of the COAS; by retaining him against the laws of the land as he has always done.

But we want to put it on record and consciousness of all Nigerians and members of the international community and Lt Gen Turkur Buratai himself that the end of his dark era is speedily nearing when he will inescapably answer for his “regime atrocities” (killing of 705 Shiite and over 80 IPOB activists, among others, in conjunction with retiring IGP Solomon Arase). That is to say that someday soonest, he will hang his khaki and join the civil populace.

It is true that the Federation of Nigeria is still paying billions of naira compensations from international court verdicts for Obasanjo’s atrocities in Odi and Zakibiam in early 2000s, but himself and those he ordered to commit such crimes against humanity somehow walk freely till date because some international mechanisms now in place such as ICC and UN special crimes courts were yet to be in force them.

The ICC Statute, for instance, came into force 1st July 2002; two years after the Odi and Zakibiam massacres and it does not have retroactive criminal jurisdictions.

The worst retirement life is that under which the retiree cocoons himself or herself and sneaks in and out of countries and places where he or she visits because of monumental “regime atrocities” committed while in office. Regional and international fugitiveness or criminal indictment or pursuit to account for atrocity crimes is worse than criminal conviction and sentencing.

The fate of the likes of Omar Hassan El-Bashir of Sudan and his atrocious “Janjaweed” commander (Sheik Musa Hilal) in Darfur and his Minister in charge of Humanitarian Affairs & Darfur (Ahmad Muhammad Harun) is a clear case in point.

Signed:
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk
Website: http://www.intersociety-ng.org
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348034186332
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
+2347013238673


 

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REVEALED: Nigeria’s Security Forces, Others, Murdered 4000 Unarmed Citizens In 10 Months – Intersociety

service-chiefsThe leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)  has revealed that no fewer than 4,000 Nigerians have been killed extra-judicially in the country in the last 10 months.

According to the group in a statement to The Street Reporters on Monday, Intersociety said it “is shocked to observe that  not less than 4000 unarmed citizens of Nigeria have been butchered between June 2015 and March 2016; a period of 10 months after the swearing in of Retired Gen Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s sixth electoral president. This represents average of 400 killings monthly”.

According to the statement signed by the group’s Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program, Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq, and the Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program, Chinwe Umeche, Esq, the human rights advocacy group noted that its latest updates are built on our previous statements on same subject, saying “it is also correct to say that Nigeria had since  the beginning of June 2015 moved from ballot box to killing fields; resulting in the murder of the number of citizens under reference.

“The unarmed and innocent citizens were butchered in the hands of the State and non State killing entities. Of the 4000 murdered citizens, coercive agents of the Buhari administration; fully backed by President Muhammadu Buhari himself, are responsible for at least 1000 murders, while other non State killing entities account for at least 3000 others. The killings under reference are unreservedly condemned”.

The body alleged that “majority of the State sanctioned killings are perpetrated by the Nigerian Army led by Lt. Gen. Turkur Buratai, while the Nigeria Police Force led by IGP Solomon Arase and others including Nigerian Navy account for the rest.

“There are also strong suspicions that killings carried out by the Fulani Terror group are State sanctioned and condoned. Of the 3000 killings by non State violent entities, in the past 10 months, Boko Haram Terror group accounts for at least 1,820, while the Fulani Terror group (erroneously called herdsmen) accounts for at least 880.

“The rest is perpetrated by sectarian, demographic and cult militant groups. Specifically, those killed by coercive agents of the Buhari administration include 705 members of the Shiite Muslim movement, who were mass-murdered in December 2015 on the directives of the Chief of Army Staff (Lt Gen Turkur Buratai)”.

The Human Rights Watch had in late December 2015 disclosed factually that “at least 300 Shiite members were killed and buried by Nigerian soldiers in Zaria on December 12 and 14, 2015”.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shiite) had also in January 2016 made public names and pictures of its 705 members murdered or gone missing in the hands of Nigerian Army since December 12 and 14, 2015.

Intersociety added that “other unarmed and innocent citizens killed by coercive agents of the Buhari administration are over 80 unarmed and nonviolent IPOB members and supporters killed in Onitsha, Aba and Port Harcourt, between August 2015 and February 2016; as well as recent killings in Rivers State by Nigerian soldiers, etc.

“We had in our previous updates disclosed that the Fulani Terror group had between May and October 2015, killed not less than 380 unarmed and innocent rural citizens mostly in the former Middle Belt region of Nigeria. Most of the victims belong to Christian religion.

“According to the Open Doors, a pressure group advocating for persecuted Christians in Northern Nigeria, in its recent 47-page report of March 4th 2016, “over 1.3 million Christians have fled their homes in Northern Nigeria since 2000 to escape Boko Haram and Fulani Terror groups’ holocausts as well as politically oiled sectarian violence; and 9,000-11,500 Christians have been killed and 13,000 churches closed or destroyed”.

“Thousands of Christians including girl-children have also been forcefully converted to Islam. Between January and July 2015, alone, according to the Punch Newspaper, the Fulani Terror group and its violence killed a total of 621 rural citizens including 231 murdered in March 2015 alone; out of which, 90 were murdered in Agatu Community of Benue State.

“Most of them are Christians. Over half of the killings perpetrated in the seven months of 2015, took place in Benue State.

“In 2010, the Fulani Terror group stormed Dogo na Hauwa Village of Plateau State and slaughtered up to, if not over 500 villagers comprising women, children and other helpless and unarmed citizens. The cult killings or violence also resulted to 140 deaths between January and July 2015”.

