•Shekau threatens more bombings after UNIMAID attack
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, BillyGraham Abel, Yola and Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government has spent $100 million in fighting Boko Haram insurgency.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Ali, who disclosed this, yesterday, during his visit to the operational base of the 103 Air Strike Squad, also known as Operation Lafiya Dole, lauded President Mohammed Buhari for his support in fighting insurgency.
“The sum of $100 million released by this administration has gone a long way in the provision of logistics and equipment to fight the war,’’ he said.
On his part, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar disclosed four aircraft have been deployed for Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance towards capturing fleeing Boko Haram members as well as rescuing the remaining 196 abducted Chibok school girls.
“Finding and returning the Chibok girls and other abducted Nigerians is at the heart of the air force operations. is a significant milestone in the fight against the terrorist group.
“Sufficient intelligence gathering is essential before launching attack. The air force has four highly equipped aircrafts undertaking Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance as against the single aircraft it had in the past. We are doing everything possible to ensure the Chibok school girls and every other abductees are rescued,” he stressed.
But, Convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, Mrs. Obi Ezekwesili was not convinced. She said “Nigerians are still questioning the supposed capture of Sambisa since it does not amount to the defeat of Boko Haram, as the insurgents are still killing people and Chibok girls, among other abductees, are yet to be found.’’
Regardless, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed insisted that “capturing Sambisa is a huge success in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency,” and added that “the endgame of the fight against insurgency is society without war and violence.’’ The minister also reassured Nigerians that negotiations for the release of other Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram are on-going.
Mohammed said the success recorded by the military in the Theatre of War was helping the negotiation because of the carrot and stick approach of government to ending insurgency. He recalled that a meeting was recently held which was a near success and added that the federal government will not rest on its oars in ensuring safe return of all the missing girls and others in Boko Haram captivity. Negotiations are still on. Unfortunately, unlike the search operations, we cannot take you along to the negotiation table.
“I want to assure you that these negotiations are going on, but they are very complicated and delicate and shift from time to time,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, hours after bombs from a seven-year-old went off in a mosque in the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, killing Professor Aliyu Mani and three others, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has claimed responsibility for the attack and boasted that more attacks would come.
The sect leader, in an Hausa audio message on Monday night, claimed his sect bombed UNIMAID because the institution mixed “Islam with democracy.”
He added: “We carried out the University of Maiduguri bomb at the mosque. We did it because they are mixing Islam with democracy. We carried out the attack in the morning and I am speaking to you this evening; and you will see more attacks.”
A day before, on Sunday, January 15, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai said the army could not capture Shekau during clearance of Sambisa because he fled before they got there. Buratai said the insurgents could not withstand the “firepower of the Nigerian troops…” and so, “he had to move to another location, although the army is on his trail…”
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has condoled with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the suicide bomb attack which claimed some lives, including a professor at the
NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, in a statement, in Abuja, commended the military and security agencies for the successes achieved so far. (The Sun)