One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity…

Rather than the greetings of happy New Year, the people of Tomatar, Umenge, and Akor villages in Guma, Ayilamo, Turan Ngambe-Tiev in Logo local government area of Benue were greeted with cries of agony, pain and loss.

From Numan to Barkin-Ladi and Riyom, from southern Kaduna to Awe and Doma in Nasarawa and then to Agatu, Logo and Guma in Benue, all the way through to Odukpani and then to Arochukwu, this group of malicious and murderous herdsmen have been acting out a genocide with complete contempt for human lives.

So much loss! Children have become orphans, women have become widows, mothers and fathers have become childless.

We have watched as the journey from the sanctuary of our homes to our place of productivity, be it farms or shops, have become treacherous routes and our places of safety have become our graves.

The lethal act of these herdsmen goes as far back as 2012 in Yogbo, Guma local government area, where no fewer than 30 women and children were killed. We also saw the 2016 killing of almost 2000 people in Aguta.

The herdsmen related death toll in Benue has grown to almost 3000 and no group has been brought to justice.

During the campaign, yourself and your running mate at the time visited Benue, and even identified with its people by dressing up in their local attire as you all fought for votes. But, the fact that the president or vice president did not deem it fit to attend the mass burial of 73 of its citizens, or even send a representative remains a mystery to me. That the people you swore to serve and protect are now placed second to the commerce of cattle rearing. Now a 4 hour drive from the capital has suddenly become a 3 week journey.

We have watched in complete stupor as the team of doctors and specialists, including the Hon. Minister of Health who was appointed to administer the health of over 180 million Nigerians, the Chief Medical Director of National Hospital, Abuja, and his team, among other experts, dropped all to attend to the ‘sacred cow’ who was in a coma after a motor bike accident. The same government, however, was too busy to send a delegation to mourn with the wailing wailers when they buried their loved ones. Or in the least, send medical help to the injured and dying in Benue.

Genocide is playing before our very eyes. These people are creeping into our communities and taking over, they are settling in communities that once belonged to the people of Benue. Cows are now roaming freely in places where children used to play.

Hatred, rage, anger, bitterness, vengefulness and other dangerous emotions are been sown and carelessly thrown around. They are fanned by malicious elements in the society and the government has failed to pay attention. This government has allowed all this negative feelings take root in an already agitated populace. A wise man said, “you sow the wind, you reap a whirlwind.”

The last line in the second stanza of the National Anthem could not express my opinion better; it speaks of “One Nation, bound in FREEDOM, PEACE AND UNITY”.

We can only be considered as one nation if we are bound by the tents of freedom, when everyone from all parts of the nation know they are free, then we will have peace and that peace will guaranty unity.

The interesting thing about unity is that, unity is one of those things that can never be forced. Like the young man who tells his father, “I may be sitting physically, but I am standing in my mind.” You cannot enforce unity. The people must choose unity.

How can you expect unity in a nation where agitators are arrested and harassed but the perceived injustice that caused the agitation is not addressed?

How can you expect unity in a nation where internationally recognized terrorists and murderers are protected by the government that was voted in by the victims?

How can you, Mr. President, expect unity in a country where murderers roam free and the victims who raise lamentations about their victimization are harassed by those sworn to protect them?

Mr. President, this is unacceptable. You are the president today because the North, South, East and West chose you. At your inauguration, you said, “I BELONG TO NOBODY.” We believed you. Your actions however, do not align with those declarations. Starting with your lopsided appointments to the military actions of your generals in the South-East and other parts of the country.

As the nation stands at the precipice of great division, suspicion, fear and accusations and counter-accusations, you are the umpire of this technical march. Your action or inaction will set you apart as the president who brought unity and kept us together proving your accusers wrong or forever shove you down in history as the Nigerian president that caused the greatest division in our country.

Whatever your decision Sir, history will remember!

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Terrorism has no respect for any religion – Buhari

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – According to recent report, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his sympathy to the government and people of Egypt over the loss of many life’s which occurred as a result of attack on a mosque where people were praying in North Sinai on Friday, November 24, 2017.

President Buhari in a statement released by Garba Shehu, the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, condemned the act. He said that terrorism has no relationship and respect for any religion, and those who are involved in the act of terrorism should be visited with the full wrath of the law.

The president’s statement read in full:

‘The attack further reinforces the position that terrorism has no relationship or respect for any religion, and should be visited with the full wrath of the law.

The workable panacea to such mindless and irresponible attacks on citizens would be a global joint action that continually shares intelligence, simulates scenarios and regularly updates on both local and international threats.’

Buhari prayed that those that lost their life in the attack have eternal rest and God should comfort their families and loved ones.

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Buratai: Army outstanding balance will be paid this week

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai, has promised to pay the two-month allowances the army is owing soldiers in the anti-terrorist operation with the code name ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’, combating Boko Haram insurgents in northeast Nigeria.

According to report, the chief of army staff disclosed this today, Monday, November 6, 2017, in a statement signed by Sani Usman, the army spokesperson.

Buratai said the funds released by the Ministry of Defence will enable payment of the outstanding allowances of the soldiers.

There was a report that an officer of the Nigerian Army wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari complaining about on-going corruption in the army and the poor state of the troops.

The officer who is also part of the anti-terrorist operation against Boko Haram wrote the letter in reaction to the army’s dismissal of the complaints of Abdulrauf Aliyu, a private of the Nigerian Army.