The Intersociety revealed further that “between October 2015 and March 2016, the Fulani Terror group also carried out further butchering of at least 500 unarmed and innocent rural citizens.

“The butchery includes the Agatu massacre of 23rd of February 2016 in which hundreds of unarmed and innocent rural citizens were massacred as well as the January 24th 2016 killing of an Igbo DPO and 30 others in Girei Local Government of Adamawa State.

“The murdered Igbo DPO (CSP Okezie Okereofor) was in-charge of the Vunokilang Police Station in the area when the butchery took place. The remaining 300 violent murders are linked to sectarian, demographic and cult militant entities; totaling in all, to at least 4000 violent deaths in the past ten months (June 2015 to March 2016) of the Buhari’s presidency.

“According to APC authorities in Nigeria, “32 of its members were killed in recent political attacks  in Rivers State”.

“Further, on 7th of October 2015, we disclosed that the Boko Harm Terror group had between May 30, 2015 and 7th of October 2015, killed at least 1,324 unarmed and innocent citizens. We had earlier on 16th of July 2015 disclosed that over 1000 citizens were killed in 48 days of the Buhari’s Presidency by Boko Haram and Islamist Fulani terror groups.

”The figure then included at least 625 Boko Haram killings and 380 killings carried out by the Fulani Islamist terror group; erroneously called Fulani Herdsmen. According to the Global Terrorism Index (of 2015), a total of 6, 614 citizens were killed by Boko Haram Terror group in Nigeria in 2014 alone”.

The international organisation also noted that “not less than 500 unarmed and innocent citizens killed by Boko Haram Terror group between October 2015 and March 2016; a period of ten months, 296 are cited below.

“They are as follows: On 18th of October 2015, 12 citizens were killed in Adamawa after two female bombers detonated a bomb; on 23rd of October 2015, 27 were killed after suicide attacks in a mosque in Adamawa; on 21st of October 2015, 13 people were killed after armed Boko Haram elements opened fire on four cars, killing passengers on board in Ngazai area of Borno State.

“They also attacked a mosque in Maiduguri on 23rd of October 2015, killing at least 19. On 17th of November 2015, Boko Haram attackers stormed a food market in Yola and killed 32 citizens. In the same November 2015, a total of 35 citizens were killed by Boko Haram armed elements in various attacks in Kano State. On 27th of December 2015, Boko Haram elements set fire on the Village of Kimba in Borno State, killing 14.

“On 28th of December 2015, Boko Haram elements via two female bombers detonated bombs at a Madagali crowded market in Borno State, killing 28 (source: Wikipedia 2015).

“The Associated Press (AP) also reported that Boko Haram violent elements had on 31st of January 2016, killed 86 citizens in attacks in Dalori Village of Borno State and on 14th of February 2016, the CNN reported that 30 citizens were killed by Boko Haram armed elements in a series of attacks launched in the Villages of Yakshari and Kachifa in Damboa district of Borno State.

“The categorized killings above highlighted did not include members of the Nigerian security forces killed in action by violent Boko Haram elements or Boko Haram combatants killed in action by the country’s security forces. Pretrial killings by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force perpetrated against their detainees were also not included.

“Victims of the killings above other than cult related killings are found not to have advocated or used violence. They neither belonged nor participated in any violent conflict involving Boko Haram insurgency and the Government of Nigeria.

“Their killings are carried out in brazen misuse or excessive application of State violence or for the purpose of earning crude collateral violent advantage (by Boko Haram) against Nigerian State institutions and authorities in the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency.

“Those butchered by Fulani Terror group are killed for the purpose of advancement of politico-religious cleansing or Jihads majorly targeted against Christian population in Nigeria. Other sectarian, demographic and cult related violence are also found to be politically motivated and sanctioned”.

The killings, according to the group, “clearly showcase deepening signs of State weakness and fragility and clear resurgence of politicide, democide, ethnocide and religocide. Totality of these has led to the return of killing fields in Nigeria”.

The Intersociety warned that “With 4000 murders in barely ten months on average of killing of 400 citizens monthly and with the State steadily losing its institutional and constitutional capacities to protect the citizenry, the probability of full return to self-help by the citizenry is very high.

“The entry by the State of Nigeria as a partaker in the country’s resurged killing fields, with 1000 murders in ten months to its name, shows grave dangers ahead.

“Comparatively, while the unlawful homicide rate of the State was strictly tamed and restricted to police pretrial killings and war related atrocities in the Boko Haram insurgency during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan; it has spiraled under the Buhari administration with incessancy of killing of unarmed and innocent citizens.

“The killings by the Fulani Terror group are also on sharp increase under Buhari administration”, the group observed.

The statement further observed that “Finally, Nigeria has moved from ballot box to killing fields and from change to chains. Nigeria’s human rights and rule of law records are also at the lowest ebbs. Avoidable death records in the country have spiraled.

“The country’s chief internal security establishment-Nigeria Police Force is endlessly crawling and goofing. Its IGP is more concerned in hanging unto his job than to provide security and protect the unarmed and defenseless Nigerian citizens.

“He orders his field personnel to kill at slightest sight of any citizen peacefully and nonviolently exercising his or her constitutional rights particularly those of movement and peaceful assemblies.

“Unarmed and innocent assemblies gathered to ask governing authorities relevant social questions pertaining to their country’s political, economic, and cultural and security downturns are violently and deadly disrupted on account of his murderous orders; whereas malicious citizens and entities who illicitly armed themselves and engaged in unchecked butchering of their fellow citizens are shielded”, the statement concluded.

