Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria – Niger Delta Avengers tell Buhari that the military option won’t work


Ovie Okpare, Warri

The Niger Delta Avengers has warned President Muhammadu Buhari that the threat to use military option to resolve the Niger Delta crisis will not work vowing to resist any form of ‘modern colonisation’ of the oil-rich region.

The militant group, in an open letter addressed to the President by its spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, on Thursday, condemned what it described as disparaging remarks by Buhari since its (Niger Delta Avengers’) strike force suspended hostilities and attacks on oil facilities in the region.

It described as unacceptable attempt by the Federal Government to engage in dialogue with the people of the region through the military and representatives of oil multinationals, noting that such motives remained undemocratic for a civilian government.

He said, “The High Command of the Niger Delta Avengers is constrained to write you, Mr. President, General Muhammadu Buhari, on your continuous disparaging remarks, since the cessation and suspension of hostilities by our fighters for the liberation of the Niger Delta from economic colonialism of Nigeria.

“We are curious of comments like: ‘Niger Delta militants’ objective is to colonise Nigeria economically’, ‘Niger Delta militants are sponsored by economic looters’, where you personally issued misleading statements and threats of decisive military action, if necessary, to deal with the Niger Delta agitation because you have purportedly opened up channels of talks through security agencies/agents and the multinational corporations.

“Mr. President, do democratically elected governments open channels for talks in situations like we have in the Niger Delta through security agencies/agents or you are assuming the Niger Delta as a conquered colony in your 1984 era?”

The group, which has since ordered cessation of hostilities to allow the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan-Niger Delta Stakeholders commence dialogue with the Federal Government on its behalf, maintained that the people of the region remained resolute to control their resources.

The statement further said, “We are not in the trenches for the sake of arm struggle. The people of Niger Delta; our forefathers have always resisted the colonisation and exploitation of the land. Since antiquity, even without weapons against all forms of occupation by (the) army, as such we wonder how your desire for decisive military action is going to win this war in your four-year term to end our legitimate objective of controlling our resources for posterity.

“Mr. President, you continue to emphasise on the charade you called “the flag-off process to the cleanup of Ogoniland” as part of your government’s programmes to salvage the ravaged environment.  We are disturbed by the type of rhetoric and politics you are degenerating your age and authority (to) as President of (the) Federal Republic of Nigeria on issues concerning (the) Niger Delta since you came into office.

“You continue to live in pretence and blind to the history of the Niger Delta agitation because of some sycophants around (who are) advising you. As far as you are concerned, you are as white as the snow!”

While accusing the present administration of politicising the Ogoni cleanup exercise, the militant group said “basically, some other factors fuelling the Niger Delta conflict are corruption engendered by successive governments that you served since oil became the commonwealth of the nation.

“Whilst you start the Ogoni cleanup process; what is wrong in reviewing the Sir Henry Willink Commission Report (of) 1958? The Ogoni Bill of Rights, The Kaiama Declaration document of the Ijaw Youth Council, The General Alexander Ogomudia Committee Report, and The Leedum Mitee-led Niger Delta Technical Committee Report?”

Copyright PUNCH.      

Nigeria – soldiers missing and 13 wounded in Boko Haram attack

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Some Nigerian soldiers missing, 13 others wounded after Boko Haram attack

An unspecified number of Nigerian soldiers went missing after an attack by the Boko Haram in Gashigar, a northern Borno community that borders Niger Republic, the Army has said.

The Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, said the soldiers were attacked at their position at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

Mr. Usman, a colonel, described the attackers as “escaping remnants of Boko Haram.”

“The troops did their best to defend the location in vain. In the process, 13 soldiers sustained injuries while some are still missing in action,” he said.

The spokesperson said the troops suffered a “temporary setback” and had to withdraw from the location.

“However, the wounded soldiers have been evacuated and receiving treatment, while efforts are ongoing in search of those missing and clear the Boko Haram terrorists at the general area,” he said.

Boko Haram new

The Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria has caused the death of over 20,000 people and displacement of millions of others.

