Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria launches electronic ID cards

Leadership

Jonathan Launches National ID-Card

Jonathan-Launches-National-ID-Card

Jonathan Launches National ID-Card

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday directed all federal government ministries, agencies and agencies (MDAs) to unify their biometric data capture operations with the national electronic identity card (e-ID Card) scheme.

Accordingly, he directed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to enrol and issue the card to all federal civil servants and pensioners for “speedy and safe payment of salaries and pensions.”

Giving the directive when he launched the issuance process of the e-ID card at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the president asked the commission to work with the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) and Pension Department.

Jonathan said, “The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) should also ensure immediate compliance. The regime of duplication of biometric data bases must now have to give way to harmonisation and unification with the e-ID scheme, which shall be the primary data base.

“The secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), the attorney-general and minister of justice, and the governor of the CBN should immediately key in. They should, in conjunction with NIMC, reach modalities for the harmonisation of their biometric projects, including other ongoing projects in other MDAs, with the e-ID card scheme.

“Proliferation and duplication of efforts is neither cost effective, nor security-smart. It is important to remove obstacles that may impede the NIMC from the discharge of its constitutional functions and statutory obligations.”

The president lamented the absence of a national identification system which, he said, made it difficult for targets of government’s subsidy programmes and other social security services to be reached.

He said it was for this reason that he considered the launch of the card as an important milestone which has brought his administration’s vision of a reliable national identity database to reality.

He said: “I am particularly pleased about NIMC because a number of things we are supposed to do well as a nation, we are not doing well; and sometimes we blame governmen because of the failure of the system and the credibility of the process.

He noted that the national electronic identity management system would go a long way in addressing this challenge.

Jonathan added: “I’m quite pleased today that with the NIMC’s success story, we are moving forward as a nation. Everybody talks about change, and I always say that it is not possible to just wake up and change. A change is a vector quantity; you must have the magnitude and the direction.

“I have taken keen interest in this project, primarily because of the pervasive impact it can have on every facet of the socio-economic fabric of our dear nation. This is in sync with the transformation agenda of my government”.

NIMC director-general, Mr Chris Onyemenam, had earlier explained that the national e-ID Card was a multi-purpose card for identification, electronic signatures, biometric on-card verification and other applications.  leadership

Cameroon army kills 27 Boko Haram fighters in border area

Reuters

(Reuters) – Cameroon’s army has killed 27 members of Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram near a northern town, state radio said on Wednesday, in a sign of growing cross-border activity by the militants.

The Boko Haram fighters crossed the border into Cameroon earlier this week, after attacking a military base and police station in Nigeria and apparently sending some 480 Nigerian troops retreating across the frontier.

“Cameroon soldiers have killed 27 Boko Haram elements during an attack in a locality near Fotokol in the far-north,” state radio CRTV said, adding that the deaths occurred on Monday and Tuesday. There was no word on any Cameroonian casualties.

A Cameroonian soldier in the region said the militants had been pushed back into Nigeria, with calm returning to the area on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, Boko Haram, which is seeking to carve out a de facto Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has stepped up attacks in Cameroon, leading the central African country to increase deployments along its jungle border.

But Cameroon has not always been successful in fending off Boko Haram raids. President Paul Biya dismissed two senior army officers last month following attacks in which at least seven people were killed and the wife of the vice prime minister was kidnapped.  Reuters

Nigeria – hundreds of troops flee across border after Boko Haram clash

BBC

Boko Haram crisis: Nigerian troops ‘flee into Cameroon’

Some 480 Nigerian soldiers have fled into Cameroon following fierce fighting with Boko Haram militants, Cameroon’s army has said.

Army spokesman Lt Col Didier Badjek said the soldiers had been disarmed and were now being accommodated in schools.

Clashes are said to be continuing in the border town of Gamboru Ngala.

Boko Haram on Sunday released a video in which it said it had established an Islamic state in the towns and villages it controls in north-eastern Nigeria.

BBC

Nigeria – Boko Haram declares caliphate in Gwozo

Punch

AUGUST 25, 2014 BY ADELANI ADEPEGBA, FIDELIS SORIWEI AND UMAR MUHAMMED WITH AGENCY REPORT 247 COMMENTS

LEADER of the terrorist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has re-designated Gwoza town that was seized by his men last Thursday as an Islamic caliphate.

Shekau announced the declaration that Gwoza had become an Islamic caliphate in a video obtained by the Agence France-Press on Sunday.

The terrorist also vowed that his group would not leave the town.