Source

Bomb Explosion In Zaria Kills 25, Injures 32

Insurgents believed to be members of the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram earlier today killed 25 persons, injuring 32 others at a government Secretariat in Sabon Gari area of Zaria in Kaduna State.

According to TheStreetReporters.com, an online news medium, the incident occurred while civil servants were undergoing biometric verification at the local council.

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, while expressing sadness at the attack by Boko Haram jihadists, put the death toll at 20.

However, Red Cross officials and security agencies have evacuated 25 dead bodies while the 32 injured persons were taking to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria and other hospitals in the city for treatment.

“I am sad that a terrorist bomb attack just killed 20 people in Sabon Gari Zaria,” El-Rufa’i said on his Twitter handle.

“We call on our citizens to be vigilant and avoid crowded places like markets, mosques, churches and motor parks in the next few weeks,” he added.

Senate Summons Jega Over Polls Posponment, To Appear With Card Reader

Following the postponement of Nigeria’s general election, the Chairman of the country’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega was on Tuesday summoned to appear before the Senate on Wednesday.

Prof. Attahiru Jega
Prof. Attahiru Jega

Even as Senate President, David Mark, had warned that an interim government is unconstitutional and those clamouring  for it are embarking in an exercise in futility.

Jega is expected to brief members of the upper legislative House on the level of the commission’s preparedness towards the  general elections.

The decision to summon Jega followed a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba at Tuesday’s sitting of the Senate.

He is expected to appear before the Senate in plenary by 11 am.

The Senate has also asked Professor Jega to appear before it with card readers to demonstrate how INEC would use them during the elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced a shift in the general elections dates to March 28 and April 11.

The new schedule was announced on February 7 by Prof Jega, after meetings with political stakeholders.

Prof Jega said that the Presidential Election will hold on March 28 while the Governorship election on April 11, saying “We have done wide reaching consultations to enable us have as much input as necessary before taking an informed decision.

“In the series of consultations that we had with stakeholders, the questions constantly posed to them for consideration are; in view of the latest developments, should INEC proceed with the conduct of the general elections as scheduled in spite of the strong advice and if so, what alternative security arrangements are available to be put in place?” Jega asked.

“We have done this, relying on section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act, as amended.

“Where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct an election as a result of natural disaster or other emergencies, the commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area or areas concerned appoint another day for the holding of the postponed election provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable.”

The chairman of the INEC pointed out that for the fact the commission was not a security agency that could guarantee protection of personnel, voters during elections and observers, the commission could not likely wave-off the advice by the nation’s security chiefs.

“The commission is concerned about the security of our ad-hoc staff, the young men and women of the NYSC and students of the tertiary education who constitute at least 600,000 young men and women that we will use in the election,” he said.

In the new schedule, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on March 28 while the Governorship and State Assemblies elections will hold on April 11.

In the initial schedule, the elections were meant to hold on February 14 and 28.

How Nigerian Security Force Foiled Boko Haram Attack, Intercepted 19 High Calibre Bombs in Adamawa

Adamawa State Police Command has uncovered 19 high calibre bombs in a bush near Yola, the state capital.

The State Commissioner of Police, Gabriel Adaji, who disclosed this at a media briefing at the weekend, said the bombs were busted in Hong local government area of the state, stressing that Boko Haram gunmen were planning to use them for attacks on the state.

Maintaining that the weapons were ready to be used when they were intercepted, as they were at 90 percent completion and only needed to be connected to batteries, Adaji said it is believed that the insurgents wanted to use the bombs to disrupt the forthcoming elections.

He disclosed that the interception was made possible based on intelligence report that some suspected suicide bombers were apprehended by soldiers in Yola, and that some of the insurgents were still at large within the town.

According to Adaji, “This made us to beam our searchlight on the some spots. Something that would have caused a hell of sorrows to the state was averted. One of the bombs is capable of bringing down a 10 storey building.”

Maintaining that the insurgents were planning to bomb Jimeta, the Police Commissioner said if the insurgents had t succeeded in their plan, several people would have been killed and properties destroyed.

He disclosed further that the insurgents wanted to blow up strategic structures including the more than one kilometre River Benue Bridge linking the state capital with Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola and Mubi area.

“The bombs have been detonated by the anti-bomb squad of the state police command, the feat has averted a major calamity because some of the bombs were capable of destroying a ten storey building” Adaji said, adding that the smallest among the bombs can completely destroy structures within 200 metre radius and they were on the verge of being moved to where they were to be deployed when they were intercepted.

Adaji urged the people of the state to be vigilant and report any suspicious character to the nearest security outfit.

Jonathan’s Successor: My Advise To Northern Nigeria By Ahmadu Ali

The Director General of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Organisation, Ahmadu Ali says the Fulani socio-cultural group – Miyyetti Allah, the Yoruba socio cultural groups – Afenifere, and Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) have all endorsed the re-election bid of President Jonathan.

Ali said this at the campaign rally of the PDP on Saturday in Kaduna.

“We should tell ourselves the truth, Miyetti Allah, Afenifere and OPC have endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election”.

He said the North should start grooming a non-dictatorial leader who is between the ages of 40-50 to take over from President Jonathan in 2019.

“I want to tell my fellow Northerners to start grooming a 40-50 year-old candidate that President Goodluck Jonathan will hand over power to in 2019 and not a dictatorial leader who attempted to kidnap my friend late Umaru Dikko. Is that the person you want to vote for? God forbid!” Ali said.

