A former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, has said that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation but the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has demonstrated an unwillingness to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to him.
Olawunmi spoke on Wednesday when he featured on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme
He described as an “aberration”, Tuesday attack by bloodthirsty bandits on the Kaduna campus of Nigeria’s foremost military university, the Nigerian Defence Academy, where two military officers were killed and another kidnapped.
“It is an aberration; you don’t attack the Nigerian Defence Academy and get away with it,” he lamented, adding that the NDA, like other military environments in the country, carelessly opens its doors to everyone on Friday for Jumat prayer.
‘Terrorists profile security environments during Muslim prayer on Friday’
Olawunmi said terrorists and criminals profile military environments during the weekly Muslim prayer on Fridays.
He said, “In 2017, I carried out an investigation by the minister of defence that wanted me to check what was going on with the training and the security there (NDA).
I remember I spent about a week in the NDA with the commandant and the staff but something struck me: every Friday, the gate of NDA is thrown open and everybody has access to pray in the mosque.
“On Fridays, you are going to see the same thing happening across all military formations in the country…If you go to Defence Headquarters, I served at the Defence Headquarters as the Deputy Director, Defence Administration between 2015 and 2017, throughout my two years at the Defence Headquarters, I received visitors twice because of the strict security architecture there but every Friday, the gate of the Defence Headquarters is thrown wide open for everybody to come in and observe Jumat
That is the time the terrorists have the time to profile our security environment. It has always been the case. I have served the military intelligence for the past 35 years. Our problem is religion and socio-cultural.”
Furthermore, Olawunmi, a Professor of Global Security Studies, said he was a member of the Intelligence Brief at the Defence Headquarters during the leadership of the then Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.).
The intelligence expert said he told the then CDS that the centre of gravity of the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the North-East and spreading to other parts of Nigeria was the sponsors.
“I told General Olonisakin then that the centre of this problem cannot be solved the same way we solved the problem of the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta problem was solved during (Ex-President Umaru) Yar’adua basically by me and I told them that we can’t use that same template for Boko Haram.
“I told General Olonisakin to look at the centre of gravity of the problem. I was made a member of the committee in 2016-2017 including (the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim) Attahiru that died.
“I told them that the centre of gravity of Boko Haram in Nigeria is the sponsors of the programme. It was beyond us because the job we needed to do was kinetic but we cannot resolve issues of sponsors of Boko Haram that were in Buhari’s government that we know them. That was why we couldn’t pursue that aspect that could have resolved the issue (insurgency) because we need to arrest people.”
‘Why Buhari refused to prosecute 400 Boko Haram sponsors’ The PUNCH had reported that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, earlier in the year said the Nigerian Government arrested some Bureau De Change operators who were facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists.
Olawunmi said the government has not been able to prosecute the sponsors because it is allegedly partisan.
He said, “Recently, 400 people were gathered as sponsors of Boko Haram, why is it that the Buhari government has refused to try them? Why can’t this government bring them to trial if not that they are partisan and part of the charade that is going on?
“You remember this Boko Haram issue started in 2012 and I was in the military intelligence at that time. We arrested those people. My organisation actually conducted interrogation and they (suspects) mentioned names. I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that I know that the boys that we arrested mentioned. Some of them are governors now, some of them are in the Senate, some of them are in Aso Rock.
“Why should a government decide to cause this kind of embarrassment and insecurity to the sense of what happened yesterday (Tuesday attack on NDA)?” he queried, adding that terrorist financiers want to turn Nigeria to a Taliban type of country.
‘DSS has information on terrorism sponsors but can’t act without Buhari’s order’ Olawunmi also said that the Department of State Services has “tremendous information on terrorists but they can’t do anything except the body language of the Commander-In-Chief”.
He, however, expressed hope that the next Nigerian President in 2023 might have the willpower to bring the high-profile sponsors of Boko Haram to book.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, said in August 2020 that repentant terrorists revealed that a serving northern governor is a Boko Haram leader.
For over 10 years, the Boko Haram terror group had killed thousands of Nigerians in the North-East. The sect had also burnt down and bombed scores of villages as well as churches. The Nigerian Army and the Presidency had at several times claimed the group had been ‘technically defeated’ and ‘weakened’ but the bloodthirsty terrorist faction continues to strike with daring effrontery and crude savagery.
