By Yemi Adebowale; firstname.lastname@example.org
The military is fast losing its momentum in the war against Boko Haram which has resulted in a series of suicide bombings, deaths and ambushes in Borno State in recent months. Last Sunday, scores were killed when suicide bombers attacked Dalori 1 and 2 IDP camps. This year alone, hundreds have lost their lives in these suicide bombings in this state. The truth that must be told is that Boko Haram is fast gaining ground. I can authoritatively confirm that two local governments in the state -Abadam and Marte – are now firmly under the control of the terrorists.
Genuine patriots in the state have corroborated this. I challenge the army chief, Tukur Buratai to relocate his office to any of these two local governments. The terrorists also control many villages around Maiduguri, from where they train and deploy suicide bombers in the town. They have massively infiltrated Maiduguri town. This is why we hear of suicide bombings almost every day. The military needs to shut Maiduguri for 48 hours and conduct a massive house-to-house search for Boko Haram members/weapons. It is a big shame; those who promised Nigerians “Change” in this war are snoozing.
There is an urgent need to put the military back on track, else, Borno State will return to the dark days, when Boko Haram controlled 20 local government areas. Buratai has to rejig this war. It is not just enough to direct the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, to capture Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram terrorists group, “dead or alive within 40 days” and employ all arsenals at his disposal to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria.” This army chief has to practically address issues hindering the war against Boko Haram. On top of this is the fact that our soldiers on the war front are ill-motivated and ill-equipped. They are short-changed in the payment of field allowances; mere operational vehicles are also inadequate. Aside these, technology and intelligence are key vital tools if we are going to make genuine progress in this war against Boko Haram. In this area, we need the assistance of the best hands in modern warfare from anywhere in the world. It simply means that we must bring back the mercenaries to help with precise aerial bombardment, astuteness and technology. This should not be viewed as a sign of weakness, but a patriotic act. A legitimate government must do everything possible to protect its territory and people. This is the only way forward in this war against Boko Haram.
It is a shame that Boko Haram continued its onslaught this week by killing the commander of Hunters Association in Adamawa State, Bukar Jimeta and three of his men. Jimeta and his three men were ambushed in Dagu, Borno State during a fierce battle between them and Boko Haram. Residents revealed that the insurgents attacked the village in large numbers but were engaged by the hunters.
On Tuesday, several gallant soldiers were killed by the terrorists in Northern Borno during the abduction of dozens of oil exploration workers contracted by Integrated Data Services Limited, a subsidiary of the NNPC, to search for crude oil in the Lake Chad Basin. The death of the soldiers, who were providing security for the oil workers, was confirmed by military authorities on Wednesday. Some members of the Civilian JTF who were also providing security for the oil workers were killed by the terrorists. The abducted persons included 10 academic and technical staff of the University of Maiduguri’s Department of Geology. They were ambushed by the terrorists around Jibi village situated between Magumeri and Gubio local government areas of Borno State. Four of the abducted UNIMAID workers were also confirmed to have been killed by the terrorists. In all, about 48 lives were lost to Boko Haram in Jibi.
Brave Lieutenant M. Medawa is suspected to be the officer killed during the Jibi ambush, although another version has it that he was killed in Sambisa forest during a clearance operation. This second version said Medawa was leading troops of the Nigerian Army 5 Brigade when his unit came under heavy artillery fire from the terrorists. An undisclosed number of soldiers were killed in the battle, while several others are still missing. The late Lt. Medawa, who was due to be decorated as Captain on Thursday, served at the Brigade of Guards in Abuja before his posting to the war front.
The terrorists were also in Azur Village, Damboa Local Government Area on Thursday, where they killed five people and razed the village. For how long must needless killing of our troops continue? Our brave soldiers are clearly embattled on all fronts. No doubt, they are capable of surmounting the challenges. They are not cowards. All they want is for the military high command to do the needful. They want quality equipment and motivation. The military leadership must stop exposing our heroic soldiers to this ragtag Boko Haram. May Allah inspire our military leaders to do the needful for soldiers on the war front.
