Some gunmen have killed three soldiers, including a captain in an ambush in Sarkin Pawa under Munya Local Government Area of Niger State.
According to The Nation, those killed include a captain, who led soldiers in the operation, a staff sergeant and two corporals.
The soldiers were said to have responded to distress calls from Gwar community in the local government where the gunmen had invaded and were carrying out a house to house raid.
The soldiers, upon receiving the distress call, mobilised from their base in Zazzaga community and headed to Gwar accompanied by some armed policemen in their armoured vehicle.
It was learnt that the gunmen had taken off when they sighted the soldiers but laid an ambush for them as they followed them into the bush.
The gunmen were said to have started firing immediately the soldiers entered into the bush, killing the captain in the process.
Three other soldiers were killed during the shootout with the gunmen, which lasted for over an hour.
The gunmen burnt two Hilux vans of the soldiers and went away with Machine Gun riffle.
Chairman of Munya LGA, Alhaji Mohammed Garba Dazz, confirmed the incident to journalists, saying the gunmen numbering 30 invaded the village and held them hostage for hours before soldiers came to their rescue.
He said, “I personally provided logistics to the soldiers before they left for the operation, both the soldiers and the police were overpowered due to a large number of the gunmen.
“One hour after they left for the scene, they came back with bullet holes in their armoured vehicle and the glass shattered.
“They killed four soldiers and three others seriously injured. They have also burnt the Hilux Van of the soldiers.”
Boko Haram members have abducted the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN in Adamawa state, Lawan Andimi.
According to reports, Andimi was abducted by the sect members during an attack on Michika community in Adamawa state on Friday, January 3rd.
In a video message exclusively obtained by journalist, Ahmad Salkida, Andimi could be seen and heard pleading with his colleagues in CAN and the Adamawa state governor, Ahmadu Umoru Fintri, to work assidiously towards his safe return.
Speaking in Hausa and English intermittently, Andimi commended his captors for treating him humanly, providing him with blanket cover, decent beddings and good food. He requested his colleagues in CAN as well as his family members not to be weary since God’s will must be respected in all of their lives. He declared that if it pleases God that he be released, he would be out but if God decides not to get him out, his wife should be patient and his colleagues should help look after his children.
The Christian Association of Nigeria has kicked against the planned withdrawal of troops from troubled regions by the Nigerian Government.
President of the organisation, Supo Ayokunle, expressed the body’s disagreement with the plan on Sunday in Yola, Adamawa State, while inaugurating a N115m secretariat of the association, describing it as a “policy somersault”.
He said, “I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to abandon his planned withdrawal of troops from troubled regions. I see it as a policy somersault.”
Chairman of CAN in the state, Stephen Mamza, while lauding government’s efforts in the fight against insurgency, urged the military to do more.
The Nigerian Government had on December 30, 2019 expressed readiness to gradually withdraw troops from the country’s North-East region where Boko Haram terrorists have sustained a deadly attack on civilian and military targets for almost a decade.
The government said the move was to allow the police and other law enforcement agencies take control of security in such places.
However, the plan has been opposed by several sections of the society including state governors, who have told President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the plan.
20 year old herdsman, Laolu Isa, has confessed to raping to death a 54 year old woman, Mrs Mary Okereke, in Ebonyi state.
Laolu who was paraded before newsmen at the state police command in Abakaliki, the state capital on Monday December 30th, said he committed the act under the influence of alcohol. According to him, the deceased woman insulted him and that led to a struggle before he was able to overpower her and raped her to her death. The incident happened in Ufuezeraku, Ugwulangwu in Ohaozara local government area on Saturday December 28th.
Speaking to newsmen, Laolu said
” I am Laulo Isa, I am from Nassarawa. I came to work here in Ebonyi. I was seriously drunk and saw a woman in the night walking along the road. I approached her for sex and she started abusing me”
“We started abusing ourselves and I immediately pounced on her and she started struggling with me to free herself. I was seriously drunk at that time. As I was on her, a man who was passing flashed his torchlight on me and I ran away”.
“I don’t know whether I was having sex with her but she was on the ground with me. I did not hit her with any object but is like I had sex with her for one round. We were both on the ground when a man flashed light on me and I ran away”.
“I am not happy with what I did and I want to die. I want to die!, I want to die!! I have never done this type of thing since God created me on this earth. I am begging for forgiveness”
Commenting on his arrest, the state Commissioner of Police, Awotunde Awosola, said Isa would be charged to court soon.
