Buhari Won’t Quit Over Insecurity, Says Govt [THE NATION]
Those calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari over the rising insecurity in the country should hold their breath.
The President will not resign but will remain in office till the end of his “overwhelming mandate”.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed observed on Thursday that “incendiary and reckless” comments by some Nigerians, especially religious leaders, are capable of aggravating the nation’s security crisis.
The minister accused Amnesty International (AI) of providing succour for terrorists by attributing their atrocities to Nigerian troops.
The government enjoined those making unsavoury comments to be part of solutions to the insurgency in the country which it said was being tackled “headlong.”
Fed Govt: No Going Back On Social Media Regulation [THE NATION]
The Federal Government has said there was no going back on its move to regulate social media in the country.
As a proof to that, it has contacted the two major social media platforms — Facebook and Google — over the issue.
The government cited recent instances of fake news that made it resolve to go ahead with the plan to ensure that damages were not done to the country through the social media.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made these known at a news conference in Abuja yesterday.
He also explained why the ministry requires $500 million loan from and tendered an apology to air travellers for the diversion of Lagos-bound flights to neighbouring countries, especially Ghana.
Mohammed said: “We are pushing ahead with our plan to sanitize the social media, working with stakeholders. By March 2, 2020, we will inaugurate a stakeholders committee that will deliberate and recommend the way forward.
Lyon’s Deputy: Supreme Court Verdict Stain On Me [THE NATION]
- APC seeks reversal of Bayelsa judgment
All Progressives Congress (APC) deputy governorship candidate in the Bayelsa State governorship election in Bayelsa State Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo on Thursday said the Supreme Court judgment which nullified their victory has damaged his reputation.
The party on Thursday filed an application for a reversal of the February 13 verdict.
The Supreme Court held that Degi-Eremienyo, who was a running mate to David Lyon, presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Degi-Eremienyo, who spoke for the first time to reporters in Abuja, said the allegations were not proven, and that those who issued the certificates were never contacted.
He said: “The aim of this press conference is to defend my reputation which the Justices of the Supreme Court, whether consciously or unconsciously, subjected to scurrilous scandal, assault and unfair imputation.
“The judgment of the Supreme Court that I was not qualified to contest as the deputy governorship candidate of APC and my attendant disqualification adversely affected the governorship candidate of the APC.
“The result was that our hard-earned victory, not just for ourselves, but our party and the majority of the good people of Bayless state who have entrusted us with the mandate to democratically govern them, is threatened.
“The event of my disqualification is distressing and traumatising to me personally and, of course, a greater trauma was inflicted on my party, the governorship candidate and the good people of Bayelsa who signified their choice of who should be their governor and deputy governor.
“It is this unsolicited assault on my personality and reputation by the judgment in question that has constrained me to chart this course.
“Unless unfair imputation to character is quickly corrected, it assumes the toga of truth.
“It was clearly a desperate and calculated attempt not just to grab power through the judicial process but equally to tarnish my good image and bring same to disrepute on completely false and unproven allegations.”
Nigeria Inching Towards Anarchy – CAN, Enenche, Others [SUN]
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has again raised the alarm that Nigeria is gradually inching towards anarchy.
Speaking at a conference organised by Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja, in collaboration with some faith-based organisations in Abuja yesterday, to mark the second anniversary of Leah Sharibu’s abduction by insurgents, CAN president, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, said the constitutional responsibility of government was to protect life and property of citizens.
Ayokunle, represented by his deputy, Dr. Caleb Ahima, said, “It is disturbing and we want the world to know the evil that is happening in this country. Instead of the bloodshed ending, more blood is being shed. Our Constitution provides for freedom of association and worship.
“My message to some Christians who are singing praises of evil is that they should stop it. The church must be on its knees and help their falling brothers.”
Miss Sharibu was one of 110 students of the Government Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, abducted in February 2018 by insurgents in the North-East.
The terrorists later released all the schoolgirls but held Sharibu, the only Christian among them, reportedly on account of her refusal to convert to Islam.
In his remarks, Dr. Paul Enenche, senior pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, urged the Federal Government to end insurgency and pay more attention to the security challenges facing the country.
“We are holding this conference to remember Leah Sharibu on the occasion of her second year in captivity.