“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in the town of Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate. By the grace of Allah, we will not leave the town. We have come to stay,” Shekau said in the 52-minute video.

In a July video, Shekau had voiced support for the leader of the Islamic State militants, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere.”

The AFP report however said it was not clear if Shekau was declaring himself to be a part of Baghdadi’s call or if he was referring to a separate Nigerian caliphate.

In the 19th century, a Sokoto caliphate was proclaimed across most of the modern day northern Nigeria and was considered separate from other Islamic kingdoms, such as the Ottoman Empire.

There was no indication that Shekau was actually in Gwoza for the filming and his whereabouts remained unknown but he vowed that his fighters would keep control of the area.

The United Nations humanitarian office had earlier in the month confirmed reports that Gwoza was under rebel control.

Boko Haram is also believed to be in control of other areas near Gwoza in southern Borno, as well as large swathes of territory in northern Borno and at least one town in neighbouring Yobe State.

Experts have described Boko Haram’s gains in recent weeks as unprecedented, saying the group was closer than ever to achieving its goal of carving out a strict Islamic state across northern Nigeria.

A major military offensive at the onset of the emergency rule in May last year appeared to put the militants on the defensive, flushing them out of their strongholds.

But critics say top brass failed to sustain the pressure and allowed the Islamists to retake some of the areas they had abandoned.

In an apparent mutiny, some troops rejected deployment in Gwoza last week because of lack of adequate weapons.

Show of power

After Shekau’s speech and in demonstrating their being in control of Gwoza, insurgents were seen, in the video, atop pick-up trucks firing rocket-propelled grenades and other heavily armed insurgents firing weapons as they walk calmly along the road.

The footage appears to show them taking over a military base, stealing weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition as well as fuel cans.

In one frame, a fighter stands on top of a tank, waving the Islamists’ black flag.

The AFP reports that the end of the video depicted scenes of grisly executions, similar to those released by IS in recent weeks.

In one scene, about 20 men in civilian clothing are shown with their hands tied behind their backs and lying by the roadside before they are shot at close range.

A second scene shows two men, whom Shekau said disguised themselves as women to escape the town, beaten to death with shovels. Two others similarly dressed are shot beside what appears to be a trench full of bodies.

Military denies takeover

The military authorities meanwhile have debunked the claim by Shekau that he had declared Gwoza the seat of a new caliphate in the North-East.

The Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade, said in the Defence Headquarters Twitter handle twitter.com/DefenceInfoNG that the military would not allow any part of the country to be ceded to the insurgents.

Olukolade described the declaration by Shekau as empty, insisting that the territorial integrity of Nigeria was intact.

He said that a military operation to retake Gwoza was underway.

He said, “The claim is empty. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact.

“Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with the expression of delusion and crime.

“Appropriate military operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits are still ongoing.”

Insurgents seize 200 rifles

Meanwhile, investigations have revealed that 200 AK 47 assault rifles belonging to the police were carted away by the Boko Haram insurgents, who attacked the Police Academy in Gwoza last Wednesday.

About 159 of the guns were seized from men of the three mobile police units— Mopol 50, Abuja; Mopol 38 and Mopol 58 based in Akwanga, and Lafia respectively, who were undergoing training at the academy.

It was learnt that the authorities resumed the suspended training with the batch of 159 personnel from the Police Mobile Force only for them to be attacked a week into the exercise.

Fifty-three policemen were drafted from each of the three mobile police formations, thereby bringing the total number to 159 aside from those on the ground.

Before the attack on the police academy, the riot policemen, investigations further revealed, had been instructed to keep all their arms in the armoury hence the insurgents did not encounter any strong resistance.

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

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http://www.punchng.com/news/boko-haram-declares-gwoza-islamic-caliphate/

BBC

25 August 2014

Boko Haram declares ‘Islamic state’ in northern Nigeria

Militant group Boko Haram has said it has set up an Islamic state in the towns and villages it has seized in north-eastern Nigeria.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was speaking in a video released to congratulate his fighters for seizing the town of Gwoza earlier this month.

It is not clear if Mr Shekau has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria.

Nigeria’s army has rejected the claim as “empty”.

Thousands of people have been killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, since 2009 when Boko Haram began its insurgency.

Gwoza, which had 265,000 residents in the last census, is the biggest town under Boko Haram control.

Thousands have fled Gwoza – these people are now living in a school
It has raised its flags over the palace of the Emir of Gwoza, the town’s traditional ruler, residents say.

