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Reduction in terrorism related deaths and the Buhari administration

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By Prince Ugo

The 2017 report on terrorist related deaths the world over, just released by the Global Terrorism Index, published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has strung a silver linen on the cloud of the many challenges facing the country but most especially in the fight against terrorism.

Since 2008, when activities of insurgents began to manifest in many forms across the country and started taking tolls on the populace, Nigeria has crept from a near terror- free nation to being listed among the worst hit and found itself in the unenviable company of globally acclaimed terrorist nations like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The situation worsened by 2014 when parts of the country were captured by the terrorists, symbols of sovereignty removed and many were killed and displaced from their homes .

It became a matter of serious concern when the then government appeared helpless and the armed forces in Nigeria began to lose respect due to its poor handling of the situation.

That was when the Nigerian military was lampooned for deploying technical manouvre as a military strategy and had to wait for the coalition from neighboring African countries to serve as a morale booster.

Then president, Goodluck Jonathan in a whiff of exasperation even confirmed such helplessness when he said it was Nigeria’s turn to experience terrorism which he said has becomie a global phenomenon that the country has to live with.

That was when apart from capturing territories, the insurengtas went to schools and slaughtered students at will and abducted many which they use as sex slaves.

It wasn’t better with the authorities that were supposed to fight the scourge as monies voted for such purposes were either stolen or diverted and many soldiers out of frustration deserted and quit service.

But by 2015, things began to take a new shape in the fight against terrorism as the current administration of Presidemt Muhammad Buhari overhauled the strategy and brought committed and battle tested generals on board.

The new government was so confident about defeating terrorism in the Notyj-eastern part of the country that it even gave deadlines for achieving such feats and in no time obliterated the capacity of the insurgents to move in large numbers and threaten communities and confined them to insignificant crevices from where they from time to time make attempts at soft targets.

That they have been degraded and mortally weakened was not in doubt as people who have been sacked in the various communities began to move back to reclaim their homes.

This in a nutshell is what is reflected in the Global Terrorim Index report which confirms the strides made by Nigeria to defeat terrorism and return life to normalcy for its citizens.

But most importantly, the index which provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism since 2000 has shown the strides made by Nigeria in the fight against terrorism in the last two years.

As the Institute for Economics and Peaceful ranks nations of the world according to terrorist activities ‘by combining a number of factors associated with terrorist attacks to build an explicit picture of the impact of terrorism, illustrating trends, and providing a data series for analysis by researchers and policymakers,’ the report can be considered as the most authoritative on the subject.

The GTI officially covers 163 countries, covering 99.7% of the world’s population.and the aim of the report is to examine trends and to help inform a positive and practical debate about the future of terrorism and the required policy responses.

The report, which is officially launched at the Royal United Services Institute in London today, is a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 17 years which helps to understand the global, regional and local impact of terrorism.

The 2017 report indicates that the number of terror related deaths around the world fell for a second year in 2016, revealing that for the second year in a row, the total number of global deaths caused by terrorism has declined.

The report however indicates that despite the decline in number of deaths, terrorism continues to spread to an increasing number of countries indicating that there are 77 countries that experienced at least one death from terrorism in 2016 more than at any time in the past 17 years.

It is against this background that the stride made by Nigeria under President Buhari can be fully appreciated. According to the GTI report, the world in 2017 has recorded a 22 percent drop in number of terrorim related deaths since the peak of global terror activities in 2014.

Worthy of note is the observation that the percentage decrease in terrorism- related deaths is due partly to significant declines in terrorism in four of the five countries most impacted by terrorism which are Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The report says collectively, the four countries recorded 33 per cent fewer deaths and 2017 and the significance of this development cannot be ignored. What it means is that the Buhari administration is on the right track towards defeating terrorism in Nigeria and contributing to the degradation of the menace on a global scale.

It therefore goes without saying that both the president, the service chiefs and the troops must be encouraged to continue the good work they are doing to rid the world of terrorism and other crime against humanity.