”On December 28, 2019, at about 8:pm, one Laulo Isa a herdsman aged 20 years accosted and waylaid one 54 years old Mary Okereke on Ufuezeraku Ugwulangwu road in Ohaozara local government area. There was a struggle between the two of them but he overpowered the woman and had carnal knowledge of the woman. Unfortunately, the woman lost her life during the incident” he said
Awosola added that the joint efforts of Fulani herdsmen led to the arrest of Isa who fled the scene of the incident, leaving some of his belongings behind.
Three soldiers attached to Sector 2 Command of the Operation Lafiya Dole in Yobe State were on Monday evacuated to hospital following the explosion of the Armoured Fighting Vehicle they were returning to base in.
This was revealed by spokesperson for the operational unit, Captain Njoka Irabor.
He said the AFV was completely burnt down due to a sudden mechanical malfunction, damaging all the ammunition on board.
Irabor said, “There was an uneasy calm in Damaturu metropolis as a result of the sound of explosions heard at about 11:30 am on Monday December 30, 2019.
“The fire incident occurred when an Armoured Fighting Vehicle returning to base from a routine standby duty, suddenly developed an electrical malfunction. This led to a fire outbreak on the AFV and subsequent explosions of the ammunition on board.
“The fire incident happened along Damaturu-Maiduguri Road. The AFV was completely burnt down, while troops in the vehicle were able to extricate themselves during the fire outbreak.
“However, three soldiers sustained injuries and have since been moved to our medical facility for prompt medical attention.”
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has appealed to the Federal Government and the military to rescind its decision of withdrawing troops from some parts of the country to allow the police tackle internal insurgency.
Recall N.Rs reported that Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas who made the announcement said the police will take over from the military in the ongoing internal security operations in various parts of the country in the first quarter of 2020. The plan will take off after an assessment of areas peace has returned to.
Governor Ortom who reacted to the development via a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary Terve Akase, urged President Buhari to extend the life-span of the troops at least by a year. According to the Benue State Governor, this will enable IDPs resettle in their ancestral homes.
“Our position is an appeal to Mr President. He had done Benue well by deploying Operation Whirl Stroke to help tame the menace of herdsmen at the time Benue needed intervention.
“We appeal to the President to extend the life-span of the troops at least by a year to enable our people at the IDPs camps to resettle in their ancestral homes.”
The Federal Government has said it will gradually withdraw military operations in some volatile spots in the country that have attained normalcy beginning from the first quarter of 2020.
It was however silent on the specific states of geopolitical zones where the military would withdraw its operations.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, made this disclosure to State House Correspondents after the National security Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The council is made up of the Minister of Defence, Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd); heads of security agencies in the country, including the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique.
Others are the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai.
The Naval chief explained that the withdrawal of troops will be done after an “assessment” to determine areas where peace has returned to enable civil authorities (police and civil Defence) assume full control of security.
Ibas, who said the meeting was to review the security operations in the country in 2019, added that the withdrawal was to allow the military to focus on its primary duty of defending the nation against external aggression.
“It is the work of the police to handle internal security since Nigeria is not at war.
“The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps will support the police to provide internal security.
“Also, you will remember that additional 10,000 personnel were approved for the police recently for recruitment”, he added.
On the purpose of the meeting, Ekwe-Ibas said: “We had a security council meeting with Mr President where we appraised the year 2019 generally with an emphasis on ongoing operations both within as well as the regional operations ongoing.
“With respect to operations within the country, it was generally agreed and noted that the security agencies have done their very best in ensuring that the deliverables are made clear.
“You will recall that the various operations in the country in the north-east, north-west, north-central, the south-east, as well as the south-west, where all members of the armed forces are taking part as well as the intelligence agencies, have ensured that we all enjoyed a better holiday period that has just been observed.
“We also recalled that in those areas where the military have been able to achieve desired objectives, from the first quarter of next year, the civil authority will be preparing to take back those responsibilities as the military draws back its forces from those areas to enable it to focus its attention on other emerging threats and areas of concern.
“It also observed that in the maritime environment a lot has been done to ensure that our resources are protected. The outcomes of the operations there are have seen to the arrest of about six vessels that were involved in stealing of the nation’s maritime resources.”
The Naval chief said President Buhari has directed that the council and the members of armed forces ensure a peaceful society in 2020, adding “to that effect, we are more than determined to continue from where we stopped in 2019 and to ensure that we sustain our various operations to ensure a secured Nigeria for all of us.”
