Tag Archives: Boko Haram

Chibok community leaders blame presidency for cash gift mess

Chibok Parent

A presidential aide shared the money to the parents, Chibok leaders say

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The leaders of the Chibok community in Abuja on Wednesday accused the presidency of exposing the community to ridicule, after it became public the government splashed millions of naira on parents of the over 250 schoolgirls abducted in the remote Borno State town more than three months ago.

Reports that President Goodluck Jonathan handed N100 million to the distraught parents, when they visited him in Abuja last week, emerged Tuesday after some of the parents complained of being shortchanged when the money was shared.

In details published by the BBC, the aggrieved parents said they were either underpaid or not given anything at all. While some parents were given N200, 000, others received N100, 000, while some went home empty-handed, they told the BBC Hausa service.

But the presidency denied the claims, and explained that besides transportation, feeding and accommodation arrangements, no cash payments were made to the parents, alongside some of the abducted girls who fled Boko Haram’s camp.

On Tuesday, Doyin Okupe, a spokesperson to President Jonathan described the reports as “absolute falsehood”, amid criticisms against the government over the spending, and against the parents, accused by many of opting for pay while their daughters remain in captivity.

But in a statement Wednesday, the Chibok leaders confirmed that at least N22.4 million was shared to the parents and the girls, and accused the presidency of exposing the community that has been under a global spotlight over the abductions, to “reproach and dishonour”.

“While we acknowledge that any well intended support for our suffering population which has lost means of livelihood since the events of April 14 and subsequent attacks could be welcome,” the leaders said, “however the approach that the presidency adopted has brought reproach and dishonour to our community in the eyes of the public that has supported us since the abduction of our daughters.”

Writing under the name Kibaku Area Development Area Development Association, KADA, the group narrated how a senior aide of President Jonathan sneaked into an unnamed Abuja hotel where the parents and the girls were lodged, late in the night, to share the largesse.

“On the night of the 22nd July, 2014 at about midnight, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties who had been co-ordinating the visit on the side of the Presidency, visited the hotel and told the 51 escaped girls who came that the Presidency sent them a token of N100, 000.00 each and accordingly gave them the said sum without prior discussion with any KADA official or any other person in the community,” the group said.

The Chibok group said the presidential aide distributed the money despite its earlier warning that the organization did not want to be associated with any monetary transaction during the visit.

“We clearly spelt out to the Presidency through the office of the Chief of Staff that we shall not be involved with any financial transaction whatsoever, including payment of transportation from Chibok to Yola, flight by air from Yola to Abuja, hotel accommodation and feeding in Abuja, intra-city transportation while in Abuja,” they said.

According to KADA, in addition to the girls, the presidential aide  gave 61 parents N200, 000, another 51 parents N100, 000; while 10 parents were not given any money.

The parents also received additional N1 million from Biye Gumtha, the man who represents Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency, in the House of Representatives. The million naira donation was shared N7, 000 to each of the parents, they said.

The presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, told PREMIUM TIMES the president was unaware of any payment of money to the visitors.

“The president did not give approval for money to be distributed to anybody,” Mr. Abati insisted. “The president’s commitment is to get the girls safely back. This is not an occasion for blackmail. This is unknown to the president.”

Asked if it was possible for the president to host the distraught parents and the girls without gifts, Mr. Abati said the president does not have to give gifts to visitors.

“If people are guests of the president, it is standard routine that the government will take care of logistics,” he said.

He insisted the “president did not direct that people should be bribed”.

On whether the president will investigate the claims, Mr. Abati said “If the office of the president is being dragged into this, you can be sure it will be investigated”.

Cameroon fires two army chiefs over Boko Haram raids

Paul Biya

The two dismissed officers were in charge of Cameroon’s special military force instituted to quell the rising number of Boko Haram attacks in the region.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya on Tuesday, through a decree, sacked two senior army officers in charge of securing the country’s northern town of Kolofata, following attacks on the town by the extremist Boko Haram sect.

The wife of the country’s Vice Prime Minister, Amadou Ali, was kidnapped in the raid, which claimed at least seven lives.

The President announced the decree over the state radio on Tuesday proclaiming the immediate dismissal of Youssa Gedeon, commander of the Gendarmerie Legion in the north, and Justin Ngonga, commander of the 34th Motorized Infantry Battalion in the same region.