Ahmed Makarfi, a serving Senator, in his remarks said the PDP “will use our power of persuasion to ensure that, PDP is voted on the 14th and 28th of this month.

“I assure you that by this persuasion and consultations by the Vice President, the governor, many stakeholders and I will deliver Kaduna state to PDP,” he added.

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Presidential Debate: APC Shields Buhari’s Intellectual Laziness, Says Jonathan *Charges APC ‘Prove You’re a Party of Progressive Intellectuals At Debate’

The Presidential Campaign Organisation of President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stopping its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari from participating in a presidential debate being organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) as a means of shielding the intellectual laziness and inability of the former military dictator to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate from Nigerians and the international audience.

Jonathan who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, stated that the APC knows that General Buhari will flunk it if he is subjected to the rigours of debate on national issues relating to governance and development.

Jonathan’s Campaign body said it was aware that the APC had already expressed its concerns, when approached by an international news channel for a debate, about the intellectual acumen of General Buhari, and had assured the news channel that it was only comfortable with its vice presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who has capacity to feature brilliantly on the programme.

“We have just read a report in the media credited to the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation that the party would not allow its candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to participate in the radio and television presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

“The APC accused the organisers of the debate of unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organisers of the programme against the corporate political interest of the party and its candidates.

“Whilst we will not bother ourselves with the many reasons adduced by the APC, we wish to state that we see the APC decision as an attempt to shield its presidential candidate from displaying his intellectual laziness and inability to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate.

“We had envisaged that the APC would be reluctant to expose General Buhari to the rigours of a live television debate because the opposition party knows that its candidate will flunk it.

“If the APC truly believes that it is ‘a party of progressive intellectuals’, as it claims it should allow General Buhari to prove that at the debate.

“Should the APC fail to participate in the debate, it would also show the disdain both the party and its candidate have for the Nigerian people, denying them the opportunity to make informed choices on the basis of what each candidate will articulate as propositions on issues that will be raised.

“We are convinced that General Buhari does not have what it takes to sustain a coherent argument on germane issues of governance and development.

“We challenge General Buhari to a debate on any national and international medium of mass communication and our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan will be ready to participate.

“On the other hand, President Jonathan’s running mate, Vice President Namadi Sambo, is also ready to participate in the debate and any other debate.

“Our presidential candidate and his running mate will not raise flimsy and escapist excuses such as “unhidden bias” and the like, since we believe that they are well-rounded intellectuals who have been prepared by their experience in office to answer any question under the sun on the governance of our nation.”, Jonathan Campaign group noted.

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Boko Haram: Arrested General Ransome-Kuti, Other Officers May Be Court Martialed Over Baga Attack

Nigerian military authorities have come down heavily on suspected senior military officers sabotaging counter-terrorism operations in the country as over 10 senior officers, including a Brigadier-General, have been arrested and are currently telling the military hierarchy what they know about a recent attack carried out by the Islamic insurgent group, Boko Haram.

The officers may be charged before a military tribunal as soon as investigation into their complicity or otherwise is completed.

According to the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, the investigation of senior army officers follows alleged shirking their responsibilities during the attack by the militants on Baga.

Those arrested so far include Brigadier-General Enitan Ransome-Kuti, his Chief of Staff Lt. Colonel G.A Suru, the Commanding Officer of 134 and 174 battalions, Lt. Colonel Haruna and one Major aliyu.

The two Nigerian Army battalions are under the Multi-National Task Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Baga, attacked by the insurgents.

Speaking on the arrest, General Olukolade said that the arrested officers were being investigated because at the time of the attack on the multinational headquarters in Baga, Brigadier-General Ransome-Kuti and his men were fully in charge of the military formation.

He said it was disappointing that the attack on Baga was not repelled by both battalions, despite having the necessary weapons to carry out the necessary operations.

On January 3, 2015, suspected members of Boko Haram attacked the base of the Multinational Task Force in Baga, Borno State, dislodging the soldiers there.

Reports say the troops were warned to be on alert following intelligence reports that terrorists would strike between January 22 and January 25.

Eyewitnesses, Channels Tv reports, said that the attack started around 5am when residents started hearing gunshots as the insurgents tried to gain entrance into the MNJTF premises.

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APC Candidate Says Ekiti Gov Abused Bible Verse, Insulted Muslims as Buhari Attacks Punch, SUN newspapers Over Fayose’s Frontpage Adverts

Sample Photo of The Advert
Sample Photo of The Advert
Governor Ayodele Fayose has come under fire from the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over a front page advert the Ekiti State governor paid for in The Punch and Daily Sun newspapers on Monday morning.

Buhari, in a Facebook post, accused Mr. Fayose of abusing a Bible verse and insulting Muslims, especially Northerners.

*General Muhammadu Buhari, sick like late Yar'Adua?
*General Muhammadu Buhari, sick like late Yar’Adua?

The governor had paid for front page adverts in the national dailies, depicting three former Heads of State from the North, who are Muslims and died in office, together with the APC presidential candidate, suggesting that what happened to them may happen to Buhari.

Fayose, in the advert urging Nigerians to “vote wisely” by casting their votes for President Goodluck Jonathan, said “NIGERIA…‘I have set before thee LIFE & DEATH. Therefore, choose LIFE that both thee and thy seed may LIVE (emphasis not ours)’”.

The advert, which has attracted reactions of Nigerians on the social media, was described by Buhari as a breach of the peace pact signed last week by leading presidential candidates, including President Goodluck Jonathan.

