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Boko Haram/ISWAP: Centre Identifies High Human Rights Compliance, Buratai’s Regular Visits to Troops as Factors in Nigeria’s War Against Terror

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The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC) has identified the secrets behind the success of the Nigerian troops in their fight against insurgency in the country.

The centre linked the success of the troops to high human rights compliance and regular visits of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai to soldiers on the battle field.

The Centre made the observation at the public presentation of its special report on the war against terror by the Nigerian military and human rights compliance.

The report, which was presented on Wednesday in Abuha, called on the Nigerian government to accept repentant terrorists so as to ensure they are fully rehabilitated so they can fit back into society.

The report jointly signed by Ibrahim Abubakar, Executive Secretary and Emmanuel Ogah, Director of Research and Documentation reads below.

Executive Summary:

The war against terrorism in Nigeria (North-east) had spanned over ten years since when the Boko Haram terrorist group resorted to violence against the state in 2009. The Nigerian military has since then been actively engaged in the battle for the soul of Nigeria. The turn of events has witnessed sordid tales of maiming and killings of innocent people by Boko Haram terrorist. This period also saw an increase in kidnapping of women and children, that drew the world attention to Nigeria.

The Nigerian military has indeed risen to the occasion in ensuring that the territorial integrity of the country is preserved due to concerted efforts of all relevant stakeholders, including President Muhammadu Buhari. This report took a cursory look at the various issues at stake as it concerns the protection of human rights by the Nigerian military in executing the war, as well as the multiple allegations of human rights violations against the Nigerian military by organizations such as Amnesty International.

This report was commissioned to put paid to speculation and to present issues in proper perspective for all sundry.

INTRODUCTION:

Boko Haram violence escalated from revenge attacks on the Nigerian police and security forces to (soft target) attacks on public servants, politicians, moderate imams, and civilians, through bombing and shooting attacks on schools, churches, mosques, markets, government installations, and other public places. Most writers and commentators have attributed the transformation of the group to the death of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, ostensibly at the hands of government security agencies in 2009. Since then the group has launched a full-fledged military campaign against public institutions and civilian populations. Although its methods have occasionally included terrorist attacks in a few towns and cities in other parts of northern Nigeria, the most severely affected communities are in the North-east, (especially Borno State) where these attacks have been concentrated. In other cases, attacks on rural communities are routinely carried out, resulting in mass murders and abductions.

Consequently, the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre, a civil society organisation dedicated to the protection of human rights and the entrenchment of good governance in Nigeria commissioned a special report to look at the various lingering issues in the theatre of operations in North East Nigeria as it concerns the protection of human rights and the multiple interventions of the Nigerian military in ensuring that the security of lives and properties takes centre stage.

THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM IN NIGERIA:

The Nigerian military has fought the war against terrorism in Nigeria since 2009. However, there was a period when the Nigerian military was struggling to understand the peculiarity of the war, and in that process, lots of casualties were inflicted on them by Boko Haram terrorist, who were engaged in guerrilla warfare and were also conversant with the terrain.

This gave rise to casualties on the part of the Nigerian military and also saw to the control of over 16 local government areas in North East Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorist. In some instances, it was reported that women and children were taken into forced marriages and as sex slaves. Young boys were recruited in the Boko Haram fighting force, and young girls were used as suicide bombers.

All of these changed in 2015 by the change of government in Nigeria that ushered in President Muhammadu Buhari as president and the subsequent rejigging of the operational strategy of the Nigerian military that also saw to the appointment of new service chiefs for the various arms of the Armed Forces.

From the observations gleaned from the research work, a lot has been done by the Nigerian military in the fight against terrorism since 2015. The present crop of service chiefs has displayed a commitment that has seen to the dislodgement of Boko Haram fighters from areas it once held sway including the notorious Sambisa Forest.

Our team of researchers made discoveries that explain why the Nigerian military was able to turn the tide against Boko Haram terrorist. And they are:

ROUTINE VISIT BY THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF TO THE THEATRE OF OPERATIONS:

It was observed that the Chief of Army Staff, as an operational strategy towards boosting the morale of the fighting troops, carries periodic visits to the theatre of operations. In some instances, it was announced and in other cases not announced in an attempt to gauge the mood of the troops.

It was also observed that there are several times the Chief of Army Staff when on routine visits, his convoy was ambushed. These incidents didn’t deter the Chief of Army Staff from continuing with the regular visits that also involves occasional dining with troops at the battlefront.

The team of researchers was able to identify that the impact of the routine visits by the Chief of Army staff has had a tremendous impact on the morale of the fighting troops, which has resulted in the renewed vigour as exhibited by the troops in the battlefront.

