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Soldiers Kill, Arrest 310 Terrorists, Bandits, Kidnappers, DHQ Confirms

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The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja has confirmed that soldiers on counter-insurgency and other internal security operations in the country killed 172, terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals terrorizing the peace in the country in the last two weeks.
The DHQ also said troops arrested 138, terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and their collaborators, drug peddlers, cattle rustlers, oil thieves and rescued 51, abducted persons, including 20, personnel of the Nigerian police force kidnapped when the terrorists attacked the Police Division at Buni Yadi, in Yobe State.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations (DMO), Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, made this known at a media briefing, yesterday, on updates of military operations conducted between November 25 and December 9.
He said during the period under review, 192 repentant terrorists and their families comprising 51 males, 67 females and 74 children surrounded to own troops and that the surrendered terrorists were properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.
Onyeuko, while noting that troops have embarked on multiple land, maritime and air operations at different locations of the various theatres of operation that resulted in the destruction of several criminals hideouts and strongholds, recovery of arms, weapons, ammunition and other equipment, said the troops discovered and immobilized a total of 39 illegal refining sites, 73 ovens, 25 cooking pots/boilers, 18 cooling systems, 27 reservoirs, 39 large dugout pits and 89 storage tanks. He further stated that a total of 1,014,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil; 50,500 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene and 1,808,500 litres of stolen crude oil were recovered during the period.
While noting that the efforts of Armed Forces and other security agencies across the country were paying-off, Onyeuko said the military would continue in all its joint efforts in the fight against criminalities in the country, and commended the sacrifices of its troops in the various theatres of operation for their courage and resilience towards achieving sustainable peace in the country.
Giving an update on military operations, Onyeuko, said: “In the past two weeks, troops extensively conducted multiple land, maritime and air operations at different locations of the various theatres of operation. Some of the operations resulted in the decimation of criminals’ enclaves, neutralization and arrest of criminal elements as well as recovery of arms, ammunition and illegally refined and stolen petroleum products. Therefore, the brief today will highlight in summary, some of the locations where the operations were conducted and some significant results achieved between November 25 and December 9, 2021.
“In Operation HADIN KAI, troops’ operational activities within the last two weeks recorded significant results in the various operations they carried out. Notably, on December 3, 2021, troops repelled BHT/ISWAP terrorists’ attack in a fierce gun battle in Kala Balge LGA of Borno State. During the encounter, troops subdued the terrorist elements with superior firepower and neutralized no fewer than 26 of them. Troops also destroyed as well as captured several fighting equipment and vehicles of the terrorists.
“Regrettably, our gallant officers and soldiers paid the supreme prize. They are our heroes in the battle against terrorism. Other locations are; Gombi LGA of Adamawa State as well as Rann/Rumirgo villages and Biu, Bama, Mafa and DikwaLGAs of Borno State where some terrorists surrendered to own troops.
“Cumulatively, a total 62 terrorist elements were neutralised and 28 of them were arrested, while 54 assorted arms and 144 rounds of different calibre of ammunition were recovered. Also, a total of 101 rustled livestock were recovered and 20 kidnapped NPF personnel, who were abducted when the terrorists attacked the Police Division, were rescued by own troops at Buni Yadi within the period.
“Additionally, troops’ kinetic and non-kinetic operations have continued to drive the terrorists out of their camps into surrendering. A total of 192 terrorists and their families comprising 51 adult males, 67 adult females and 74 children surrounded to own troops within the period. The surrendered terrorists were properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.
“The troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI sustained its clearance operations within the last two weeks. On December 2, 2021, in a coordinated clearance operation carried out at Ruwan Dawa, Garin Maza and Marke Yamma villages in Tsafe LGA of Zamfara State, against armed bandits, some of them were neutralized as well as arms and ammunition recovered. Other locations in which troops’ operational efforts yielded significant results are; Kungumi, Jangeme, Ungwuwar Dodo and along Dogo Karfe – Kaura Namodaroad, all in Zamfara State.
“Other locations include; Kuzarivillage in Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State; Unguwan Dudu, Gwanki, Koluwe, Birane, Arne Maigiya and Danbok villages as well as along Magami – Kango Marafa road in Maru LGA of Zamfara State. Cumulatively, 14 armed bandits were neutralized, 4 of them were arrested and their collaborators.
“Also, 17 assorted arms, including AK-47 rifles, PKT machine guns and GPMGs as well as 625 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 43 rustled livestock were recovered; while 8 kidnapped civilians were rescued in the course of the operations. Additionally, 54 extra magazines of assorted arms and 20 motorcycles were recovered from bandits.
“Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN within the period in focus conducted various operations, including raid operations on criminal elements’ hideouts as well as repelled kidnappers and gunmen attacks at different locations across the theatre. These operations cumulatively resulted in the arrest of a total of 43 armed bandits/collaborators and drug peddlers, the rescue of 20 kidnapped civilians as well as recovery of 131 livestock, 12 assorted arms and 36 different calibres of ammunition among other items.
“Some of the operations were executed at; Bure as well as Mangu and Gindiri markets in Mangu LGA; Maraban Jama’a Checkpoint and Dogonahawa community in Jos South LGA; Maraban Foron and Kaskara forest in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State.