“First, it is totally unprofessional and abusive to Ethical codes of Journalism for Punch and Sun Newspapers to publish such content. Punch and Sun Newspapers must revoke the advert immediately and apologize to the people of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and the APC for such folly.

“Second, if till now, there is no denouncement of the post from PDP and GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan), it means that they support it because Fayose is a stakeholder of the party, and a front man for GEJ’s campaign.

“GEJ signed a peace pact last week against election violence and he, through the insensitivity of this advert, is the first to break that pact.

“The Jonathan administration is cruising on lies and propaganda. It is bent on amassing votes to siphon more public funds and has no interest of Nigerians at heart. It is bound to fail”.

The Facebook post reiterated Buhari’s commitment to peace and urged Nigerians to get their Permanent Voters Cards and “vote these bigots out of power come February 14”.

“Encourage your neighbors, let them know that GEJ has nothing to offer them but lies and empty promises”, it added.

#NigeriaDecides: Buhari is Clueless About How To Revive Economy, Can’t Remember His Phone Number, Says Jonathan

So Clueless? Can you imagine?

Pa Buhari can’t remember his phone number –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday during a rally in Enugu said that the All Progressives Congress candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), cannot remember his own mobile phone number.

Jonathan, whose unscripted address was mostly a response to previous statements made by Buhari, accused the APC presidential candidate of deceiving Nigerians by promising to revive the economy without explaining how he would achieve the feat.

The President wondered how Buhari would develop the country’s economy, a feat he could not achieve while he was in office as head of state between 1983 and 1985.

“Is it now that Buhari cannot even remember his own phone number that he can change the economy of the country.” Jonathan asked.

The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate said that although he did not like to “go personal during campaigns,” “sometimes circumstances demand that certain things must be said.”

Jonathan said that Buhari belonged to the medieval age, adding that he (the APC candidate) intended to run the Federal Government as a medieval king.

He said, “We cannot run the government as if we are in the medieval age; we cannot run a government where somebody said he would throw people into jail.

“You are not a medieval king – a medieval king can throw you into jail but we have to follow the rule of law because we cannot go back to the old days.”

Jonathan, however, read the speech made by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) after overthrowing Buhari’s regime through a military coup on August 27, 1985 to justify his claim that the APC candidate does not keep his promises.

Babangida, in the portions of the address read by Jonathan, justified Buhari’s overthrow by pointing out that the latter did not live up to the promises he made to Nigerians when he ousted a democratically elected civilian government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a military coup.

Noting that Buhari “deceived Nigerians” from 1983 to 1985, Jonathan quoted Babangida as saying, “The initial objectives of Buhari’s intervention were betrayed as there was a general deterioration of standard of living in the country.”

The PDP candidate also pointed out that Babangida accused Buhari of being “too rigid in his attitude to national issues” and “became alienated from the people” in the course of his stay in power.

He, therefore, challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians how he intends to revive the economy.

Jonathan said, “They are telling young Nigerians that they are going to change the economy but they have not told us how they want to manage the economy more than us.

“If they say they want to change agriculture, they should tell us the weak links in the agriculture value chain and what they want to do about it.

“I said in Lagos that I want to work with young people, not to deceive people.

“I am not going to run the government based on my habits, I am going to run the government according to global best practices.”

Jonathan also insisted that he was committed to the campaign against corruption.

“There is no government that has fought corruption more than we do,” he said, noting that some previous administrations pretended to be fighting corruption while oppressing their enemies.

He recalled that Buhari jailed some prominent Igbo politicians while in office as head of state, including former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo.

Stressing that Buhari jailed politicians on trumped up charges, Jonathan said, “You can no longer carry people and put them in prison for 301 years.”

The President equally accused Buhari of having a wrong idea of corruption.

According to him, Buhari believes that every wealthy Nigerian is corrupt.

He said, “If a Nigerian businessman has a private jet, then you are corrupt but if a South African has a private jet then you commend him.

“If you have a good house, then you are corrupt, if you have a good car then you are corrupt – that is his definition of corruption.”

Jonathan accused his opponent of making spurious claims against him.

The President said, “They are saying that government is corrupt but they are not telling us what they are going to do to stop corruption. Let them go back to their consultants to coach them, then I will listen to them.

“They should tell us how they are going to manage the economy better than we do.

“They are saying we stole foreign reserves, nobody can steal foreign reserves – spurious allegations.”

He also reiterated his claim that Buhari did not equip the military while he was the head of state.

Jonathan said that he had done more than his predecessors to shore up the country’s defence.

“For 30 years, we had only one frigate, now we have four additional frigates,” he said.

In the same vein, he pointed out that Buhari did not find any woman worthy enough for appointment when he was the military head of state.

The President asked Nigerians to assess him and Buhari by looking at how they performed during their respective periods in office.

He said, “They have deceived us before and they want to deceive us again.

“Go and find out whether these people are deceiving you or are telling you the truth.

“People are assessing me because I have run this country for some years – they have run this country for two years.

“They came with promises but immediately they came in, what they did was to jail Jim Nwobodo for 201 years.”

PUNCH

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#NigeriaDecides: Jonathan Tells Buhari:Wh I Would Have Rejected MEND’s Endorsement

President Goodluck Jonathan has dismissed the reported endorsement of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressive Congress, General Mohammadu Buhari by the Movement for the emancipation of Niger Delta, saying that no person who mean well for the country should be excited by the endorsement of a terrorist organisation.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, he explained that for a faction of MEND that had attacked venues where the President was presiding over events at least two times, the attack on the person of the President did not come as a surprise.

