About 82 persons were killed in yesterday’s attempted invasion of Maiduguri by the Islamic fundamentalists, Boko Haram, security sources have said.
According to the breakdown of the security sources who spoke anonymously to our source, not less than 70 insurgents were killed, ten innocent civilians and two insurgents were felled in the attempted invasion of the town, the second in a space of seven days.
About 65 persons were reported killed during penultimate Sunday’s multiple attack on Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram.
Security sources said that 50 insurgents were killed in Dalwa, about 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, where the battle was hottest as the insurgents met their Waterloo.
It was gathered that about 20 others were killed in other parts of the town where the terrorists also attempted gaining entrance into the town.
It was also gathered that though the number of soldiers lost in the attack might be more, two were reportedly killed and had been conveyed from the battlefield with five seen seriously injured.
Defence spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade said in a statement that: “The terrorists’ attack on Maiduguri in the early hours of Sunday was quickly contained. The terrorists incurred massive casualty. The situation is calm as mopping up operation in the affected area is ongoing.”
He said the military captured arumoured vehicles, and artillery guns as well as other arms and vehicles while repelling the terrorists,
Fighting began at roughly 3:00 am (0200 GMT) with loud explosions and gunfire, as the Islamists tried to enter the city from the south.
After heavy fighting in the Mulai area just three kilometres south of the city, troops backed by vigilantes repelled the attack, but the militants then began a separate assault to the east and gun battles were ongoing, multiple witnesses said.
“The gunmen were initially subdued in Mulai, but now they have changed strategy and are attacking through the Damboa road (to the east),” said local Bukar Mungono, in an account supported by two others.
A resident, Fannami Dalwaye, said people from the Mulai area ran towards the city-centre as the violence raged earlier on Sunday.
“Some of us are in mosques praying, just waiting to hear the outcome of what happens,” Krenuwa said.
According to a member of a youth vigilante group, who spoke anonymously to our correspondent on phone from the town, the insurgents attacked from Ngom, Dalwa, Molai and Jawuri.
He said: “The insurgents in the customary way attacked just moments after the early morning Islamic prayers. They attacked the town from Ngom (the border with Mafa), Dalwa (the border with Konduga), Molai (the border with Damboa) and Jawuri (around Njimtilo, border with Kaga on the Damaturu road).”
He disclosed that an unspecified number of people were killed, both insurgents and civilians adding that “the insurgents launched two rocket propelled grenades into Gindari Polo area killing many civilians.”
He said: “Some youths also came out in their numbers to push back the insurgents. We have killed many of them. Some retreated through the railway heading to Benesheikh and Goniri.”
Also Chadian aircraft struck Boko Haram positions in the Nigerian border town of Gamboru for a second straight day yesterday.
Two military choppers pounded targets in Gamboru for about two hours, setting off loud explosions and sending thick clouds of smoke into the sky, the journalist said from the town of Fotokol about 500 metres (yards) away.
Meanwhile, two bomb blasts yesterday rocked Gombe city, as the BokoHaram continued their attack in North East of the country.
Five persons have died, according to initial estimates, given by military sources and witnesses.
Also, a suicide bomb attack targeting a political meeting yesterday in Potiskum, Yobe State killed seven people, witnesses and a police officer said.
“We have evacuated eight bodies including the suicide bombers to hospital,” said a police officer at the scene, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Witness Nura Umar, who gave the same death toll, said the bomber emerged from a bus that pulled up in front of the home of Sabo Garbu, who is running for a seat in the House of Representatives on the ruling Peoples Democracy Party ticket.
Garbu was holding a campaign meeting ahead of February 14 polls in his home at the time but none of the participants were injured, the policeman and three witnesses said.
Boko Haram Islamists have carried out waves of similar bombings across the northeast during a six-year uprising, and have killed politicians in targeted attacks.
But it was not immediately clear why the insurgents would want to target Garbu and it was possible the attack was carried out by another group with a different political motive.
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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