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Surrender When There’s Still Time, Military Warns Terrorists

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  • Matawalle rejects bandits’ peace overtures

  • Fleeing gunmen killed in Niger

Military authorities at the weekend urged terrorists in the North-east to surrender to troops when there is still time to do so.

The call came as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has charged troops to sustain the onslaught against insurgents in order to rid the North-east of terrorists.

This is also coming as the Zamfara State Governor, Mr. Bello Matawalle, has rejected all overtures of peace offered by bandits in the state, insisting that the state government was no longer interested in negotiating with bandits, who had rejected the Olive Branch offered to them earlier by the government.

Also following the sustained onslaught against bandits in Zamfara State, many of them, who fled from the ongoing military operation in the state on several motorcycles were on Friday ambushed and killed in Niger State by men of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Speaking yesterday in a media interview in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the Theatre Commander of Operations Hadin Kai (OPHK), Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa, urged the Boko Haram members, who are yet to surrender not to allow other recalcitrant members to deceive them.

“Those that surrendered recently are currently undergoing re-orientation under the Nigerian Army and I am calling on those that are yet to surrender, to follow suit.

“We are not going to release them into their various communities until they have gone for re-orientation under the Nigerian Army as well as fully screened,” he said.

He explained that: “So far, we released 500 to Borno State Government in July 2021,″ pointing out that before their release, they were given vocational training to be self-reliant.

Musa further explained that some of them are innocent but were forcefully conscripted into the terror group.

Speaking on the closure of Damboa, Damaturu and Gamboru Ngala roads, he said the roads were being opened.

“We have started re-opening the roads and the new arrangement now is that everyday; our troops will escort the travellers using the road in order to ensure they reach their various destinations safely.“

“We have started re-opening the road which was closed for a very long period of time; people should be patient, we have been witnessing return of peace in Maiduguri”, he said.

He, therefore, called on people of the liberated communities wishing to re-locate to their various communities to seek permission from the state government, adding that the Nigerian Army will provide security for the protection of their lives.

Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Amao, has charged personnel of the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK) to sustain the onslaught against terrorists and insurgents in the North-east.

He gave the charge while on an operational visit to frontline troops of 105 Composite Group, Maiduguri and 103 Strike Group, Yola.

The visit, which served as morale booster to personnel of the air component, afforded the air force chief the opportunity to interact with them with a view to addressing some of their immediate operational challenges.

A statement issued by the Nigerian Air Force said on arrival in Maiduguri, Amao was briefed by the Air Component Commander, OPHK, Air Commodore Nnamdi Ananaba, who gave a summary of the major achievements recorded by the air component towards degrading the capabilities of insurgents in Borno State, especially in the last 30 days.

The CAS, thereafter, commended the troops for their commitment to the current onslaught against insurgents in the North-east, while urging them to sustain and maintain the momentum.

According to him, “the outcome of our air operations has been very encouraging and positive and we must sustain these efforts to remain on course towards meeting our overall end state of ridding the region of these criminals”

He went on to charge the troops to remain focused and committed towards their operational objective.

“Absolute commitment, discipline and dedication is required at this point in time for us to get the job done”, he said.

Amao also expressed optimism that the security threats confronting the country would soon be a thing of the past as the NAF, in synergy with other sister services is working assiduously to flush out all criminal elements so as to enable all Nigerians go about their daily lives and businesses without fear.

He stated that in view of the centrality of air power in joint operations, the NAF would continue to provide the much-needed air support for the ground forces in all theatres of operation in the country.

While at Yola, Amao expressed appreciation to the personnel for their commitment and dedication to duty and charged them to continue to synergise their efforts with other security agencies within their location.

He told the troops that the entire nation remains grateful for their sacrifice and commitment towards keeping Nigeria safe.

Matawalle Rejects Bandits’ Peace Overtures

Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Governor, Matawalle, has rejected all overtures of peace offered by bandits in the state.

Matawalle insisted that the state government was no longer interested in negotiating with bandits, accusing them of rejecting the Olive Branch offered to them earlier by the government.

The governor said the barrage of attacks on bandits by security forces had made them to make fresh overtures to government seeking dialogue.

He said the bandits’ emissaries informed him that they had repented and would want to dialogue with government.

He said instead, security forces would flush them out of the state.

“My administration will no longer grant amnesty to bandits as they have failed to embrace the peace initiative earlier extended to them,’’ the governor said, while addressing a congregation in Gusau, the state capital at the weekend.

He urged residents to be patient and to support new security measures put in place to flush out bandits and their collaborators to restore peace in the state.