President Jonathan therefore advised General Mohammadu Buhari not to “place any stock on his purported endorsement by the renegade faction of MEND which is led by a convicted and unrepentant terrorist with whom no leader who truly means well for Nigeria should be associated”.

The statement reads: “We have noted with amusement, the vituperations against President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan by the renegade faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) headed by the convicted terrorist, Henry Okah in a statement issued to endorse the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

“While we thank all people of the Niger Delta, including the former militants whom MEND claims to represent who have already disassociated themselves from the statement issued by the faceless Jomo Gbomo and reaffirmed their unflinching support for President Jonathan’s re-election, we will like to state that the latest assault on the President by Henry Okah and his stooges did not come as a surprise to us at all.

“It was very much to be expected, coming as it did from an individual and group who have never hidden their vengeful personal animosity against the President and who have even gone to the extent of launching murderous assaults on venues at which the President was present on two occasions.

“It is most regrettable indeed that rather than show remorse for the terrorist acts against his fatherland for which he is now rightly serving a term of imprisonment in South Africa, Henry Okah continues to pursue a pointless personal vendetta against President Jonathan who continues to advance and protect the interests of the people of the Niger Delta which Okah and his group threatened with their misguided actions.

“The vituperations against President Jonathan in the MEND statement endorsing General Buhari are mischievous, baseless and deliberately styled to denigrate the good works of the President.

“It is well known that President Jonathan played a significant role in ending the militancy and insurgency in the Niger Delta.

“Under his watch, the destruction of oil facilities and the incessant kidnapping and killing of expatriates in the Niger Delta waterways have become a thing of the past.

“The attempt by Jomo Gbomo’s MEND to rewrite history by tarnishing the person of President Jonathan for selfish, pecuniary and political gains will amount to an exercise in futility.

“All patriotic and right-thinking Nigerians must consider an endorsement from a convicted criminal and his group who harbor evil intentions against the unity and progress of their country as a poisoned chalice.

“President Jonathan would never have accepted such an endorsement from terrorists and renegades.

“The President therefore advises General Buhari not to place any stock on his purported endorsement by the renegade faction of MEND which is led by a convicted and unrepentant terrorist with whom no leader who truly means well for Nigeria should be associated”.

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Ihejirika Sues Australian Negotiator, Davies, Over Allegation of Boko Haram Sponsorship

A former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, has instituted a suit at the Abuja High Court against the Australian hostage negotiator, Stephen Davies, who accused him of sponsoring Boko Haram insurgency in the North East Nigeria.
Australian-Negotiator-Stephen-Davis-1
In the suit filed by his team of lawyers, Nnoruka Udechukwu, C.U. Ilegbune, and Ben Anechebe, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, Ihejirika is demanding N100 billion as aggravated damages for defamation.

Davies had in August accused the retired general, a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, an unnamed senior official of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as well as a man based in Cairo, Egypt, of being among the top sponsors of the Islamic insurgents.

The former army chief has denied the allegation.

Ihejirika, who retired military service in January, said that as a result of the allegation, “he has suffered ‎grievous wrong and he has been exposed to scandal, odium, ridicule, humiliation and his character, credit and reputation brought into disrepute, both in Nigeria and abroad”.

His lawyers have applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enable them serve Mr. Davis, who lives in Perth, Australia, with the court’s processes after securing an order of court to serve the process abroad.

Nigeria and Australia are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and a special procedure has to be followed when serving court processes on defendant residing in a country that is a member of the group other than the country where the writ is issued.

Ihejirika, apart from the N100 billion damages, is also asking for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Mr. Davis or his agents from further making comments that are defamatory about him.

He is also seeking an order for the Australian to immediately publish a full and unreserved retraction and apology in the front page of THISDAY Newspaper for making a false malicious and libelous publication.

Ihejirika said that he served the military meritoriously before retiring and that he had a successful and ‎unblemished career in the army.

Ihejirika said, “On or about the 28th day of August 2014, the Defendant granted a Multimedia and Television interview broadcast to AriseTv‎, which aired in Nigeria, particularly in Abuja, and subsequently published by numerous newspapers and media houses; wherein the defendant when asked during the AriseNews segment of the interview to name the sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, falsely and maliciously spoke of the plaintiff in the following words, to wit:

“’There is the former Chief of Army Staff, retired January, or actually sacked by the President he is another sponsor. I could give you the names if you like but I have no fear that these were very confident and it is in fact Boko Haram senior commanders who have been naming them.’”

The retired general stated that the spoken words and publication in their ordinary meaning were ‎understood by reasonable members of the society who listened/watched ‎ the said AriseNews broadcast in Abuja to mean that he sponsored Boko Haram, a terrorist sect to wage war, insurrection or insurgency against Nigeria.

Ihejirika said the publication suggested that he was sacked by President Goodluck Jonathan even though he retired and had not committed any offence.

He also said those who listened to the broadcast had the belief that he did not conduct himself in accordance with the oath of allegiance and service as a soldier and senior office in the army.

The former army chief, in the affidavit he deposed to, said he had been exposed to scandal, odium, ridicule, humiliation while his character, credit and reputation had been brought into disrepute, both in Nigeria and abroad

Al Jazeera Correspondent Killed in Syria

Al Jazeera Media Network’s Arabic correspondent in Syria, Mahran Al Deeri, has been killed while covering battles in the city of Al Sheikh Maskin in rural Daraa, Syria.
Mahran-Al_Jazeera
According to his family members, Mahran died on Wednesday while taking cover from government fire as his car hit the vehicle of rebel fighters after he turned off his headlights to avoid being targeted.

