Four of the naval officers captured alive were made to introduce themselves while being recorded before they were eventually executed by the terrorist group.
The video showed some members of the terrorist group jubilating in one of the ships belonging to the Nigerian Navy in Lake Chad.
They shot into the air as a sign of victory, chanting “Allah Akbar” (God is the greatest).
Four of the naval officers captured alive were made to introduce themselves while being recorded before they were eventually executed by the terrorist group.
Three of the naval officers introduced themselves as Ebirek Adewale with official number X12907, Muhammed Muhammed, and Aliyu Adamu, an excavator operator.
The fourth naval officers in the video released by the terrorist group said, “I was drafted from naval Air Wing, Port Harcourt, under the command of Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder to Naval Base, Lake Chad, Baga, Borno State.
“Our base was attacked on the 26th to 27th. We are on our way to escape. I was captured by the Army Kalaifa (sic) and now we are under their detention as prisoners of war.”
The insurgent group in the new video documentary released footage of the victories it has recorded in a series of attacks against the Nigerian military.
The video showed different gun battles between the insurgent group and the military with the Boko Haram group having the upper hand.
The Boko Haram sects also showed some armoured personnel carrier, guns and other battle arms taken from the military.
Another part of the video showed the insurgent group setting ablaze a Nigerian flag and that of the Nigerian Army in a camp of the Brigade Multinational Joint Task Force, Baga, Borno State.
The insurgent group also showed its members overrunning the base, killing all military personnel around and taking over all cars and arsenal belonging to the Nigerian Army.
The Nigerian government has on different occasions claimed victory against the terrorist group saying the terrorist group had been confined to the outskirt of Borno.
This claim is, however, contradictory to the daily killings by the insurgent group in different parts of Borno with the latest being the overrunning of a military base in Yobe State. (Sahara Reporters)
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No fewer than 25, 794 Nigerians may have died in violent crises in the first four years of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The figure was released by the Nigeria Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit think tank specialising in United States foreign policy and international affairs.
The number represents those killed by different insurgent groups and Boko Haram in the North, herdsmen, and people who died in extrajudicial activities of the military.
From June 2015 to May 2019, our correspondent observed that Borno suffered the highest casualties, recording 9,303 deaths. The state was followed by Zamfara (1,963) and Adamawa (1,529).
Others captured in the map are Kaduna (1,488), Plateau (771), Taraba (649), Benue (1,642), Niger (252) Rivers (730), Cross River (467), Ogun (301), among others.
Graphical illustration revealed that the highest casualties were recorded in July 2015 (1,299) and January 2019 (1,077).
Within the four years timeline, Boko Haram was responsible for 5,598 deaths, while sectarian violence, including the herdsmen-farmers crisis led to 4,917 deaths.
State actors alone, including the military, were said to have killed 4,068 people.
During the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan (June 2011 to May 2015), a total of 34,884 people were reportedly killed across the country.
The highest record of casualties was in March 2014, when 3,456 Nigerians were killed.
Boko Haram and the military were together responsible for 12,765 deaths.
The Council on Foreign Relations, while explaining the methodology behind the data, said it relied on media reports.
The report said, “The Nigeria Security Tracker tracks violence that is both causal and symptomatic of Nigeria’s political instability and citizen alienation. The data are based on weekly surveys of Nigerian and international media.
“The data start with May 29, 2011, the date of Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration as president. It was an event that highlighted the increasing bifurcation of the country on regional and religious lines. The NST is updated weekly.
“Relying on press reports of violence presents methodological limitations. There is a dearth of accurate reporting across certain regions, death tolls are imprecise, and accounts of incidents vary. There is the potential for political manipulation of media. Given these limitations, the NST makes every effort to collect information from multiple sources. Nevertheless, NST statistics should be viewed as indicative rather than definitive.”
The Presidency did not react when contacted.
Calls made to Presidential spokesmen, Mr Femi Adesina, and Mr Garba Shehu, were not returned.
Text messages forwarded to them were also not responded to as of 9.03pm.
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The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says it’s difficult to say exactly if Boko Haram will ever be eradicated in Nigeria. He, however, said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration should be praised for reducing the insurgents’ attacks against the country considerably.
It may be recalled that the Federal Government had, in 2016, claimed to have defeated Boko Haram.
