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We don’t need mercenaries to end insurgency – NSA

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The Federal Government has ruled out hiring mercenaries to fight the insurgency war, saying the country has enough personnel and resources to fight insecurity.

It also foreclosed negotiations with bandits and terrorists, contending that doing so could suggest weakness and incapacity on the part of the government.

Addressing journalists on Thursday in Abuja, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), stated that the services of mercenaries would no longer be required as the military has the firepower and expertise to defeat insurgents.

Monguno spoke following clamour that the federal government should enlist military contractors to bring a quick end to the anti-terror war.

Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, rekindled the debate on the necessity of employing mercenaries to assist troops in combating the insurgency.

Zulum had also called on the federal government to seek the support of neighbouring countries in the fight against insurgency.

The governor in November 2020 had made a case for the employment of mercenaries as done by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Jonathan administration had used specialised tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection (STTEP), a South African company, to degrade the insurgents in the North-east, making it possible for the reclaiming of some towns and villages from the insurgents, which eventually paved the way for the conduct of elections in many areas in Borno State in 2015.

The governor, at the North-East Governors’ Forum meeting in Bauchi last week, restated his advocacy for the recruitment of foreign fighters in the fight against insurgency.

The House of Representatives, a week later, joined Zulum in demanding the recruitment of foreign mercenaries to assist in the fight against insurgency.

The House passed a resolution on Wednesday for the recruitment of foreign fighters following a motion moved by Hon. Abdulkadir Rahis, representing Maiduguri Metropolitan Federal Constituency.

But Hon. Manu Masur, representing Darazo/Ganjuwa Federal Constituency, moved for an amendment of the motion and asked the federal government to consider foreign-paid fighters. The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote.

However, Monguno ruled out the FG seeking the help of mercenaries in the renewed onslaught against Boko Haram, revealing that troops have killed no fewer than 2,403 insurgents since the current administration took off in May 2015.

According to him, it is pointless re-engaging the mercenaries in the fight against Boko Haram since Nigeria has enough resources to deal with the situation.

He said, “The president’s view and the directive are that we will not engage mercenaries when we have our own people to deal with these problems. We have the personnel and resources, and the president has given a new lease of life to the armed forces.”

He stated that theFG would also deploy all necessary force to eliminate insurgents and bandits rather than opening talks with them.

“We can’t be singing the same song every day, and these people are unreliable. They are ignoble; they are ready to undermine whatever agreement we have had. So, because of that, if the opportunity avails itself, of course, we will talk with responsible people from the side of those people. I don’t even know how to categorise them because it’s not as if they are looking for something you can point a finger at; it’s not some kind of nationalistic situation – something you can actually identify and relate to,” he said.

Monguno described bandits and insurgents as a murderous group of individuals who are keyed up on drugs, adding that there is nothing to negotiate with them.

He said, “While the government is not averse to talking to these entities, these human beings, I have to be very honest, the government has to apply its weight, that force that is required because you can’t even talk with people who are unreliable, who will turn out to do a different thing and people who will continue to hurt society.

“So, basically, what the government wants to rely upon is to deal with this issue by using all the assets – military assets, intelligence assets to eliminate these people.

“If along the line, some of them are ready to come out and talk and negotiate, when the time comes, we will do that but for now, we can’t keep on dwelling on let’s dialogue.”

Monguno emphasised that negotiating with the criminals will suggest weakness and incapacity on the part of the government.

“Psychologically, it is not even good for us. It paints the picture of weakness; it paints the picture of incapacity, and I, just like what the governor of Kaduna State said, do not see any reason why we cannot, with what we have, deal with these elements.

“These are people, who are not looking for anything that is genuine or legitimate; these are people who are just out to perform atrocities, to take calculated measures to inflict pain, violence on people,” he said.

He stated that the new direction of government “is to come out with full force,” adding that the government will not allow itself to be blackmailed by any group or any individual “who thinks he can hide under the surface and use proxies to deal a fatal blow on innocent people. I want to assure you categorically and unequivocally, government is going to apply full weight to deal with these criminals until such a time that they vacate the shores of this country.”

The NSA explained that is difficult to quantify achievements in the security sector, as most successes are operational in nature “which can only be satisfactorily narrated to the people in the complete absence of panic, etc.”

On the achievements of Buhari’s administration in the security sector since it assumed office on May 29, 2015, Monguno said the security forces have killed 2,403 insurgents, sea pirates and freed 864 kidnapped persons.