The soldiers in the battlefront always look forward to the visit of the Chief of Army Staff to the battlefront. In some instances, the Chief of Army Staff visits the troops in trenches and passes the night in the trenches with them.

COMMANDERS AND TROOPS OBSERVE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF HUMAN RIGHTS WITHIN THE THEATRE OF OPERATIONS:

Another area where the routine visits of the Chief of Army staff have impacted positively in North East Nigeria is in the area of helping to ensure that commanders and troops observe the highest level of human rights within the theatre of operations.
This is on the heels that there has been a series of allegations against the Nigerian Army on human rights violations in executing the war against terrorism.

However, what was observed was that the bulk of the allegations are speculations that were propelled by rumours and not any verifiable fact gave the tough stance of the troops on the battlefield. It was also observed that so e aspect of the rumour was also fuelled by the narrative been pushed in the media by some foreign NGO’s whose activities have been questioned by the military authorities as to their sincerity in the rendering of humanitarian services in the North East region.

Available information that was deposed by locals and community leaders in the affected communities indicates that the issue of human rights violations is on the side of the Boko Haram terrorist who has carried on with a high level of recklessness and without regards to the sanctity of human life.

The team of researchers also noted that the operational structure of the Nigerian military in the theatre of operations is structured in such a way that ensures strict adherence to best practices as it concerns the civilian population. There is also a human rights desk that constantly probes cases of human rights violations that arises, and such cases are given speedy attention and action taken in the overall interest of all concerned.

This is also attributed to the routine visit of the Chief of Army staff to the theatre of operations alongside the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs who constantly briefs the Chief of Army Staff on the relationship between the military and the civilian populace in the theatre of operations.

COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE MILITARY AND THE GOVERNMENT OF BORNO, YOBE, AND ADAMAWA STATES:

The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre took out time to analyse the various collaborations entered by the Nigerian military with the government of the states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. It was observed that the collaborations in place are yielding the required dividend that has manifested in some of the success stories of the Nigerian military in the war against terrorism. However, it was observed that more work has to be done in ensuring that the collaborations are watertight to yield more dividends in ensuring that more success is recorded.

The Nigerian military has always engaged these states governments on critical issues as it concerns its operational strategies, but there are some bottlenecks manifest in government bureaucracy that somewhat slows down the process. Therefore, there is a need for a review of the collaborations to make it more robust and encompassing to improve the synergy between the Nigerian military and the state government.

The state government must see themselves as critical stakeholders and live up to expectation by giving the Nigerian military all the necessary support it needs in the war against terrorism.

THE LAKE CHAD BASIN AREA AND THE MULTINATIONAL JOINT TASKFORCE OPERATIONS:

The Lake Chad Basin is the largest endorheic drainage basin in Africa, centred on Lake Chad. It has no outlet to the sea and contains large areas of desert or semi-arid savanna. The drainage basin is roughly coterminous with the sedimentary basin of the same name but extends further to northeast Nigeria. The basin spans seven countries, including Nigeria, Chad and a part of Niger.

By its geographic situation, the Lake Chad basin is the buffer zone between the Sahel and Sub-equatorial Africa; between Central and West Africa. Indeed, the former great lake is shared by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. It is because of this strategic position in the trade routes that the British colonial power made Maiduguri as the capital of Borno state in Nigeria.
The first Joint Task Force operation aimed at the Boko Haram insurgents was code named Operation Restore Order I. It was established on June 12, 2011. Later in the year, Operation Restore Order II and III were launched to provide security against Boko Haram in Bauchi and Yobe states respectively. The mandate of the task force was to restore law and order to the north-eastern part of Nigeria and Borno State in particular.

The countries in the Lake Chad Basin region established the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in April 2012 and upgraded it in 2015 for managing the Boko Haram crisis. The decision followed the realization that the problem is not necessarily Nigerian, as initially perceived, but a regional question. This security management formation is with a counter-terrorism mandate.

The most critical of the problems is that the countries need to work collaboratively at dealing with a common enemy, they are suspicious of each other over border issues. This factor has reduced the effectiveness of this security community.

It was observed that the current operations of the Multinational Joint Taskforce need to be scaled up for more effectiveness given the fact that Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist has made the Lake Chad Basin region as a haven for their operations. There is also a need for an improved financial commitment from the countries in the Lake Chad Basin region for the effectiveness of the Multinational Joint Task Force operations.

CONCLUSION:

• The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre after comprehensive scrutiny of the operations of the Nigerian military in the war against terrorism states that the Nigerian military has displayed a considerable commitment towards the fight against terrorism in Northeast Nigeria. The determination of the Nigerian Army is impeccable and worthy of commendation given the fact that despite the avalanche of challenges associated with unconventional warfare such as this, it has strived to adhere to global best practices in human rights.