Shehu, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily programme, said this in Abuja on Monday.
The President’s spokesman made the point when he was reminded that thousands of Internally Displaced Persons had yet to return to their homes, while periodic attacks by insurgents still take place in some parts of the North-East.
In response, Shehu said, “Well, I can’t promise you that Boko Haram will or will not be eradicated. But it is an ongoing challenge, globally. “Even in more advanced countries, more ‘weaponised’ nations, it is still a challenge.
“The point we are making is that the attacks you just cited are still a far cry from the enormity of those attacks we have seen in the past.
“They have been greatly minimised and they are being pushed farther away from the national population.”
Shehu also lamented the proliferation of small arms in the country, which he said has worsened the issue of banditry in the country. He, however, said the Police, through its operation Puff Adder outfit, had been able to arrest over 160 bandits across the country.
The President’s spokesman added, “Our security services are coming to terms with the fact that this (weapons proliferation) is one area they have to tackle.
“The source of weapons – whether locally manufactured or imported – must be tackled; otherwise, it will continue, because it is oxygen to crime.” He expressed fear that even weapons that had been seized by the Police from bandits would be replaced by the criminals because weapons are easily available.
Shehu added, “So, we are looking into the source of the weapons. As I said, the government has identified the manufacturers and many people have been arrested along with weapons.”
The President’s aide said neighbouring countries were also assisting Nigeria in the area of curbing weapons’ smuggling. (Punch)
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■13, 000 hectares of farmland, thousands tons of grains in silos destroyed in Zamfara, others …Due to kidnappers, bandits, herdsmen attacks in North
Tunde Omolehin (Sokoto), Linus Oota (Lafia), Mohammed Munirat Nasir (Gusau), Noah Ebije (Kaduna), and Gyang Bere (Jos)
As states in the Northwest and North-central geopolitical zones of the country grapple with the rising challenge of armed banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen attacks, farmers in the states have alerted of imminent famine.
The armed criminal elements are known to rustle cattle, rape women and kill unarmed men seen in the farms. Those that are not killed outright are abducted for ransom.
This action has instilled great fears in farmers, causing them to abandon their farms.
Sunday Sun investigations in the affected states showed that scarcity of food would be the end product of what is happening in them now.
In this report, we present the situation in the states that are at the epicenter of banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen attacks, which have unsettled their people mostly in the farming communities.
It is said that every time the United States economy sneezes, the global economy catches cold. In some sense, this has been the lot of Sokoto State ever since banditry in Zamfara State began to increase in scope. This produced spill-over effects in Sokoto, which is a neighbour to the epicenter of the trouble.
The result is that the criminal activities of bandits and kidnappers in Zamfara have caused a geometric rise in insecurity in Sokoto, which used to be one of the crime-free states in the federation owing to its age-long serene nature. In the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency that convulsed some states in the core North, Sokoto, proudly known as the Seat of the Caliphate, remained one of the few states in the Northwest that could not be infiltrated.
But all that changed with the rise of banditry and cattle rustling in Katsina and Zamfara. Created in 1975, Sokoto shares borders with Niger Republic to the North, Zamfara State to the East, Kebbi State to the Southeast and Benin Republic to the West.
The latest attack on Sokoto State was carried out on May 7, when gunmen stormed Balle community in Gudu Local Government Area of the state and shot the traditional ruler, Aliyu Ibrahim, dead and also burnt down the police station in the community. Balle, which is the headquarters of Gudu LGA was in 1804 the capital of the caliphate. It is located on the border with Niger Republic.
Many residents attributed the killing to vengeance as the traditional leader was said to have reported the activities of the bandits to security agencies. Before the Balle attack, similar attack was recorded at Bafarawa town in Isa LGA, a border community close to Niger Republic. A security guard of the former governor was killed in the attack while one person was abducted. No less affected are the people of Kamarawa village in the LGA, who have been experiencing killing, kidnapping and burning of their property.
Early this year, there were series of attacks carried out in towns and villages across the state, mainly those that share borders with Zamfara State. It could be recalled that 17 persons were killed at Daliga, Rakkoni and Kalhu communities, another 26 people killed in three communities of Warwanna, Kursa and Dutse of Gandi district, all in Rabah LGA of the state. The council has continued to be under bandit attacks, which have so far claimed many lives and property.