“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic state,” Mr Shekau said in the 52-minute video.

It controls several areas, mostly in Borno state where the group was launched, but also in neighbouring Yobe state.

The video also shows about 20 men in civilian clothes apparently being shot dead.

Nigeria’s military spokesman Chris Olukolade responded with a statement dismissing the declaration.

“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact,” he said.

Who are Boko Haram?

Founded in 2002
Initially focused on opposing Western education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
Launched military operations in 2009 to create an Islamic state
Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria – but also attacks on police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
Some three million people affected
Declared terrorist group by US in 2013
Who are Boko Haram?

Profile: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

In his previous video, released in July, Mr Shekau congratulated the Islamic State (IS) for its advances in Iraq and Syria but did not say whether they were allies – there is no evidence that the two groups have been working together.

IS has seized much of northern Iraq in recent months, leading the US to launch air strikes.

Last week, the militants sparked global outrage by beheading US journalist James Foley.

Gwoza is not far from Chibok, where Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

Nigeria’s police say it is still looking for 35 police officers who went missing after Boko Haram attacked a police academy in Liman Kara, near Gwoza last week.

Residents say the militants seized the college but it is unclear who now controls it.

Nigeria declared a state of emergency in three north-eastern states in 2013 but the insurgency has continued and even intensified.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28925484

Nigeria – British military aircraft to help in search for Chibok girls

Punch

UK sends warplanes to find Chibok girls

Abducted Chibok girls

The Britain’s Royal Air Force has planned to send three fighter jets to help in locating the more than 200 abducted schoolgirls by Boko Haram insurgents since April 14 this year.

The three RAF Tornado GR4s outfitted with surveillance equipment, according to Daily Mail, are being deployed to Nigeria to “fly reconnaissance missions” over the Sambissa forest the Islamist extremist sect is known to operate in.

A source at the British government told The Times that the fighter bombers would help the Nigerian authorities by tracking the movements of Boko Haram militants.

The report added that the mission was dependent on a nearby nation giving them permission to use a runway.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman did not deny the report about the deployment of the planes.

“The UK continues to work with the US, France, Nigeria, its neighbours and international partners to provide advice and assistance to the Nigerian Government.

“Together with our allies we have provided continuous surveillance support to the Nigerian authorities, including satellite imagery. We are still in discussion with partners on the deployment of further surveillance capability,” he said.

On Friday, last week, Britain’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge had condemned the abduction of over 100 people in Nigeria and had pledged that the United Kingdom would continue to support in the fight against the terrorist group.

He said, “I am appalled to see reports of another large abduction by terrorists in the north east of Nigeria. Officials at the British High Commission in Abuja are urgently looking into the details. The UK stands firmly with Nigeria as it faces the scourge of Boko Haram.”

The group on Monday killed at least three people and kidnapped 15 others in a fresh cross-border attack in northern Cameroon. Punch

 

Daily Mail

Britain ‘to send three Tornado reconnaissance jets to Nigeria’ to join hunt for kidnapped schoolgirls

By Sam Webb for MailOnline

Four months ago Boko Haram, which is fighting to reinstate a medieval Islamic caliphate in religiously mixed Nigeria, abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok and they remain missing.

Now, three RAF Tornado GR4s outfitted with surveillance equipment are being deployed to the African nation to fly reconnaissance missions over the region the group is known to operate in.

Eye in the sky: Three RAF Tornado GR4s  are being deployed to  search for the 200 missing Nigerian schoolgirls

Eye in the sky: Three RAF Tornado GR4s are being deployed to search for the 200 missing Nigerian schoolgirls

Taken: Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls (pictured) fom the village of Chibok four months ago

Taken: Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls (pictured) fom the village of Chibok four months ago

Daily Mail

Boko Haram attacks impede aid work in northern Cameroon

IRIN

Attacks curb aid work in north Cameroon

(IRIN) – An escalation of attacks by Nigerian radical Islamist Boko Haram militia is restricting aid operations in the Far North Region of Cameroon where thousands of Nigerian refugees have sought safety, say aid workers.

Local authorities in the Far North Region of Cameroon estimate that as many as 25,000 Nigerians have fled into the region. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says it has registered some 11,000 refugees. Recently, some 2,800 refugees were moved to Minawao camp 130km from the border, bringing the total camp population to around 6,000.

Many refugees have opted to stay in border villages in Mayo-Tsanaga and the Logon and Chari areas, hoping to return home quickly if the violence subsides.