Fear has engulfed many people as Bakassi Boys return to the South East.
The Vigilante group known as Bakassi Boys has returned to the South East years after the group was disbanded.
The dreaded vigilante group popularly known as ‘Bakassi boys’ who had years back engaged in killing those suspected to be evil, Wicked and Unreasonable in Anambra state has resurfaced in the state.
Our correspondence gathered that the Vigilante group during the tenure of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju engaged in jungle justice as non of their victims was allowed to be tried in the court of Law.
The group came back to crush cultists and other criminals who are now ravaging the peace of the state.
As told through Our Correspondence, over ten people have been reportedly killed by the Bakassi boys since weekend.
A source told this meduim that a video of the arrival of the dreaded vigilante group was watced in Awka, the state capital at the weekend.
A resident petrol attendant in Awka told Our Correspondence the story of how her customer, “a Keke driver was shot by the Bakassi Boys and the bullet couldn’t penetrate his skin after which he was macheted and burnt alive”.
Our Reporters also gathered that the Bakassi Boys were invited by the indigenes of Awka to help them checkmate the excessess of cultists and other criminal activities that have eaten deep into the fabric of the community.
A source said that Secret cult activities have eaten deep into the hearts of many youths in Anambra state and the entire country.
According to him, Awka indigenes earlier last year brought an idol that would help them to curtail the evil of cult boys in the area which he said did not work.
Reacting to the development, the police spokesman Ikenga Tochukwu said he had no information about the activities of Bakassi Boys, but a senior official confirmed that they arrived on Saturday.
“That’s the only thing I can tell you for now, let’s see how things work out in days and weeks to come,” he said.
“If they engage in jungle justice, nobody will talk, especially the lawyers and human rights groups, but when police engage in such, the whole world will tumble and that’s what the state deserves at this moment, ” the source said.
Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, a former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha has recounted how the former boss died.
Al-Mustapha said Abacha did not die after eating an apple from his concubines, as widely speculated.
Speaking on how his late boss died, the former CSO said Abacha died after a brief illness.
According to ThisDay, Al-Mustapha said the late military ruler’s health suddenly collapsed on June 7, 1998, from the Abuja International Airport, after one of the security personnel, who accompanied President Yasser Arafat of Palestine shook hands with him.
Al-Mustapha said: “Shortly after the handshake, I noticed the change in the countenance of the late Commander-in-Chief, and I immediately informed the Aide-de-Camp, Lt. Col. Abdallah, who advised that we keep a close watch on him.
“Later in the evening of June 8, 1998, around 6 p.m., his doctor came around and administered an injection to stabilise him. He was advised to have a short rest.
“At about 5 a.m., the security guards ran to my quarters to inform me that Abacha was very unstable.”
Al-Mustapha disclosed that he thought the officers who came to his house was an attempted coup plot, so he had to divert their attention on his movement to Abacha’s residence.
He added: “When I got to the bedside of the Head of State, he was already gasping. Ordinarily, I could not just touch him. It was not allowed in our job. But under the situation, I knelt close to him and shouted: ‘General Sani Abacha, Sir, please grant me permission to touch and carry you.
“I again knocked at the stool beside the bed and shouted in the same manner, yet he did not respond. I then realised that there was a danger. I immediately called the Head of State’s personal physician, Dr. Wali, who arrived in the place in eight minutes from his house. He immediately gave Abacha two doses of injection, one at the heart and another close to his neck. This did not work apparently, as the Head of State had turned very cold.
“He then told me that the Head of State was dead and that nothing could be done after all.”
I join you all today to commemorate and celebrate our Democracy Day. It is a celebration of freedom and a victory for one people, one country and one Nigeria.
2. As with all democracies we will always be going through improvement processes in our desire to reach the goal of a mature democracy, a strong, evolved and integrated nation state to be reckoned with globally.
3. In the last two years we have witnessed and overcome a good number of testy challenges that would have destroyed other nations especially relating to our collective security.
4. The indefatigable CAN DO Spirit of the Nigerian has sustained us and would keep pushing us to put these challenges behind us.