One the survivors of the attacks, Isah Nasiru, a farmer and member of the vigilance group from Warwanna village said that the lack of security personnel in the community made them vulnerable to banditry.
Nasiru who lost a child and some other relatives in the series of attacks launched on the community explained: “They started the attack from Dutsi and then moved to Kursa. They came through three different sides of our village and surrounded us; if you tried to escape they would shoot you while those that did not run were left alone.
“Those they met on their farms working were either shot dead or killed with cutlasses. Most of the bandits have often been seen coming into the village to buy foodstuff, petrol and recharge cards before they were barred from the village.
“We noticed their evil antecedents and we stopped them from buying anything in our village. Maybe that is the only problem we have with them. We equally reported them to the government and they sent some policemen, but the police never acted on the intelligence report we gave to them, which prompted us to form a vigilante group.”
He, however, appealed to the government to reinforce security personnel in the area, insisting that the bandits usually come through three areas that lead to Maradun in Zamfara State, Goronyo and Isa LGAs of Sokoto State.
There is apprehension in farming communities in Nasarawa State as suspected armed Fulani herdsmen are having a field day attacking and abducting farmers who venture out to their farms.
Often, family members of victims go through traumatic experience while some even lose their lives in the process of meeting the tough demands of the kidnappers. The psychological effect of the experience is enormous on the victims, who most times live in fear, anxiety and above all loss of trust in people which might likely lead to depression.
The upsurge in kidnapping, especially in most parts of Nasarawa State is threatening agricultural activities and other commercial transactions, which have forced farmers to abandon their farms for fear of being kidnapped.
Between January and May this year, scores of innocent farmers have been kidnapped, while others were killed on their way to their farms. The nefarious activities of the armed Fulani herdsmen marauding in the area is stoking the fire of unprecedented food crisis in the state particularly and the nation in general if not promptly nipped in the bud.
From every indication, kidnapping has become a booming venture in the state and other parts of the country.
Keen observers have been quick to lay the blame on security lapses, lack of basic amenities, unemployment, corruption, flagrant flaunting of wealth by the rich and most importantly, lack of transparency and accountability of stewardship by public office holders.
A legal practitioner in the state, Mohammed Hamisu, said that lack of political will on the part of the government to implement capital punishment as enshrined in the constitution is also a strong contributing factor to the upsurge of kidnapping, noting that legally; kidnapping attracts life sentence or jail term of between 10 and 30 years for the convicted person.
Recently in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, gunmen abducted two young men, Nasiru and Bashir, as well as a driver who were heading for their farms. Also, on May 14, 2019, a staff of Toto LGA, Mr Mohammed Shuaibu, was gruesomely murdered and his wife, Mallama Zainab Salihu, kidnapped. The abductors demanded N2 million. Again, on May 18, five farmers Basaru Rukaiya, Aishat Zakari, Chinedu Ide, Reuben Ibrahim and Vivian Ibrahim were kidnapped in Yelwa area of the state at gunpoint while going to their farms. Their whereabouts are still not known till date.
Expectedly, concerns over the implication of the situation continue to grow in the state. A commercial farmer in Nasarawa Local Government Area, Ibrahim Mustapha, while noting that agriculture is the mainstay of the state economy, given the absence of industries, said that the citizenry rely on the cultivation of grains, vegetable and other agricultural produce from the state to meet their needs. He said that even as the rains set in, he had to shut down his entire farm because of fear of being kidnapped. He added that farming in most parts of the state has become big risk business.
He explained that most of his friends who run irrigated farms in the size of 200 to 300 hectares of land have equally shut down. The unfortunate outcome is that there would be scarcity of food by next year.
He said that 65 per cent of farmers in the western and northern parts of the state today cannot go to their farms for fear of being kidnapped as armed Fulani herdsmen and other bandits rampage through the state.
His words: “Many farmers cannot access their farms, so there will be scarcity of food in Nasarawa State. If the security agencies do not step in, there will not be much farming activities in major parts of the state and the result is imminent food shortage by the end of the year. Many farmers are afraid to go to their farms, some cannot even travel on the Toto-Nasarawa road now, the activities of kidnappers and other armed bandits have left them scared.”
