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Buhari: My job is done, now, Nigerians can enjoy maximum security *Terrorism, banditry, IPOB, others, ended



President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the new Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC), two state-of-the-art facilities to optimise efforts at addressing evolving security challenges in the country, especially terrorism and violent extremism.

President, who used the occasion to outline significant milestones achieved by his administration on National Security, including gains in combating terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, separatist tendencies, crude oil theft, piracy as well as militancy in the South-South and cyber-security, said the facilities would serve as a major legacy to provide the incoming administration with infrastructure to effectively coordinate national security and counterterrorism efforts.

On the threat of terrorism, which was labelled as a major security challenge facing the country when he assumed office in 2015, the President said: ”I can confidently state here today that we have achieved significant milestones in degrading the major threat and restoring normalcy to most of the hitherto securitised areas in the North East.

”These areas previously occupied by terrorists have been freed and Internally Displaced Persons are voluntarily returning to their homes. This was largely achieved through the valiant efforts of our Armed Forces and other security agencies, in collaboration with our regional and international partners but above all, the support and cooperation of the Nigerian citizens.”

Apart from the degraded threat of terrorism in the North East, Buhari also expressed delight that government had curbed the series of armed banditry and kidnapping cases in the North West and North Central zones, explaining that the criminal acts, had emerged as a result of the scattering of Boko Haram in the North East and the implosion of Libya in the Maghreb.

Also informing that the separatist agitations, the President noted that agitators in the South East and to a much lesser extent the South West, who have been experiencing concerns of separatist tendencies, are being checkmated, the President, said economic terrorism, responsible for depleting national revenue was also being taken care of.

”Issues of crude oil theft, sea robbery, piracy and militancy in the South-South are equally being addressed. Most of these threats have transnational linkages thereby reinforcing the need for regional and international cooperation as critical enablers to enhance our national security,” expressing delight that some key threats within Nigeria’s Maritime Environment such as piracy, sea robbery, crude oil theft as well as illegal unregulated and unreported fishing were also being effectively tackled.

Buhari, who said between August 2018 and March 2023, over 220 vessels involved in maritime criminality within Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Republic of Togo, had been prosecuted, commended the Falcon Eye maritime domain awareness project, domiciled with the Nigerian Navy and coordinated by ONSA, for providing high-quality real-time intelligence, leading to the arrest and prosecution of economic saboteurs.

Stating that over 87 oil tankers involved in various crude oil and product theft have been arrested, the theft of over 3 million barrels of crude oil was prevented and 15 million litres of petrol and diesel recovered, he added: ”Recent commendations from the International Maritime Organization, European Union and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to Nigeria on our efforts in reducing maritime criminality in the Gulf of Guinea and successful prosecution of pirates in the region are worth mentioning,” he said.

The President, who also spoke on cyber threats, underscored the importance of protecting Nigeria’s cyberspace from all forms of intrusion, saying in addition to receiving regular briefing from the Cybercrime Advisory Council, the government had established the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team and revised the National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy in February 2021.

”To further complement these efforts, I will soon be endorsing the Presidential Order for the Designation and Protection of Critical National Information Infrastructure. This is bearing in mind that cyberspace creates a nexus for synchronizing efforts of our security and law enforcement agencies towards addressing numerous security challenges,” he said, adding that the newly inaugurated top grade facilities, as a demonstration of his administration’s firm commitment to ensure national security capabilities are kept abreast with the highest global standards.

He said the offices were designed to enhance strategic response to a broad range of current and emerging security concerns, noting that Nigeria exists in an interconnected world and therefore must be able to face and respond to both domestic and global security challenges.

Congratulating the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retired) and his team for this noble achievement, the President expressed confidence that the new facilities would in no small measure enhance the desired peaceful and secure environment for our country.

He also commended some of the key security policy documents either produced or revised by this administration and supervised by ONSA including the National Counterterrorism Strategy 2016, National Security Strategy 2019, National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy 2021 and the National Crisis Management Doctrine 2022.

”In broad terms, these policy documents emphasise a Whole-of-Government involving all the ministries, departments and agencies in combination with a Whole-of-Society involving civil society organizations and the citizenry. ‘Thereby we can achieve a Whole-of-Nation, and ultimately a Whole-of-Region approach involving our contiguous neighbours, ECOWAS and AU partners in order to address various dimensions of security concerns.”

Monguno, who welcomed the President to the facility, said the dynamic nature of global and domestic security environment necessitated the modification and expansion of some of the functions of ONSA, adding that while his office’s core mandate was to assess the security concerns of the country and advise the President on all matters bordering on national security, the changing nature of the security landscape over the last three decades in the country and across the world led to the broadening of ONSA’s mandate to accommodate the needs of emerging security threats.