Ugo, a conflict resolution Expert writes from 199 Watford Way, London.

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Opinion

IMN’s Audacity of Lawlessness

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Shiite members

Shiite members

By Femi Giwa

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has succeeded where others failed. It has successfully branded itself as the victim, effectively casting the Nigerian state as the aggressor comparable to an occupation force. Those familiar with IMN ascendancy are possibly asking how a problematic group that unleashed hell on commuters and other road users in Zaria has today become an outlawed group that people are blindly canvassing for to protest, kill and destroy property without being held to account.

The answer can be found in several seemingly unrelated development that are yet connected – the one connection being that they all helped IMN evolve the persona of the victim, which now allows it to commit more crimes without its members fearing repercussions.

First is the ability of IMN members to continue hiding their penchant for lawlessness behind the façade of peaceful protests, which are anything but peaceful anyway. It is not unusual to see the group swell its rank with women and children while the hardened elements with catapults, swords and other cudgels stay embedded within the protests, these are the fighters that are able to launch projectiles at security agents without being identified as the source. The arson brigade of the group is similarly concealed, they spray paint graffiti on public buildings and private businesses while their other members are milling around to create a human screen that shield the destructive acts from public glare.

The other factor is ubiquity of social media. Reports of successive encounters with law enforcement are recorded and reported according to IMN’s version of events. They have slick photography and video productions that are published and promoted to tell the IMN story – footages of militants hurling stones and petrol bombs at security personnel are carefully excluded such that the audience goes away with the impression that IMN could not have struck the first blow. The social media feeds are further promoted by embittered commercial activists, who have other axes to grind with managers of the state so it is logical to have the “an enemy’s enemy is a friend” approach to things. Such emergency activists are thus hooked on defending IMN even when their crimes are glaring.

Thirdly, many may not know or believe it but IMN has a deep pocket, which some analysts had attributed to Iranian sponsorship. Anyone that has ever catered to the material and monetary needs of, say, four people at a time will understand what it takes to finance such; but here is IMN bankrolling the logistics of keeping thousands of mostly unemployed people on the streets for protests. The deep pocket supports not just the transportation and feeding the protesters on the streets but also pays for the propaganda and media manipulation that created for IMN the image of a “harmless group” when in reality it is a dangerous group, outlawed in Kaduna state and teetering on the verge of becoming Boko Haram’s replacement. The Iranian support extends to sustained coverage on the owned Press TV, which creates short video clips that allege persecution against IMN.

Furthermore, IMN is a beneficiary of the tendency of decision and policy makers to be stuck on political correctness. What this implies is that those that should keep IMN in check in Nigeria continually commit and enslave themselves to concepts that are unrelated to the Nigerian situation.

It is not unusual to hear people demanding that IMN should be treated like groups that are non-violent because some people want Nigeria to be seen as being compliant with human rights conventions. This error is being reinforced by groups like Amnesty International that practically suggests that security agencies should leave IMN alone to torment other citizens. None of those pushing these kind of ideas have ever come out to condemn IMN for its excesses and crimes. The dictum seems to be “the state is always wrong where IMN is concerned.”

In addition, IMN has been emboldened by the Federal Government’s decision to not designate IMN as a terrorist group even when it has become glaring that this is an unavoidable step to contain the group’s growing resort to terror to make its points.

The outcome of the foregoing is that IMN has been able to embrace more lawlessness with each successive protest. If its members kill a policeman the next thing they will claim is that “we were demanding for the release of our leader”. They echo the same refrain when they set a police patrol car on fire. It has been the standard response they have for their numerous atrocities. One is then compelled to ask if Mr Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the IMN leader is different from other awaiting trial murder suspects in custody awaiting judicial decisions or trial.