In a chat with Sunday Sun, the Commissioner of Police, Nasarawa State Command, CP Bola Longe, expressed concern over the rising incidence of armed banditry and kidnapping in the state.
In compliance with the directive of the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu who is an indigene of the state, the command launched “Operation Puff Adder,” a special security initiative to confront and root out kidnapping and armed banditry in the state.
Operation Puff Adder is aimed at re-dominating and reclaiming the public space from heinous criminal elements that are bent on threatening the nation’s internal security order.
Longe noted that the Nasarawa Police Command is committed to vigorously conducting an unstoppable onslaught against the criminal elements in the state.
Already, men of the command have arrested 14 suspected kidnappers that had been terrorizing people in the Mararaba-Udege axis of the state.
The incoming governor of the state, Abdullahi Sule, an engineer, told Sunday Sun in an exclusive interview that he is equally having sleepless nights over the insecurity caused by armed banditry and kidnapping in the state, adding that he has already developed a template on how to tackle it as soon as he is sworn-in on May 29.
He said that Nasarawa, Akwanga, Obi, Keana, Toto, Doma and Awe LGAs are major areas dealing with security challenges.
Sule assured that he would deploy robust industrialization programme that would create employment for the youths.
His words: “One of the biggest challenges is the situation of the youths. So, I intend to provide employment for the youths through my industrialization policy, which will take most of the youths off the streets. By the time you provide industrialization in the state and also engage the local communities into commercial farming, by the time you develop the out-growers system because the state is an agro-allied one, and apart from working very close with the security agencies in partnership with the local communities, the preventive measures restore the security of the citizens.”
The slogan of Zamfara State is “Farming is Our Pride,” but in the last few years, farming which is the main occupation of the people is rapidly turning into a risky venture as bandits who are terrorising the state are making farmers to dislike going to the farms for the fear of their lives.
The bandits have changed the scenario of farms in the state from being the biggest contributor to the economic lifeline of the people to death traps.
The government records show that over 13,000 hectares of arable farmlands and several thousand tons of food items in local silos have been destroyed in the last six years. Without doubt, the rising wave of banditry and kidnappings have put the state at the precipice of food scarcity as many farmers, both large scale, medium scale and peasant farmers, may likely not take part in farming activities in this rainy season as many farmers have been killed while working on their farmlands across the state, leaving many hectares of farmlands uncultivated.
Alhaji Yau Muhammad Dansadau, a large-scale farmer in Dansadau emirate in Maru LGA of the state, said that between 2010 and 2013, he used to harvest over 10,000 bags of maize, sorghum, rice, soya beans and cowpea, but unfortunately when the banditry got worse from 2014 his farm production began to decline.
“Between 2014 and 2018, my production dropped to 2,000 bags from over 10,000 bags. Honesty speaking most large and medium scale farmers will not farm this year even the majority of small scale and peasant farmers will not farm this year as some have even migrated to other states because of this lingering banditry and kidnappings in the state,” he said.
Yau who is the Chairman, Dansadau Farmers Association, warned that the activities of the bandits are pointing to food disaster in the state.
“Write it down, there is red signal for hunger coming in 2020 as there will not be enough food production in the state this year,” he said.
Long before the bloody activities of kidnappers and armed robbers in major neighbouring villages and towns of Kaduna State gained notoriety, Alhaji Lawal Maikudi was a contented and proud farmer of various kinds of crops, such as rice, maize, soya beans, millet and guinea-corn, which earned him good money.
But now he has abandoned his farm for fear of being kidnapped. The area where he used to farm in Igabi LGA is now the den of kidnappers.
“I have a farm which is about 20 kilometers away from Kaduna city centre. I used to grow rice, millet, maize, groundnut and guinea-corn. But as I speak to you I can no longer go to the farm for fear of being kidnapped on the farm. In time past I had a one-room apartment on the farm so that if I worked till late hours and got tired, I would pass the night on the farm.
“Now, I have abandoned both the apartment and the farm. I cannot take the risk of going to the farm any longer because apart from kidnapping, there are cases of banditry and armed robbery. The implication for a farmer like me, and other farmers, not to be able to go to the farm throughout one or two years is that there will be serious shortage of food in the Land.
“I am not the only farmer in that area, so you can imagine how many hectares that have not been cultivated with food crops. We are indeed in a mess. Government and security agencies should show more commitment and put up adequate security measures to tackle the situation,” he said.
