The Nigerian Army has denied allegations that it is planning to free some senior Boko Haram Bomb explosive experts in it’s custody.
The Army also said more than 1,000 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered to troops due to intense offensive operations on the hideouts and camps in the North East.
A statement by Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, Director, Army Public Relations titled ‘Re: Army to Free 2 Senior Boko Haram Bomb Experts After Rehabilitation’ said the Army will never encourage any act of lawlessness or extra judicial killings.
It said, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication by some online news medium in which the authors deliberately misrepresented the facts contained in that report and twisted it to suit whatever purpose they seek to achieve.
“While the Nigerian Army (NA) does not want to be distracted from its main focus of dealing decisively with the threats against peace loving Nigerians, it has become necessary to put issues in their right perspectives.
“It is a known fact that in the recent past, over 1,000 members of Boko Haram and their families have surrendered to the troops due to the intense pressure from troops’ sustained offensive actions.
“Among those were key leaders of the terrorists group who have renounced their membership and have turned themselves in.
“The NA being a professional military organisation will continue to act in accordance with the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as international best practices.
“It must be known that the NA will never encourage any act of lawlessness or extra judicial killings.
“Accordingly, all surrendered terrorists will be received, processed and passed on to the relevant agencies of Government for further assessment in line with extant provisions.
“The ongoing Operation Safe Corridor is an outfit established by the Federal Government and not the NA.
“As such, it is absolutely wrong to say that the NA will free repentant terrorists.
“The NA therefore appeals to the public to disregard the deliberate distortion of facts by these online mediums and continue to support the NA in order to rid the country of terrorism and other forms of insecurity.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya has reiterated his admonition to all terrorists groups operating in the country to abandon their illegitimate cause and surrender to troops.”
The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno, has said that the NSA was misquoted on the interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Monguno was quoted to have said that the government was not aware of how monies meant for the purchase of arms were spent under the immediate past Service Chiefs and could not also trace the arms they claimed to have bought.
But the statement noted that the NSA did not categorically say that monies meant for arms procurement were missing under the former service chiefs, saying: “The attention of the Office of the National Security Adviser has been drawn to some media reports regarding armed forces equipment during an interview with the BBC Hausa service.
“We would like to state that the NSA was quoted out of context, as he did not categorically say that funds meant for arms procurement were missing under the former service chiefs, as reported or transcribed by some media outlets from the BBC interview.
“During the interview, the NSA only reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to deal decisively with insecurity and stated President Muhammadu Buhari’s continued commitment to providing all necessary support to the armed forces, including the provision of arms and equipment.”
“In the interview, the NSA clearly informed the BBC reporter that Mr. President has provided enormous resources for arms procurement, but the orders were either inadequate or yet to be delivered, and that did not imply that the funds were misappropriated under the former service chiefs.
“The NSA also informed the reporter that Mr. President is following up on the procurement process, as is usual with contracts relating to military equipment, in most cases the process involves manufacturing, due diligence and tedious negotiations that may change delivery dates.
“As the NSA conveyed during the Aso Villa media briefing, questions relating to defence procurement should be channeled to the Ministry of Defence. All security and intelligence agencies are working together to bring an end to insecurity, with the full support of Mr. President and stakeholders, including the media and civil society, as part of a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach to address our security challenges.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hajj Monsur Consolidated Travels Limited, Amir Qamardeen Ajala, has petitioned the Department of State Security (DSS) over some malicious remarks made in defamation of his person by a social media preacher, AbdulWasiu Atayese (Jakmal).
Ajala made this known at a press briefing held in Lagos, calling on the security agency to arrest and prosecute Jakmal for false allegations against his personality and some other Muslim scholars from the southwest region of the country.
It was revealed that the preacher, Atayese of Ile Ajia in Ilorin, Kwara State, had alleged in a widely broadcast social media video that Sheikh Ajala, alongside other eminent scholars, were the architects of terrorism, adding that they were members of Boko Haram.
Some of the scholars he allegedly linked with the terrorist group were Sheikh Qamardeen Yunus, Sheikh Abdulmajeed Eleha, Professor Abdurrazaq Alaro, Sheikh Abdulhakeem Kutubi, Sheikh Abdulfatai Sarumi, among others.
Reacting, Sheikh Ajala, who anchors Wole Ola, a popular Yoruba Islamic programme on TV, distanced himself and the accused scholars from the terrorist group, noting that their ideology did not in any way align with his.
Ajala said the malicious rumour was an attempt to denigrate his image and those of others mentioned above.
“This unguarded and misguided pronouncement of his will not be allowed to slide. This will be vigorously challenged, inshaa Allah, by every instrument of the law,” he said.
He stated categorically that he had no dealings whatsoever with the maniac group called Boko Haram at any point in time.
