US-led Coalition Offers Nigeria, Other W’African Nations Help to Rout Terrorism

3

•Army declares 86 B’Haram leaders, fighters wanted
•Buratai absorbs civilian JTF, hunters into military operations
•Senate opposes reintegration of reformed terrorists into society

By Deji Elumoye, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja, Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri and Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto

A global alliance, championed by the United States, has committed itself to assisting Nigeria and other West African countries to combat terrorism.

The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS resolved to apply lessons learnt from the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to defeat Boko Haram and other terror groups in West Africa.

The US Department of State, in a statement yesterday, said the resolution was taken at a virtual meeting with members of the coalition and representatives of West African states and relevant regional organisations convened by the United States and Nigeria, which held on Tuesday.

Also, as part of further measures to combat insurgency in Nigeria, the Nigerian Army yesterday declared another batch of 86 Boko Haram terrorists and other insurgents wanted for various crimes.

However, the Senate has rejected the federal government’s programme of deradicalising repentant Boko Haram insurgents preparatory to their reintegration into the society.

Tuesday’s meeting by the coalition was convened to discuss the threat of ISIS in West Africa and ways the coalition can contribute to collective efforts to ensure ISIS’s enduring defeat in the region.

The statement said the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Nathan Sales, marking his first meeting as the newly-designated Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, outlined the coalition’s increasing focus on defeating ISIS’s global branches and affiliates.

Sales also thanked the Nigerian delegation, led by the Coordinator for the Counter Terrorism Centre in Nigeria’s Office of the National Security Adviser, Rear Admiral Yaminu Musa, for co-hosting the event.

It stated: “With this focus on West Africa, the coalition also announced Mauritania’s accession into the coalition as the 83rd member. Since January 2017, the coalition has welcomed 14 new members from Africa and Asia and continues to expand its reach and cooperation against ISIS branches and affiliates.

“Today’s (Tuesday) meeting included sessions on understanding and countering the threat, moderated by the U.S. Special Envoy for the Sahel Ambassador J. Peter Pham. Representatives from Global Coalition members Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger, and co-host Nigeria provided key insights on troubling developments of ISIS affiliate activity in West Africa and suggested ways the coalition could enhance efforts to counter these trends.

“As the Global Coalition seeks to apply lessons learned from the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to other locations, participants reviewed potential lines of effort, including the use of battlefield evidence and border security measures that could be applied in West Africa.”

The meeting affirmed the coalition’s commitment to countering the threat of ISIS and its branches worldwide, including in West Africa and to supporting ongoing international efforts in the region.

The meeting also outlined the ISIS threat in West Africa and focus on ways the coalition can strengthen its collective approach in specific areas such as battlefield evidence and border security.

The United States and the 82-member global coalition also restated that they were fully committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS and its branches, which is critical to the US national security and that of its partners and allies.

US Will Assist to Dislodge Terrorists, Says Pompeo

The United States Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompeo, has pledged Washington’s readiness to use all tools at its disposal in the fight against terrorists in Nigeria and West Africa.

Pompeo, after the virtual meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, co-hosted by Nigeria, said “great progress” was made at the meeting.

He tweeted: “Great progress was made at yesterday’s virtual Global @Coalition to Defeat ISIS meeting on West Africa. We will use all tools at our disposal to counter ISIS and its affiliates anywhere in the world. My thanks to Nigeria for co-hosting the event.”

Army Declares 86 B’Haram Leaders, Fighters Wanted

The Nigerian Army yesterday declared another batch of 86 Boko Haram leaders and fighters wanted for various crimes relating to insurgency.

The latest list was launched yesterday by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, alongside Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, at the Nigerian Army Super Camp, Chabbal in Konduga Local Government Area of the state.

The ceremony also witnessed the absorption of Civilan JTF, hunters and vigilantes into the operations of the Nigerian Army Super Camp.

Buratai said the two events were part of activities designed for the final push to end insurgency in the North-east region.

He added that the induction of Civilian JTF into the operation will help in containing the activities of Boko Haram because of their knowledge of the terrain and ability to identify Boko Haram members.

Zulum commended the Nigerian Army for initiating the operation.

He also called on the terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals to give peace a chance.

Theatre Commander, Operation ‘Lafiya Dole’, Major General Farouq Yahaya, said adequate arrangement had been made for the welfare of Civilian JTF that would participate in the operation.

Unveiling the list of the wanted terrorists, Yahaya noted that it is not the first time the list will be unveiled but it is reviewed periodically.

Prominent on the list is the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, who had been previously declared dead on some occasions.