“Other locations in Plateau State include; Butura Gida and Mabel villages as well as Bokkos town in Bokkos LGA, Farin Gada, Congo Russia and Angwan Keke areas in Jos North LGA as well as Kwanki– Ganawuri road and Ganawuri village in Riyom LGA. Other locations are; Dangwa forest area under Godogodo District and Gidan Waya town in Jama’a LGA; Rafin Gora village in Kaura LGA, Madauchi community in Zangon Kataf LGA and Kwankwiri village under Maitozo in Sanga LGA of Kaduna State.
“In Operation WHIRL STROKE, troops’ operational efforts resulted in the neutralization and arrest of armed bandits and other criminal elements, recovery of arms and ammunition as well as the rescue of kidnapped civilians. Operations were conducted at; Atinyogo, Gbise and Gbortowns in Katsina-Ala LGA; Tyotsar Mbacher village under Shitile Council Ward of Ukum LGA and Igumale community in Ado LGA of Benue State.
“Other locations are; Kayio village in Wukari LGA of Taraba State; Kutara and Ruga Ahmadu Rufai community under Gurdi Ward in Abaji Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory. Cumulatively, a total of 5 criminals were neutralized and 19 of them arrested, while 15 different arms and 62 different calibre of ammunition were recovered and 3 kidnapped civilians rescued within the period under review. In addition, troops held peace and security meetings with critical stakeholders as non-kinetic means of tackling insecurity. One of these meetings was held at the Force Headquarters of Operation WHIRL STROKE in Makurdi. Issues discussed at the meeting centred on how to find lasting solutions to the security challenges.
“ The general security situation in the Operation THUNDER STRIKE/WHIRL PUNCH theatres were relatively calm within the period in focus. However, a few incidents of security concern were recorded. In the course of the operations within the period, troops intercepted and arrested criminal elements as well as recovered arms and ammunitions.
“Notably, on December 3, 2021, troops arrested a notorious armed bandit at Paka community in Igabi LGA of Kaduna State, who revealed that the Head of vigilantes in Rigasa aids armed banditry and is involved in some attacks and kidnap incidents in the environment. Other incidents with significant results were recorded at; Hayin Gada and RuganAlhaji Ori villages in Igabi LGA of Kaduna State.
“ Furthermore, the Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE, within the period carried out air strikes against armed bandits at their enclaves. Notably, on 3 December 2021, following credible intelligence report and after careful aerial surveillance revealed activities of armed bandits east of Rijana village along Abuja – Kaduna Highway. Consequently, a force package of NAF’s platforms was dispatched to take out the criminal elements.
“The location, which the bandits use as a logistics base and staging point, where they perpetrated their nefarious activities along the Highway, was decimated by successive air strikes that yielded devastating hits with heavy casualties. During the operation, 45 armed bandits were neutralized and their structures housing logistics items and weapons were destroyed.
“In addition, other armed bandits who escaped during the air strikes were traced to a location 4km southeast of the Kaduna State NYSC Orientation Camp, where 30 of them were killed in air strikes, which also destroyed their structures and weapons there. Cumulatively, a total of 6 criminal elements were arrested and 9 assorted armed, 2 extra AK-47 rifles magazines, 13 rounds of ammunition and 6 motorcycles were recovered in the course of the operations within the period.
“ In Operation DELTA SAFE, troops sustained anti-illegal oil production operations and other non-kinetic operations to forestall activities of vandals and other economic saboteurs in the South-South Zone. Some of these operations were executed at different locations in villages, creeks and towns in Port Harcourt, Emouha, Ahoada-East, Abua/Odual, Bonny, Onne, Ogba/Egbema/Andoni and Akuku-Toru LGAs of Rivers State.
“Other locations are villages, towns and creeks in; Warri South, Warri South-West and Ethiope East LGAs of Delta State. Troops’ operations also yielded significant results at; Umualolo and Uwazacommunities in Ukwa West LGA of Abia State and Lemna Roundabout in Calabar Metropolis, Cross Rivers State.
“The troops of Operation DELTA STATE within the period, based on credible intelligence, ambushed and neutralized 2 kidnappers in a gun duel during anti-kidnap/anti-armed robbery patrol at Oviere community in Okpe LGA of Delta State. During the encounter troops recovered some arms and ammunition from the criminals, while 100 pinches and 825 wraps of heroin and cannabis sativa respectively, were found in their possession.
“Consequently, in the last 2 weeks, troops discovered and immobilized a total of 39 illegal refining sites, 73 ovens, 25 cooking pots/boilers, 18 cooling systems, 27 reservoirs, 39large dugout pits and 89 storage tanks. Consequently, a total of 1,014,000liters of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil; 50,500 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene and 1,808,500liters of stolen crude oil were recovered in the course of the operations.
“In addition, 18 criminals associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period. Also, troops recovered 6assorted arms, 586 rounds of different calibre of ammunitions, 12 AK-47 rifle magazines as well as 278 pieces of galvanized pipes and 40 wooden boats used for illegal oil bunkering activities in the course of the operations. All the arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.
“ Gleaning from the brief that you have just listened to, the efforts of Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies across the country are paying-off. Nevertheless, we will continue in all our joint efforts in the fight against criminalities in the country. The Military High Command commends the sacrifices of its troops in the various theatres of operation and salutes their courage and resilience towards achieving sustainable peace in the country.
“The general public is highly appreciated for the cooperation given to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in the course of our operations. Also, we especially thank members of the press community for their immense support and encourage all to continue to avail security forces with credible and timely information that will aid our proactive operational engagements”.