Asked to mention the areas the military are withdrawing from and what were the specific instructions from President Buhari, Ekwe-Ibas said, “Basically, most of the internal security that we are having as you all are aware is supposed to be the responsibility of the civil authority, the police in particular. Howbeit, so long as Nigeria is not engaged in war outside, it means whatever internal crisis that we have, the responsibility rest with the police. In the circumstances that the military has to come in to stabilize the situation, it is only proper that once one area has been dominated by the military and the situation has returned to normal that the Nigerian police takes over the responsibility. And in this instance, we also have the civil defence which is supposed to support the police in this regards.
“You will recall also that Mr President recently approved the recruitment of about 10,000 Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force, hoping that once these Nigerians get the appropriate training, they will be in the position to fill the gaps. You are aware that Nigeria is such a big country that we cannot tie down the military even in those areas that the deliverables have been achieved and the objectives achieved.”
Asked if the northeast also be part of where the military will withdraw from and if more resources will be pumped into the police for it to meet its responsibilities, the Naval boss said: “I think I better make it very clear that an assessment of what the military will do will be based on the situation on ground. It is not expected that the military will withdraw when it is apparent that there are still some threats in such locations. I’m sure we are also aware that the nation is procuring equipment for the military. It is expected that before the second quarter of next year most of this equipment shall be in place. It, therefore, means that all our hands are put on the ground, looking at the technology-backed surveillance that will enable the military to react more efficiently and effectively. With that, it is also believed that the Nigerian police will take the lead in containing security in such areas that must have been assessed to be in the right place to sustain. I don’t believe that a responsible military will want to withdraw when it is apparent that there is still a risk that cannot be overcome by the police.”
Pressed to mention the states where the assessments will be carried out, Ekwe-Ibas said: “Certainly I think you got me right. Threats assessment will be carried out to see if such areas are capable of being manned by the police and the civil defence that is the position that was reached.”
On the activities of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and the recent execution of eight Nigerians, the Naval boss said, “On the activities of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), I will also like you to look at it from a broader African perspective. We have in recent past have attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and other countries in West Africa. Of course, the genesis of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is well known to all of us here. While it is painful to lose people and from within, I think the military is doing all within its power to ensure that we overcome the menace and the threats posed by ISWAP.
“You will also recall that just two weeks back we have had over 27 attacks from Boko Haram and ISWAP in the northeast alone. Our gallant troops out there were able to repel these attacks and even take out some of their commanders. So, it is a thing of concern but the armed forces of Nigeria are doing all in their powers to ensure that, together with other regional partners, the menace of ISWAP is contained.”
Asked if a target to eliminate Boko Haram by 2020 was part of the meeting agenda, Ekwe-Ibas said: “It is our wish to have the insurgency and terrorism issues resolved once and for all to enable us focus on matters of development. At this point I think you as partners will also need to do that much to encourage our armed forces and other security agencies to ensure that what we have coming out from you, supports the efforts of the military while you are doing your legitimate work. It is our hope that we will get done with this insurgency and terrorism that has besieged our country.”
Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan has called for the arrest and prosecution of gunmen who attacked his home in Otuoke, Bayelsa, South South Nigeria.
He also thanked Nigerians for the continuing show of solidarity and sympathy following the Christmas eve attack by unknown gunmen in his country home in Otuoke, Bayelsa State.
The former President who stated this while conducting sympathisers round the scene of the attack on Friday also commended the Nigerian military for their gallantry in repelling the attack by engaging the assailants in a fierce gun duel that unfortunately claimed the life of a soldier.
Jonathan noted that since the assailants attacked his marine security post on December 24, 2019 many Nigerians of different social status, including President Muhammadu Buhari, state Governors and political party leaders as well as foreigners had either visited him or called to express their heartfelt sympathy over the unfortunate attack in his house.
He also reiterated his call on the concerned security authorities to expose and bring the criminals to book as a means of ensuring that such dare-devil criminality did not happen again in his community or any other place in the country.
On December 24, 019, the assailants had stormed Jonathan’s country home in about five engine boats and attacked the marine security post located within the periphery of the residence at about 1:30 am on Tuesday and sought to take control of a gunboat belonging to the military.
They were however resisted by gallant soldiers who engaged them in a firefight. The gunmen who couldn’t stand the firepower of the military were forced to beat a retreat.