“I am not one of them and will never be one. There is no reason for any association with them until they renounce their violent ideology against the state and the law of the country. I, as well as all the above-listed scholars, have always and will continue to warn the youth about the warped ideologies of Boko Haram.
“It is public knowledge that the Boko Haram stares their members away from what they consider Western education while I, on the other hand, never had issues with Western education. In fact, I am also an advocate of girl-child education. Therefore, these allegations by Abdul Wasiu are unfounded, baseless and complete balderdash.
“It doesn’t worth any one’s time. But for the avoidance of doubt, the social media contains a litany of my public lectures, my radio and TV shows, and teachings at different fora on various topics. Violence against the state or the people, regardless of their faith, isn’t one of them. But the present situation looks more like an attempt to eliminate real or imagined adversaries by spurious allegations. It is an attempt to give a dog a bad name, and then have the justification to kill it. Nigeria is no Banana Republic; it’s a country of law and order. For this reason, people must be held accountable for their actions and inaction as they affect others.”
The Nigerian Army has refuted claims by Islamic scholar, Ahmed Gumi, that some of its troops are deliberately deployed to kill worshipers of a certain religion.
The Army stated this , on Monday, in a statement by its spokesperson, Mohammed Yerima, a brigadier general.
In a viral video, Mr Gumi had alleged that non-Muslim soldiers launch attacks on communities in troubled northern states, prompting bandits to seek vengeance by killing residents.
Mr Gumi earlier visited Zamfara villages to have peace talks with bandits in the forest and to negotiate with them on the need to surrender their arms.
While addressing some of the bandits, Mr Gumi claimed that the soldiers were stirring confusions with the aim of wreaking havoc.
“What I want you people to understand is, soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. You know, soldiers have Muslims and non- Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion just to ignite a crisis,” Mr Gumi said.
The Nigerian Army yesterday denied reports that 101 soldiers and officers deserted the theatre of war after clashes with insurgents in Marte and Dikwa in Borno State.
A statement signed by the Spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, said that the claim that 100 soldiers deserted the battlefield was unfounded.
Yerima said a headcount conducted after a military offensive showed an error in an internal correspondence generated by the formation and that an assessment carried out later showed that most of the troops rejoined their units.
He said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a publication in a section of the media alleging that over a 100 Nigerian troops were reported to have absconded after Boko Haram attacks on Marte and Dikwa.
“This publication is false, unfounded and an attempt to malign the image and character of the Nigerian Army.
“For the records, in the fog of war, it is a routine that head count is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of military offensive.
“Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done. It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations.”
The statement urged the public to disregard the story that was targeted at dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of troops. “We continually solicit the much needed public support in the fight against Boko Haram. The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the general public that troops are in high spirit and currently clearing areas infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP.
“It is on record that the troops fought to defend the Internally Displaced Persons Camp and the United Nations’ Humanitarian Hub in Dikwa. It is pertinent to also note that normalcy has returned to Dikwa and its environs,” Yerima said.
The Western Regional Minister-designate, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, has denied using the military to frustrate some 22 assembly members from exercising their voting rights during the confirmation of the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Benjamin Kesse.
It would be recalled that President Akufo-Addo's nominee for the position of Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Assembly, somewhere last year failed to secure the needed votes required for him to be confirmed as the new MCE for the area.
The nominee, Benjamin Kesse, who replaced the former MCE, Gilbert Asmah, secured 22 YES votes from the 42 assembly members which fell short of the needed votes to qualify him as the new MCE for the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Assembly.
Members of the assembly later went for a second round of the voting process to confirm or reject the MCE nominee, and some of the assembly members, about 22 of them, were allegedly prevented from participating in the confirmation exercise of the nominee.
They later accused the then Regional Minister of using the military to prevent them from taking part in the exercise and they subsequently went to court to declare the election, null and void.
When the issue came up during his vetting by the Appointment Committee last Friday, Mr. Darko-Mensah explained that the organisation of assembly meetings was not in his domain and that the Presiding Member chairs such meetings.
“I was invited to the meeting like any ordinary Ghanaian. I got there late and about three people were about to vote.
“After that the EC official declared the MCE winner and I swore him in. No military or police were involved in the exercise and the allegation that some people did not vote did not come to my attention,” he stressed.
He indicated that he was also not part of those that were sued by the aggrieved assembly members in their court case.
The federal government said no part of Nigeria has been deliberately shortchanged in the promotion of officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) noted that elevation is guided by defined rules and regulations, not ethnic or religious considerations.
In a statement on Wednesday, the spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, said PSC has ensured sanity in the recruitment of qualified Nigerians into the Police and that principle of federal character is now considered alongside merit.
The commission advised citizens from all the states to encourage their wards to show interest in all levels of recruitment into the force.
PSC denied marginalizing some geopolitical zones during the promotion of officers to the Commissioners and Assistant Inspectors-General.
