The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, says in New York that Nigerian military is currently confronting no fewer than 14 security threats across the country.
Olonisakin disclosed this at a reception organised for him by the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations.
The defence chief was at the UN headquarters for the Second Chiefs of Defence Conference, alongside more than 100 other chiefs of defence staff all over the world.
He said “by my estimation, we have about 14 security threats that we are confronting, ranging from terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping, cultism, to issues linked to armed robbery.
“We are handling operations in all the geo-political zones of the country, but the major one is the one in the Northeast, which is ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’.
“We have, of course operations down South and taking charge of militancy and oil theft; we also have that in Lagos.
“But the major one is Operation Lafiya Dole, which of course since we came on board, we have stepped up the scheme.
“Right now, we have been able to decimate Boko Haram terrorists, but what they are doing right now is hitting soft targets through suicide bombers.
“We realised that to mitigate this particular menace is not only about the military. So we need to carry the whole nation along to be able to address that.”
To mitigate incidences of suicide bombings, Olonisakin said military high command had met with other stakeholders to encourage the populace to provide them with necessary intelligence.
He said the command realised that intelligence was vital to handling the menace of suicide bombings.
The defence chief also said that the military had commenced the process of restoring full civil authority in areas formerly controlled by Boko Haram terrorists.
“We are working alongside the DSS – Department of State Services -, the Police, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“We are also ensuring that the civil authority is put in place; places that the military had taken over, we encourage the Police and Civil Defence to come on so they can provide civil authority for displaced people to move in.”
Olonisakin noted that last week, many Boko Haram militants surrendered, adding that “we have what we call Operation Safe Corridor in Gombe that is to handle this kind of surrendered terrorists.
“I believe in the next couple of days, repentant Boko Haram terrorists will be moved to that Operation Safe Corridor where they will conduct de-radicalization and integration procedure for them.
“Down South, of course we have issues too but the military is stepping up its game to make sure we address the security challenges back home.”
On peacekeeping operations, the chief od Defence staff said Nigeria had met and exceeded the gender percentage, having 16.2 per cent female peacekeepers as against the 15 per cent benchmark by the UN.
The Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, commended Nigeria’s security forces for decimating the Boko Haram as a fighting force.
Bande said “soft targets are being exploited by desperate group but in truth, even beyond Boko Haram, other challenges are also being addressed.
“What is important is the synergy that has been expressed by Chief of Defence Staff in relation to what all the security agencies are doing together; when we work together, we are secured.”
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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