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Eid-El-Kabir: Sultan felicitates Nigerians, urges greater commitment to farming

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Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has extended his felicitations to Nigerian Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el Kabir.

In his Sallah message on Sunday, Abubakar urged Nigerians to commit more to farming as a means to alleviate societal economic hardship and address the high cost of living in the country.

“We are fully aware that the leaders in the country are doing their best to ease the hardship, but more needs to be done.

“Our people, particularly in the North, are in a very difficult situation. Therefore, leaders need to do more in tackling the current challenges,” he said.

The Sultan further urged farmers to make the most of the rainy season to ensure sufficient food production to meet societal demand.

“We should all go back to farming and produce food because doing so will ease our condition and boost the country’s economy,” he advised.

Abubakar also called on Muslims to continue praying for the leaders, emphasising that only prayers could support the desired needs of any society.

He appreciated the security agencies in the country for their sustained dedication to ensuring the safety of all citizens.

The Sultan applauded Gov. Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto State for his commitment to supporting the less-privileged in the state and urged the people to continue living peacefully with one another.

He thanked the Muslim community for the continued dedication to propagating the true essence of Islam, and urged them to have full faith that the country’s challenges would soon be over.

He also prayed for the safe return of the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, urging them to pray for Nigeria and its leaders.

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Presidency clears misconceptions on New York Times report on Nigeria

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Mr Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, yesterday, reacted to a recent report published in New York Times on Nigeria’s economy.

He said Ruth Maclean and Ismail Auwal’s feature story titled, ‘Nigeria Confronts Its Worst Economic Crisis in a Generation,’ published on June 11, appeared typically predetermined and followed the usually denigrating way foreign media establishments reported African countries for several decades.

He said that because of the misleading slant of the report, there was need to clear up some misconceptions conveyed by the reporters as regards the economic policies of the Tinubu administration that came into power at the end of May 2023.

“Most significant about the report was that it painted the dire experiences of some Nigerians amid the inflationary spiral of last year, and blamed it all on the policies of the new administration.

“The report, based on several interviews, was all gloom and doom, as it never mentioned the positive aspects in the same economy as well as the ameliorative policies being implemented by the central and state governments,” said Onanuga.

According to him, President Tinubu did not create the economic problems Nigeria faces today.

“He inherited them. As a respected economist in our country once put it, Tinubu inherited a dead economy.

“The economy was bleeding and needed quick surgery to avoid being plunged into the abyss, as happened in Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

“This was the background to the policy direction taken by the government in May/June 2023, with the abrogation of the fuel subsidy regime and the unification of the multiple exchange rates standing out.”

The Special Adviser said that for decades, Nigeria had maintained a fuel subsidy regime that gulped 84.39 billion dollars between 2005 and 2022 from the public treasury in a country with huge infrastructural deficits and in high need of better social services.