The two dismissed officers were in charge of Cameroon’s special military force instituted to quell the rising number of Boko Haram attacks in the region.

The special force is said to have been strategically placed along Cameroon’s border communities with Nigeria as one of the security measures agreed upon between Nigeria and Cameroon at the France meeting in May.

The special force is made up of about 1000 soldiers.

Boko Haram: Jonathan to launch Victim Support Fund, Thursday

Boko Haram attacks on Nigerian communities lingers

“We will ensure that those, who have suffered unjustly in the hands of terrorists can, in our little way, be consoled”, he said.

President Goodluck Jonathan will on Thursday launch the Victim Support Fund to raise funds for victims of terror attacks across the country.

Briefing journalists after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, on Wednesday, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, briefed the Council on preparation for the fund raising program.

The fund will be launched at a presidential fund raising dinner which will be held at the banquet hall of the State House, Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier inaugurated a committee headed by Theophilus Danjuma, a retired army general, to oversee the fund.

Inaugurating the committee a fortnight ago, the President noted that the decision to set up the Victims Support Fund was borne out of a need to provide a framework for all persons and institutions to help mitigate the sufferings of the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency.

“We will ensure that those, who have suffered unjustly in the hands of terrorists can, in our little way, be consoled”, he said.

Urging Nigerians to contribute to the fund, Mr. Maku noted that “From what is realised government will also provide some money to support the Safe School Initiative”.

BREAKING: Heavy gunfire in Adamawa town

Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader

Residents of Garkida, in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State are reporting an ongoing  heavy gunfire in the town.

“We are right now locked up in our houses and all we can hear is heavy gunfire‎ which appears to come from all directions,” a resident, who is too shaken to provide his name, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Garkida is under Gombi Local Government Area. A German expatriate, Nirtsch Ernhard, was abducted in front of his house there about three weeks ago.

It is also a stone’s throw from Agwan Alade, where armed men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect waylaid the convoy of three First Class emirs from Borno state and shot dead the emir of Gwoza.

‎Details later….

Boko Haram: Nigerian military suspends vehicles, motorcycles from Maiduguri roads

jtf

The military authority in Borno state has declared three days of trekking for residents of Maiduguri,  the Borno state capital, to avert alleged plots by the extremist Boko Haram sect to detonate multiple bombs in parts of the troubled city using different kinds of vehicles.

According to the military, the Boko Haram insurgents, which has now discreetly infiltrated the city  after many months of being fenced away from it by the Civilian-JTF, have perfected plans to mar the Eid-El-Fitri (Muslims’ end of fasting celebrations) by using cars for suicide bombings at various Eid prayer grounds.

A statement by the  Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Muhammad Dole,  a colonel, said the insurgents had perfected plans to use all kinds of vehicles, including motorcycles,  tricycles and even bicycles, to detonate bombs when men,  women and children converge at various prayer grounds to  perform their prayers.

PREMIUM TIMES can report that there are at least 10 Eid prayer grounds around the city of Maiduguri with each having at least 2000 worshippers congregating.

Mr. Dole’s statement initially said the ban would take effect from July 28 and would remain in force till July 30.

But the policy, which take-off date was hinged on the date announced by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for Eid-El-Fitri festivities, has now taken effect on Sunday (today) with the Sultan of Sokoto and the President of the NSCIA , Abubakar Sa’ad, announcing the sighting of the moon on Saturday and the end of Ramadan.

What this means for celebrating Muslims in Maiduguri is that some of them may not be able to perform their Eid prayers long distances away from their homes,  while some residents would most likely restrict their movements to their localities or possibly remain at home.

Read full statement by the military below:

“The report at the disposal of the security agencies reveals that the terrorist have perfected plans to launch multiple bomb explosions in Maiduguri metropolis.  Their main targets include sallah praying ground markets and other public places by using vehicles such as Volkswagen Golf, Pick Up vans, Keke NAPEP, Motorcycles and Bicycles.

“In view of this, all vehicular movement within the Maiduguri city is banned from Monday, 28th - Wednesday, 30th July, 2014. Members of the general public are advised to perform their Eidil Fitri prayer at prayer grounds nearest to their residences. While necessary security measures are being put in place, people are requested to comply fully with this ban as defaulters will be severely sanctioned.