Nigeria – Buhari gives conditions for Chibok release talks

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Missing chibok girls
Photo: dailytimes.com.pk

Missing chibok girls Photo: dailytimes.com.pk

The Nigerian government will only continue negotiations with the Boko Haram if “they agree to involve international agencies like ICRC (Red Cross),” President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

The Nigerian leader, who met with the President of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, thanked the international agency for its role in the discussions that led to the release of 21 of the kidnapped Chibok girls.

The 21 girls and over 180 others were kidnapped by the Boko Haram from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014.

According to a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, Mr. Buhari also told his guest that Nigeria’s biggest problem was handling the over 2 million people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Read Mr. Adesina’s full statement below:

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the release of the 21 abducted Chibok schoolgirls, urging it to sustain humanitarian interest in Nigeria.

Meeting with Peter Maurer, ICRC President, at State House, Abuja, Monday, President Buhari said his administration is prepared to continue talks with the Boko Haram insurgent group, “as long as they agree to involve international agencies like ICRC.

“We’ve seen the result of recent talks, 21 of the Chibok girls are back,” the President said, referring to the role played by ICRC in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the girls, who had spent over 900 days in the hands of their abductors.

President Muhammadu Buhari addressing World Leaders at the 71st General Assembly of United Nations in New York 7000/21/9/2016/ICE/HB/BJO/NAN
President Muhammadu Buhari addressing World Leaders at the 71st General Assembly of United Nations in New York 7000/21/9/2016/ICE/HB/BJO/NAN

President Buhari said Nigeria’s biggest problem was perhaps the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs). He said there were over 2 million of them, “made up of over 60% women and children. About 60% of the children don’t know their parents, or where they come from. It is weighing heavily on government.”

On rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure, President Buhari said it was a priority of government, noting that the G7 had equally indicated support, which Nigeria heartily welcomed.

“We appreciate all your efforts. I am pleased you recognized that our military is cooperating with civil authorities, and respecting humanitarian issues. It is a difficult time for Nigeria. About 27 of our 36 states couldn’t pay salaries when we came last year, and we are still struggling with that. But we will get out of it,” the President said.

Mr. Maurer, the ICRC President, said their operation in the Lake Chad region is the second largest in the world, after Syria, adding that there are nutritional, health, water and sanitation issues in the North-east, in addition to rebuilding of infrastructure.

“We are ready to engage and play supportive role in responding to crisis in Nigeria. Security is a lot better than it was a year ago, but humanitarian problems are serious, and don’t disappear so quickly,” Mr. Maurer said.

The ICRC President also commended Nigeria for granting increased access to detainees, and exchanges with the Armed Forces.

He added: “Detention facilities have improved, there are fewer deaths, and things are better health-wise.”

Nigeria – freed Chibok girls reunited with families


One of the kidnapped girls celebrates with a family member during an church survives held in Abuja, NigeriaAP The girls were welcomed by their relatives in a ceremony in Abuja

Twenty-one schoolgirls who had been kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the Nigerian town of Chibok have been reunited with their families.

In an emotional ceremony in the capital Abuja, one of the girls said they had survived for 40 days without food and narrowly escaped death at least once.

It is unclear how the release was negotiated, but an official says talks are under way to free some more girls.

Of the 276 students kidnapped in April 2014, 197 are still missing.

One of the girls freed said during a Christian ceremony in Abuja: “I was… [in] the woods when the plane dropped a bomb near me but I wasn’t hurt.

“We had no food for one month and 10 days but we did not die. We thank God,” she added, speaking in the local Hausa language.

Many of the kidnapped students were Christian but had been forcibly converted to Islam during captivity.

Another girl said: “We never imagined that we would see this day but, with the help of God, we were able to come out of enslavement.”

Excited relatives were waiting to be reunited with the girls, who were released last Thursday.

One parent said: “We thank God. I never thought I was going to see my daughter again but here she is… Those who are still out there – may God bring them back to be reunited with their parents.”

Grab from Boko Haram video with faces of girls blurredAFP Boko Haram has shown some of those kidnapped in its propaganda videos

Nigerian authorities have denied reports that captured Boko Haram fighters were swapped for the girls. But one security official told the BBC that four commanders had been freed.

The AP news agency also reported that a “handsome ransom”, in the millions of dollars, was paid by the Swiss government on behalf of the Nigerian government.

Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed said Thursday’s release was “the first step” for the liberation of all the remaining girls.