He said the state oil firm, NNPC Ltd, the sole importer, had amassed trillions of naira in debts for absorbing the unsustainable subsidy payments in its books.

“By the time Tinubu took over the leadership of the country, there was no provision made for fuel subsidy payments in the national budget beyond June 2023.

“The budget itself had a striking feature: it planned to spend 97 per cent of revenue servicing debt, with little left for recurrent or capital expenditure. The previous government had resorted to massive borrowing to cover such costs.

“Like oil, the exchange rate was also being subsidised by the government, with an estimated 1.5 billion dollars spent monthly by the CBN to ‘defend’ the currency against the unquenchable demand for the dollar by the country’s import-dependent economy,” explained Onanuga.

He stated that by keeping the rate low, arbitrage grew as a gulf existed between the official rate and the rate used by over 5,000 Bureau de Change (BDCs) that were previously licensed by the Central Bank.

“What was more, the country was failing to fulfil its remittance obligations to airlines and other foreign businesses, such that FDIs and investment in the oil sector dried up, and notably Emirate Airlines cut off the Nigerian route.

“President Tinubu had to deal with the cancer of public finance on the first day by rolling back the subsidy regime and the generosity that spread to neighbouring countries. Then, his administration floated the naira,” said Onanuga.

He said that after some months of the storm, with the naira sliding as low as N1,900 to the US dollar, some stability was restored, though there remained some challenges.

“The exchange rate is now below N1,500 to the dollar, and there are prospects that the naira could regain its muscle and appreciate to between N1,000 and N1,200 before the end of the year.

“The economy recorded a trade surplus of N6.52 trillion in Q1, as against a deficit of N1.4 trillion in Q4 of 2023. Portfolio investors have streamed in as long-term investors.

“When Diageo wanted to sell its stake in Guinness Nigeria, it had the Singaporean conglomerate, Tolaram, ready for the uptake,” he said.

He was emphatic that with the World Bank extending a 2.25 billion dollar loan and other loans by the AfDB and Afreximbank coming in, Nigeria had become bankable again.

He explained that such was all because the reforms being implemented had restored some confidence.

“The inflationary rate is slowing down as shown in the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics for April. Food inflation remains the biggest challenge, and the government is working very hard to rein it in with increased agricultural production.

“The Tinubu administration and the 36 states are working assiduously to produce food in abundance to reduce the cost. Some state governments, such as Lagos and Akwa Ibom, have set up retail shops to sell raw food items to residents at a lower price than the market price.

“The Tinubu government, in November last year, in consonance with its food emergency declaration, invested heavily in dry-season farming, giving farmers incentives to produce wheat, maize, and rice,” he said.

According to Onanuga, the CBN has donated N100 billion worth of fertiliser to farmers, and numerous incentives are being implemented, adding that in the western part of Nigeria, six governors had announced plans to invest massively in agriculture.

“With all the plans being executed, inflation, especially food inflation, will soon be tamed.

“Nigeria is not the only country in the world facing a rising cost of living crisis. The USA, too, is contending with a similar crisis, with families finding it hard to make ends meet. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen raised this concern recently.

“Europe is similarly in the throes of a cost-of-living crisis. As those countries are trying to confront the problem, the Tinubu administration is also working hard to overturn the economic problems in Nigeria.

“Our country faced economic difficulties in the past, an experience that has been captured in folk songs. Just like we overcame then, we shall overcome our present difficulties very soon,” said Onanuga.

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Rivers Tourism Agency, Mayor of Housing Seal Deal After Economic Summit

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…..Set to Restore Rivers Leadership Status In Tourism, Entertainment

The Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA) has sealed partnership deal with the Mayor of Housing to boost tourism and entertainment.

This is aimed at rebooting the economy of the state  as the state government seeks to boost ease of doing business (EoDB).

The partnership was sealed after the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit which ended on May 23, 2024.

The partnership was unveiled at an event at the GRA where the Director-General (DG) of the RSTDA, Mr Yibo Koko, gave details of what he called the low hanging fruits initiative to tap into obvious advantages.

He presented the Mayor of Housing, My-Ace China, the CEO of the Housing and Construction Limited, who has demonstrated capacity and willingness to join in the task.

It was gathered that some banks have also indicated interest in partnering with the Agency to achieve the objective of Sir Sim Fubara’s administration in the Tourism sub-sector.

It was gathered that tourism alone can restart the economy, based on what worked for the state in years past when the city led other states and cities in entertainment and tourism.