This is the same area where three other journalists from the Orient Network were targeted and killed three days ago.

Al Jazeera’s Acting Director General, Mostefa Souag said: “Our martyred colleague Mahran Al Deeri has worked with aljazeera.net for over a year and was known for his courage, bravery and professional coverage of the Syrian revolution in the area of Daraa and its suburbs.”

“Targeting journalists will not deter us from reporting the truth which we have been committed to for over 18 years,” Souag said, adding: “Throughout our years of coverage we have lost many colleagues on this mission but our brave journalists are committed to this despite the constant dangers and challenges.”

Mahran Al Deeri was from Al Sheikh Maskin in Daraa where he was born in 1983 and excelled in studies.

He studied media at Damascus University and graduated in 2008. After his studies he worked for SANA, the government news agency, which he left shortly after the start of the revolution.

He was married and had two children.

Because of the constant shelling of Daraa by government forces, he fled temporarily to Jordan, but he rejected the fate of a refugee and returned to Daraa shortly afterwards to do independent journalism.

Al Deeri came to aljazeera.net (Al Jazeera Arabic’s website) as a freelancer in October 2013 to report on the revolutionaries in the area of Houran.

“He was one of the most competent correspondents,” one of his colleagues at al.jazeera.net said.

France Owns Military Hardware Aboard Chad-bound Russian Plane Detained in Nigeria – Ambassador

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, has issued a statement about the Chad-bound aircraft detained by Nigerian authorities at the Aminu Kano Airport in Kano.
Grounded-Chad-bound-plane
In the statement, the ambassador admitted his country chartered the Russian aircraft to help it convey some military hardware from Bangui (Central African Republic) to Ndjamena (Niger).

He, however, said there were no arms and ammunition aboard the plane, contrary to earlier reports on the matter.

The embassy said: “A Russian commercial plane carrying two light Gazelle helicopters belonging to the French Army has unexpectedly landed in Kano on Saturday December 6th, early in the afternoon.

The embassy explained that “On 6 December, the French armed forces had chartered a flight on the Russian commercial company “224 Flight Unit”, to ship 2 light helicopters from Bangui to Ndjamena. The shipment is organized as the size of the French military intervention in CAR is being reduced, as was earlier announced by the French Authorities.

“The cargo airplane, an Antonov 124, had a regular flight plan from Bangui to Ndjamena ; the flight was covered by a diplomatic clearance given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The freight consisted of 2 ‘’Gazelle’’ helicopters (a 4 seater light liaison helicopter) with spare-parts and maintenance items. 2 French military non-commissioned officers escorted the equipment as passengers.

“As the Antonov was approaching Ndjamena, the air traffic conditions were too dense to authorize the landing of the aircraft ; and the Antonov had to divert to an alternate international airport. The closest airport facility being Kano, the Russian crew decided to fly there, to refuel, and to take off again to reach Ndjamena Airport.

“Due to the nationality of the aircraft, and the nature of the cargo, local airport Nigerian authorities in Kano have decided to check the flight plan, the clearance and the cargo manifest before authorizing the plane to leave. Official information has been supplied by the French Embassy in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian federal and airport authorities, being satisfied with the documents and the genuine character of the flight, have announced that the plane will be authorized to pursue its flight to Ndjamena.”

Contrary to some press reports, that former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu-Sheriff was secretly negotiating for the release of the weapons in the grounded plane, there was absolutely no weapon, and no ammunition on board the aircraft.

The use of chartered flights of various nationalities for military cargo transport is a standard international practice : it is used by many nations, and is coherent with commercial competition to reduce the cost of such transport operations. The use of Russian companies to transport French military equipment is common practice.

As for the move of the helicopters between CAR and Chad, it is part of the French effort to support regional cooperation against terrorism, as agreed by the Heads of State of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon during the security Summit held in Paris in May, 2014.”

#VictoryForNigeria: Military Rescues Some Abducted Chibok Schoolgirls

Unspecified number of abducted Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, North East of Nigeria, who were kidnapped by the extremist Boko Haram Islamic sect about 162 days ago has been released, Nigerian military source said on Tuesday.
BringBackOurGirls
A top military source said two Toyota Hiace buses loaded with the girls were driven into the Maimalari Barracks, the headquarters of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Tuesday evening.
When contacted, Defence Spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, confirmed the development.

He said the exercise was still ongoing and that appropriate statement would be made soon.

Details of the negotiation or operation that led to the release of the girls is unclear at this time. Mr. Olukolade said such details would only be provided later.

Meanwhile, leader of the #BringBackOurgirls campaign, Oby Ezekwesili, has rumour of rescue of Chibok girls is strong, confirming speculations of the rescue of some of the Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents.

In a tweet on Tuesday evening on her Twitter handle @obyezeks to mark Day 162 days of the girls’ abduction, she wrote,” Yes, the rumor of their rescue is strong…. WE wait with earnest HOPE & expectation for EVIDENCE. What JOY!!!”

“My heart is POUNDING in excited anxiety as WE wait. Lord, please let not our HOPE be dashed. Let this be THE DAY!

“Have said it would be a DAY of UNSPEAKABLE JOY when the agony of our 219 Daughters and their parents shall end.”, she said.

Boko Haram Insurgents Surrender, Plead for Clemency as Shekau Speculated Killed

Amid speculations that the leader of the Boko Haram Islamic militants, Abubakar Shekau was killed in a fierce battle with in Konduga, Borno State, the Defence Headquarters has disclosed that some Boko Haram terrorists have begun to surrender with their weapons voluntarily following relentless onslaught by troops.

