*Directs humanitarian ministry to ensure safe return of IDPs in north east
*Troops rescue four kidnapped victims, arrest four terrorists in Kaduna
Deji Elumoye in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, directed the military and security agencies in the country to take the fight against insurgents in the North East to their hideouts and eliminate them.
The president, who gave the directive in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day 2022, however, charged the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, to ensure the safe return of internally displaced persons in the North East.
In another development, troops, yesterday, rescued four kidnapped victims and arrested four suspected bandits in two separate operations in the onslaught against terrorists and kidnappers in Kaduna State.
Addressing the military, Buhari said, ”The men and officers of Operation Lafiya Dole, security agencies and the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) are very much appreciated for their commitment to the fight against insurgency.
”I commend their professionalism and tactical penetration to the hideouts of the criminal elements, leading to appreciable improvement of the security situation in this North East region, without which the resettlement of the IDPs would not be possible.
”I, therefore, implore you not to relent in your efforts, continue to take the fight to their hideouts and ensure they are completely eliminated. I also implore you to ensure adequate security for farmers in their farming activities. Agricultural activities are most-needed for settlement and development of the rural areas and this can only be achieved if the farmers are sure of their safety.”
Directing the Humanitarian Affairs ministry and its agencies to come up with specific programmes to address urgent threats posed by explosive remnants in the North East region, Buhari affirmed government’s commitment to reducing the effect of disasters, climate change, insurgency and challenges of IDPs.
He urged the ministry to pay particular attention to emerging issues amid the return and rehabilitation of Nigerians displaced in the 13-year conflict and insurgency in the region, adding that, ”The emerging issues include the increasing number of orphans and widows.
”From our experience in the unfortunate civil war, I know the threat that unexploded ordinances can pose to returnees even after the conflict has ended as we saw in the latest IED incident in Bama just last week.
“I urge the Ministry and its agencies as well as state governments and the special committee I have set up under the chairmanship of the vice-president to come up with specific programmes and projects that respond to these emerging challenges of explosive ordnance as well as that of children orphaned by insurgency.”
On World Humanitarian Day, commemorated annually on August 19, Buhari commended all humanitarian aid workers that provide the much-needed assistance to those afflicted by the conflict.
He praised humanitarian aid workers across the globe for distinguishing themselves through their courage, commitment and drive to help their fellow humans in need, often at extreme personal risk to themselves.
”This typifies the nature of humanitarian work and sacrifice, and it is a great testimony for the theme of this year’s World Humanitarian Day which is “It Takes a Village,” he said.
The president led other guests at the event in Maiduguri to observe a minute silence in memory of all, who lost their lives in disasters and humanitarian workers, who died in the line of duty.
According to him, “On this 2022 World Humanitarian Day and every other day, we stand and shall continue to stand in solidarity with humanitarian aid workers and recognise their tremendous service and sacrifice.
”We celebrate their tireless efforts to save lives, preserve human dignity, and alleviate suffering. Their selfless commitment and actions stand as an example to us all. We will also make sure that they have our backing by ensuring that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Social Development facilitates their work.”
Buhari also used the occasion to appreciate Lt General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) for his support to Borno State government in rehabilitating many IDPs in the North East.
He described Danjuma’s humanitarian assistance as significant and patriotic, urging other Nigerians and organisations with the means, to support humanitarian work.
Buhari also thanked the UNDP, the European Union, the government of USA, United Kingdom and Germany, as well as other foreign establishments for their support in complementing the administration’s effort to stabilise the North East.
He urged all relevant public, private and international agencies to support government’s drive to rehabilitate IDPs, care for victims of insurgency as well as commitment to ”on-going processes concerning Boko Haram/ISWAP members willing to surrender.”
In his welcome address, Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, said the state was enjoying relative peace and stability, because of the sacrifices of gallant soldiers, security agencies, local vigilantes and the MNJTF.
Commending the President for his leadership and successes recorded so far in the war against terror in the region, the governor hailed the establishment of North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the ongoing installation of a 50MW power generation plant to provide electricity in the State.
He also thanked Buhari for the recent approval of N15 billion for the repatriation of citizens from the North East living in Chad, Niger and Cameroon as a result of the displacement caused by the insurgency.
On her part, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, who cited figures from Aid Worker Security Database, disclosed that since 2016, 35 aid workers had died, 22 wounded and 28 kidnapped, adding also that, since the beginning of this year, six aid workers had been kidnapped in the country.
On the choice of Borno for this year’s event, the minister explained that it was meant to highlight the humanitarian situation and plight of IDPs in the region and to inspire the much-needed change.
Troops Rescue Four Kidnapped Victims, Arrest Four Suspected Terrorists in Kaduna
Meanwhile, troops have rescued four kidnap victims and arrested four suspected bandits in two separate operations in the onslaught against terrorists and kidnappers in Kaduna State.
Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, stated this in a statement in Kaduna, saying the four kidnapped victims were abducted along the Zaria-Kano Road.
He said in yet another operation in Chikun Local Government Area of the state, troops cleared the camp of a notorious bandit, Lawal Kwalba, arresting four suspected bandits.
According to him, the kidnapped victims, which included a 10-month old baby, were rescued by troops conducting patrols around Ungwan Namama, along the Zaria-Kano road.
“The troops came in contact with migrating bandits in the area and engaged them, forcing them to abandon their three captives as they hastily escaped. Those rescued were identified as Abdullahi Lawal, Sadiya Salimanu, Fatima Salimanu and Sadiya’s 10-month-old child,” Aruwan said, adding that investigations revealed the captives were kidnapped in a neighbouring state.
Aruwan said nine rustled animals, comprising one cow and eight sheep were also recovered from the criminals.
The commissioner said the rescued persons had been reunited with their families, while the recovered animals were handed over to local authorities for proper identification and retrieval.
In the operations in Chikun forest, he said the troops cleared the camp of a notorious bandit, Lawal Kwalba, arresting four suspects.
“The troops cleared the camp of a notorious bandit, Lawal Kwalba, in Rafin Dawa in the Dende general area of Chikun local government. According to the operational feedback, the troops of Operation Forest Sanity conducted a patrol to the location following actionable intelligence.
“The troops, after clearing the camp, recovered some batteries and 27 bags of fertilizer. These materials indicate likely plans to manufacture Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), considering the bandits’ close alliance with terrorists. Furthermore, one motorcycle and two mobile phones were recovered as the bandits took to their heels before the troops’ arrival.
“The troops extended the search to a short distance from the camp, and made some arrests. Investigations are ongoing on the intercepted suspects. The Kaduna State government received the report with satisfaction, and praised the sustained efforts by officers and men carrying out the operations.”