Others are: Abu Musa Al Barnawi, Modu Sulum, Mallam Umar, Mallam Bello Husba, Abu Musab Barnawi, Abu Imma, Ibrahim Abu Maryam, Baka Kwasari, Mallam Yan Kolo, Bana Gonna, Mohammed Abu Maryam, Abu Dardda, Umaru Tela, Iman Balge, Abu Umma, Mallam Bako (Hisbah), and many others.

“We are here to witness the launching of four batches of wanted Boko Haram terrorists. As you know, this is not the first time, so we will launch the third batch of wanted terrorists shortly,” Yahaya explained.

Senate Opposes Reintegration of Reformed Terror Suspects into Society

The Senate yesterday opposed the federal government’s programme of deradicalising repentant Boko Haram members towards their reintegration into the society.

In addition, it called on the federal government to unmask and prosecute sponsors of terrorism.

The Senate, however, called on the presidency to increase the annual budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Army in view of the military operations, including fighting insurgency, which require procurement of sophisticated equipment, arms and ammunition.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, said when the Nigerian Army appeared before the committee to defend its 2021 budget estimate, the repentant Boko Haram members should be brought to book rather than being reintegrated into the society.

He said: “We are still calling on the Nigerian government that those that are directly or indirectly involved in Boko Haram activities should be brought to book and used as an example. I think we have not been up and doing on that.

“We are in disagreement with the government on the issue of deradicalising and reintegrating (Boko Haram repentants). We still maintain that. You can’t be resettling people, pampering them while the war is on. The committee is on the same page and I believe many Nigerians are on the same page with this.”

He recalled that not too long ago, 75 Muslims above age 60 were killed by Boko Haram insurgents in his village in Borno State.

“In my village, mallams that are Muslims, not ordinary Muslims, but mallams (clerics), elders above 60, quote me, 75 of them were taken to an abattoir and slaughtered by Boko Haram.

“Can you imagine that the Nigerian Army or the Nigerian government is saying that because these people have gone to repent, or they say they have their hands up, you bring them back and pamper them.

“If you give Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno N150, 000 as pack as they give them (Boko Haram repentants) we have 10,000 of them there…. they are displaced, suffering. They know these people that killed their people, it is wrong,” he added.

Ndume stressed the need to increase the yearly budgetary allocation to the army to enable the officers and men perform optimally, adding that the allocation should henceforth be front rolled.

“In a period of war where the country is borrowing and is planning to spend N13 trillion, government is budgeting less than N30 billion as capital for the Nigerian Army. The committee’s position is that as a matter of urgency the budget of the Nigerian Army should be increased.

“Not only that, we are advocating they should be front rolled, that means if they sign the budget, you give them their vote so that they can start their procurement process because unlike other procurement that you can buy here, buy there, the Nigerian Army’s have to be processed. Before you even finish the process, it takes a long time,” he stated.

While confirming that the Senate has the power to increase the budgetary allocation to the Army, Ndume, however, stated that there are procedures, adding that consultation is already on with stakeholders to do so.

He said: “We have engaged the Nigerian Army and we are going to engage the executive to make them understand that based on what we oversight, what they budgeted, they need to increase the budget of the Nigerian army.

“So far, we are on the same page with the executive. We are going to work together and make them understand that there is need to increase allocation to the army. Some of them do these things and present it to Mr. President without him knowing the implications.”

Sultan Demands Bluntness in Terrorism Fight

The Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, yesterday urged Nigerians to be frank and open towards tackling security challenges threatening the country.

“We need to be blunt and open to enable us forge ahead with better ideas, options and measures based on quality decisions against the issue of insecurity in the state and country,” he said in Sokoto at a roundtable on the security challenges of Sokoto State and its neighbours. The Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Sokoto chapter, organised the event.

The monarch said the NIPSS, as an academy and security entity, has the responsibility of shaping the society against all odds by making citizens and the country better.

According to him, religious leaders are an important nucleus in driving positive courses, hence they have to be carried along on national security issues.

Abubakar stressed the need for Sokoto State to study the composition of the multinational force and come up with similar idea to address the security challenges in the axis.

“We need to build a strong relationship

with neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad, Cameroun and other nations in the Sahel such as Mali and Sudan, to strengthen our focus against insecurity,” he added.
The monarch also cautioned against regulating the social media, saying that the focus should be on identifying who is doing what.

He lamented the high level of impunity in the country, noting that “the media need not to inform people negatively and wrongly but positively and rightly on happenings for harmonious co-existence.”

In his opening remarks , the Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, said the state and its neighbours were partnering on common issues bordering on security, health, education, among others for the overall benefit of their people.