“We are also using this opportunity to sensitise the world to the plight of all victims of insurgency, such as the wife of the CAN chairman, whose husband was brutally slaughtered by terrorists.
“This is a state of emergency in a calamitous way. To what extent should this go on before people will believe that the nation is literally being wiped off?
“It is time for everyone with one voice to say ‘No’ to this evil. This thing cannot continue anymore. Enough is enough of bloodshed and the rule of terror.
“Anybody who is sponsoring, collaborating, supporting terrorists, let it be known to you that your days are numbered. There is, therefore, an urgent need to arrest the threats that exist in our country. The security situation is real and must be urgently arrested as an emergency,” Enenche said.
Mrs. Mary Andimi, wife of CAN chairman in Michika, Adamawa State, who was beheaded by insurgents, admonished Christians to pray without ceasing and hold on to their faith till death, just as her late husband did.
A human rights lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe, from the United States-based Nigerian Law Group, Washington DC, urged the Nigerian government to address the urgent needs of victims of insurgency.
“If you don’t take care of the victims, they will later become aggressors. The IDP camps are in worse situations than that of the terrorists,’’ he said.
Insecurity: Buhari Won’t Resign –FG [SUN]
- Meets Facebook, Google, stakeholders on social media sanitation
Against the backdrop of calls for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation over the spate of killings, kidnappings and insecurity in the country, the Federal Government replied critics yesterday that he would not resign.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, dismissed calls for the President’s resignation and insisted that Buhari had the mandate of Nigerians to rule till May 2023.
Mohammed, at a press briefing in Abuja, warned critics of government, especially religious leaders, to stop incendiary and reckless comments on the country’s security challenges.
“The country is facing security challenges, and the challenges are being tackled headlong. However, there have been some red herrings in recent times, including those calling for the resignation of Mr. President or the sack of security chiefs. I just want to say that the government, which has provided and continues to provide the military and security agencies with the wherewithal, believes in their ability to tackle insecurity.
“These challenges will be successfully tackled. I will, however, advise all commentators, especially political and religious leaders, to be very careful at this time not to aggravate the situation with incendiary comments, comments that cash in on our religious, ethnic and political fault lines, to further divide us.
“The kind of comments that have been attributed to some leaders, especially religious leaders, are incendiary and reckless. Leaders should be part of solutions to problems, rather than aggravating the situation. To those asking Mr. President to resign, I wish to say this: Mr. President will not resign. He has the overwhelming mandate of Nigerians to preside over the affairs of the country till the expiration of his tenure in May 2023.”
Unilag Ex-Lecturer Jailed 21 Years For Raping Admission Seeker [SUN]
An Ikeja High Court yesterday sentenced a former part-time lecturer in the University of Lagos (Unilag), Akin Baruwa, to 21 years’ imprisonment for raping an 18-year-old admission seeker.
Baruwa was arraigned on Oct. 18, 2016. Justice Josephine Oyefeso while sentencing Baruwa, described his action as heinous and said the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others.
“The offence committed against this young lady was a violation of her chastity which would have left huge emotional scars from which I pray and hope she will recover.
“I cannot begin to imagine the physical and mental trauma she has had to endure from the man who she considered her father’s friend, a community leader who should have known better. This is a shame!.This is a crime that not only offends the survivor, it offends her family, it offends the society at large, it also offends God.
“More painful here is that the convict gave the family the impression that he was a lecturer at Unilag, but his services were only needed on an ad-hoc basis by the university, the judge said”.
She said that the convict gave the impression that he could assist in giving his victim university admission where as he could not.
“He used the vulnerability of this young girl to his selfish advantage. The young lady said that the encounter lasted for two to five minutes, the convict said 10 to 15 minutes. Was it worth it at the end of the day?In line with Section 258 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011, Baruwa Afeez Akin ,is hereby sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment,” she held.
Bailouts To Governors Meant To Address Social Menace, Others –Buhari [SUN]
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the N614 billion bailout to states was to assist them address social menace like almajiri among other pressing needs.
The president, who spoke at the Joint National Conference of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Future Assured Initiative on Repositioning the Muslim Family for National Development, said only stable families can make meaningful contributions to a stable society.