The fact remains that El-Zakzaky is being held for cases of multiple murder, which is no longer news. Rev King is on death row for murder so maybe his followers should take to the streets to demand that he be released while attacking security operatives and crying persecution. Those supporting IMN would definitely support them since their goals are at variance with the Nigeria vision.

Common sense demands that the madness stops now. IMN must be made aware that it cannot continue to act lawlessly even when it does not recognise the rights of the Nigerian state over its own existence. Those indulging El Zakzaky and his men must stop now because the farce has gone on for too long. The cat and mouse chase around IMN’s lawlessness is no longer about El Zakzaky and the state but has spilled over to concern all Nigeria. It is a matter of time before citizens begin to resort to self-help for dealing the IMN menace and that will be really ugly.

Giwa wrote from Lagos street, Abuja.

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Opinion

Buratai: Oasis of Buhari’s Change Agenda

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Tukur Yusuf Buratai

Tukur Yusuf Buratai

By Raymond Onoja

Most times, some Nigerians feel predications of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on the “Change” mantra should begin and end with Mr. President. However it is a junkyard thought. It explains why often, some Nigerians ask President Buhari to show them the “Change” he promised Nigerians, a psychological detachment from supposed roles.
Leadership anywhere is a collective responsibility and those who exercise it at the lower rung have even greater obligations. The President will fail if he is the lone executor of his policies and programs in governance. Every Nigerian is a leader or “President” in the big or small organization, he is privileged to lead and must amble to the path of the “Change Agenda .” But many Nigerians have failed to recognize this sacrosanct truth.
However, it gladdens the heart to know the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai understands and demonstrates obligations of supportive leadership. His perception of the Nigerian Army as an institution and a country he leads, with the flavour of the “change agenda” has presented to Nigerians a polished army and an organization which is bequeathing enduring legacies to the nation.
He has taught the Nigerian Army virtues of professionalism, patriotism, loyalty, hard work, transparency, honesty and dedication to all assignments. The Army Chief has groomed soldiers who now know, every mission must be accomplished and all assignments must end in positive results or victories.
This is even as it is widely known that budgetary votes to any arm of government or sector have never been sufficient. Paucity of funds to solve the barrage of problems afflicts almost all public institutions. Some heads of MDAs use this as an excuse to celebrate poor performance.
Interestingly, Gen. Buratai has turned the reality of meagre funds to the Army into strength by prudent management of funds accruing to the Nigerian Army. Soldiers are winning the war on Boko Haram terrorism and other insurgencies in the country because troops are psychologically and physically encouraged by their leader.
Soldiers are motivated to give their best through various incentives. Gen. Buratai does not compromise their welfare. Salaries and allowances are never delayed, but paid promptly.
For the first time in the history of the Nigerian Army, the institution has not only transformed, but it is rapidly breaking new grounds under Gen. Buratai. Part of the “Change” agenda of President Buhari is the patronage of local products and services.
Gen. Buratai is religiously committed to this policy. He purchases Army operational vehicle from Innoson Motors, an indigenous company.
In education and training of Army personnel, Gen. Buratai has proved that it is possible to shun foreign institutions. He has stamped that Nigeria has the capacity to develop its own competitive and world class local institutions for the Army and Nigerians.
The COAS has established the first Nigerian Army Aviation School, which has trained the first batch of Army pilots in flying warplanes. There is also, the first ever Nigerian Army University, Biu (NAUB) which will offer professional and specialized training to soldiers, other security agents and civilians. It has commenced operations.
President Buhari has always preached that anywhere Nigerians find themselves in leadership; they must depart from the old order and impact positively on the people by doing things differently. It is under Gen. Buratai’s reign that the Nigerian Army executes its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to its host communities across Nigeria. There are signposts of such projects in water, roads construction, and electricity supply and free medical services to numerous communities in Nigeria.
The Army boss keeps his word. He promised Nigerian Army post-service housing scheme. He was specific on ensuring that every Nigerian soldier who has fought the counter-terrorism war will retire to a befitting home in appreciation of their sacrifices to the nation.
Today, the Nigerian Army in synergy with Betonic West Limited has already launched N7.5 billion Army post-service housing project in Otukpo and Ohimini local government areas of Benue State. There is nothing more comforting than to have a shelter over your head after meritorious service to your country.
Reformations and innovations’ are central to the dictum of the “Change” mantra of Mr. President. Gen. Buratai has established numerous fresh Army formations across the country. Nigerian Army barracks which wore the distinctive emblems of centres of filth and deterioration have been rehabilitated or renovated. Army barracks across the country have been given new facelifts.
It is natural that in every establishment, there are a few bad eggs. Gen. Buratai knows the Nigerian Army is not insulated from the social malaise. For decades, Nigerians have complained of human rights violations perpetrated by soldiers, unfortunately no one harkened to their lamentations over this problem. Gen. Buratai has changed the narrative by establishing the first ever Human Rights Desk at the Army Headquarters (AHQs) to handle such complaints.
President Buhari believes in the concept of leadership by example. This which Gen. Buratai emulates. So, when the Army Chief laces his boots and hops into the trenches in the Northeast with his troops, it demonstrates leadership by example. It is practical expression of his competence in the art of war both as soldier and leader.
Gen. Buratai knows effective leadership is not achieved through propaganda. So, at all times, he strives to feed Nigerians with the truth and condition of the counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast. He neither lies nor exaggerates, but sticks to the truth.
Therefore, Gen. Buratai represents the rarest personality of leadership example at subordinate level. He is a son and leader, in whom President Buhari is well pleased. Buratai is an indisputable symbol of the “Change” agenda of President Buhari’s administration.