He stressed the need for cooperation among the different arms of government to fashion out and apply new laws to deal with insecurity in the country.

He added that it makes no sense using 1958 laws to punish today’s offences.

He listed major issues impeding efforts at battling insecurity as personnel shortage and lack of equipment, adding that Buhari has now given the go-ahead to address the problems.

He also called on people to assist security agencies with Intelligence to overcome the asymmetric war as only locals can provide information to apprehend criminals among them.

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FRSC promotes Olagunju, Kibo DCM, retires them, 3,628 others elevated

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Two frontline officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Kayode Olagunju, and Peter Kibo, have been elevated to the rank of Deputy Corps Marshal.

They are among the beneficiaries of the latest promotion exercise, which also affected 3,628 other officers moved to their next ranks.

This is contained in the latest statement by the Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, an assistant corps marshal.

“The newly appointed Deputy Corps Marshals are to proceed on terminal leave with immediate effect,” the statement added.

Olagunju (PhD), before the promotion was the Commandant, Federal Road Safety Corps Academy Udi, Enugu State, while Kibo was the Zonal Commanding Officer in charge of RS2HQ Zonal Command Lagos.

The statement also said, “Out of the 3,628 other Officers promoted, 84 Deputy Corps Commanders (DCC) were elevated to the rank of Corps Commander (CC), 211 Assistant Corps Commanders to the rank of Deputy Corps Commander, 52 Chief Route Commanders (CRC) to the rank of Assistant Corps Commander (ACC) and 716 Superintendent Route Commanders (SRC) to the rank of Chief Route Commander (CRC). In the same promotion exercise, 1092 Route Commanders were elevated to the rank of Superintendent Route Commander, 691 Deputy Route Commanders got the the rank of Route Commander as 782 Assistant Route Commanders will now be decorated with the new rank of Deputy Route Commander.”

It said the approval for the elevation came at the end of the meeting of the commission, ratifying the resolution of the Establishment Committee of FRSC on promotion of Officers, where the exercise was deliberated upon.

The Board Chairman, Mallam Bukhari Bello expressed delight over the transparency and objectivity that heralded the whole process and urged the promoted officers to show more commitment and rededicate themselves to achieving the corporate mission of the corps which is to eradicate road traffic crashes and create a safer motoring environment in the country.

He stated that the promotion was part of the FRSC drive towards rewarding excellence, diligence and hard work.

The corps marshal, Dauda Biu, congratulated the newly elevated officers for their excellent performances during the exercise, noting that every promotion comes with greater responsibilities.

He charged them to put in their best in the course of their duties as the new ranks called for more focus, more dedication, commitment and passion.

He promised to improve the general welfare of the personnel of the corps.

 

 

 

 

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Support hijab to suppress urge for nudity, crime – Muslim groups 

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Muslim groups have called for maximum support for hijab to ensure decent dressing in the society and address the urge for appearing almost nude in the public.

They made the call in their different messages delivered in Lagos on Wednesday at a press conference to commemorate the World Hijab Day.

Secretary of NASFAT Women Affairs, Lagos Zone 2, Alhaja Aishat Busari, asked people to stop bullying those wearing hijab, stressing that there must be religious tolerance for peaceful coexistence of people in the society.

She said “This is a simple call to movers and shakers of the world to live by their sayings and preaching of peaceful coexistence, a significant part of the SDGs.”

She also said, “It is disheartening to know how much the society applauds immorality and frowns on right choices. How women empowerment is preached, yet the empowerment and choice of Muslim women is opposed. In this World, where the urge to go naked is prevalent, let’s join hands together, schoolteachers/administrators, leaders of faith, and every one to encourage modesty, the use of hijab.”

She maintained that anyone discriminating against the Hijab would not only be violating the law and peaceful co-existence but also encouraging violence.

“Let’s rise against all forms of discrimination against women and girls. Let’s rise against all forms of discrimination against the Hijab,” Busari stated.

Executive Director, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Mutiat Orolu-Balogun, said the Hijab for Muslim women apart from being a fulfilment of a divine commandment is also guaranteed by section 38 of the 1999 constitution.

She stated, “Though the Hijab was legislated and enjoined on Muslim women over 1400 years ago as described in Chapter 24 (Surah An-Noor,Verse 31) of the Qur’an, we keep seeing how it is even more relevant today. Nakedness marked a distinctive feature of pre-civilization , hence to adopt modesty in dressing is progression.”