Aliyu had complained that he was abandoned after being shot by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

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US condemns Nigeria’s failed fight against Boko Haram

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – The United States (US) has condemned the failure of the Nigerian government to overcome the Boko Haram menace and the damages it left behind in North-East Nigeria.

The reaction of the US government was revealed in a 2016 report on terrorism published on July 19, according to news report.

The report on terrorism which was submitted to the US Congress stated that:

‘Despite gains made by the MNJTF, much of its reported progress was merely duplication of failed efforts carried over from the end of the last dry/fighting season.

‘The Nigerian military was unable to hold and rebuild civilian structures and institutions in those areas it had cleared.

‘Most of the remaining students abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok remained in captivity, although one girl was found in Borno, and the government of Nigeria successfully negotiated the release of 21 of the kidnapping victims.’

The Nigerian government was also accused of refusing to get help from regional organisations, in the report.

According to the report:

‘The Nigerian government has not invested significant resources or time enlisting regional organisations, such as the Economic Community of West African States and Economic Community of Central African States, to assist with the Boko Haram problem.

‘Instead, the government of Nigeria preferred to engage Boko Haram militants in direct, unilateral military action and through the MNJTF, which is headed by a Nigerian military officer.’

However, the United Nations (UN) has newly allocated $10.5 million to tackle the crisis in North-East Nigeria caused by menace of Boko Haram terrorists. The fund was allocated through the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) which was setup by the UN earlier in February, 2017.

The fund is expected to be used in providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable, including those in the hard-to-reach and newly accessible areas. It is to fund about 15 different projects, including the provision of safe drinking water, emergency shelter and health services.

UN estimates that there are 8.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the three worst-affected Nigerian states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone. It says, of them, 6.5 million people are targeted for humanitarian assistance.

So far, the UN has allocated over $30 million to tackle the crisis in North-East Nigeria through the NHF.



Minister of Info appeals against comments that could jeopardize release of remaining Chibok girls

rescued chibok girls

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has appealed to commentators and analysts to refrain from making statements that could jeopardize the release of the Chibok girls who are still in captivity.

The minister made the appeal on Sunday in Abuja at a special thanksgiving church service and reunion for the 21 girls and their families.

‘There are many reckless analysts and commentators who are not helping the situation. We still have many of our children in captivity. Therefore we have to be careful with the kind of comments that we make. We must not make comments that will make the release of these girls difficult or impossible,’ he said.

Mohammed, who quoted from the Scriptures, ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them,’ said those who doubted the sincerity and commitment of the present administration to the safe release and the reunion of the abducted Chibok girls with their parents were disappointed.

‘When the President said that the Boko Haram saga will not be closed until all the girls abducted have been released and reunited with their families safely, those who doubted did not believe us so we thank God this day has come,’ he said.

He appealed to the parents of the girls who are yet to be freed to continue to exercise patience, saying, ‘This is the beginning and we are very optimistic that very soon another batch bigger than this will be released. I want to assure you that these negotiations are ongoing even as we speak.’

The chairman of the Parents of the Abducted Chibok School Girls Yakubu Nkeki re-echoed the minister’s plea by appealing to the people to stop spreading rumours, particularly on the social media, that will put the lives of the girls at risk.

He debunked some reports alleging that 18 of the 21 free girls are pregnant even as he denied that the girls were radicalized by Boko Haram.

Mr. Nkeki thanked President Buhari for summoning the courage and the political will that eventually led to the release of the abducted girls.

In her testimony, the spokesperson of the released girls, Miss Gloria Dame, who recalled their ordeal in captivity, thanked God and all those who made their safe release and reunion with their families possible.

Miss Dame, who spoke in Hausa, prayed that God will ensure the safe release of the other girls still in captivity.

‘We never thought we will ever see this moment but God has made it possible for us. I want to appeal to all of us to fast and pray for the safe release of those left behind,’ she said.

Dr. Shiktra Kwali, who delivered the sermon at the thanksgiving service, told the girls that as they start a new life in freedom, they should not allow the experience of the past to weigh them down, and urged them to remain steadfast in serving the Lord, who has not forsaken them even in captivity.

Several ministers of God, including the President of the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) Reverend Joel Bilili, offered prayers for the girls.

The high-point of the occasion was the reunion between the parents and their daughters. Tears flowed freely as parents took turns to identify their daughters, while one woman simply carried her daughter on her back in happiness.

The ceremony ended with an identification parade, as each of the freed girls identified her parents who in turn made brief comments, with many of them praising President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring the safe release of the girls.

War on Terror: Nigerian Air Force commences air offensive in Sambisa forest

nigerian-air-force-fighter-jet

As part of moves to end the problem of insurgency in the North-East, The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commenced another round of air interdiction missions code-named ‘OPERATION FOREST STORM’.

According to the Defence Headquarters, this new phase of offensive air operations is aimed at further degrading the capabilities of the Boko Haram Terrorists in the Sambisa general area with a view to restrict the freedom of action of the insurgents as well as neutralise any threat posed to movement of own ground forces in continuing with their rescue operations.

‘The operation, which commenced on 2 October, 2016, is expected to last few days. During this period, the NAF would be conducting series of air interdictions to take out a number of carefully selected targets in the Sambisa Forest,’ DHQ said.