5. Unfortunately some of these challenges came in the shape of violent outrages leading to the loss of lives of many of our dear compatriots and the destruction of some of our infrastructure, including those devoted to improving our democratic processes.
6. Once again, I want to render my sincere and heart-felt condolences to the families and friends of our gallant service men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty and as a sacrifice to keep Nigeria safe.
7. I extend the same condolence to the families and friends of our country men, women and children who were unfortunate victims of such senseless arsons, kidnappings and murders.
8. I also share the pains of families and direct victims of ransom-seeking, kidnaped victims who went through unimaginable trauma in the course of their forced imprisonment.
9. Let me assure my fellow citizens that every incident, however minor gives me great worry and concern and I immediately order security agencies to swiftly but safely rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
10. When you elected me as your President in 2015, you did so knowing that I will put an end to the growing insecurity, especially the insurgency in the North East, but the unintended consequences of our scattering them in the North East pushed them further in-country which is what we are now facing and dealing with.
11. We will, by the Grace of God put an end to these challenges too.
12. Unfortunately, like in most conflict situations, some Nigerian criminals are taking undue advantage of a difficult situation and profiteering therefrom with the misguided belief that adherence to the democratic norms handicaps this Administration from frontally and decisively tackling them.
13. We are already addressing these obstacles and we will soon bring some of these culprits to justice.
14. We are, at the same time addressing the twin underlying drivers of insecurity namely poverty and youth unemployment.
15. Interventions led by Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria driving economic growth over the past 6 years are targeted mostly to the agricultural, services, infrastructure, power and health care sectors of the economy.
16. In the Agricultural sector, for instance, the Anchor Borrowers Programme resulted in sharp decline in the nation’s major food import bill from $2.23billion in 2014 to US$0.59billion by the end of 2018.
17. Rice import bill alone dropped from $1 billion to $18.5 million annually.
18. This initiative supported local production of rice, maize, cotton and cassava. Government financed 2.5 million small-holder farmers cultivating about 3.2 million hectares of farmland all over the country and created 10 million direct and indirect jobs.
19. Several other initiatives, namely AgriBusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme, the Non-oil Export stimulation Facility, the Targeted Credit Facilities operated across the 774 Local Governments.
20. In the manufacturing sector the CBN – BOI N200 billion facility financed the establishment and operations of 60 new industrial hubs across the country, creating an estimated 890,000 direct and indirect jobs.SS
21. The CBN’s N50 billion Textile Sector intervention Facility increased capacity utilization of ginneries from 30% to nearly 90%.
22. The Economic Sustainability Plan – our rebound plan for the COVID-19 pandemic developed in 2020 is currently being executed. The plan is primarily focused on the non-oil sector, which has recorded phenomenal growth contributing over 90% to the GDP growth in Q1 2021.
23. Though marginal we have recorded GDP growth over two quarters; Q2 2020 and Q1 2021. This is evidence of a successful execution of the ESP by the Federal Government.
24. My vision of pulling 100 million poor Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years has been put into action and can be seen in the National Social Investment Programme, a first in Africa and one of the largest in the world where over 32.6m beneficiaries are taking part. We now have a National Social register of poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities in the 36 States and the FCT.
25. Our conditional cash transfer program has benefited over 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households comprising more than 8 million individuals. This provides a monthly stipend of N10,000 per household.
26. I have also recently approved the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Plan that augments existing plans to further reduce poverty in Nigeria.
27. As at the end of 2020, the Development Bank of Nigeria had disbursed 324 billion Naira in loans to more than 136,000 MSMEs, through 40 participating Financial Institutions. I am to note that 57% of these beneficiaries are women while 27% are the youth.
28. We are able to do all these and still accelerate our infrastructure development through sensible and transparent borrowing, improved capital inflow, improving and increasing revenue through capturing more tax bases and prudent management of investment proceeds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
29. Our infrastructure revolution continues with key projects attaining critical milestones under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund; The Second Niger Bridge, The Lagos- Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway.
30. I have also approved the establishment of Infraco Plc, a world-class infrastructure development vehicle wholly focused on Nigeria with a capital structure of N15 trillion.