Even as she acknowledged the recent Supreme Court judgement was a landmark achievement for hijab, there were still issues casting shadow on progress made so far.

Senior Admin Officer, Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), Fatimah Sanni, asserted that discrimination against women in hijab is Islamophobia

She said, “At MPAC, we challenge Islamophobia, discrimination,  and the ideologies that drive them. At the same time we promote empowerment and freedom to practice hijab in safety. We believe that the female Muslims should be free to express their religious beliefs free of discrimination and prejudice. “This is why we have continued to support initiatives like the World Hijab Day campaign.”

She called the attention of government agencies to the plight of Muslim women when seeking government services particularly the taking of biometrics.

According to her, despite the law recognising the use of the Hijab and does not require the ears to be brought out of the hijab, “et we get numerous verified reports of Hijabis being compelled to either take off their hijabs completely or bare their ears when they require their biometrics taken even for a sim card registration!”

Assistant Welfare Secretary, The Criterion, Lagos District, Modinat Braimah, declared that the wearing of hijab was of immense benefit to the society.

She said, “The hijab marks the wearer as honorable, respectable, chaste and modest with expected high level of morals.

“The Muslim woman dressing does not oppress Muslim women or any other woman for that matter as the media wants to portray it. It is not a political tool or a fashion statement. It is the dignity of the human person of a Muslim woman as guaranteed by the constitution of our dear country Nigeria.”

She also cautioned against harassment of innocent female Muslims wearing hijab, adding, “Our strength as a community and indeed a nation lies not in how we treat the high and mighty, but how we care for the weak and vulnerable.”

Similarly, Ameerah FOMWAN Lagos State, Alhaja Sherifat Ajagbe, stated that all women deserve to be protected from gender-based violence.

She recalled the recent report of a young lady in Niqob raped in a mosque in Ibadan, Oyo State, describing it as heinous crime against humanity and desecration of the mosque.

“It is sad indeed that Muslim women who are known to be modest have become targets of these criminal elements.  Indeed, the hijabi is almost becoming ‘endangered species’ as she is being discriminated against by her fellow citizens and she’s also not safe from the attacks of criminals,” Ajagbe said.

She added, “We at FOMWAN Lagos as well as the other 17 participating Organisations hereby call on the relevant authorities to prosecute as a matter of urgency the perpetuator of this heinous crime named as Idris A.K.A Kesari as well as his father  popularly called Al-Majiri who not only helped the perpetrator to escape, before arrest but also seeks to intimidate the victim as well as concerned Nigerians.”

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FG dismisses Transparency International (TI) verdict on Nigeria

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Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

Federal Government, yesterday, dismissed the recent verdict on Nigeria by Transparency International (TI), which said the country dropped five places in the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

The government said it is not bothered by the verdict, as TI is oblivious of the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption successes.

It boasted that some of the government’s legacy projects have been facilitated with funds known as Abacha loot, hitherto stolen and stashed abroad by a former Nigerian leader but returned to the country.

This came against the backdrop of reports that Nigeria scored 24 out of 100 points while ranking 150 among 180 countries on the 2022 Corruption Perception Index released by TI, a development which has continued to stoke concern by citizens.

Although the country maintained its previous year’s (2021) score of 24 out of 100 points, however, there was a change in rank from 154 to 150, as some other countries performed more poorly in 2022.

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Fielding questions, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, downplayed the rating, saying the Nigerian government’s fight against corruption is not at the whims and caprices of the global agency.

The minister spoke after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said: “We are not really worried or bothered about rating of the TI, because we know that everything we do is to ensure that we fight corruption the best way we know how to. If TI is not seeing this, then I think it has to change its template. But, again, we’re not fighting corruption to impress TI.

“We are not fighting corruption because we want to impress Transparency International or any organisation whatsoever. We’re fighting corruption because we believe if we do not fight corruption, there’ll be no growth, either in terms of the economy or even political.”

The minister added: “Therefore, what we do and what we’re putting in place to fight corruption is not because we want to be rated by anybody. I can assure you that we do not know what template TI is using. Whatever template it is using, it is clearly oblivious of what this administration is doing to fight corruption.

“Corruption fighting is not just by how many people have you arrested? How many people have you tried? How many people have you convicted? Of course, even in that respect, we have a very impressive record.”

Guardian

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