The 23 Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army has confirmed that one soldier died while another was wounded as troops of 232 Battalion of the brigade engaged Boko Haram insurgents who attacked Garkida community in Adamawa State, last Friday.
An Army press statement, yesterday morning, on the encounter from the brigade as well as pictures of the destruction in Garkida following the Friday evening attack, confirmed the incident.
It would be recalled that Boko Haram fighters had invaded the northern Adamawa town of Garkida in Gombi Local Government Area at about 7pm, last Friday, and caused destruction to houses, churches, shops, and vehicles.
In its statement, however, the 23 Armoured Brigade, which has its headquarters in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, indicated that the destruction would have been more extensive but for the quick intervention of its troops who interrupted the insurgents, killed some of them, but lost a soldier in the process.
In the statement signed by the Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, Major Haruna Mohammed Sani, the 23 Armoured Brigade said, “Gallant troops of 232 Battalion of 23 Armoured Brigade under Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Garkida, Gombi LGA of Adamawa State, had thwarted a planned criminal attack on the peaceful town on February 21, 2020, by some criminal Boko Haram terrorists.
“The terrorists besieged the town in about seven gun trucks and a number of motorcycles, setting some buildings ablaze and causing unrest within the community.
“Instinctively, the gallant troops mobilized and intercepted the criminals’ advance, and engaged the marauding criminals, unleashing high volume of fire, leading to the elimination of several of the criminals while others withdrew in disarray, many of them with gunshot wounds as evident in the trails of blood along their withdrawal route.
“Regrettably, one gallant soldier paid the supreme price while another soldier was wounded in action. The wounded in action soldier has since been evacuated to a military medical facility and is positively responding to treatment.”
The statement added that the Commander of the 23 Armoured Brigade, Brig-Gen Sani Gambo Mohammed, who visited the troops in Garkida on Saturday, congratulated the troops for their fighting spirit but warned them to be vigilant as the criminal elements might plan a reprisal attack due to the casualties they suffered.
Revelations since Saturday have, however, indicated that while the Boko Haram invasion lasted in Garkida, the insurgents succeeded in burning down two churches: an EYN Church branch and a branch of Living Faith Church a.k.a. Winners’ Chapel International.
They also burnt shops, hospitals and houses of two prominent residents, among others.
The state government is yet to make any statement regarding the attack on Garkida, but Governor Ahmadu Fintiri was said to be on his way to the town as this report was being concluded, yesterday afternoon.
Similarly, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD) have killed 13 bandits; intercept large ammunitions cache of 4,630 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition in 11 communities in Shinkafi, Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of Zamfara, and three communities in Batsari LGA in Katsina and another three communities in Kebbi states.
Several other bandits were fatally wounded while eight suspected bandits that include a female were arrested.
The Acting Force Information Officer, Captain Abayomi Oni-Orisan, disclosed this in a press released in Gusau, yesterday.
Oni-Orisan explained that the feat was recorded between the 10th and 20th of this month during an operation as the troops conducted clearance operations, ambushes and fighting patrols in several locations across the theatre carried out in 11 communities in Anka, Shinkafi and Bukkuyum Local Governments Areas of Zamfara State.
Other locations where the operation also took place were three communities in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State and three communities in Kebbi State.
The operation, according to him, also led to the recovery of seven AK-47 rifles, eight loaded magazines, 22 motorcycles, two Dane guns, four GSM phones and 30 jerry cans of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The troops also intercepted suspected drug counterfeiters and drug dealers with 350 cartons of fake “PECOL” drugs and a sizeable consignment of suspected Indian hemp in Zurmi and Shinkafi local government areas of Zamfara State, respectively.
The fake “PECOL” drugs, according to the press release, were smuggled from Niger Republic through Jibia, carefully kept behind bags of fresh pepper in a J5 Bus with registration number RMY 156 XA Katsina to avoid any suspicion.
The troops deployed in Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara Stare also intercepted another vehicle conveying a suspected drug dealer with a large quantity of Indian hemp carefully concealed inside a carton.
The suspects and exhibits, according to the press release, have duly been handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), respectively for further prosecution and destruction of the drugs.