”The new office for the NCTC is designed to accommodate the additional workforce and improved technological capabilities of the Centre, particularly the Exclusive Devices Analysis Office (EDAO) , increasing activities of countering violent extremism department and joint terrorism analysis branch. The new ONSA and NCTC complex boasts of office spaces, a world-class hall, conference rooms, team rooms, laboratories, an auditorium and an operations/crisis centre,” he said.

Stressing that the facilities would further enhance Nigeria’s already recognized contribution to global counterterrorism policy and practice efforts and give impetus to the country’s internal, bilateral, and multilateral cooperation and collaboration in tackling the menace of terrorism and violent extremism, he commended the President for his administration’s investment strategy in legacy infrastructure projects and also acknowledged the support of the National Assembly.

In his goodwill message, the UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, commended President Buhari  and his government for championing the  NCTC, saying ”this is no doubt part of your legacy that will enable Nigeria continue to address domestic and regional security challenges”.

Schmale, who was represented by Kimaris Toogood, Peace and  Advisor, Office of the Resident Coordinator (UN Nigeria), also commended the progress made by the Nigerian military to degrade the operational capacity of Islamic State West Africa Province and  Boko Haram and to improve intelligence gathering on suspected terrorists.

The top UN official in Nigeria praised ONSA for the development of threat assessments and watchlists, active cooperation with Interpol, establishment of multiagency screening processes, the trials of multiple terrorist  suspects, and the development of Federal and State rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.

”We all know that it takes both kinetic and non-kinetic responses to end terrorism. The fact that almost 80,000 persons have surrendered to authorities in the north-east since May 2021 represents a real opportunity to shift the dynamic.

”Challenges remain in terms of screening and identification of those individuals and ensuring appropriate responses in line with their needs and profiles. Some persons are no doubt deserving of and desperate for humanitarian assistance. And likewise, individuals will need to be accountable for their crimes and justice will need to be served.

”The UN stands willing and ready to support the Government of Nigeria on this effort, and commends Governor Babagana Zulum for developing the Borno Model and engaging with the UN on this matter, ” he said.

Schmale, who pledged that UN would continue to be a strong partner and supporter of Nigeria’s efforts to address the issues of insecurity and terrorism, recalled that since 2001, the Security Council has adopted more than 40 counter-terrorism resolutions.

”As outlined in these resolutions, Member States are obliged to  implement significant measures at the national level while also enhancing bilateral and multilateral  cooperation to counter and eradicate terrorism. As part of a whole of government effort these include criminalising terrorist acts and prosecuting offenders, countering the financing of  terrorism, enhancing border security, countering incitement to terrorism and addressing the root  causes.

”The visit of the Members of the UN Security Council to Nigeria and the passage of Resolution 2349 of 31st March 2017 are the strongest demonstrations yet of the United Nations commitment to supporting Nigeria’s counter terrorism efforts,” the UN official said.

He stressed that the newly commissioned NCTC would effectively contribute to advancing implementation of these various Security Council resolutions and is thus a positive step towards Nigeria fulfilling its obligations under international law.


Panic! Gunmen storm Anambra Assembly, attempt to bundle away lawmaker



Panic-stricken members of the Anambra State House of Assembly, watched in utter horror on Thursday as one of their colleagues was bundled into a waiting vehicle, by four gun-wielding men, preparatory to being whisked away, before mother-luck came calling.

It took the quick reflexes of security guards at the entrance who locked the gate, to prevent the armed men, who later turned out to be operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) from completing the operation.

The target of the operatives was Onyekachukwu Ike, the House of Assembly-elect member for the Nnewi North constituency, who had joined in the valedictory session for outgoing members, though it is not known why the members of the agency were after him.

Eyewitness account, said the operatives arrived the Assembly complex in three vehicles in a commando version, grabbed the member-elect as he emerged from the venue validectory thanksgiving mass for the seventh Assembly and forced him into their waiting vehicle.

However, it took the eagle-eyed members of the security team of the assembly to truncate the attempt to drive the lawmaker away, because they quickly locked the exit gate, thus halting the operation, as it gave people the opportunity to intervene.

Reacting to the incident, Acting Clerk of the Assembly, Esther Aneto, who bemoaned the manner the operatives carried out the operation, said neither the authorities of the assembly, nor the police was informed about it.