Anti-Corruption and Malami’s Specious Exuberance
Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami is evidently not satisfied with the handling of the so-called war against corruption by the EFCC and the ICPC in federal government agencies. This must have informed his decision to intervene directly in the search for funds stashed in banks by some of these agencies. Malami has engaged erudite lawyer, Professor Yemi Akinseye-George for this task. However, the first assignment executed against NNPC, and two yet to be ascertained federal agencies has turned out to be a big embarrassment, not only to Malami, but also to the government. Recall that Akinseye-George went to court and obtained an interim order for seven commercial banks in Nigeria to remit $793.2 million allegedly hidden with them by the three agencies “in violation of the Constitution and the Treasury Single Accounts policy of the government.”
At the initial stage, many thought that Malami and his man had genuinely discovered stashed money, but it is fast turning into a charade. Facts and figures presented by the accused agencies and banks showed that there were no such stashed funds anywhere. The NNPC was the first to punch holes in the phony recovery, describing Malami’s claim as “untrue and misleading.” It said that it had earlier taken steps to inform the Presidency, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, of 7the existence of the said accounts prior to the creation of the Asset Recovery Account by the government.
NNPC explained further that it would be totally out of place to move the funds to the Asset Recovery Account of the government because they were genuine funds that were disclosed to the government and not recovered as reported. The affected banks also came out with facts and figures that the funds were not illegally in their custody. “We have fully remitted all NNPC/NLNG dollar deposits since August 24, 2016. We hereby emphasise that none of such funds are currently in the bank’s books. Our action was further corroborated by a clearance memo published by CBN on its website on same date,” remarked UBA.
It is depressing to see a federal ministry and a federal agency dancing naked in public. This is one issue that could have been resolved without this unnecessary noise. Malami simply wants to be seen working. Claims that the funds were hidden and unknown to the government now look dubious. This minister should stop raising the blood pressures of Nigerians with phantom recoveries.
The Turmoil at Corporate Affairs Commission
One of the agencies expected to aid the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria is the Corporate Affairs Commission. Unfortunately, the CAC has been in turmoil for months, with workers accusing management of fraud and ineptitude. A strike that paralysed the CAC for almost two weeks was called off just on Wednesday. The chairman of the workers, Ibrahim Kirfi, said the union had lost confidence in the management of the commission, and wants the federal government to intervene. The workers, under the auspices of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Service Employees accused the CAC management of corruption, inflation of contracts in state offices, tax evasion through alleged fraudulent training of members of staff and use of government funds for personal transactions.
Unfortunately, several months after this crisis surfaced at the CAC, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, who is supervising this agency, is yet to decisively intervene. For me, Enelamah has to rein in the Registrar-General/CEO of CAC, Bello Mahmud, for peace to return to the agency. It is pertinent for Mahmud to step aside. The allegations against him are frightening. Com¬rade Kirfi alleges that over 40 per cent of revenue generated by the commission is gulped by the management staff on luxury items such as cars and household items. He also accused Mahmud of embarking on the construction of a car park at the commission’s premises with N250 million at the initial stage, but lamented that the amount was raised to over N1 billion. The minister must also allow anti-graft agencies to come in and investigate allegations of massive fraud against Bello and his team. The CAC is key to improving the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria. This mayhem in the agency must be brought to an end.
Governor Yari and the Oppressed German Contractor
We may have to hold Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara State responsible if 64-year-old German businessman, Richard Klosa commits suicide. This German has been living and doing business in Nigeria since 1971. For those who have not been following the story, for over two years, the German has been battling to collect the N179.5 million owed his company, Connexx Plants Nigeria Ltd, for supplying studio equipment to the state’s radio station. He was issued a letter promising that payment would be made immediately after commissioning the station. It did not happen. This financial challenge is causing Klosa numerous medical problems. The German, who broke down in tears while narrating his ordeal said he had visited Zamfara State 17 times but all to no avail. He lamented: “Governor Yari has ruined my entire business and our private life.” Klosa can’t even afford to take Yari and the Zamfara State Government to court. He is so broke. We must all put pressure on Governor Yari to pay this traumatised German. This is man’s inhumanity to man.