“Most of the challenges affecting the family are within the mandates and the jurisdictions of state governments. In compliance with constitutional stipulations and provisions, we gave bailout to them to assist them in discharging this obligations and statutory mandates. It is our expectations that state governments will rise up to these challenges and do their own part in this social degeneration.”
Buhari said the government would also put more effort in ensuring economic support, and empowering of family members for more stability.
“We have been conscious of the havoc poverty is wreaking on the family. We therefore believe that poverty alleviation is central to safeguarding the integrity of our families.
“Our administration introduced a number of economic empowerment and poverty alleviation schemes. Some of these directly impact on families while others have indirect effect on families through their multiplier effects.
“The first and most robust programme is the Social Investment Programme, which serves as a very broad framework for availing Nigerian families at the grassroots level different forms of economic support.’’
He said many homes had benefited from the conditional cash transfer, while trader-moni and market-moni schemes have also been impactful.
Almajiri must be taken off the streets – First Lady
Meanwhile, wife of the president, Aisha, has vowed to take the almajiri off the streets.
Mrs. Buhari while regretting that the problem has never been the availability of laws but compliance, insisted that everything must be done to take the Almajiris off the street.
She declared that she is committed to doing more through Future Assured to combat social vices caused by destabilised families especially the Almajiri problem.
Through The Future Assured Initiative, she has been running marriage seminars for years across the country.
Earlier, the Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, had asked President Buhari to ensure the resolutions met at the event are enforced by state governments.
Bayelsa: Wike Adding Salt To Injury –Sylva [SUN]
- Describes allegation linking him to attack on Odili’s home as wicked
Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has accused Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, of adding “salt ti injury” with allegation that he has a hand in mob attack at the home of Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili.
In a statement yesterday, in reaction to the allegation by the Rivers State Executive Council that Sylva and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, sponsored attack on Justice Odilu, the minister said such insinuation was wicked.
According to him, “there is no truth in that strange and weighty claim. Governor Wike should know in what high esteem I hold Governor Peter and Justice Mary Odili whom I have known and worked with long before Governor Wike came into the picture.”
Sylva said it would not occur to him, “under any circumstance, to malign the person and image of people I hold up as role models.”
He expressed hope that “Governor Wike or those working with him have not organised this protest with the intention of hanging it on my person and our party; in an effort to manipulate the the Supreme Court against our impending appeal for a review at the apex court.”
The minister said what Wike did was “akin to deciding a matter bordering on criminality by way of originating summons where the issues have not been investigated and the accused given an opportunity to defend himself,” wondering why a governor, “who should be the guarantor of justice to all hasten to such weighty conclusions without an iota of evidence?
“Under the circumstance, Governor Wike’s unverified and wicked allegations can best be described as the proverbial ‘adding salt to injury’. A most unkind behaviour from someone who should know better.”
Sylva said the Supreme Court judgment of February 13 had made him speechless “that I could not even contemplate any other course of action than to approach the Supreme Court again. I am a man of peace and would not support any action that can cause a breach of the peace. My appeal for peace and calm to the people of Bayelsa which was widely circulated last week attests to this.
“I have had several encounters with the Supreme Court since 2012. I have never, at any time, attempted to protest its judgment, why would I do that now?”
Addressing the issue of securing former governor Peter Odili and Justice Mary Odili, Sylva said: “Wike as governor of Rivers State has the duty to protect all Rivers people including the Odilis. I hope he has lived up to this duty creditably. It is for Rivers people to judge. As for the threat to me, ultimately it is God that secures not man or even a governor.”
He advised Wike, saying: “Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by benevolent spirits, should not forget to be humble.”
CAN, BBOG Knock Senate On Boko Haram Education Bill [PUNCH]
The Senate on Thursday started work on a bill for a law seeking the establishment of a national agency for education and rehabilitation of repentant Boko Haram insurgents.
When it eventually becomes a law, it will ensure de-radicalisation of repentant Boko Haram militants and other insurgents.
The bill, which was sponsored by the All Progressives Congress member representing Yobe East Senatorial District, and former governor of Yobe State, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, passed the first reading on Thursday.
But few hours after it passed the first reading, the bill attracted mixed reactions with the Chibok Community, which was attacked by the insurgents in 2014, and the Christian Association of Nigeria condemning it.