“The Nigeria Police Force is a regimented organization with a tradition and laid down rules and regulations for carrying out its activities.
“The Commission has never deviated from this tradition except in very rare cases where public interest will be served”, Ani noted.
The Department of State Services (DSS) said the service has not made any attempt to arrest Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, contrary to publications in some sections of the media.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Dr Peter Afunanya, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Afunanya said the publication that some personnel of the Service attempted to arrest Igboho at Ibadan in Oyo State was not true.
According to him, the said news is misinforming and should be taken as fake and therefore be disregarded.
Reports in some sections of the media had alleged that men of the DSS on Friday attacked Igboho in Ibadan, saying that Igboho told the media he was disappointed that he was attacked by men of DSS without committing any offence.
It said Igboho had alleged that men of the service were acting on the instruction of unknown authorities who attempted to prevent him to move around in Ibadan and beyond.
The report further said Igboho told the media that in spite of attempts by DSS to stop him, he was able to make his way to his scheduled meeting venue.
The Nigerian Navy has denied reports that its personnel, aid illegal bunkering, crude oil theft and operation of illegal refineries.
It described the report as ‘largely’ speculative and lacking in facts.
Director of Information, Commodore Suleiman Dahun, in a statement, said the Nigerian Navy has zero tolerance for economic sabotage.
“The attention of the Nigerian Navy has been drawn to a news report in some newspapers captioned ‘How Nigerian Navy Aids Crude Oil Theft, Herders’ Invasion’.
“While the report is largely speculative, lacking in facts and substance and one-sided, the Nigerian Navy notes the attempt to substantiate and legitimise the allegations contained therein by quoting an unnamed official of an organisation called Domestic Refineries Owners Association of Nigeria, who made grave allegations of complicity against Nigerian Navy personnel.
“Thus, as a responsible Service, the Nigerian Navy intends to invite members of the purported organisation to assist in identifying the NN personnel who receive bribes to facilitate the alleged unpatriotic acts of economic sabotage”, the statement read in part.
It added that, “in this respect, the Naval Headquarters wishes to further reiterate its position on zero tolerance for economic sabotage, isolated cases of personnel complicity in illegal acts as well as its resolve to fight all forms of criminal activities in the nation’s maritime domain.
“Accordingly, the Nigerian Navy encourages anyone with useful information regarding criminals operating in the Nigeria’s maritime environment or those aiding and abetting them, to please oblige the Service such information. The information so received and the informants are assured of utmost confidentiality in handling.
“The Nigerian Navy wishes to enjoin our media partners to endeavour to verify the information sourced from other stakeholders in the maritime industry with the Naval Headquarters especially those that pertain to maritime security. While thanking the general public for its continuous support and cooperation, the Nigerian Navy assures of its commitment to the general security and economic prosperity of the nation.”
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammad Yerima via a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja, said the information was false.
Yerima described the report by an online medium, titled; Nigerian Army Keeps Mum As Boko Haram Terrorists Kill ’20 Soldiers’ In Borno” as false, fake and baseless.
He said the report was aimed at discouraging the public and demoralising troops on the untiring efforts in the overall fight against insurgency.
According to him, there was no attack where 20 soldiers were killed in the entire Theatre.
Yerima said the recent attacks on troops providing security for road construction workers along Goniri–Kafa on Feb. 5 and on Geidam on Feb. 9 were decisively dealt with.
He said that the attack on the troops along the road construction site and the attempt to infiltrate Geidam town by the terrorists were swiftly and professionally cleared by the dogged Mobile Strike Teams (MSTs) and elements of 159 Task Force Battalion.
The spokesperson disclosed that soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while two others who sustained injuries were currently receiving treatment at a military medical facility.
According to him, Boko Haram and ISWAP are on the run and desperate for foods, drugs and logistics from soft targets for survival as their camps, routes and enclaves have been destroyed, blocked and manned by troops of Operation “TURA TAKAIBANGO.”
He said that troops also overpowered terrorists mounted on eight gun trucks, motorbikes and foot soldiers who attempted attack on troops of 3 Battalion at Rann in Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno on Feb. 9.
According to him, the troops held their ground and instantly destroyed one terrorists’ gun truck.
“With swift air support during the attack, the terrorists lost initiative and had to scamper for safety due to heavy aerial bombardments, while additional four terrorists’ gun trucks were completely destroyed as several of their members were killed while others fled with gunshot wounds.
“The situation within the Rann general area is under control by our troops and members of the community are going about their normal activities.
“Members of the general public are therefore requested to continue to cooperate with the Nigerian Military to fight both the terrorists and peddlers of fake and unsubstantiated stories.
“We shall continue to remain focus and determined to perform our constitutional roles and responsibilities professionally in the protection of the sovereignty of our nation, ensure the safety of lives and property, while we clear the terrorists and their cohorts within the region,” he said.