Boko Haram’s incursions into northern Cameroon have become frequent of late. In April, suspected members of the group abducted and later freed a Canadian nun and two Italian priests. In May, 10 Chinese construction workers were seized by armed men also believed to be Boko Haram members. The Chinese are still being held in captivity.

In late July, suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the town of Kolofata and kidnapped the wife of Cameroon’s deputy prime minister and two other people. Residents now live in fear and their movement is also restricted by tougher security measures.

Since then, UN agencies in Cameroon have only been undertaking priority activities such as assisting refugees and some host communities, said Jacques Roy, World Food Programme (WFP) representative in Cameroon.

“It’s becoming more and more difficult. We don’t want to put our workers at risk… It has become more dangerous to travel around. The [worry] for us is that we know that the food security will worsen for the local population because the cross-border trade has been hampered and prices of imported food have been rising. Farming could be affected and there is a high probability of a further influx of refugees, and this will put more strain on the local population,” Roy told IRIN.

He explained that WFP was now working with local aid organizations to transport and distribute food that it had pre-stocked at Minawao camp, and in villages and health centres in the region.

Food stocks at Minawao will last for the next two months. “By November we expect that there could be breaks in our food pipeline unless additional funding is secured very soon,” WFP said in an email response to IRIN.

“For our nutrition response, breaks are expected earlier and some health centres have already started running low on certain specialized nutritious products. Consequently, we might have to cut down temporarily on the special nutritional support to vulnerable populations in some areas.”

Cameroon’s Far North and North regions have the highest rates of food insecurity in the country, with 54 percent of households facing shortages. It is feared more will lack enough food in the current lean season until harvesting starts in October-November, according to WFP.

A nutrition assessment conducted by WFP and UNHCR in June found high rates of malnutrition among refugee children. In one village where the refugees have settled, general acute malnutrition was 25 percent, way higher than the 15 percent emergency threshold.

Countering insecurity

Authorities in the Far North Region have imposed a night curfew and banned vehicle and motorcycle movement at night to try to curb the raids by the Islamist insurgents which have occurred despite a heavier military presence in the remote region.

The deteriorating security is also catalysing a cholera outbreak that has infected more than 1,400 people and killed scores others. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently voiced concern about the impact of insecurity on efforts to curb the spread of the disease in northern Cameroon. In a recent interview, UNICEF’s representative in Cameroon told IRIN she feared that insecurity would prevent community health workers from reaching the affected population.

“Since Boko Haram attacks have not spared Cameroon’s Far North, it has become difficult for relief organizations to expand their operations,” said Leonard Bello, head of Mayo-Tsanaga Division in the Far North Region.

There is limited humanitarian help reaching the refugees settled in border villages due to the rising insecurity. WFP’s Roy said that since the late July attack, they could no longer reach those refugees.

Authorities in the Far North have in the past expressed concern about refugees staying with their Cameroonian relatives rather than going to Minawao camp. They fear Boko Haram elements can infiltrate villages without being detected, although some of the latest attacks have been brazen rather than stealthy, and even targeted gendarmerie bases.

Cameroon’s Far North Region and northeastern Nigeria are home to ethnic groups that have family on either side of the border, speak the same language and share a common culture. For some, crossing the border to live with relatives in times of difficulty is not considered as seeking refuge. The authorities worry that such situations make undetected cross-border movement easy.

Relief agencies in Cameroon estimate that as many as 50,000 Nigerians will have crossed into Cameroon by the end of the year. In Nigeria’s northeastern Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states ravaged by Boko Haram’s attacks, some 650,000 people have been displaced, according to UNHCR.

Cameroon currently hosts 107,000 refugees from the Central African Republic who have settled in villages in the country’s eastern region. Many of them arrived this year as hostilities worsened. The number is expected to rise to 180,000 by the end of 2014. IRIN

Is the Nigerian government serious in its attempts to fight ebola

Punch

Sunday Aborisade, Bukola Adebayo, Eniola Akinkuotu and Emeka Obi

 

NMA, chairman, Lagos State branch, Dr. Tope Ojo

 The Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives have accused the Federal Government of not being proactive enough in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.

The doctors and nurses said at separate news conferences in Lagos on Sunday, that the government had yet to put in place adequate measures to protect health workers willing to manage those infected by the deadly virus.

The state NMA, through its chairman, Dr. Tope Ojo, therefore challenged the federal and Lagos state governments to provide protective kits and address the issue of hazard allowance for doctors, nurses and other health workers ready to be involved in treating infected persons.