• The Nigerian military must sustain the tempo of the war by ensuring that Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist are not allowed to regroup.

• Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist must surrender in the light of the prevailing circumstances in an attempt to ensure a seamless transition into civilian through the instrumentality of Operation Safe Corridor.

• The Nigerian government must accept repentant terrorists but must ensure they are fully rehabilitated so they can fit back into society.

Signed: Ibrahim Abubakar
Executive Secretary

Emmanuel Ogah
Director of Research and Documentation

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Boko Haram Kills Colonel, Captain, Four Soldiers in Ambush

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Boko Haram fighters struck on Maiduguri-Damaturu Road near Jakana community in Borno State, on Wednesday evening, shooting dead a colonel, a captain, four soldiers and a villager.

Our correspondent gathered that the terrorists at about 6.30pm, waylaid some commercial vehicles along the road near a military checkpoint and using them as a cover to open fire on the soldiers.

A villager was killed in the gunfire while two others were injured; five soldiers said to be at the checkpoint also died while trying to repel the terrorists’ attack.

Military sources, who could not yet reveal the names of the captain and soldiers, said a colonel was reported to have been killed too, adding that the soldiers were attached to the 29 Task Force Brigade in Benisheik under the 7 Division, Maiduguri.

The corpses of the said colonel, captain and soldiers are reported to have been deposited at the morgue of the Nigerian Army medical facility in Maiduguri.

A military source said, “On Wednesday during the Boko Haram attack, there were commercial vehicles on the road. A Regimental Sergeant Major, who was travelling to Maiduguri, was intercepted during the attack, and they killed him.

“Actually, the fighters also attacked some soldiers who were on duty at a checkpoint, bombarded their formation and killed some of them.

“It was in Jakana. The RSM was on leave and he was just coming in a casual dress. He was not in uniform. He was returning to Maiduguri. The fighters attacked some commercial vehicles. They even burnt a Toyota Hilux.

“They didn’t know they killed officers because they were not in uniform. The General Officer Commanding (Maj Gen Abdulmalik Biu) was there (Jakana) on Thursday for about three hours.

“A hospital guard confirmed that injured villagers were brought to his medical facility and one of them died on Thursday. The fighters didn’t attack the village. They attacked our formation. But three villagers were injured in the attack and one of them died on Thursday.”

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El-Zakzaky: Stay Steer Clear Lagos, South West – Yoruba Youths Warn IMN, Sponsors

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The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council, the umbrella body of southwest youths has cautioned members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, against taking their protest to Lagos State and the entire Oduduwa region.

The youth group strongly warned members of IMN to desist from its plan of inflicting harm on innocent citizens in an attempt to make the country ungovernable.

Addressing newsmen on Thursday in Lagos, Dayo Jacob, National Chairman of the group, fingered some politicians as faces behind the activities of the sect.

The group warned the IMN and their sponsors to desist from their “nefarious activities and explore peaceful means of airing their grievances if they are indeed genuine.”

The statement reads.

The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council the umbrella organisation for the youths of Oduduwa extraction in South West Nigeria dedicated to sustaining the ideals of the Oduduwa Empire took a cursory look at the sudden resurgence of the violent tendencies of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) with a view to ascertaining the motives behind their actions and putting issues in proper perspective for the discerning members of the general public.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria in recent times have undertaken violent protest in the federal capital territory Abuja and some parts of Nigeria in an attempt to drive home a hidden agenda of making the country ungovernable and thereby subjecting innocent citizens to untold hardship.

The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council in line with its core mandate of bringing to the fore issues that affects the relative peace and tranquillity in the Oduduwa kingdom and by extension Nigeria, undertook a systematic research on the issues been canvassed by the IMN that led to the death of law enforcement officers and the disruption of peace and tranquillity in the country.

The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council consequently deployed its resources and network across the country with the sole aim of unravelling the motives of the IMN that led to the resurgence of violent protest in the country.

The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council commissioned a high powered delegation of a special investigative committee to look at the issues objectively by activating its array of network in Nigeria, and the findings were subjected to series of checks in an attempt to put forward a balanced discovery for the members of the unsuspecting general public.

The findings of the committee were mind-boggling, and an indication the indeed the activities of the IMN are sponsored by individuals and organizations with an ulterior motive on the continued existence of Nigeria as a country.

It was discovered that some disgruntled politicians who ended up at the losing side during the recently conducted general elections were behind the resurgence of the activities of the IMN in Nigeria, and with a vow ensure that the country is made ungovernable for the present administration.

This much was gathered by the various report gathered from credible sources which indicated that the protest by the IMN is sponsored by wealthy politicians that are yet to get over their electoral defeat at the recently concluded general elections in the country.

