The police yesterday said it has arrested the “chief butcher” of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram, in Balmo Forest, Bauchi State.
Identified as Mohammed Zakari, the suspect, according to a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, was arrested along Darazo-Basrika Road in Bauchi State.
Mba said Zakari was fleeing from Balmo Forest following the massive onslaught by security forces.
The suspect was arrested on Saturday, Mba said in the statement on Tuesday.
He said Zakari, 30, hails from Kaigamari village, Daptchari in Darazo Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
Mba added: “The suspect, who hails from Kaigamari Village, Daptchari in Darazo Local Government Area, Bauchi State, is the self-styled “chief butcher” of the insurgent group at the Balmo Forest Camp and is linked with the recent slaughter of seven people, including women and children.
“Findings as well as disclosures from the suspect will assist the law enforcement agencies in tracking down some other members of the terror cell.
“The suspect whom investigation reveals was tutored in the art of insurgency at Gombe Forest under the leadership of a fleeing insurgent, one Abba Taura, and moved to Balmo Forest only three months ago, is discovered to have actively participated in the April attack against Customs officers at Kari Town, along Maiduguri Road, Bauchi State.”
The Police High Command urged citizens in the affected areas to be on guard for any suspicious or strange character fleeing from Balmo Forest.
It also called for the understanding and support of the public for the efforts of the police and other security forces in tackling insurgency, terrorism and other related crimes headlong.
Mba said “although the war on terrorism is unrelenting, it is certainly not insurmountable and must be won with the cooperation of all”.
Meanwhile, at least 26 people were killed when suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants stormed a village in northeast Nigeria and a government warplane opened fire to repel the attackers, local residents and a security source said on Tuesday.
The warplane strafed Boko Haram fighters fleeing in pick-up trucks after raiding Dille, near Lassa in the south of Borno State, for several hours on Monday.
The attackers fired on inhabitants and burned homes and churches.
“I counted 26 corpses yesterday evening,” one of the residents, Dauda Illiya, told Reuters.
Most of the deaths occurred during the raid but cannon fire from the government jet also killed at least six civilians – four women and two children, residents said.
“The pilot was just spraying bullets anywhere … People were running here and there. Many people were injured from the bullets,” said a local man, Suleiman Haruna.
Nigeria’s defence headquarters in Abuja did not respond to a request for comment on the incident, but a security source in Borno State confirmed the deployment of the military plane.
The residents and the security source said 20 militants were killed by local vigilantes who fought back, but this could not be confirmed as witnesses said the raiders carried off their dead in their trucks.
Nigeria’s armed forces are facing a fierce offensive in the northeast by the Islamist group Boko Haram, whose marauding bands of fighters have stepped up attacks against towns and villages after kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in April.
That abduction triggered an international outcry and increased support from Western governments for President Goodluck Jonathan’s fight against Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and abducted hundreds since launching an uprising in 2009.
Boko Haram, whose name means: “Western education is sinful,” says it wants to set up an Islamic state in Nigeria, whose population is split between Christians and Muslims.
With the abducted schoolgirls still missing three months after their kidnap, Jonathan faces criticism at home and abroad over the deteriorating security situation in Africa’s leading oil producer and biggest economy.
The militants, who attacked Dille, which is not far from the Cameroon border, were believed to have come from Boko Haram’s Sambisa forest stronghold where at least some of the kidnapped girls are thought to be held.
On Monday, Jonathan promised that the missing 219 girls, snatched on April 14 from Chibok, also in Borno State, would soon return home, teenage Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai, said after meeting him.
Malala, who became a global celebrity after surviving being shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education, was visiting Nigeria to support the international campaign for the release of the abducted Nigerian students.
Now considered the main security threat to Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency is growing bolder and authorities and military experts fear it is seeking to push its campaign of violence into the country’s more prosperous south.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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