It was, however, supported by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Reading the bill, Geidam, who is from the same state with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the document titled, “National agency for the education, rehabilitation, de-radicalisation and integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria,” would ensure that repentant insurgents were fully integrated into society.
The proposed agency, according to the legislation, would provide educational opportunities for the insurgents.
It will also rehabilitate, de-radicalise and integrate the repentant insurgents in the country. The proposed agency, according to the bill, will provide recreational sports and fine arts programmes for the repentant insurgents.
The bill also states that the agency will be able to gain a greater understanding of both the immediate needs for combating Boko Haram, as well as tool for counter-radicalisation in the future, by maintaining open lines of communication.
The proposed agency will also provide vocational rehabilitation facilities for the repentant terrorists to learn carpentry, clay shaping, pottery and the like.
The bill adds that repentant insurgents will make use of art through drawings, guided by professional art therapists in their art. rehabilitation.
The main aims of the bill are to “provide avenue for rehabilitating, de-radicalising, educating and reintegrating the defectors, repentant and detained members of the insurgent group Boko Haram to make them useful members of the society.
“Provide avenue for reconciliation and promote national security. Provide an-open-door and encouragement for other members of the group who are still engaged in the insurgency to abandon the group, especially in the face of the military pressure.
“Give the government an opportunity to derive insider-information about the insurgent group for greater understanding of the group and its inner workings.
“Gain greater understanding of the insurgents will enable government to address the immediate concerns of violence and study the needs of de-radicalization effort to improve the process of de-radicalization.
“Help disintegrate the violent and poisonous ideology that the group spreads as the programme will enable some convicted or suspected terrorists to express remorse over their actions.
“Make them repent and recant their violent ideology and re-enter mainstream politics, religion and society.”
Recall that the military established a rehabilitating centre in Gombe State for repentant Boko Haram terrorists.
The centre, it was reported, had trained and rehabilitated over 1,000 insurgents since its inception over three years ago.
The Borno State Government had also revealed that about 1,400 repentant Boko Haram suspects had been released by the military and rehabilitated into society.
The Federal Government had in 2017 established the North-East Development Commission, after a bill establishing it was passed by the National Assembly.
The NEDC is charged with the responsibility to, “among other things, receive and manage funds from allocation of the federal account and international donors for the settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency as well as tackling menace of poverty, illiteracy level, ecological problems and any other related environmental or developmental challenges in the North-East states”- Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe.
FG trying to make insurgency a lucrative business – CAN
CAN’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel, in an interview with The PUNCH, said he was not aware of any nation that had successfully undertaken the project of de-radicalising, rehabilitating and empowering terrorists.
He stated, “We shall be ready for them at the public hearing on such bills. If the Federal Government is not having an ulterior motive of rewarding terrorism through that bill as most Nigerians believe, the FG, instead, would have put a bill in place that will provide adequate relief materials for victims of terrorism, and concrete measures proposed for adequate compensation for them as well.
“If Nigerian government had taken full responsibility and liability for the welfare and adequate compensation for victims of insurgency, they would have known well if they have defeated Boko Haram or not. They would have also known very well the kind of persons and group of persons that constitute the victims of Boko Haram, kidnapping, and killers Fulani militias.
“Like we have always said, it is the conviction of many Christian and indeed Nigerians that the Federal Government is trying to make insurgency a lucrative business for the large number of unemployed Nigerian youths and young persons, if not what is the justification of the special attention been given to the terrorists at the detriment of the welfare of the victims and the security agents fighting in the bush?”
It’s a dumb idea – Chibok community
Commenting on Geidam’s bill, the Chibok community in Borno State lambasted the Senate, saying the people of the North-East, not insurgents, needed urgent attention and rehabilitation.
Boko Haram had on April 14, 2014 attacked Chibok Secondary School, where they kidnapped 276 girls. On Tuesday, the insurgents again attacked the community.
The Spokesperson for the Kibaku Community Development Association in Chibok, Dr Allen Manasseh, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “Honestly, this must be a very dumb idea. Anyone who supports this bill must be an enemy of this country. We have thousands of internally displaced persons in the North-East who are still scattered around Borno and other states and who need attention.