The new role of the RSTDA seemed to have been rediscovered at the economic summit and fresh mandates with marching orders may have been issued.

The DG of the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA) spoke glowingly about the gains of the Rivers State Economic Summit and the Creative Art, saying the Mayor of Housing was part of the panel on creative economy and his participation led to the decision to go back and start from the ‘Low Hanging Fruits Initiative’.

He said Gov Fubara’s body language suggests positivity and this has led to trickling effects on creative economy and the young people.

He gave insight into how reputations are ruined online, saying Algorithm or Artificial Intelligence (AI) picks what comes online most frequently and uses it to characterize a person or place for profiling.

“So, when people click on your name, what comes up is the thing AI says you are. For Rivers State, it’s the steady bad news in the media that AI picks to brand the state.

“The RSTDA wants to reverse that and we want the many good things happening in the state to be brought up deliberately.

“The state government wants entrepreneurs and investors to be the ones driving wealth creation and the growth of the economy. We want to bring back the vibrancy of the Garden City and we know the role tourism and entertainment can play.”

He took time to articulate what constitutes the low hanging fruits and how the RSTDA planned to harvest them with support from partners, especially the Mayor of Housing.

Speaking, the Mayor of Housing (My-ACE China) expressed delight working with the RSTDA.

He said: “I started estate business in Abuja. In 2021, we wanted to extend to Port Harcourt, but the first thing the CEO of our company then told me was all about insecurity in the Garden City and all the associated hypes.

“He asked me how I would need over five Mopol (Military Police Operatives) to move about in Port Harcourt. The narrative then was that Port Harcourt was unstable and unsafe. We argued and agreed I would be the one to go, and if I was killed, he would stay away.

“Coming into Port Harcourt at last, I was shocked at the peace and stability, at the hospitality, at the liveliness, cuisine, housing potentials, etc.

“In housing, we were more than 100 brands in Abuja hustling for space, but I came into Port Harcourt and saw only two active brands. It was like I could beat them ad be the topmost.

“I called my people and said, this is a deep market. I staged the biggest event in Port Harcourt. It was shocking. People came out because of the shouting I did.

“This was the same Port Harcourt they said would swallow me.

|When I went into the nitty-gritty of doing business in Port Harcourt, I found why the narrative was looking gloomy.”

He said there was a political dilution of people’s goodwill  and  most persons in the state were victims, including top people doing so well.

“I discovered that there are very many unsung people here that felt they would not make it unless they went to Lagos.

“So, I chose the comedy industry to start the push to sell Port Harcourt with positive narrative and restart of the story of the city.I began to sponsor them with whatever little I had.

“I am the first corporate body to scale Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) because others start CSR when they make it, but I started from the start or even before the start of my project.

According to him, as at this year, we have won ‘brand of the year’ for three years running just by doing little by little.”

“So, part of the fundamental things why we are here today is to tell everybody that the awareness and deliberate narrative change can start now and here; and we can begin to talk about the positives of Rivers State, we can skew the algorithm back in our favour.

“If Lagos State has 15 million people and they have less people talking about their potential, that would reduce visibility to the work of about three million people. Rivers with six million people need to work harder. If 50 per cent or more of our people talk about the positives of this state, it will beat that pattern or algorithm.

So, the idea is, who else will tell them. The good book said how will they hear, if somebody doesn’t preach to them. We thus put this meeting together so you can all preach the message of the positives of Rivers State.

“When this competition as outlined by the DG (of the RSTDA) begins, it would launch Rivers State back as the tourism capital of the world. By the story told by the DG, if the tourism promoters of Dubai could come to Port Harcourt to promote a show and only seven persons showed up, the small number was not because there was scarcity of talent or lack of interest from the youths of Rivers State, it was because of lack of narrative-pushing to tell the youths that there was opportunity somewhere.

“When I started my project in Alesa Eleme, I was told don’t go, they do worry. But today, I have not even started the project proper and I have got an award from the same Alesa Elele youths as ‘Hero of Development’ all because of little corporate social responsibility (CSR) things I did for them.

“It broke my heart when they came to me and said they could secure our facility. They said all we needed to give them were equipment and gears not costing up to N5m. We did that donation in December 2023 but I was weak when they said for 20 years, no company had donated those things.

“It is about the narrative being peddled around the state and around the communities. The story is not being told. If you don’t load the search engine with good stories, you won’t move up on the scale of attractive cities and investments.

“Let’s get to the level of knowing what to tell and what not to”, he said .

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