“Member of the public are also requested to report any suspicious movement of persons or vehicles to the nearest security agencies”.

APC, Atiku, Tambuwal, Others Condemn Kaduna Bombings

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

Groups want FG to urgently address the problem of insurgency.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has expressed shock at Wednesday’s bomb attacks in Kaduna that targeted one of its leaders, Muhammadu Buhari, and a prominent cleric, Dahiru Bauchi, and left hordes of innocent civilians dead or injured.

It also sent its condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

In a statement on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the attempted assassination of Mr. Buhari had changed the narrative about the insurgent group and “knocked the bottom off the sinister, irresponsible and partisan colouration given to the insurgency by the Federal Government.”

APC said while no one had yet claimed responsibility for the attack, the mere fact that it occurred at all was a “lose-lose” situation for the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.

“Whether it is Boko Haram or not, one thing remains: This government has failed woefully in its core constitutional duty of protecting the security and welfare of the citizenry. And we mean all the citizens, not just the leaders!” the party said.

The party implied that the recent attack on Mr. Buhari, if a handiwork of Boko Haram, has cast doubts on government’s claims that the APC and Mr. Buhari were core sympathisers of the group.

“Whatever happens now, the satanic and repulsive theory of the PDP-led FG that the opposition APC is using Boko Haram to truncate the administration of Jonathan is up in flames. Therefore, it is time for them to change the narrative, see Boko Haram for what it is – an enemy of Nigeria – and rally the citizenry, irrespective of their political, ethnic or religious affiliation, behind the government’s efforts to tackle it decisively,” the APC said.

APC said as a first step, Mr. Jonathan must immediately stop the wasteful contract he signed with the US-based firm Levick to help demonise the APC as the sponsor of Boko Haram, and to demonise any Nigerian perceived to be an enemy of the government.

It noted that it was this kind of “demonization”, using pseudo and out-of-job analysts that helped to set the stage for the failed assassination attempt against Mr. Buhari.

”Then the President must address Nigerians to tell them that Boko Haram is not just an enemy of his government, it is an enemy of the opposition, of Christians, of Muslims and of the different ethnic groups,” the party said. “Instead of dividing Nigerians along religious, ethnic and political lines, President Jonathan should borrow a leaf from his predecessors. Obasanjo never said the Niger Delta militancy was aimed at his government or his people, he tackled it headlong.
Yar’Adua it was who finally ended the militancy, without saying it was aimed at his government or his people.”

APC reiterated its earlier stand that only a non-partisan approach will galvanise Nigerians against Boko Haram, which is rooted more in the years of bad governance that have resulted in mass unemployment, massive corruption, economic imbalances and made the youth to become hopeless, thus creating an army of willing tools for criminal activities

It also repeated its offer to work with the Federal Government to battle Boko Haram and its call for a national stakeholders’ conference to help fashion out a comprehensive counter-insurgent blueprint for the nation.

APC said rather than just throwing money at what had now become a bottomless pit, rather than creating the avenue for some unpatriotic citizens to feed fat on the insurgency, the Federal Government should engage in new thinking.

Also reacting to the twin bombing Kaduna incident, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, urged the Federal Government to urgently take steps to halt the escalating security challenges in the country, saying it had reached an embarrassing proportion.

He said a situation where a former Head of State and key opposition figure could be targeted by terrorists or hatchet killers was a dangerous development, which should not be taken lightly by any responsible Nigerian.

According to Mr. Abubakar, the targeting of Mr. Buhari, whatever might be the motive or whoever could be behind it, had added a dangerous dimension to a bad security situation in the country.

He explained that the attack on Mr. Buhari had only deepened the anxiety of ordinary citizens that nobody was safe if a former Head of State could be so targeted and almost killed but for providence.

The former vice president noted that while it was the duty of all leaders regardless of political affiliation to support the anti-terrorism efforts in the country, it would not be wise to keep quiet when events are taking a disturbing dimension.

He observed that while public support was essential to fighting insecurity, the government also had the task of reassuring the citizens that its measures and strategies are working to justify the huge expenditures on security.