It would be noted that the ongoing operation against banditry and all forms of criminality would continue until peace is restored in Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto states, the statement added.
The Force Commander of OPHD and Acting General Officer Commanding 8 Division, Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen Aminu Bande, urged the general public to support the operation by providing timely and credible information to the troops through the dedicated emergency telephone numbers, earlier provided to the general public, to ensure prompt and efficient action.
Bande also warned all recalcitrant bandits and their cohorts to immediately lay down their arms and embrace the on-going peace process or face full military action.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has explained why 104 ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members were freed.
She said President Muhammadu Buhari granted amnesty to the repentant terrorists “so that they could be assisted in different areas of human development.”
According to a statement by the Assistant Director, Information, Rhoda Ishaku Iliya, the minister said this when she received the representatives of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonishaki, led by the Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, Maj-Gen Bamidele Shaffa, in Abuja, last Saturday.
Umar-Farouq said in ensuring that the current administration achieves its vision in addressing the insecurity and insurgency challenges facing the nation, the government had given a welcoming hand or an opportunity to repentant Boko Haram members to have a re-think.
“It is a very important programme for the ministry, one of the mandates of the ministry is to focus on the early recovery aspect of the North-East region, and one of such components of early recovery is re-integration, rehabilitation of these affected communities and the repentant Boko Haram insurgents,” she added.
The minister thanked the Operation Safe Corridor for their efforts and initiatives, adding that it would address the challenges of insecurity, and “is a very large approach in the de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of these insurgents”, adding that the strategy was very important, especially in the North-East today.
Govs Assure Easy Flow Of Essential Goods
The 36 states governors have pledged their commitment to ensure that the operations of manufacturers of essential goods and services are unhindered during the period of the lockdown in the country.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) was quoted as giving the assurance in a letter signed by the forum’s Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, written to the manufacturers.
In a statement signed by the Head, Media and Public Affairs of NGF Secretariat, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, yesterday in Abuja, Fayemi assured the continuous operations for food, beverage, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.
The governors, according to the statement also threw their weights behind making essential goods and services available to the citizenry, throughout the lockdown period.
This was fallout of the concerted efforts by governors to bring succour to Nigerians during the lockdown and ensure that the remedy did not ultimately turn out to be counter-productive.
The governors noted that the decision was reached “considering the crucial role played by manufacturers in ensuring the production of essential items.
“Following careful and deliberate consideration we are pleased to convey to you our full support to ensure that your operations continue unhindered.”
The forum noted that decision was also taken to guarantee the continued effective and efficient movement of essential foods, beverages and medical supplies as well as attendant essential services.
“We note that the whole value chain from farmers to suppliers of raw materials, from manufacturers to suppliers of packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales teams and retailers should continue with their lawful operations within the confines of the law.
It added that the governors reasoned that key players in the industry whose products were critical to the daily existence of Nigerians would need some waiver to continue to move their products around the country without hindrance.
The letter reads: “In view of the essential nature of food, beverage and pharmaceuticals, all parastatals and agencies of state governments have been advised as follows: To guarantee the continued effective and efficient movement of essential foods, beverages and medical supplies as well as attendant essential services.
“The whole value chain from farmers to suppliers of raw materials, from manufacturers to suppliers of packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales teams and retailers should continue with their lawful operations within the confines of law and to the extent that current realities permit.
“(a) The operations and activities of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical product companies and their suppliers of raw and packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales team and retailers should not be hindered by officials or agents of the state governments.
“(b) To ensure the safety of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical products and also that of the suppliers of raw and packaging materials, transporters, distributors, sales teams, retailers and other employees who will be on the road during this time;
“(c) To guarantee that the distribution and movement of raw and packaging materials and finished products of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical products from various points within and across states is seamless;
“(d) That in the event of closure of open markets or shops, clear alternatives are defined on how to get finished food, beverage and pharmaceutical products to consumers in their neighbourhoods;
“(e) The responsiveness of relevant agencies of the state governments in playing their part fully in ensuring that what they need to do as prescribed by the law and extant regulations are carried out with dispatch.”