“Already we are on phase two and we are already in discussions,” he told journalists on Sunday.

“But of course you know these are very delicate negotiations, there are some promises we made also about the confidentiality of the entire exercise and we intend to keep them.”

Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo welcomes some of the freed Chibok schoolgirls in AbujaAP  Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (right) welcomed the released girls

Some of the kidnapped girls managed to escape within hours of their kidnapping, mostly by jumping off lorries and running into nearby bushes.

In total, 219 girls were captured and taken away. But it appears that some of the girls may have died in captivity.

And reports say that, following more than two years in captivity and after being married off to Boko Haram fighters, some of the girls do not want to go home.

Nigeria – Buhari responds to wife’s criticism saying she belongs to the kitchen


My wife belongs to my kitchen, the other room –Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to the BBC interview with his wife, Aisha, where she questioned his leadership.

The President is on a state visit to Germany, from where he had reacted to the interview during a joint press briefing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Associated Press reports that he laughed it off and said: “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.”

He also said that he had much more political experience, AP reports.

Aisha, in an interview with the BBC, had said that the president did not know most of the top officials he had appointed.

She said: “The President does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years.

“Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms, only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position.”

In the BBC interview, the First Lady refused to name those who had “hijacked the government,” saying: “You will know them if you watch television.”

On whether the President is in charge, she said: “That is left for the people to



Nigeria’s president warned by First Lady Aisha Buhari

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife has warned him that she may not back him at the next election unless he shakes up his government.

In a BBC interview, Aisha Buhari suggested his government had been hijacked by only a “few people”, who were behind presidential appointments.

She said the president did not know most of the officials he had appointed.

Mr Buhari, who is on a visit to Germany, has responded by saying his wife belonged in his kitchen.

Standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a news conference, the president laughed off his wife’s accusations.

“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” he said.

The remarks earned him a glare from Chancellor Merkel.

Mr Buhari said that having run for president three times and having succeeded the fourth, he could “claim superior knowledge over her”.

The influence ‘of a few people’

Mr Buhari was elected last year with a promise to tackle corruption and nepotism in government.

But in the interview with Naziru Mikailu from BBC Hausa, Mrs Buhari said: “The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years.”

She said people who did not share the vision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were now appointed to top posts because of the influence a “few people” wield.

“Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position,” she said.

His wife’s decision to go public with her concerns will shock many people, but it shows the level of discontent with the president’s leadership, says the BBC’s Naziru Mikailu in the capital, Abuja.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: September 2016GETTY IMAGES

Aisha Buhari campaigned vigorously for her husband in last year’s election in Nigeria, organising town hall meetings with women’s groups and youth organisations across the country.

However, she kept a low profile at the start of the administration and was barely seen or heard. She was restricted to her work on the empowerment of women and helping victims of the Boko Haram conflict in the north-east of the country where she is from. This is one of reason why this damning interview has caught the attention of many Nigerians.

It is a significant blow for Mr Buhari, who has a reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense president.

Her comments also bolster accusations that his government has been hijacked by a small group of individuals.

Critics say a large number of people have been appointed because of their relationship with those people in one way or the other.

Mrs Buhari was prompted to to speak out in an effort to end those practices so that party loyalists who contributed to his election victory could benefit.

Her critics say she is speaking out only because she failed to convince the president to appoint her own people.

However, as the closest person to the president, she must have exhausted all avenues before criticising him in the media.

The comments could also mark a turning point for a government that has clearly struggled to deal with economic recession and is facing growing disquiet within the ruling party.

The Nigerian economy, battered by low global oil prices and a currency devaluation, officially entered recession in August for the first time in a decade.

Oil sales account for 70% of government income.

The president famously remarked at his inauguration that he “belongs to nobody and belongs to everybody”.