Mr. Abubakar maintained that sustainable public support for these counter-terrorism efforts depends largely on the results being achieved. He also maintained that it is beyond his comprehension why terrorists and assassins operate with maximum ease, undetected and unmolested by anybody.

He explained that his opinion had nothing to do with politics, but about the larger interest of Nigeria of which he is a player and that he was embarrassed by the frequency and brutality with which terrorists and other criminals commit atrocities without detection.

He urged security agencies to rise to the deteriorating security challenges by deploying needed software and hardware to intelligence gathering.

He restated that the security, welfare and the happiness of the citizens were basic functions of every government and therefore no leader should be happy with a situation where the citizens become captives of fear feel abandoned to their fates.

He expressed his condolences to the families of the bereaved while urging that no effort should be spared in attending to the injured in need of medical attention.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, described the twin blasts “as cruel, barbaric and heinous crime.”

According to him, the targeting of prominent persons as seen from the blasts was both regrettable and condemnable.

In a statement by his media aide, Imam Imam, Mr. Tambuwal said killing of innocent persons could not be justified under any guise and that whoever was behind the Kaduna incidents should be pursued and brought to justice.

While thanking God that the apparent targets of the attacks, Messrs. Buhari and Dahiru Bauchi escaped unhurt, the Speaker expressed sadness over the loss of innocent lives.

“Our sympathy and condolences are with the families of the victims of the blast. Their loved ones did not die in vain,” he added.

The Speaker prayed for the quick recovery of those injured or traumatised by the dastardly acts.

A former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva said the apparent assassination attempt on Mr. Buhari was “a spineless assault on the voice of conscience in Nigeria by bigoted terrorists and their political sponsors seeking evil attention.”

Mr. Sylva, in a statement by his media aide, Doifie Buokoribo, said Nigerians, by their traditions and religions, were a naturally peaceful people and that those who promote or indulge in this campaign of death and destruction would have no place to hide from the wrath and curse of God and men.

“We are embarrassed by President Jonathan’s poor handling of the security problem and a situation where the government has allowed its sense of partisanship to overshadow the needed political, economic, and social will to tackle the insurgency,” Mr. Sylva, who is also a chieftain of the APC, said.

The former governor noted that in civilised societies, opposition leaders as of right enjoy more protection from the government than even those in government, stressing, “Murder is the worst form of censorship and this government has become increasingly notorious for attempting to permanently silence voices of opposition.”

He sympathised with the families of all those that died and those that were injured in the twin bomb blasts targeted at Mr. Buhari and the prominent Islamic cleric, Dahiru Bauchi, two men who have been frankly critical of the Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism in all forms.

Mr. Sylva called on the Federal Government to take “more sincere steps to protect the lives and property of citizens, which is its primary responsibility.”

In its reaction, the United Progressive Party, UPP, condemned the bomb blasts, describing them as “outrageous, barbaric and reprehensible.”

“We condemn terrorism in all its ramifications and will resist bomb blasts targeted at political leaders in the country. It is man’s inhumanity to man and a giant step backward in the quest at building a strong democratic nation,” it said in a statement by its spokesperson, Ogbuehi Dike.

The party said it was unfortunate that the terrorists carried out these dastardly acts on the holy month of Ramadan when true Moslems had been fasting and praying for the nation.

A civil society group, The Voters Assembly, VOTAS condemned “the unfortunate and unjustifiable assassination attempt on the life of Retired General Mohamed Buhari who recently warned the nation on the bad shape of politics and security in the land.”

The group said in a statement by its president, Mashood Erubami, that it joined Mr. Jonathan in thanking God for spearing Nigerians of the grieve, anguish and frustration that they would have gone through had the clearly targeted evil been successful.

Police Confirm 15 Dead, 5 Injured In Second Kaduna Blast

rescue operation at the scene of the blast targeted at Gen Buhari

Police say investigation has commenced in the incident.

A second bomb that hit Kaduna Wednesday targeting former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari, killed 15 people, the Kaduna police have said.

A police spokesperson, Aminu Lawan, said investigations have commenced into the incident.

Police had earlier confirmed that 25 persons were killed in the first blast which targeted Islamic cleric, Dahiru Bauchi, along Alkali road.