He noted that some of the bandits were running out of Zamfara to other states as a result of the new security measures introduced by the state government.

Matawalle warned politicians against giving any form of support to bandits, stressing that: “politicians should fear God and stop buying motorcycles to distribute to people who, in turn, sell to bandits to perpetuate their evil acts.’’

The governor said also the state government would prosecute any politician caught in the act.

The state government had cut off food, petroleum products supply and other essential commodities from the reach of the bandits in their various camps.

The government had also incepted several vehicles conveying food, drinks and petroleum products to various bandits’ camps in the state.

The government said earlier that it had also arrested more than 100 violators of Matawalle’s Executive Order to restore law and order in the state.

Matawalle had established the Special Taskforce to enforce measures to address the lingering security challenges of mass kidnapping for ransom and cattle rustling in the state.

On August 26, the governor signed an Executive Order suspending all weekly markets in Zamfara, banned bicycles and motorcycles from carrying more than one passenger and not more than three passengers in the case of tricycles.

The state government had also established a Special Taskforce to ensure full compliance with the order while mobile courts were set up to prosecute violators.

Meanwhile, commercial activities in the state have been halted following the two weeks suspension of telecommunication networks in the state by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

All banking services, mobile telephone services, internet and other related services have also been suspended.

In a related development, the state Commissioner for Police, Mr. Ayuba Elkanah, announced the suspension of movement of all motorcycles with clutches in 13 local government areas of the state.

In a chat with newsmen, Elkanah urged members of the public to continue to support security agencies by giving them vital information that would assist in fighting crimes and criminally in the state.

“In a bid to achieve this aim, additional measures have been put in place – riding of motorcycles that have clutches have been banned in the 13 local government areas of the state in addition to the earlier enforcement of restrictions on motorcycles and tricycles in Gusau Local Government Area.

“In Gusau area, Damba and Mada are equally affected in the ban on riding motorcycles with clutches,’’ Elkanah said.

The police commissioner said they had authoritative information that some unscrupulous elements use the vehicles, especially Golf III cars and Canter trucks, to supply petroleum products and food items to bandits’ camps, Fleeing Bandits Killed by Military in Niger

In a related development, many bandits, who fled from the ongoing military operation in Zamfara State on several motorcycles were on Friday ambushed and killed in Niger State by men of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The exact number of bandits killed could not be immediately ascertained but a source at Maganda village in the Shiroro Local Government Area where the incident happened told THISDAY that “they were many”.

He added that one soldier involved in the battle “is still missing”.

Some of the bandits who escaped with serious bullets wounds were being trailed by the soldiers as the entire forest was being combed in search of the escaped ones while the villagers had been engaged to assist in evacuating the remains of the neutralised bandits.

It was gathered that six sub- machine guns and a number of AK-47 riffles and bags of ammunitions were recovered from the bandits.

According to a source at Allawa community, who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity, most of the bandits neutralised resembled foreigners because: “from the dead bodies that we saw, they are not Nigerians; these are foreigners; all of them are carrying long hairs like women”.

One of the Co- Conveners of the Concerned Shiroro Youth, an organisation monitoring the security situation in the local government area, Alhaji Yussuf Kokki when contacted on phone confirmed the incident, saying “we heard about it but we don’t have the details”.

Meanwhile, the District Head of Wawa in Borgu LGA, Dr. Mahmud Aliyu who was abducted by bandits a week ago has regained his freedom.

Police Public Relations Officer of the Niger State Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun confirmed the release of the monarch.

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Laleye Dipo in Minna, thisdaylive.com

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BREAKING: Tinubu Leaves For France

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Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has travelled out of the country.

The APC leader departed for France after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday morning.

Tunde Rahman, his spokesman, who announced this, did not state how long the APC standard bearer would be away for, but he said Tinubu is expected back in the country shortly.

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“He is off to Paris, France to hold some important meetings,” Rahman said in a statement.

A day before his departure, Tinubu attended the public presentation of a book titled ‘Mr. Speaker’ and launch of legislative mentoring initiative in commemoration of the 60th birthday of Speaker of House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

On June 8, Asiwaju Tinubu emerged the Presidential candidate of APC for the February 25, 2023 election at the party’s presidential primaries/national convention held at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

After the election, he immediately embarked on a series of thank you and reconciliation visits to those who contested against him at the party’s primaries including the seven aspirants who stepped down for him.
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Troops clear IPOB/ESN camps in Anambra, Enugu, recover weapons

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Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu

The Nigerian Army said yesterday that troops of 302 Regiment and security agencies have dislodged camps belonging to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Anambra and Enugu states.

Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement,  said the raids were carried out in conjunction with operatives of the Nigerian Navy, Department of State Services and Nigeria Police Force.

Nwachukwu said the IPOB/ESN criminals were dislodged on Saturday at Idara Nnebo, Ihe Mbosi villages and Ukpor in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra.

He said  the troops cleared IPOB fire positions and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to dislodge the criminals from their hideouts.

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According to him, troops recovered two AK-47 rifles, three magazines with five rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition, two pump action rifles and one locally fabricated gun during the operations.

“Other items include three power generators, among others,” he said.

Nwachukwu also said the troops of 103 Battalion conducted a raid operation on IPOB/ ESN camp at Nkwere Inyi Forest in Oji River Local Government of Enugu state.

He said the encounter forced the criminals to flee in disarray, while troops recovered one Lexus and a Toyota Highlander SUV suspected to have been snatched by the criminals.

“Other items recovered include two motorcycles, one double barrel gun and seven live cartridges.

“Members of the public are enjoined to continue to support troops with credible information on the activities of the criminal elements in the region,” he added.

THE NATION

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Self-defence: Ban on firearms still in force, CP warns Matawalle

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Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkana

The Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkana, has said the embargo on firearms licence is still in force, noting that the police have stopped issuing licence to citizens who wished to own guns.

The police boss stated this, on Sunday, in response to inquiries from The PUNCH about the directive by the state government that the police command should issue gun licence to those eligible to bear arms.

The Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, had in a statement on Sunday, disclosed that the government had directed residents of the state to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against bandits who have been terrorising the state.

The government, therefore, directed the state Commissioner of Police to issue licence to all those who qualify and are willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.

Dosara had said, “Government has, henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as the government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue a license to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves.

“Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers, to secure basic weapons for defending themselves. The government has already concluded an arrangement to distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 emirates in the state for those willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.

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“People must apply to the Commissioner of Police to own guns and such other basic weapons to be used in defending themselves. A secretariat or centre will be established for the collection of intelligence on the activities of informants.”

But reacting to the directive, the state commissioner of police said he has yet to receive any directive to issue gun licences to the people.

Elkana, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH said, “I have not received any directives and also, there is a ban on firearms licence and we don’t give licence.

“I am yet to receive any directive. Let me see the directive first before I can comment. I have not seen the directive, so I cannot comment on compliance.”

Asked if the government’s decision was a vote of no confidence on the police, the CP replied, “There is nothing like vote of no confidence, please. This is farming season and you cannot get police or any security to be following everybody to the farm. They are attacking people on the farm; that is the problem. It is not as if we are not doing our best; we are doing our best. Of recent, we rescued many people (from bandits).”

The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, declined comment on the matter when contacted.

 Ogun State differs

The Ogun State Government also says it is not planning to allow residents of the state to carry arms and defend themselves in the face of insecurity in the state.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Olusola Subar, said this while speaking with one of our correspondents in Abeokuta on Sunday.

“There is no plan in Ogun State here that I know of to direct the police or citizens to be giving licence to bear arms,” he said.

 Ekiti State

 The Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Security, Brig. Gen. Ebenezar Ogundana (retd.), has said the situation of the state could not get to the extent of where everybody would be required to bear arms.

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Ogundana, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “We cannot get to that level, because when you say everybody should go and get arms to defend themselves, you are creating panic that the government is not in control and you are creating panic that the environment is not safe.”

 Abia State

Answering questions from The PUNCH in Umuahia on if the state will follow Zamfara State’s plans to liberalise gun purchase, the Abia State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo said, “What successfully applies in one location may not necessarily be the solution in another location, but what is paramount in our mind as a government, is to ensure the security and welfare of our citizens.”

Experts foresee anarchy

Security experts have, however, warned against the implementation of the directive, describing it as an invitation to anarchy.

One of them, Timothy Avele, said the Zamfara state government should anticipate a high number of extrajudicial killings as a result of the directive.

“It’s a direct call for anarchy at the highest level. You can’t imagine the kind of extrajudicial killings that would result from this current governor’s statement.

“It simply shows the Federal Government, state governments, security agencies and the military have failed woefully,” he said.

Another security expert, Jackson Ojo, said the Zamfara State government directive was against the law of the land.

“What the Zamfara State Governor has just declared is like a mutiny. Under which law does the government of Zamfara State permit its indigenes to bear arms?” Ojo wondered.

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