It took the intervention of the Speaker, Uche Okafor, and the Deputy Governor, Onyeka Ibezim, who came to represent the Governor at the Valedictory session before the member-elect was released from the vice grips of the DSS operatives, who however, explained that they had a court order to arrest him.


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Judge orders Yahoo-Yahoo student to clean EFCC premises for two weeks



Justice Aliyu Shafa, of the Federal High Court, Gwagwalada, Abuja, on Thursday ordered a student, Istifanus Irmiya, to clean the premises of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for for two weeks, after he was convicted for internet fraud.

Irmiya, who was docked by the EFCC on a two-count charge, boarding on cheating and impersonation, was also ordered to pay a fine of N100,000, while the phone he used in committing the offence was to be destroyed and burnt.

This was after the culprit, pleaded guilty to the charges and begged the court for leniency, which the court accepted, but insisted that he must carry out the punishment of cleaning the EFCC premises from 9 a.m. to 12 noon daily for two weeks, to teach him a lesson.

Frowning at the rate internets fraud were being committed, Shafa, said: “I have carefully listened to the plea of allocutus made by the convict and the defence counsel. The rate of internet fraud through Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, among others in the society is so alarming.

“That he is a first time offender is not an excuse to go scot-free. The rate of Yahoo-Yahoo among youths is alarming. “Many who resort to crime always have ‘I want to get rich quick’ mindset. Sending him to prison might make him more hardened,” the judge ruled.

Irmiya, who pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy, promising that he would not indulge in such acts again, said: “I want to beg the court for mercy. I’m deeply sorry for what I have done. I’m a changed person now knowing fully well the consequences of my offence.”

Chibuike Chima, his lawyer, who echoed his pleas, told the court that Irmiya had no previous conviction record and was also remorseful, saying: “Irmiya is the only son of the family and he is seeking admission into the university. He has spent one month in EFCC custody.
“The convict has shown remorse and genuinely repented over the crime he has committed by way of expressing genuine repentance, he has restituted the proceeds of crime which is the sum of 250 Euros. The convict is a first-time offender. He has not be convicted for any other crime of whatever kind. We urge my lord to tamper justice with mercy. We assure this court that going forward, the convict will be of good behaviour.”

The EFCC Counsel, Taiwo Aromolaran, who told the court that Irmiya had sometime in 2022 within the jurisdiction of the court cheated by personation, said that the convict deceived his victim while pretending to be one mistress Clara a female Caucasian.

She said that the convict carried out an illegal act, making one Alex Lexis, a German, to send him the sum of 250 Euros which he received via PayPal and Nosh Apps before transferring the money to his own account domiciled with Polaris Bank.

She said that the convict sometime in 2022, also had in his possession documents containing false-pretence, where he represented himself as a German on his Facebook and KK accounts, created by him with the intent to induce Alex Lexis to deliver money to him.

She said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 321 of the Penal Code Act of the Federation (Abuja), 1990 and punishable under Section 324 of the same Act, adding that Section 6 in conjunction with Section 8 of the advance-fee fraud and other related offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

Pleading with the court that the cell phone being the instrument used for the crime should be forfeited, Aromolaran urged the court to take into consideration the increase in the menace of internet frauds in Nigeria.

Bewailing the menace fraudsters had caused to the image of the country and to their victims, she told the court that Irmiya and his group, operated as syndicates, saying: “They believe that merely coming to court and pleading guilty is enough to attract the sympathy of the court.”


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BREAKING: Tinubu, hosts G-5 govs at Villa *Intensifies moves to break PDP



It is becoming obvious that President Bola Tinubu, may be working hard to break the ranks of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as he is currently hosting the five former Governors of the party who former the G-5 Integrity Group, a very powerful bloc in the main opposition party that fought against the ticket of the party.

Nyesom Wike, former Governor of Rivers State, who was the arrowhead of the G-5, comprising Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Seyi Makinde of Oyo, was seen leading the other members to the Presidential Villa, for a meeting with Tinubu, on Thursday afternoon.

The group had vehemently opposed the ticket of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2023 presidential election and refused to join the campaigns on the ground that the former Vice President did not support the ouster of Iyorchia Ayu, then National Chairman of the party on the ground that he came from the same North as him.

Incidentally, the meeting is coming few hours after Caleb Mutfwang Governor of Plateau State and Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom, both PDP governors at the same State House Abuja, in what observers are already interpreting as an attempt to woo the top echelon of the opposition party.

The meeting with the G-5 governors, shortly after that of Tinubu with the two PDP governors, is coming as the party and Atiku Abubakar, are trying to prove before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), sitting in Abuja that Tinubu did not win the 2023 presidential election.

Details later…

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