31. The rail system is not left out as the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge rail was completed and commissioned 33 years after construction began. The Lagos-Ibadan double track railway line which I have just commissioned has commenced operations.
32. We are focused on ensuring that our infrastructure drive is key to economic growth and one that can be felt by every Nigerian. Building critical infrastructure in our ports is also opening up opportunities for the Nigerian economy.
33. My approval for 4 new seaports using a Public-Private-Partnership approach is hinged on growing the Nigerian economy. These four sea ports; Lekki Deep Sea Port, Bonny Deep Sea Port, Ibom Deep Sea Port and Warri Deep Sea port will create massive job opportunities and foreign investment inflows.
34. We have worked at deepening our Eastern ports leading to success like having three container ships berth at Calabar port, a first in 11 years. Similarly, on October 30 2019, an LPG tanker operated by NLNG berthed in Port Harcourt, the first time an LPG ship is berthing at any of the Eastern Ports.
35. As we invest in these new assets, we have also made strides in ensuring that they are secured and protected. In this regard I am also pleased to note the launch of the NIMASA Deep Blue project – which is an Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure that I recently commissioned. This initiative is designed to add to the layer of security we have to safeguard our maritime sector.
36. I will be the first to admit that in spite of our efforts and achievements which are there for all to see, there is still much more to be done and we are doing our best in the face of scarce resources and galloping population growth rate that consistently outstrips our capacity to provide jobs for our populace. Our over-all economic target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is our goal notwithstanding COVID-19.
37. In the last two years we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like.
38. I am very convinced that this 100 million target can be met and this informed the development of a National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy. The specific details of this accelerated strategy will be unveiled shortly.
39. In the last one year, Nigeria and the whole world faced COVID-19 for which no one was fully prepared.
40. Our response to the pandemic involved making hard choices in balancing livelihoods and public health concerns. You are all living witnesses to how successful this has been due to a number of pro-active measures put in place. Our response to COVID-19 is globally acclaimed.
41. We were able to ensure that the various lockdown measures did not impact too negatively on the ability of ordinary Nigerians to continue sustaining their livelihoods.
42. During the pandemic, we disbursed N5,000 to 1 million Nigerians using a Rapid Response Register and advanced N20,000 to 750,000 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Progamme and provided 1.37 million Nigerians with palliatives from CACOVID.
43. At the same time the Federal Government released 109,000 metric tonnes of food reserve stocks and 70,000 metric tonnes of grains to the poor and vulnerable in all 36 states of the federation.
44. In addition, Government reduced interest rates from 9% to 5% for struggling businesses and extended credit facilities to 548,345 beneficiaries.
45. When this administration decided to change our Democracy Day from 29th May to June 12th in my first tenure, it was not only to honour the sacrifices of the men and women of our country who fought for the return to democracy but also to demonstrate our commitment to satisfy the aspirations of the people and creating an environment for democracy to be an accepted way of life.
46. As your President, I remain committed to providing an enabling environment for a free, fair and credible electoral system under my tenure.
47. However, you need to play your part by getting involved at any level you can supporting a democratic system that works for all and not for a section or a select few and demand accountability from your elected leaders.
48. My commitment to bequeathing a sustainable democratic culture remains resolute, my pursuit of a fair society remains unshaken and my desire to see that Nigeria remains a country for each and every one of us has never been stronger.
49. In responding to the challenges that this period imposes on us, Government also recognises the need to acknowledge notions of marginalisation and agitations for constitutional amendments among various segments of our population.
50. While this government is not averse to constitutional reform as part of our nation building process, everyone must understand that the primary responsibility for constitutional amendments lies with the National Assembly.
51. This body which, as I said, is the arm of government responsible for constitutional changes has concluded the preliminary stages of amending and improving our constitution in a way that the majority of Nigerians will be happy with.
52. Government is, however, willing to play a critical role in the constitutional amendment process without usurping the powers of the National Assembly in this regard.
53. As a nation we have come very far from where we started and we are getting incrementally closer to where we ought to be.
54. Overcoming the present challenges is but one of a necessary process that we have to undergo as a nation so that we can come out stronger. The day I joined the Nigerian Army I was prepared to lay down my life for Nigeria.