Aisha Buhari registers to vote as the president looks onImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Buhari (L) may not be able to rely on Mrs Buhari’s (C) support if he chooses to run again in 2019

  • Born on 17 February 1971 in north-eastern Nigeria’s Adamawa state, Aisha Buhari is the granddaughter of the nation’s first Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu.
  • She married Muhammadu Buhari in 1989. They have five children together, a boy and four girls.
  • In 1995 she opened the Hanzy Spa, northern Nigeria’s first beauty parlour, in Kaduna State, after obtaining a diploma in beauty therapy from the Carlton Institute in the UK.
  • She published the book The Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists in 2014.
  • She is an advocate of human rights and has donated money to help the families of victims of Boko Haram after more than 250 girls were kidnapped by the militant group in 2014.
  • She caused upset in Nigeria last year after appearing in public wearing an expensive-looking watch, which led some to ask whether she was undermining Mr Buhari’s “man of the people” image.
  • Mrs Buhari was also criticised on social media for attempting to shake hands with the Alaafin of Oyo, a leading chief of the Yoruba people.

Asked to name those who had hijacked the government, she refused, saying: “You will know them if you watch television.”

On whether the president was in charge, she said: “That is left for the people to decide.”

Mrs Buhari, who at 45, is 23 years her husband’s junior, said he had not told her whether he would contest the 2019 election.

“He is yet to tell me but I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again.”

Nigerians have been weighing in on Twitter to give their judgement on the first lady’s frank interview:

Tweet from Rebecca Roberts reads: Image copyright
Tweets from Imoh Umoren: Aisha Buhari is my new favorite person!! I have the biggest respect for people who stand up and speak up for what they believeImage copyright

Asked what she regarded as the government’s major achievement, she said it was to improve security in the north-east where militant Islamist group Boko Haram has waged an insurgency since 2009.

“No-one is complaining about being attacked in their own homes. Thankfully everyone can walk around freely, go to places of worship, etc. Even kids in Maiduguri have returned to schools,” Mrs Buhari said, referring to the city which was once the headquarters of the militant group.

Nigeria – 21 Chibok girls freed by Boko Haram in Red Cross deal



Members of the #BringBackOurGirls (#BBOG) campaign react on the presentation of a banner which shows ‘218’, instead of the previous ‘219’, referring to kidnapped Chibok school girls, during a sit-out in Abuja, Nigeria May 18, 2016, after receiving news that a Nigerian teenager kidnapped by Boko Haram from her school in Chibok more than two years ago has been rescued.REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/Files

By Alexis Akwagyiram and Felix Onuah | ABUJA

Jihadist group Boko Haram has freed 21 of more than 200 girls it kidnapped in April 2014 in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok, the government said on Thursday.

Their release came after the International Red Cross and the Swiss government brokered a deal with the group, and negotiations would continue to bring home the rest of the girls, a statement from the Nigerian presidency said.

Around 270 girls were taken from their school in Chibok in the remote northeastern Borno state, where Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency to set up an Islamic state, killing thousands and displacing more than 2 million people.

Dozens escaped in the initial melee, but more than 200 girls are still missing. The kidnapping prompted outrage worldwide and the girls’ plight was publicised using a Twitter hashtag, #bringbackourgirls.

“It is the first step in what we believe will be the release of all the girls,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters.

He denied reports that the government had swapped Boko Haram fighters for their release and said he was not aware if any ransom had been paid. He said a Nigerian army operation against Boko Haram would continue.

The girls were released at 5.30 a.m. and will be taken to the capital Abuja during the afternoon to meet doctors and psychologists, Mohammed said.

The Swiss government “facilitated contacts between representatives of the Nigerian government and intermediaries of Boko Haram” after a request from Abuja, a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“We have nothing to add,” she said, when asked if it had been a prisoner swap.

CNN published a picture on its website it said showed several of the freed girls, wearing veils and being escorted by soldiers in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.

Authorities said in May one of the missing girls had been found and President Muhammadu Buhari promised to rescue the others.

In the past days, the Nigerian military has been carrying out a large-scale offensive in the Sambisa forest, a stronghold of Boko Haram, which last year pledged loyalty to the Islamic State militant group.

Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium at the start of 2015, but Nigeria’s army, aided by troops from neighbouring countries, has recaptured most of the territory. The group still stages suicide bombings in the northeast, as well as in neighbouring Niger and Cameroon.

Boko Haram published a video in August apparently showing recent footage of dozens of the kidnapped girls and said some had been killed in air strikes.

The militant group has kidnapped hundreds of men, women and children but the kidnapping of the Chibok girls brought it worldwide attention.

In the last few months Buhari has said his government was prepared to negotiate with Boko Haram over the release of the girls.