In the same vein, Isaac Aga, who resides in Agwa area of Kudenda, Kaduna, said most farmers in the area have abandoned their farms for fear of kidnappers and other notorious criminals.
Aga noted that the worst hit farmers are those whose farms are located along the Abuja-Kaduna highway since it is the den of kidnappers.
Director of the College of Agriculture, Animal Science and Vocational Study, Faruk Ahmad, said that the youths need to be given entrepreneurship training and empowerment, as a way to dissuade them from engaging in criminality.
After 18 years of the reign of terror by Fulani herdsmen, which caused the death of hundreds of Plateau men and women, the state is gradually being overwhelmed by kidnapping and banditry.
At the moment, most people are living in fear and at the mercy of kidnappers at the state capital and in the rural villages. The trend is that the kidnappers would disguise themselves as neighbours and casually knock on the door and once the door is opened, the person would be abducted at gunpoint.
In an event where the door is not open, they would force themselves into the house and abduct a teenager, terrorise the victim and inflict pains on the parents until ransom is paid.
This banditry and other criminal activities have compounded security challenges in the state and put perpetual fear in the residents. The kidnappers incidentally live among the people without anybody being aware of their activities.
In February 2019, the 12-year-old son of the chaplain of Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin-Ladi, Kim Dido was kidnapped, leaving the father, Pastor Andrew Dido, in psychological agony.
The boy was held in captivity for two days until the family raised the ransom before he was released. The kidnappers broke into his quarters in the institution and abducted the teenage boy.
Two months later, kidnappers abducted 24-year-old Abigail Rangs, a student of the same institution who was living with her elder brother, Mr Exeziel Rangs.
The gunmen broke into the staff quarters on that fateful day about midnight, and demanded for money, but they were not satisfied with what they were offered.
The gunmen ordered Mr Rangs to lead them to the children’s room, where they woke up the young woman and left with her. She was released one day after payment of ransom.
Mr Rangs, who narrated the sad incident, said that three of the kidnappers wore black and mask on their faces. They broke into his compound with a heavy stone.
These are few cases apart from silent kidnapping in Rayfield, Kwang and Angwan Rimi, all in Jos South and Jos North Local Government Areas of the state.
In the wake of these abductions, farmers in the rural villages have abandoned their farms for fear of kidnappers and bandits. Naturally, farming activities have drastically gone down with the result that food scarcity may ensue, if urgent steps are not taken by the government to arrest the downward spiral. (The Sun)
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President Muhammadu Buhari has told the outgoing members of his executive council to be proud for being part of the administration that ‘liberated’ Nigeria from Boko Haram insurgency. He made the comments when he spoke at the valedictory meeting of the Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday.
Read full remarks. CLOSING REMARKS BY H.E. PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE VALEDICTORY SESSION FOR MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (2015 – 2019) AT THE STATE HOUSE COUNCIL CHAMBER ON 22ND MAY, 2019.
Today’s Federal Executive Council meeting is the last time we will meet as a cabinet before the commencement of the second and final term of this Administration.
2. Our first meeting in this chamber was in November 2015. Over the past three and a half years, we worked together to deliver our campaign promises. I strongly believe that it is this team work that led to the successes recorded during our first term.
3. Some of our colleagues, with whom we started this journey, unfortunately are not here to join us in celebrating our successes.
4. Specifically, I must recognise our late brother, James Ocholi, SAN who passed away in a fearful motor accident with his wife, Blessing, and son, Joshua, only four months after being sworn in as a minister.
5. I want us to all put him, and, indeed, his family, in our memory. He was a true patriot committed to our change agenda.
6. I also acknowledge the contributions of other council members who resigned before the completion of our tenure to pursue other opportunities.
7. You will recall that when we started this journey, our country was facing numerous challenges.
8. We inherited a broken economy which eventually went into recession in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016. The situation was further compounded by insecurity and massive corruption.
9. Many would have given up. Indeed, many outside commentators said our situation was well nigh hopeless. However, we all came together and pushed forward to deliver our campaign promise to rescue our country from its parlous state.
10. Although we all had a common vision, we frequently had heated debates in this room on the best way to achieve our goals. These differing views are what made the decisions we took all the more rational.