“We also have a lot of people that are not even in IDPs camps and are struggling on their own in host communities. For someone to try to sponsor a bill to establish an agency for the rehabilitation of Boko Haram members, this bill must not be listened to and must be thrown out at the first reading.”
Benue needs attention too – Group
Also, the pan socio-cultural groups of Benue State said that equity and fair play should be the watchword of the National Assembly.
The leader of the pan socio-cultural group, Chief Edward Ujege, said that the Senate should not overlook Benue State which had yet to recover from the destruction by Fulani herdsmen.
Ujege recalled that hundreds of thousands of people who were rendered homeless were still languishing in IDPs camps.
The leader of the pan socio-cultural groups which comprise Mdzough U Tiv, Ochetoha K’ Idoma and Omi Ny’ Igede decried the unfulfilled promise of the Federal Government, which said it would provide N10b for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the destroyed properties in the state.
NSCIA backs Senate
But the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs said it supported the bill.
The NSCIA’s Head (Media and Communication), Ibrahim Aselemi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “The NSCIA believes that tackling the hydra-headed monster of insurgency, brigandage and kidnapping requires a multi-sectoral approach. Therefore, the council supports this solution-based effort, especially that which follows the law of first principle. We are positive that these efforts together with others will end insurgency in the country.”
You haven’t done enough for insurgency victims – BBOG
On its part, the #BringBackOurGirls movement said the plan to set up the agency should be done concurrently with the rehabilitation of thousands of internally displaced persons.
The BBOG spokesman, Nifemi Onifade, described the number of individuals displaced by the Boko Haram insurgents as staggering, adding that the government had not taken good care of them.
He stated, “The truth is that victims have not received enough rehabilitation because there are still many individuals that are displaced; there are still many victims in serious need and a pointer to this is the number of people in IDPs camps.”
Onifade noted, “A lot of people need to be rehabilitated so they can continue with their lives. The Boko Haram insurgency has been going on for over 10 years and the attacks are still continuing, so the number of people in need of such support is staggering.”
The coalition said the authorities had not done enough for the IDPs, noting that they still lacked basic amenities, including access to toilets.
“The government has clearly not done enough as many are still displaced. A visit to any IDPs camp would show a significant lack of basic needs like food, water, toilets, access to education. A lot of kids were displaced and do not have access to education,” the group explained.”
I Didn’t Forge My Certificates –Sacked Bayelsa Dep Gov-Elect [PUNCH]
The sacked All Progressives Congress deputy governor-elect in Bayelsa State, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, said on Thursday that he did not forge any of his certificates.
The embattled senator, who addressed journalists in Abuja, also asked the police to vet his credentials.
He lamented that the apex court judgment had left him greatly traumatised and in distress.
He said, “The aim of this press conference is to defend my reputation which the Justices of the Supreme Court, whether consciously or unconsciously, subjected to scurrilous scandal, assault and unfair imputation.
“Let me state that some of my primary school teachers are still alive: Chief Eredogiyo Watson, Chief Allen Obebe-Orukari and Susan Otiotio.
“Let me also state in clear and graphic terms that I attended two secondary schools.
“First, Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, Rivers State where some of my classmates were Harrison Braide, Tombo Douglas, Ferdinand Amabebe: Professor Owunari George Will, Justice Biobele Georgewill, Chief David Briggs and Alpheus Otta and some of my teachers were Mr Wamarte and Mrs Humbly, Mr Frank etc.
“All my academic certificates are in the public domain. Whether they are genuine or forged are verifiable matters.
“If these certificates exist and have not been altered in any manner, it would mean they are genuine. The next enquiry would then be if the names appearing thereon belong to me or belong to some other persons.
“If no other persons can be found who claim the names in the certificates then they are mine.
“Judges including justices of the Supreme Court are free to request law enforcement agencies to investigate persons who appear before them as to the commission or otherwise of crimes.”
“All the educational qualifications I presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission to aid my constitutional qualification were acquired by me personally from institutions here in Nigeria which are still in existence till date. The records are verifiable anytime and any day here in Nigeria.”
You’re Not Qualified To Join Us, APC Tells Fayose [PUNCH]
The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has advised a former governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, to perish the thought of defecting to the APC.
The State Publicity Secretary of the party, Ade Ajayi, said this in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday.