(Additional reporting by Ulf Laessing and by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Janet Lawrence and John Stonestreet)

Nigeria – senator talks of three arms of corruption in government

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Judges’ arrest: Nigeria now has “three Arms of corruption” – Senator


With the ongoing clampdown on judges for alleged corrupt practices, outspoken Senator, Shehu Sani, on Monday said the three arms of Nigeria’s government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary – are now bugged by corruption.

Mr. Sani, the All Progressives Congress Senator representing Kaduna Central, said this in the wake of the sting operation conducted by the State Security Service, leading to the arrest of some judges for alleged corrupt practices.

In the early hours of Saturday, SSS operatives raided residences of some judges Gestapo style. No few than 15 judges are under investigation, with 7 already in custody.

Mr. Sani said the allegations against the judges completed a circle of corruption running around the three arms of government in Nigeria.

“With mountains of allegations of corruption in the kitchen cabinet of Mr. President; with mountains of allegations of corruption in the Parliament; with mountains of allegations of corruption in the Judiciary, now we are having a three Arms of corruption,” said Mr. Sani.

Key members of the President’s Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, including the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; and Interior Minister, Abdurhaman Dambazzau, have come under spotlight for alleged corrupt practices.

In the National Assembly, apart from the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who is facing trial for alleged false asset declaration; fugitives like Buruji Kashamu and Joshua Dariye; and former governors like Danjuma Goje and Godswill Akpabio have cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives was accused of corruption and abuse of office in the 2016 budget process by Abdulmumin Jibrin, former appropriations committee chairman.

Mr. Sani, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, said the action of the SSS amounted to “sadism” and smacked of totalitarianism if due process was not followed.

“The raid on the residences of the Supreme Court judges if done with a proper court order is justified but if done without a proper court order is nothing but sadism.

“Support for search or arrest without warrant irrespective of the gravity of suspicion is a tacit endorsement of tendencies of a totalitarian state,” the Senator said.

But if the SSS followed due process of law, he continued, defending the judges despite “evidences of harvest of cash in their houses is nothing but wholesale endorsement of corruption.”

The SSS has defended its action, saying it acted within provisions of the law. Similarly, the presidency said the action was not a war against the Judiciary, but against corruption, assuring of regard for the bench.

Admonishing the judiciary, Mr. Sani said the bench “should not be and must not be a cash counter.”

He added that, “impunity is rooted in a society where Justice is for the highest bidder; corrupt Judges are merchants of Justice; and commercialization of Justice puts Justice on tender.”

He also warned the Federal Government against tyrannical tendencies, and breaching law to pursue its anti-corruption fight.

The lawmaker said: “For the SSS and the Federal Government this is my take:

1-Rule of law is the most potent weapon in the fight against corruption in a democratic society;

2-Each time we circumvent the rule of law for expediency, we reinforce the pillar of tyranny.

3-It’s not the good we achieve when we cut short the rule of law, it’s the evil that could be justified using the same route.

4-Whatever you achieve using the rule of law is insured against moral stain.
5-To break the law in order to enforce the law is to extinguish the flame of justice upon which the rule of law is alighted.”

While stressing that the Judiciary risks losing public confidence if “rulings turn to products of transaction”, he warned that security agencies should not be immune from respect for rule of law.

“We must not give a blank cheque to security agencies which can be abused,” he said.

Nigeria’s secret police, SSS, releases detained judges

SSS Nigeria

The State Security Service has released all the judges arrested during a nationwide sweep between Friday and Saturday, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

Sources in the agency said all the seven judges were released on self-recognition.

“They were all released on bail yesterday(Sunday) on self recognition,” one of our sources said.

“They reported this morning (Monday) and they have all gone back home. They will be coming back tomorrow. And everything went very procedurally well and civil.

“They were released on bail on self recognition based on the fact that given their standing in the society, they cannot run away. They were instructed that they should come back today by 10am.

“They did report for investigation this morning and they have gone back home. And the investigation continues and preparation to charge them to court continued.”

The source added, “Also, action was sequel to lack of cooperation by National Judicial Council. Such as refusal by the NJC to allow the affected persons to be questioned by the DSS. Investigation started some seven months ago, precisely in April 2016.”

The crackdown has continued to generate mixed reactions across the country.