11. It is this quality that made me retain my cabinet for the full term. Each of you in this room has a unique skill and strength. We are a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve. A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered.
12. I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability.
13. You should be proud to have been part of the Government that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.
14. You should be proud to have contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy
15. You should be proud to have been part of the team that developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.
16. You should be proud to have introduced the social investment program that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.
17. You should be proud to have participated in settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears.
18. And, of course, you should all be proud to have overseen the most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programs in the history of our country.
19. I want to put on record, that your achievements in the last three and a half hears has guaranteed your position in the history books of this nation. You have certainly built the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government.
20. Although today is our last council meeting, I expect all of you to continue working until Tuesday, 28th May 2019 when you will officially hand over your schedules to your respective Permanent Secretaries. Your handing over letters should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
21. I want to conclude by thanking all of you for agreeing to serve our nation during these difficult times. I want to use this opportunity to recognise the silent partners to this cabinet, your spouses, families and friends, who supported you through these years.
22. I wish you the very best of luck and pray for your successes, for dear families and our for country in the years ahead.
Thank you and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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The Peoples Democratic Party, the Campaign for Democracy and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership on Monday attacked President Muhammadu Buhari following the Presidency’s rating of killings under the current regime as lower than those of the past PDP governments.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had said the abduction of the District Head of Daura, Alhaji Musa Uba, who is also the husband to President Buhari’s niece, Hajiya Bilki, showed that security agencies were not giving any town preferential treatment.
The abducted district head is also the father-in-law to Buhari’s Aide-de-camp, Col. Mohammed Abubakar.
Umar was kidnapped by yet-to-be identified gunmen at his residence in Daura, Katsina State last week Wednesday.
The President’s spokesman, who said this during an interview on Kakaaki, a breakfast television programme on the Africa Independent Television, argued that the number of people killed under Buhari’s watch was lower when compared with Nigerians that lost their lives under the past governments.
But the PDP urged Buhari to stop comparing the number of Nigerians killed under his administration with those of the party. Rather, the opposition party asked him to see the abduction of his town’s district head as an insult to the nation and a wake-up call for him to fight insecurity in the country.
Shehu had while responding to a question on the rising cases of banditry as evidenced by the abduction of the President’s in-law said, “Well, that has happened but I think that brings the message home that it is a national problem and that because the President comes from Daura, that is not to say there cannot be crime in Daura or Daura will be specially treated.
“The army said two days ago that there were clear pointers that these problems were beyond criminality.”
Shehu, however, scored the Buhari administration 98 per cent in the fight against insurgency.
He said, “If you ask me about the biggest security (challenge) we met on the ground, it is Boko Haram terrorism and I will score this administration 98 per cent coming this far because Boko Haram is now confined to the fringes of the Lake Chad. As a matter of fact, they jump in and out and mainly occupy communities that have not been re-occupied by their owners.”
Responding to a report by the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu’s, claim that 1,071 persons lost their lives in crime-related cases across the country in the first quarter of 2019, Shehu said despite the recent rising killings, banditry and kidnapping, the figure was still better than that of the previous administrations.
The President said although he would not want to compare figures, the facts remained sacred.
Shehu said, “Yes, there has been a recent rise (in attacks) but this is not to suggest that this has never happened in the country and they are beginning just now because President Buhari is out of the country.
“You mentioned the numbers but I want to say from our own point of view in the Presidency, we have avoided comparing numbers because it will lead to the same criticisms that some people have made of being insensitive because even if it is one life of a Nigerian that is lost, it is important, it cannot be justified, it cannot be defended.
“But anybody who takes the trouble to check the Presidential website; at some point Femi (Adesina) had done the numbers and the staggering numbers put on display coming from the past are nothing comparable to these numbers but we will not take it likely.”
He also defended Buhari’s decision to travel to the United Kingdom for 10 days during the height of insecurity.
Shehu said the President was entitled to rest even as he claimed that Buhari was in firm control of the nation while in the UK.
The President’s spokesman said security agencies were doing their best but noted that things would not change overnight but would take some time.
Let kidnapping of Daura district head drive you to action, PDP tells Buhari
But reacting to the Presidency’s claim, the PDP called on President Buhari to “wake up and realise that he is leading a country of about 200 million people.”