It also faulted the   life insurance cover announced by both the federal and state governments, saying its provisions had yet to be spelt out.

The NMA said, ‘‘Any health worker that is managing an Ebola patient is risking his/her life and that of his family. Ebola has killed over 61 doctors in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is a serious issue.

“You don’t just dangle life insurance without documents. We cannot endanger our lives unless we know what is at stake.We should be assured that should anything happen to us, our families are catered for.

“The terms of the insurance must be in public domain in a transparent manner.

“It is sad that it had to take an Ebola outbreak, for government to realise that health workers need life insurance cover.”

Also at the news conference,   the association’s Secretary,   Dr. Babajide Saheed, said it was imperative for both governments to put in place adequate infection control measures   to effectively check the spread of   the EVD.

Saheed said,” Please you journalists should visit the IDH(Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba and find out what the Federal Government has put in place for effective infection control.

“Please compare it to what health workers in Guinea and Liberia had while treating Ebola patients.

“Till now, the Federal and state governments have not come out with a concrete position on the life insurance cover they have offered to us and the public.

“By protecting health workers that are managing suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, you are protecting the public from infections, because   doctors are part of the society.”

The Lagos NMA also used the opportunity to declare that the nationwide strike by doctors had not been called off.

Also, nurses, at their own news conference, said it was regrettable that the Federal Government had not learnt to act fast during emergency situations like the Ebola virus outbreak.

They also   berated the Federal Ministry of Health for negotiating with the NMA to end its strike, saying that the association (NMA) was not a trade union but a professional body which had no right to boycott work.

Their President, Mr. Abdrufai Adeniji, said, “It is appalling that Nigeria is still at the stage of making arrangements when the virus has already been granted certificate of occupancy and has taken full residence in the country. “Government should learn to copy   true international best practice which its agents are quick to shout when they are on their mission of deceit.

“Serious governments have already put in place precautionary measures to prevent the pandemic on their soil and some even have treatments even though such are still in the clinical trial stage.

“Government needs to understand that its business   should be doing more than it says and taking actions that surpass mere arrangements.”

He commiserated with the family of the nurse who lost her life after contracting the disease while treating Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian man who brought the disease into the country.

Adeniji urged nurses to exercise extreme caution while treating Ebola patients   as they stood a higher risk of contracting the disease than doctors.

He said, “We hereby call on nurses to remain committed to their calling and be cautious of the precautionary measures to forestall further incidences. The government at all levels should do their part to provide adequate equipment infrastructure, protective wears, policies to take care of the victims of the virus and other deadly issues.

“The government should immediately set up an intervention team to attend to the situation.”

Catholic church suspends   sign of peace

Also, the Catholic Church has instructed its priests to henceforth suspend all forms of physical contacts during service, including the traditional sign of peace, which involves shaking of hands with other worshippers during service.

This directive was contained in a statement by the Catholic Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, Adewale Martins, titled “The Outbreak of Ebola Virus – a pastoral approach.

“Taking into consideration the fact that this rite is optional, we shall henceforth omit it i.e. not invite people to offer the sign of peace. When you get to this rite, skip it,” Martins said in the statement.

Apart from calling for the discontinuation of   placing of water bowls at the entrances of parishes of the church, the Archbishop   encouraged the use of gloves when counting offerings as other means of stemming EVD’s spread.

The statement read in part, “The use of Holy Water Fonts at the entrance of the church should be discontinued forthwith until the virus alert is lifted. This does not preclude private use of Holy waters in homes and offices.”

“Priest are also advised to be cautious when visiting sick members, especially when they are to administer the sacrament of anointing for the sick. They are equally advised to avoid physical contacts when giving out the Holy communion to members.

“Priests should exercise caution when they go for sick calls, particularly when they have to administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. They should ensure regular handwashing after visiting patients in the hospital or homes.”

In Abuja, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Metropolitan, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, also called on   members of the church to refrain from shaking hands during the sign of peace session.

Onaiyekan,   in an interview with journalists on Sunday,   explained that the church was taking necessary precautionary steps to avoid the spread of the disease.

Onaiyekan however clarified that the warning does not mean that the church had banned shaking of hands during mass.

He said, “We did not ban handshaking during mass. We are only discouraging it and it is going to be temporary until it is clear that Nigeria is no longer under Ebola threat.

“It’s a possible means to avoid the spread of Ebola virus and also prayers to keep the country safe. Many people are not comfortable with shaking people they don’t know during this period of Ebola, so there is need to take such steps.”

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