55. As your President I remain ever committed to upholding and defending Nigeria’s corporate existence.
56. In adhering to the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy notably section 14(2)(b) I shall do all within my power to ensure that the Security and welfare of the people remain the primary purpose of government.
57. I have, throughout my tenure, provided the security agencies with all they require relative to available resources and will be providing more as the dynamics unfold to put an end to our security problems.
58. My strong belief in the Nigerian spirit gives me comfort that we are facing these challenges with renewed commitment to keep our country one.
59. I thank you for your patience and attention and more importantly your resolve to join hands in making Nigeria the country of our dream.
Happy Democracy Day! God Bless us All, God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja says the contentious issue of restructuring, true federalism or devolution of powers remains a constitutional matter, with which only the National Assembly can deal, reiterating his position on devolving more power to the people.
President Buhari received members of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) led by Co-Chairmen, Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Supo Ayokunle, at the State House.
At the meeting, the President said:
“On the contentious issue of restructuring or true federalism or devolution of powers, like you all know, this is a constitutional matter with which only the National Assembly can deal.
“I remain an unapologetic believer in devolving power to the people and that is why I signed the Executive Order granting autonomy to State Legislature and Judiciary. Unfortunately, this was met with some resistance at the state level and led to a more than two months strike action that has cost the country a lot of pain.
“Luckily the National Assembly has nearly completed the constitutional review process, which I hope would address some of the burning issues agitating the minds of our people.’’
President Buhari assured that efforts were already on to create a more conducive environment to address both direct and indirect causes of challenges including areas of job creation and employment generation, while appreciating religious leaders for their significant roles in national development, particularly in shaping perspectives.
“Your role is critical in putting the correct perspective out to Nigerians,’’ he said.
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to go after ENDSARS protesters, arrest and jail them to serve as a lesson to other citizens.
Buhari started this during an exclusive interview with The Nigerian Television Authority, NTA on Friday.
Reiterating his comment tagged ‘genocidal’ on the suspended microblogging platform, Twitter, Buhari said how can the citizens go to a police station, kill the police people who are there, loot the armoury and burn the place?
“What do you want to achieve?”
“Go and open prison and allow criminals who have been tried by the legal system and let them escape and how can government sit aside and allow this confusion to be perpetrated?
“All they need is confusion and no government can allow confusion.
Speaking about the burning of buses purchased by the previous governorent of Lagos state, the president said: “Look at the EndSARS incident. The previous governor of Lagos State bought 200 buses to complement the transportation in Lagos and he built a complex involving railways but they went and burnt them.
“The present governor made an album and came to see me I said ‘thank you very much.’ I took the album, put it in my archive, and told him to tell Lagosians to work because we don’t have the money after the government bought 200 buses for some people to come and burn it. So, let them work.”
The President was further asked if he was going to react in a “fire for fire” way and he said, “We will arrest them, try them, give them very bad publicity and then jail them so that people will know that if they misbehave, they will not get away with it.”
The United State Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria on Saturday issued a statement concerning the Twitter ban. This came on the heels when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
However, the US government opined through the Mission’s statement that the ban is undermining Nigerians ability to exercise their fundamental human right.
Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of expression. The Government’s recent #Twitterban undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses.
Banning social media and curbing every citizen’s ability to seek, receive, and impart information undermines fundamental freedoms. As President Biden has stated, our need for individual expression, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater. The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts toward unity, peace, and prosperity
The revered Islamic cleric Mohammed Tawhidi, popularly known as Imam of Peace has taken to his verified Twitter handle to talk about the ongoing crisis between Israel, Palestine and Gaza.
According to the Imam, Jerusalem which is the land in dispute between the two nations does not belong to the Arabs but to the Jews.
His tweet reads: If Israelis take an inch of land from Mecca or Medina, I will be the first to oppose them because the land belongs to the Arabs but as they want their own land back, it is only a dishonest crook and lying thief that would deny them their right of return. Jerusalem is not ours and never was.
Israel and Palestine has fought series of wars over the ownership of Jerusalem. Presently, there is an ongoing war between the two countries which has claimed many lives and led to wanton destruction of properties.