Onoja is a development analyst based in the United States of America

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Opinion

Frank: How Oshiomhole allegedly collected $50m from aspirants, candidates during Primaries

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Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman of APC

Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman of APC

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has exposed how the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, allegedly collected over $50million from different aspirants and candidates during the primary elections of the party.

Frank said a large percentage of the money was paid to Oshiomhloe through proxies from Imo, Zamfara, Adamawa and Ogun states among others.

Recall that the nation’s secret police had interrogated Oshiomhole, and reportedly did ask him to resign over allegations of bribery and corruption against him.

In a statement signed in Abuja on Thursday, the former APC spokesman threatened to publish the names and amounts paid to lobby the National Chairman to clear aspirants and substitute the names of duly elected candidates with those that failed.

According to Frank, the Department of State Services (DSS) has presented its report and findings against Oshiomhole to President Muhammadu Buhari but the President is still in dilemma on what to do.

“I dare say that this singular act of refusing to order the prosecution of Oshiomhole over sundry acts of bribery and corruption he committed as contained in the DSS report, President Buhari has shown that his APC-led administration is a stinking house of corruption.”

While expressing surprise at Oshiomhole’s latest ordeal, he said the former Labour leader will go down in history as a party chairman who had allegedly received such humongous bribe within a short period of time in office.

Frank, however, called on the President to act on the recommendations of the DSS by ordering : Oshiomhole’s sack and prosecution, if his (Buhari) government is actually fighting corruption or opposition.

“We are in the know that President Muhammadu Buhari has received the DSS report on Adams Oshiomhole and Nigerians are patiently waiting for the action or inaction of his government because this is an administration that has claimed fighting corruption as an achievement.

“In the history of party administration in Nigeria, no party chairman has been accused of collecting the jaw-breaking amount of money allegedly collected within a short period in office like Comrade Oshiomhole has allegedly done.

“Instead of Oshiomhole to clear his name, he has taken to diversionary path asking the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki to resign. Nigerians are not gullible. We shall wait to see how the acclaimed anti-corruption regime will act on this particular issue.

“This same Oshiomhole has been attacking the Senate President, calling on him to resign on moral ground, can Oshiomhole now step aside while investigation into his financial malfeasance is on going to justify his much talked about morality?” Frank asked.

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