Recovered and Surrendered Arms by insurgents
Recovered arms from insurgents

This is contained in a tweet on Sunday.

It read: @DefenceInfoNG “FLASH: As the heat on terrorists continues, 5 terrorists yesterday surrendered with all their weapons to troops at #Konduga pleading for mercy”.

“Assorted Arms and ammunition captured from terrorists in Konduga #VictoryforNigeria”, a tweet added.

According to the statement, other captured terrorists who refused to surrender have also been giving useful information on the subsequent plans of the group in an apparent effort to cooperate.

The DHQ recalled that in the last few days there had been several attempts by desperate terrorists to gain entry into Konduga which were foiled by the troops.

The terrorists’ move, according to the statement, is aimed at recovering the bodies of their prominent fighters who died in previous encounters in the area.

The DHQ also said that its troops had recovered more weapons during mop-up operations while some of their terrorists’ vehicles had been destroyed.

Nigerian Security Forces Probing Whether Boko Haram’s Shekau Killed

There have been wide speculations that the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has died in a battle with security forces in Konduga, Borno State, North Eastern Nigeria. Hence, the Nigerian security agencies are reviewing information on the reported killing of the militant sect leader, a person familiar with the investigation said.

Current Abubakar Shekau
Current Abubakar Shekau

The Nigerian armed forces had said in a tweet that over 60 Boko Haram militants had been killed and a senior Boko Haram leader had been captured in the battle at Konduga. The leader, who wasn’t identified by the armed forces, is being treated at a military hospital.

Boko Haram, which has been battling the Nigerian state since 2009, killed more than 2,000 people in the first half of this year in an escalating campaign of bomb and gun attacks, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. More than 350,000 people in the northeastern states where the violence is fiercest have fled their homes this year, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

The military last year said Shekau may have been killed in a June 30 battle. He later appeared in a video sent to reporters as proof that he was still alive. However, the picture and manner of operations by the current leader cannot be reconciled with that of the allegedly killed Shekau, fueling belief in among many citizens that he was killed last year.

Perhaps the military forces in Nigeria are working to provide evidence Shekau’s successor’s killing to ensure no one is left in doubt before announcing his death.

Nevertheless, rumours about the death of Shekau and some of his commanders in the battle with troops in Konduga has been spreading across the Borno State.

Nigerian Troops Capture High-ranking Boko Haram Leader

Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DH) has disclosed that military operations in volatile North Eastern Nigeria has led to the arrested a top member of the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Konduga, a community in Borno State.
Killed Boko Haram Leader
According to the DH, the high-ranking leader of the sect was captured on Wednesday during a battle that led to the death of over 60 insurgents.
Boko Haram weapon seized
The Nigerian forces involved in the operation had successfully flushed out members of Boko Haram sect from the community during the operation, which lasted more than 12 hours.

Three Hilux vehicles, one armoured personnel carrier and a cache of arms and ammunition were also seized by the Nigerian troops during the battle.

Nigerian military authorities revealed that the seriously-wounded, high-ranking terrorists’ leader is being treated in a military medical facility after he was captured in operations at Konduga, Borno State.

Jonathan Pledges to Implement National Conference Report

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday thumped his chest for organising a successful national dialogue, saying he meant well for the country and promised to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, which officially closed Thursday.
Confab-report
The president made the pledge Thursday at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, ‎during the closing ceremony of the conference, where he also received the 21-volume report from the conference chairman, Idris Kutigi.

Mr. Jonathan also said the successful conclusion of the conference have proved cynics, who never gave the conference a chance, wrong.

He said some of the recommendations of the conference will be considered by the National Council of State, while the remaining ones will be sent to the National Assembly, the President said while formally receiving the 10,000 pages, conference report, with 600 resolutions.

Jonathan, however, took a swipe on the conference detractors, whom he described as prophet of doom who have been put to shame.

He also pledged that the report would be considered by the council of State before it’s passed to the National Assembly.

U.S. Could Use Ground Troops to Save Iraqi Refugees

A senior White House official said on Wednesday that the United States would consider using American ground troops to assist Iraqis in rescuing Yazidi refugees if recommended by military advisers assessing the situation.
US Troops
Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told reporters on Martha’s Vineyard that President Obama would probably receive recommendations in the next several days about how to mount a rescue operation to help the refugees, who are stranded on a mountaintop surrounded by Sunni militants. He said those recommendations could include the use of American ground troops.

But he drew a distinction between the use of American forces to help a humanitarian mission and the use of troops in a battle against the militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, something he said the president had rejected before and continued to oppose.

“What he’s ruled out is reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq,” Mr. Rhodes said. He added, using an alternative name for the militant group, that the deployment of ground troops to assist a rescue was “different than reintroducing U.S. forces in a combat role to take the fight to ISIL.”

He acknowledged that any ground troops in Iraq would face dangers, even if they were there to help the refugees find a safe way off the mountain. He said that like American forces anywhere, the troops would have the ability to defend themselves if they came under fire.

But Mr. Rhodes said the White House would not make a decision on how to carry out a rescue until the president heard back from an assessment team that the Pentagon sent into Iraq on Tuesday. That team, which includes about 130 personnel, will report back within several days, Mr. Rhodes said.

But he added that something would have to be done to help get the refugees off the mountain because “we don’t believe it’s sustainable to have permanent airdrops” of humanitarian aid.

(NYTimes)