Scene of the Kaduna bomb blast
Scene of the Kaduna bomb blast

Mr. Bauchi was attacked on his way back from Murtala Square, where he had gone to hold the final round of his annual Tafsir programme.

“Twenty five people lost their lives in the first blast, while 15 were killed in the second one and five persons who were injured were evacuated to the hospital for treatment,” Mr. Lawan said over the telephone.

On Thursday, the Kaduna State relaxed a 24-hour curfew imposed on the state after the two blasts.

A spokesperson to Governor Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State said the curfew was lifted since normalcy had returned to the state.

“Following the return of normalcy in Kaduna Metropolis, the State Security Council have relaxed the curfew imposed yesterday after the unfortunate incidences. The public are hereby advised to go about their normal activities and remain calm,” the spokesperson, Ahmed Maiyaki, said.

The two explosions in Kaduna Wednesday killed at least 40 people. Some estimates say as many as 70 people perished in the attacks.

The first explosion occurred along Isa Kaita Road close to the popular Murtala Mohammed Square, targeting a prominent Islamic cleric, Dahiru Bauchi.

As news of the attack spread across the state, and the country, a second explosion occurred barely two hours later, this time targeting a former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari.

Meanwhile, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has condemned the bombings, describing them as dastardly and unfortunate.Buhari attacked by Boko Harram 22

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the party, while mourning the dead, “joins all well-meaning Nigerians in thanking God for saving the lives of General Muhammadu Buhari and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi whose convoys were affected in the incident.”

“We sincerely sympathise with General Buhari. Our hearts go out to him and all those affected in these wicked attacks,” the PDP said.

The party which stated that it was shocked by the ugly development reiterated its call for all Nigerians to unite against acts of terrorism irrespective of ethnic, political and religious affiliations adding, “It has become clear that anybody could be a target.”

It however cautioned opposition leaders to be careful with their utterances regarding the unfortunate incident, saying that Nigerians must unite for the nation to win the war against terror.

Buhari’s convoy bombed in Kaduna, 3 aides injured

Buhari attacked by Boko Harram 22

The retired general survived the attack

The convoy of a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, was caught in the second explosion that rocked Kaduna on Wednesday, witnesses, his party, and close aides have said.

While Mr. Buhari escaped unhurt in the explosion that occurred at the busy Kawo market area of the city, three of his security aides were injured and rushed to hospital.

A close aide of Mr. Buhari said the bomber, who drove in a Toyota Sienna vehicle, rammed into the general’s convoy and detonated the explosive-laden vehicle.

He said the opposition leader survived the attack, but his vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, and another one behind it were badly damaged.

“The General survived and he has already been evacuated in a Golf Volkswagen vehicle‎,” he said.

He also said Mr. Buhari’s damaged vehicle was towed away by emergency workers.

The spokesperson of Mr. Buhari’s All Progressive Congress, [APC], Lai Mohammed, said the explosion was targeted at the former head of state.

“Yes, his convoy was attacked,” Mr. Mohammed said in response to PREMIUM TIMES enquiry. “He narrowly escaped but some of his aides were hurt. The General is ok, but perhaps traumatised.”

A loyalist of Mr. Buhari, Rotimi Fashakin, said the former head of state was on his way to his home town – Daura in neighbouring Katsina state – when he was trailed by the bomber and attacked.

“I’m sure political Boko Haram are behind the attack,” Mr. Fashakin said. “General Buhari was the target of the attack.”

The leader of a pro-Buhari pressure group, The Buhari Vanguard, Jasper Azuatalam, said the former Nigerian leader was possibly attacked over his recent criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Recall that two days ago, Gen Muhammadu Buhari issued a statement warning President Jonathan and his government on their attempt to muscle the opposition and endanger Nigeria,” Mr. Azuatalam said. “The Presidency raised an eyebrow to the statement.”

The Kaduna state command of the Nigeria Police could not be reached to comment on the bombing involving Mr. Buhari.

The mobile telephone of the command’s spokesperson, Aminu Lawan, was switched off the numerous times this newspaper called.

The police had earlier put the death toll in the first explosion along Alkali road at 25.

Governor Muktar Yero has announced a 24 hour curfew in Kaduna metropolis.