•Aregbesola prioritises intelligence sharing to enhance internal security
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Army yesterday said it aborted an attempt by Boko Haram terrorists to take over Gubio and Magumeri communities, headquarters of Gubio and Magumeri Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Borno State after Wednesday’s night attack by the insurgents.
The army said in a statement signed yesterday by Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Col. Ado Isa, that a member of the vigilante group was killed when terrorists attacked the areas.
It said insurgents targeted troops deployed in those areas contrary to reports that they overran two local government area councils.
The army’s statement said the insurgents sought to dislodge troops in order to gain access to shops in markets in the towns and loot food items.
It said the insurgents were dislodged in fierce exchange of fire with troops, which resulted in damage to buildings and injury to civilians around the battleground.
The statement added that normalcy had since returned to the area.
The Army stated: “The attention of the Nigerian Army in the Theatre of Operation Lafiya Dole has been drawn to reports on various media platforms indicating attack on Gubio and Magumeri communities in Borno State at about 1735hrs of Wednesday the 21 of August, 2019.
“To avoid further misinformation that could create unnecessary tension, the Theatre Command wishes to state that the attack was targeted at Nigerian Army troops deployed in the areas to enable the terrorists gain access to shops in the market in the towns to loot food items and other logistics. The attack was however repelled by the troops.”
It added: “Due to fierce exchange of fire, the terrorists were forced to withdraw in disarray from the town resulting to damages on buildings and property along their route of withdrawal.
“There was no casualty on the security force (troops) and no loss or damage to our equipment as wrongly insinuated on social media. However, a vigilante sadly lost his life in a cross fire. Also some civilians in the area reportedly sustained various degrees of injuries.
“Peace has so far been restored in the communities with residents going about their lawful businesses.
“The Nigerian Army once again call on all well-meaning members of the public to collaborate with the military and other security agencies in the area of sharing of information and suspicious movement of criminals in their communities to proactively deal with criminal activities.”
THISDAY gathered that the residents in the affected areas have returned to their homes after the insurgents’ attacks on the areas.
However, the insurgents were said to have attacked the communities about 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday; torched residential homes, schools, offices, looted food items and abducted a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
Before the attacks, the two LGAs had no military presence as troops were withdrawn for what the military had described as routine operational changes as enshrined in the Rules of Engagement.
The Caretaker Chairman of Gubio Local Government Council, Mr. Zanna Modu, told journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State capital that the insurgents looted food items, razed houses and public buildings.
He, however, disclosed that people who earlier fled for safety had returned after the military forced the insurgents to withdraw yesterday
“It is unfortunate that few days after the insurgents attack; another element of the terrorists infiltrated the town about 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday,” adding: “I am in Maiduguri on official engagements and I received calls over the attack, they withdrew after causing serious damage.”
A member of the House of Representatives (Gubio-Magumeri-Kaga Federal Constituency), Mr. Usman Zanna, said the insurgents torched Magumeri council headquarters, public buildings and houses in the area.
Zanna said that many people were displaced due to the destruction of their homes by the insurgents.
He noted that the insurgents took advantage of troop’s withdrawal from the affected areas to commit atrocities in the communities.
“The situation is calm; people returned to their homes on Thursday,” he said.
Aregbesola Prioritises Intelligence Sharing to Enhance Internal Security
Meanwhile, the new Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has said enhancement of synergy among internal security forces would be his priority in the efforts to solve the nation’s insecurity challenges.
According to him, security, economy and transparency (SET) is the new narrative that would drive the security agenda for the country, adding that the Ministry of Interior, being the first line of action, is expected to lead the charge.
He spoke yesterday, while paying familiarization visits to two of the parastatals under his ministry, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDS and Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.
Aregbesola reinstated the sanctity of governance as the guarantee of security and safety of the entire Nigerian people and expressed his readiness to contribute his own ideas to improve the internal security of the country with collaboration and cooperation of the security agencies in intelligence gathering.
He promised to improve synergy between the agencies in his ministry, the police and other security agencies in the country on intelligence sharing, so as to improve on the security situation in the country.
“As a result of our commitment to a proactive security agenda for the country, we are going to set up an early warning-alarm system in all the geopolitical zones, in other to nip in the bud any security breach before it happens,” he said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Georgina Ehuriah, said given Aregbesola’s achievements as governor of Osun State, she had no doubt that he would make remarkable impacts in the ministry in order to curb insecurity in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Commandant-General of NSCDC, Mr. Abdullahi Muhammadu, stated the readiness of his agency to provide the needed intelligence for proactive measures as demanded by the minister and promised the cooperation of his team.
At NIS, Aregbesola, reinstated his commitment to institute a culture of rewarding excellence and charged the agency not to retrogress from the flagship security agency that it has become.
Taking the minister round some of the commissioned and ongoing projects at the headquarters, the Comptroller General NIS, Muhammad Babandede, said the agency can easily now register and data-capture all immigrants in the country. He also informed the minister that passport can now be issued within 48 hours of application.
The familiarisation visit by the Minister to other parastatals under his ministry, continues today