In order to regulate the operations and forestall abuse, the governors, however, directed all food, beverage, pharmaceutical and medical companies to adhere to certain caveats which include the following:
”Issue all suppliers and transporters a letter of authority confirming that they are authorised by you.
“All your staff need to ensure Identity Cards are carried at all time for all movements, with a copy of this letter of authority.
“All organisations to ensure compliance to all COVID-19 guidelines on social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene for the safety of individuals and the community at large.”
It added that the suppliers and their operators were to be provided with toll free numbers they could call, in case they had any problems during the course of performing their duties.
Major Shake-Up As Buratai Rejigs Army
The Nigerian Army, yesterday, released the postings and appointments of some affected senior officers in a major shake-up that has swept through critical divisions and commands across the country.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, in Abuja, yesterday.
The statement reads, “The posting, which was approved by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, was explained to be a routine/normal exercise intended to reinvigorate the system for greater professional effectiveness and efficiency.
“The major highlight of the posting included – the posting and appointment of Maj-Gen A.C.C. Agundu from Special Task Force (STF) Operation Safe Haven, Jos to Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja as Senior Research Fellow; Major General H.I. Bature from Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Defence Liaison Office, National Assembly, Abuja to Army Headquarters Department of Civil Military Affairs and appointed Chief of Civil-Military Affairs; Maj-Gen U.M. Mohammed from Nigerian Army Property Limited (NAPL) to the Office of the Chief of Army Staff and appointed Special Adviser, Nigerian Army University, Biu/Deputy Chairman Board of Trustees NAPL; while the erstwhile Special Adviser, Nigerian Army University, Biu, Maj-Gen C.C. Okonkwo is now redeployed to STF Operation Safe Haven, Jos and appointed Commander; Maj-Gen F. Yahaya from Headquarters 1 Division, Kaduna to Headquarters Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), Maiduguri and appointed Commander; while Maj-Gen O.G. Adeniyi is redeployed from Headquarters Theatre Command OPLD, Maiduguri to NARC as Senior Research Fellow; Maj-Gen S. Idris from Sector 2 OPLD Damaturu, Yobe State redeployed to DHQ Abuja and appointed Director, Liaison.
“Others affected include – Maj-Gen A.A. Adesope from Office of the Chief of Army Staff Directorate of Audit and Financial Management to NAPL and appointed Group Managing Director; Maj-Gen M.G. Ali from Headquarters Theatre Command OPLD Maiduguri to Headquarters 4 Special Forces Command, Doma, Nasarawa State as Commander; while the erstwhile Chief of Civil-Military Affairs AHQ, Abuja, Maj-Gen U.S. Mohammed has been redeployed to 1 Division, Kaduna, and appointed General Officer Commanding.
“Similarly, Brig-Gen H.I. Daniel from the defunct Army Special Forces Command, Maiduguri to Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command, Minna, and appointed Director, Army Training Support; Brig-Gen B.E. Onyeuko is to remain in DHQ, Abuja as Acting Director, Defence Media Operation; Brig-Gen N.M. Jega from Training and Doctrine Command, Minna to Infantry Corps Centre, Jaji and appointed Chief of Staff; Brig-Gen L.A. Araba from Nigerian Army Welfare Limited by Guaranty, Abuja, now redeployed to Sector 2 OPLD, Damaturu, Yobe State as Ag Commander; Brig-Gen V.O. Ita from DHQ, Abuja to Headquarters 402 Special Forces Brigade, Azare and appointed Commander; while Brig-Gen J.A.L. Jimoh from Sector 3 Artillery Brigade OPLD, Monguno to Headquarters 31 Brigade Minna and appointed Commander; and Brig-Gen G.T.O. Ajetunmobi has been redeployed from 31 Brigade, Minna to Nigeria Army Welfare Limited by Guaranty, Abuja as Executive Director, Operation.