These set of politicians have devoted a vast amount of money towards actualizing their nefarious motive by mobilizing the IMN with dangerous arms and ammunition as well as logistics for wreaking havoc on innocent citizens.

We also have it on competent authority that a key member of the position party that aspired for one of the highest position in the country is indeed the brain behind the protest in the country. This individual owing to his massive war chest has devoted a large amount of money through proxies to continue to encourage and fund the activities of the IMN towards painting a picture of a high level of insecurity in the country.

It was discovered that the target of the IMN is innocent citizens that are going about their normal businesses and operatives of the security agencies which culminated in the disruption of businesses and the death of some police officers.

The Progressive Yoruba Youth Council having studied the facts before it consequently made the following resolutions.

The IMN and their sponsors should desist from their nefarious activities and explore peaceful means of airing their grievances if they are indeed genuine.

That the politicians that have vowed to make the country ungovernable by devoting vast amounts of money in the destabilization plot should desist from such as it has become apparent that national interest should surpass personal and selfish interest.

That the IMN and its sponsors should stay away from southwest Nigeria and other parts of Oduduwa kingdom in the interest of peace and tranquillity.

That the IMN should in clear terms desist from extending their nefarious activities to Lagos State, the commercial nerve centre of the country as such moves would be resisted vehemently.

That the interest of the country should be taken into consideration due to the heterogeneous nature of the country at the risk of insulting the sensibilities of the generality of Nigerians.

That those politicians that are behind the violent activities of the IMN should have a rethink and explore other civil avenues towards driving home their reservations on the electoral mandate freely given to the present administration by the people of Nigeria.

That given the magnitude of the evidence at the disposal of the Progressive Yoruba Youth Council , there would be no hiding place for sponsors of political unrest in the country.

That the Progressive Yoruba Youth Council has initiated various mechanism towards ensuring that sponsors of violent protests in the country are made to face the full wrath of the law given the present circumstances.

That the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and as such, they should have a rethink in their destabilization plot and instead channel their time and resources towards productive ventures in the interest of peace and tranquillity.

That the Progressive Yoruba Youth Congress has notified its members of the impending plot by the IMN and its political sponsors to disrupt activities in southwest Nigeria.

That the Progressive Yoruba Youth Council would not hesitate to present the array evidence of the destabilization plot to the general public and the various security agencies in the country.

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Army Kills 145 Bandits, Arrests 223 In Nasarawa, Taraba, Benue

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The ‘Operation Whirlstroke’ currently undergoing military operations in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states said they have so far killed 145 bandits, arrested 223 others and also recovered a total of 194 weapons.

Commander of the special forces under Operation Whirlstroke, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, disclosed this while on a courtesy call on Nasarawa State governor, Engr Abdullahi .A. Sule at the Government House, Lafia, yesterday.

Gen Yekini, also disclosed that the special forces put in place since May last year by the Force Headquarters to address incessant killings and other forms of banditry across the three states, recovered a total of 3, 683 ammunitions and one hand grenade.

The Commander assured that the era of banditry and criminality earlier prevailing across the three states have virtually ended, though occasional security challenges are to be expected, with members of Operation Whirlstroke taking immediate steps to address such breaches.

Tracing the root cause of most of the crises in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states to agitations over control of farming and grazing spaces along the River Benue trough, he explained that herdsmen uses the area for grazing because of its lush vegetation, whereas the Tiv people use the area for farming and the Jukun’s use it for fishing.

“The interplay of economic activities among these three different tribes along the River Benue valley, is the cause of the crises we are facing across these three states,” Yekini said.

While noting that Operation Whirlstroke has it bases located along both banks of the River Benue, its special forces are deployed to Giza, in Keana Local Government Area (LGA), Tunga in Awe LGA, Ugya in Toto LGA, Rukubi in Doma LGA, as well as Loko both in Nasarawa state.

He added that though the special forces carried out more operations in Benue State more than in Nasarawa State, they recovered more weapons and arrested more bandits than the other states, which the military commander said was an indication of the security challenges in the state.

Yekini assured the governor that they are on top of the security situation in Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba states, adding that already, economic activities have picked up in areas where previously armed bandits used to carry weapons and roam freely.

He further disclosed that their operation was not limited to military action but that they are also engaged in military/civilian activities in the belief that some of the lingering crisis being faced across the three states cannot be solved by the military alone.

Responding, Engr Sule, commended the special forces for the ability to trace the root cause of the lingering crisis, stressing that it is the only way to solve the problem.

Governor Sule, noted that by taking care of everybody’s interest and giving everyone that sense of belonging, that the issues will definitely be resolved.

He disclosed that the security initiative which started by the previous administration of Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, in conjunction with special forces, have begun to yield results, given the relative peace currently enjoyed among the Igbira and Bassa people.

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