He said the party was not a dumping ground “for failed politicians,” adding that Fayose was not wanted in the party because of his antecedents.
This was contained in a statement he signed. Ajayi described the APC as “a disciplined, refined and integrity-inclined type which would not tolerate people like Fayose,” adding that “Fayose is not qualified to be a member of the APC in the state.”
The party, which was reacting to a statement allegedly credited to Fayose to the effect that he would defect to the APC if his ordained Peoples Democratic Party state chairmanship aspirant failed in his bid for the job.
To this, Ajayi said, “We will not welcome him to the great and decent family in the state.
“It is better he stays back in his PDP to get it more destroyed instead of coming to a principled, disciplined, transparent, law-abiding and organised party like the APC.
“The Ekiti APC members know the people behind the masquerade and thereby warn people like Fayose not to turn the APC to a dumping ground where they can defect to.”
Int’l Mother Tongue Day: Experts Call For Preservation Of Indigeneous Languages [LEADERSHIP]
Language experts have called on individuals and institutions to intensify efforts to preserve mother tongues and local languages from extinction in Nigeria.
In separate interviews with LEADERSHIP Friday on the International Mother Tongue Day, they asserted that indigenous languages give a sense of belonging and originality.
To Dr. Abdulmalik Usman of the Department of English and Literary Studies, Bauchi State University Gadau, “mother tongue indicates our originality; it’s the first language we come in contact with as humans.”
Usman, who described mother tongue as a language of cultural identity, stated that “by celebrating mother tongue, we hope that one day, there will be an opportunity for us to adopt our mother tongues as the national and official language.”
In his reaction, a language expert and the provost of African Thinkers Community of Inquiry College of Education, Enugu, Zulu Ofoelue said that the issue of mother tongue or father tongue in Africa is the language of the father’s home town.
He stated that that there is need for Africans to retain their indigenous languages because everything about human beings must be in line with their culture which include language.
Ofoelue noted that most of the countries that have done well are nations that promote their culture and language like Japan, China and Korea.
He stated that the fundamental language of science and technology is the language of the local people.
A lecturer at the Department of French in the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Sarah Ebenezer Black-Duke, described mother tongue as very important in the early stages of the growth of every child.
Black-Duke, therefore, called on parents to speak their dialects to their children as a way of retaining mother tongue.
She said: “Mother tongue is very important; that is the first language or dialect that any child born in a family speaks. As they grow up in the family, there has to be a mode of communication,” she said.
Prof. Abell Mac Diakparomre of the Delta State University, Abraka, stressed the need for mother tongue to be made compulsory as a means of learning at all levels of education in Nigeria, maintaining that children learn faster with the mother tongue.
Stop Undermining Nigerian Military, FG Warns Amnesty Int’l [LEADERSHIP]
The federal government yesterday warned Amnesty International to stop undermining the Nigerian military as the soldiers are paying the supreme price in defence of the country.
The minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was reacting to the allegation by Amnesty International that the military burnt some villages and displaced the residents, said its reports were providing succor to the terrorists.
This is even as he noted that the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had responded appropriately to the accusation.
He added that the military denied razing down villages and detaining locals unlawfully and that it does not employ arson as an operational tactic; and that looting and burning of villages was the style of Boko Haram terrorists.
“I would like to add that in carrying out their duties, Amnesty International should not cast themselves in the league of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists.
“They should stop the growing practice of constantly attacking the military and casting them as the bad guys, when all they are doing is putting their lives on the line to fight terrorists who have no respect for the sanctity of life, who wilfully go after women and children, who attack houses of worship without respect or allegiance to any religion. Amnesty International should stop providing succour for terrorists by attributing their atrocities to our troops,’’ he said.
Mohammed averred that Nigerian soldiers, who are defending the country, are guided by extant rules of engagement and operational codes of conduct and they should not be made to look like the aggressors.
“I am aware that the federal government has always taken seriously any allegation of rights violation by soldiers or other security forces. Investigations have been carried out and culprits, if any, punished. And it is a continuous process,’’ he added.
On the calls for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation, Alhaji Mohammed said the President will serve out his second term office in line with the mandate freely given to him by Nigerians and will not bow out as being demanded by his critics.
He said that “Nigeria is, no doubt, facing security challenges, but they are being tackled headlong.”
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