“Others are – Brig-Gen L.G. Lepdung from Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre, Jaji to DHQ, Abuja and appointed Deputy Director, Procurement (Logistics); Brig-Gen M.O. Ihanuwaze to remain in Office of the Chief of Army Staff Directorate of Audit and Financial Management as Acting Director; Brig-Gen E.C. Obi – Osang from the defunct Headquarters 707 Special Forces’ Brigade, Makurdi to Headquarters 401 Special Forces’ Brigade, Makurdi as Commander; while Brig-Gen G.M. Mutkut is redeployed from the defunct Nigerian Army Amphibious Command OPLD, Baga to Headquarters 403 Amphibious Brigade, Baga and appointed Commander; and Brig-Gen J.R. Lar from Nigerian Army School of Artillery, Kachia to Sector 3 Artillery Brigade OPLD, Monguno as Commander.
“Also, Colonel D.J. Abdullahi from the defunct Headquarters Nigerian Army Special Forces’ Command, Maiduguri to Headquarters 4 Special Forces’ Command, Doma, Nasarawa State and appointed Acting Chief of Staff; Colonel E.C. Emere from Nigerian Army Archives to Nigerian Military School, Zaria as Deputy Commandant; and Col M.O. Agi is to remain in Headquarters Nigerian Army Armour Corps, Bauchi as Acting Chief of Staff, among others.
“All the postings and appointments take effect from the 1st of April, 2020.
“While wishing all the officers well in their respective appointments, the Chief of Army Staff enjoined them to take their new responsibilities/appointments seriously and discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to the nation and the service”, the statement added.
Reacting to the changes, yesterday, a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, alleged ethnic motivation and victimisation in the shake-up.
Fani-Kayode, alleged that Maj-Gen Olusegun Adeniyi was redeployed for complaining about the condition of troops in the North-East.
It would be recalled that a video had a few days ago emerged of Adeniyi complaining about the welfare of troops fighting Boko Haram in the North-East.
But, Fani-Kayode alleged that the Major General was relieved of his duty after he made the video.
He wondered why Nigeria always rewarded her brightest and best with ingratitude, evil and humiliation.
The former minister described Adeniyi as a true and quintessential patriot, who was worthy of commendation.
Fani-Kayode wrote: “Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, the gallant and courageous commander who led our troops in Operation Lafiya Dole and who won the hearts and minds of millions of Nigerians when he appeared in a video that went viral two days ago complaining about the conditions that his troops were facing on the war front with Boko Haram and asking for better arms, equipment and welfare for them, was relieved of his appointment, yesterday.
“The GOC of the 1st Mechanised Division was directed to take over his position.
“What a pity and what a waste! Why does Nigeria always have to reward her brightest and best with ingratitude, evil and humiliation?
“I wish Major General Adeniyi well for the rest of his career in the military and I want him to know that we are proud of him, his commitment to the war against Boko Haram and the obvious care, love and compassion that he has for his troops. The man is a true and quintessential patriot.”
When contacted on the allegations by Fani-Kayode, the spokesperson of Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa, dismissed the claim as a figment of the imagination of its purveyor, saying that the action was a routine/normal exercise in compliance with global best practices in the military.
COVID-19: Prisoners Attempt Jailbreak In Kaduna
There was an attempted jailbreak by some prisoners at the Kaduna Correctional Centre yesterday.
Our correspondent gathered that there was unrest among the prisoners when reports filtered into the facility located along the Independence Way in the metropolis over the possible spread of the coronavirus to the facility.
The prisoners, it was learnt, feared that they might be affected by the deadly virus as a result of the congestion currently being experienced in the correctional facility.
A resident close to the correctional facility said that he heard gunshots from the prison.
Another source said some of the prisoners attempted to escape to avoid contracting the disease but were unsuccessful.
One of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent on the telephone that, “We learnt the prison inmates are protesting. There is actually unrest there. They are protesting that they can be infected with the coronavirus.”
The Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna Correctional Centre, Mr Nathaniel Gagas, confirmed the incident.
“There is normalcy now. Security has beefed up in and outside the facility. There is no cause for alarm,” another source said.
Our correspondent also gathered that the authorities of the correctional facility sought reinforcement from the Army, Police as well as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps before the situation was brought under control.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, also known as “Shi’ites”, has warned that nothing must happen to their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, currently being held in the facility.
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