The party also asked the President to consider the kidnapping of the district head of Daura, as an insult to himself and the nation.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbodiyan, who spoke with The PUNCH, said the daring manner with which kidnappers had been operating in the country made the party to ask Buhari to return to Nigeria from London where he went for a “private visit” for 10 days.
Ologbodiyan said, “It is an insult that kidnappers could be that daring to the extent of going a few metres to his (Buhari’s) house and take away his district head.
“That is a worse form of insult to the President of a country like Nigeria. To us, nothing compares to that insult.
“This was one of the many reasons we asked him to abandon whatever he was doing in London and return home. If he had been asked how Nigeria was while he was there, what would have been his response?
“Now is the time for him to show that he still has energy, if he actually has, to work.
“We know that there were no bandits in this country, especially in the North-West before the elections. But they were the ones that brought mercenaries from other countries to this country for the elections.
“The President should therefore wake up and act as a leader, who is leading a nation of more than 200 millon people.”
Ologbondiyan also said it was sad that the Presidency could be comparing the number of deaths in particular administration with what was happening now.
While saying the PDP was not interested in the number of deaths before now, he said the President could quit if he felt the job was too much for him.
He said, “We are not interested in the number of deaths then and now because we are not morticians; we do not work at mortuaries. What we want is peace and a stop to the senseless killings in the country.
“The President came with a promise to change things positively. He did not promise that he would be taking the number of people killed in his administration and then compare the figure with other administrations when he is done.
“However, one thing is sure: we were not witnessing these daily killings, kidnappings, weeping, gnashing of teeth and sorrow during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan. They were never gang of failures.
‘If the President is tired as we could see now, he is free to throw in the towel.”
Buhari at risk of bandits’ attacks, say CD, CACOL
Also, two civil society organisations, CD and CACOL said if the Federal Government allowed the insecurity in the North-West to fester, the President might soon be attacked or abducted by the bandits.
The two organisations spoke in different interviews with one of our correspondents.
The CD National President, Usman Abdul, said, “Let me be emphatic. If President Buhari happened to be in Daura on that day when the bandits struck, the President might have been kidnapped also.
“Some of the pledges that the President made during the recent elections were things that bordered on security. Today, it is very unfortunate that the President’s in-law was abducted and the Senior Special Assistant, Garba Shehu, was lamenting.
“It is a shame that this government has not done enough to secure its citizens, which is its primary responsibility. On our part as a civil society organisation, we are not alarmed by Shehu’s statement because they have not met their primary responsibility to safeguard us and our property.
“It is laughable that this is the next level we are preparing for. Nigeria is at a crossroads. If Buhari was in Daura on that day, he might have been taken hostage too.”
Also the CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “What has happened in Daura and in that geopolitical zone may be due to intelligence gathering failure. If the intelligence system had been working, attacks would have been nipped in the bud.
“What I believe that the bandits want to prove is that if they wanted to get to our President, they could get him. Sometimes, the President goes to Daura to attend Muslim prayers and others. What the bandits are saying is that nobody is completely safe in this country. Also the security agencies must review their operational system.”
Presidency adding insult to Nigerians’ injury – ADC
On its part, the African Democratic Congress said it amounted to adding insult to Nigerians’ injury for the presidential spokesman to claim that the kidnap of the district head of the President’s town showed that security agencies were not giving any town preferential treatment.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Yemi Kolapo, said this in an interview with The PUNCH.
She said, “We are not talking about where these killings and abductions are taking place or who the targets are. What we are talking about is the increasing rate of insecurity in all parts of the country.
“By saying that what happened in Daura showed that no town is given preferential treatment, one will even think they stage-managed the kidnap so that they can say so.”
On the claim that the rate of killings under the present administration was lower than what was obtainable during the last administrations, Kolapo asked the Presidency to end the killings and stop comparing figures.
Sad, Buhari rationalising crimes, says MBYC
However, the Middle Belt Youth Council said it was sad that the Presidency could be rationalising crimes, saying Buhari was never serious about fighting crime.
Its President, Emma Zopmal, said, “At the outset of this menace, the Presidency was playing politics and pranks over insecurity, partly because it was not yet in their immediate domain. They were seeing it from afar so it did not really matter to them until now.” (Punch)
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