At least 20 people were killed on Friday as members of the Boko Haram attacked Mainok Village in Borno State, witnesses and security sources have said.
Soldiers, who arrived Mainok after the insurgents had wreaked havoc on the community, then chased the attackers, killing about 48 of them.
The Mainok market was attacked on Friday at about 1:30 p.m. as traders planned to suspend trading to go observe the Friday ‘Jumat’ prayers.
More than a dozen traders were killed in the market while others who were fleeing were either injured by stray bullets, or knocked down by vehicles as they ran across the Kano-Maiduguri highway.
Alloy Ikechukwu, a traveller from Lagos to Maiduguri, told journalists on Friday that he was lucky to survive the attack. He said a luxurious bus conveying him and several other passengers was passing through Mainok when the insurgents attacked the market.
“We boarded a luxury bus from Lagos and as soon as we arrived Mainok at exactly 1.30 p.m., we heard heavy gunshot from the western part of the market and sporadic gunshots followed,” Ikechukwu said.
“Hundreds of traders and residents fled the market in confusion, running to cross the highway to the other side while vehicles passing through the town were also making attempts to flee the town. It was such confusion.”
Ikechukwu said he saw many of the fleeing residents hit by vehicles speeding off from the area.
“Vehicles were hitting one another and the Boko Haram kept shooting,” he added.
A police officer in Maiduguri who was also travelling through Mainok narrated his experience.
“From the sound of the first shot fired at the market, I knew there was problem because the attackers first fired Rapid Propelled Grenade (RPG) into the middle of the market before they started firing into the midst of the confused traders,” he said.
A senior security official in Maiduguri, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that at least 20 people were killed in the Mainok attack.
The official also said at least 48 of the terrorists were killed by soldiers who chased the terrorists while the latter returned to their base in Damboa town.
He blamed poor service by telecom networks for the late arrival of the soldiers.
“Due to the poor telecom network around Mainok town, troops (from 7 Division in Maiduguri) could not get the alert on time, until they (Boko Haram) had attacked and killed some of the traders – about 20 or so – and even stole money and food items from the poor traders”, the official told PREMIUM TIMES.
“But as soon as the message got to us, troops arrived Mainok and tracked them towards the direction and were able to intercept them as they were taking some rest or attending to a broken down vehicle.
“It was another tough battle but within hours, our gallant soldiers subdued them, as we counted 48 corpses and recovered several weapons and vehicle abandoned by some few others who fled.”
Friday’s attack was not the first by the insurgents on Mainok, a community 56km from Maiduguri along Maiduguri – Kano Expressway.
On March 4, at least 38 people were killed when Boko Haram gunmen attacked Mainok at night. The insurgents also set several property ablaze.
Since the March attack, a large number of Mainok residents have fled the village, but would come on Fridays to observe the weekly market there.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), yesterday appealed to journalists to monitor the distribution of relief materials donated to the victims of Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State.
In an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri, the Director-General of the agency, Sani Sidi, noted that more than 50 trucks of such relief materials had been supplied by the Federal Government.
Sidi said that the monitoring would ensure fair distribution of the materials among the displaced persons, adding that, “The task is to ensure that the items go only to those affected, those in need and those that have been displaced and those in camps.
“You will recall that President Goodluck Jonathan set up a presidential committee for the procurement and distribution of relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
“The committee has successfully completed its assignment, and we have just started the distribution of the materials,” Sidi said.
He said the exercise would also be supervised by the some NEMA officials to ensure justice.
“We expect all journalists to be the watchdogs to ensure that justice is done, so that the items are distributed to the affected persons.
“We must commend the president for coming up with this relief apart from other plans and strategies to tackle insurgency.
The official said that although NEMA had registered more than 58,000 IDPs, there were others persons who had not shown up for registration in the camps.
In spite of this, Sidi said that the relief materials were enough for the IDPs.
The Federal Government approved the supply of 50 trucks of assorted relief materials to the displaced victims in the state.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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